A small but significant event occured at the Heaton Park Tramway in Manchester on Tuesday 24th July 2012, when a refurbished set of points were laid at the new Lakeside terminus and connected up to the existing stub track. Eventually, these points will connect the terminus to the trackwork leading into the tramway’s brand new depot, and so their appearance arguably marks the beginning of the depot construction project.
For the last few months, members of the Manchester Transport Museum Society have been working hard to prepare various sections of track, collected over many years, for re-use to form a new depot track fan close to the park’s boating lake. Following many years of storage some of the rails needed a lot of cleaning and de-rusting work, but the end is now in sight and soon the task of transferring suitable track to the Lakeside site will begin. The first set of points laid lead off from a short stub track at the new terminus, which was laid so that one tram could arrive and off-load there whilst another departs after stabling there for a while. These points will soon be followed by further lengths of track, leading towards a new three-track depot. It is believed that construction of the new building is likely to commence this summer, but donations towards the project are still very welcome. Apart from the obvious construction and track-laying work, several trams will need to be transported to the park once the depot is completed, so any incoming donations will definitely be put to good use!
The Heaton Park Tramway is undoubtedly entering the most exciting period of its long and succesful history, and hopefully later this year, a second depot will allow the tram fleet to be expanded considerably as the latest phase of the MTMS’ expansion plans.