WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — For 70 years, the phrase “watch the tram car, please” has parted the sea of saunterers on the Wildwood Boardwalk.
And if you’ve watched the tram car for enough years, one driver might call you out by name.
For all the names he knows, it’s John Gigliotti’s that has become legend.
“I work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, with a nap in the afternoon,” Gigliotti said.
“Gig,” as he is best known, has been enthusiastically piloting Wildwood’s Sightseer Tram Cars for 26 years.
“I worked on the railroad in passenger service and when I retired in 1992, my wife said to me, ‘How about those little yellow cars on the boardwalk? It’s a miniature scale of what you did all your life,’ so here I am,” he said.
Gigliotti is 82 years old and the tram he’s driving on this day is 80.
“These tram cars were in the 1939 New York World’s Fair,” Gig explained. “The Greyhound Bus Company owned them to haul people into the fair grounds.”
At the time, a Wildwood businessman who was attending the World’s Fair saw the trams and took a liking to them.
“So he bought them, took them back here, took the diesel engine out and put a 36-volt battery in them,” Gigliotti said.
Six of the eight trams are original and still use those massive batteries.
The trams travel at just 5 mph, but it’s still a rush.