In scenes co-incidentally reminiscent of those recently witnessed in Blackpool, the Heaton Park Tramway in Manchester is currently enduring a period of disruption thanks to two unrelated events being held in the park’s grounds. A concert by reformed rock band The Stone Roses has seen the tramway closed for two successive weekends, whilst a charity event is set to impact on the weekend of 21st/22nd July.
The Stone Roses, often hailed as one of the most influencial British bands of the nineties, recently announced their reunion tour and as well as a string of festival appearances, this included two shows in Heaton Park, as Manchester is their home city. Demand for tickets was so high that a third date was soon added, meaning that the tramway would not be able to operate at all on Saturday 30th June or Sunday 1st July. Unfortunately, due to the large amount of prepartion needed for such a major event, closure of the tramway was also required the previous weekend, meaning that two weekends of revenue have been lost. Although obviously such a huge event is great news for the local economy, it seems a shame that the tramway has been so greatly affected. Barriers have been put in place around parts of the tram track which will hopefully ensure that the infrastructure is not damaged by the lorries needed for the show, which has sometimes been an issue at past events of this nature. The odd sight of portaloos along the lower section of tramway near to the depot/museum is certainly a bit of a strange one for regular visitors!
The next two weekends should see a normal tram service in operation, but there will be more disruption on Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd July due to the annual ‘Race for Life’ in the park. Regrettably this co-incides with the Festival of Model Tramways at the Greater Manchester Museum of Transport which normally provides a welcome boost in visitors to the heritage line. A tram service will be run on both days, but for most of the day this will be restricted in nature. A vintage bus service will operate connecting the two attractions and offering visitors to the park a good excuse to visit Manchester 173 which of course resides at the Boyle Street Museum.
Hopefully future events at Heaton Park, such as the annual Trans Lanc Rally on September 2nd and a planned ‘Best of British Trams’ event being held on 17th & 18th November will help to compensate for any lost income and ensure that the tramway remains one of the park’s most popular attractions.