Event: New Members Day/Manchester Transport Historical Collection 50th Anniversary
Where: Heaton Park Tramway, Manchester
When: Saturday 16th July 2011
On Saturday 16th July, two very special events are taking place at Manchester’s Heaton Park Tramway, which give a unique nod to the past whilst also looking to the future of one of the most exciting heritage tram locations in the UK.
During the daytime, the Manchester Transport Museum Society (the charitable organisation who run the tramway and look after its fleet of historic trams) are playing host to their first ever ‘New Members Day’. With growing interest in the park’s activities in the last few years, many new members have joined up and so the idea was put forward to hold an event that would enable these new supporters to come and join in with the action, and find out how they can help to develop the tramway on a practical level. Hopefully this special day will encourage more people to come and meet the regular tramway volunteers, who are a very friendly and welcoming bunch – and even if you don’t want to get involved, the day gives a good excuse to come along and have a play, and who knows, you may develop a taste of it! Planned activities on this day will include:
*The chance to drive a tram
*The chance to become a tram conductor for the day
*Find out what it takes to be a Museum Curator
*Learn about the workings of an electric tramcar
*Normal tram service also operating during the day
This event is completely FREE to all who have joined the MTMS since 2005. If you are not yet a member of the MTMS, it’s not too late to join in with the fun! Anyone who joins on the day can participate in all of the extra events, and at just £12 for one year, membership represents superb value for money. The event kicks off at 10:00am and lasts until 4:30pm. Better still, it’s all been put together by two of the tramway’s newer recruits, and hopefully won’t be their last event in the park.
As if the daytime excitement wasn’t enough, a second event will be held later on the same day, between 5:30pm and 9:00pm approximately. Unlike the New Members Day, this will be more of a celebration of the past as the tramway celebrates the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Manchester Transport Historical Collection. This group was set up to preserve Manchester’s tramway heritage, and particularly the Manchester ‘California’ car 765, which was rescued by enthusiasts and subsequently restored to full running order in Manchester for use on the fledging preserved tramway. The MTHC eventually became the Manchester Transport Museum Society, and the rest is history!
Such an important milestone had to be marked with a lavish celebration, and this is taking place on an evening with plenty of dignitaries being invited. The general public can also attend and tickets are now on sale on the tramway’s website, priced at £10 per person. If you wish to attend please be sure to pre-book as soon as possible, as you may not be able to attend on the night if you have not done so, as arrangements need to be made beforehand for the expected number of attendees.
Evening events are set to include:
*Evening tram rides on cars 7 and 765
* The chance to view the latest progress on the new extension to Lakeside
*Buffet inside the tram depot
*Presentations and guest speakers from the MTMS plus invited guests
*Presentation on the Manchester Transport Historical Collection – 50 years on, showing what has been achieved in the last half century
*Talk on future plans for the Heaton Park Tramway
*Cake and champagne at the climax of the evening’s festivities
There are also a few extra surprises in store which will not be announced beforehand, but knowing the HPT team it should be interesting to see what they are!
Andrew Waddington – Contributing Writer
The Lowdown on…Heaton Park Tramway
Heaton Park Tramway
The Heaton Park Tramway is the only true preserved tramway in Britain, in that it incorporates part of the original Manchester tram system in the form of a short spur which entered the grounds of the enormous park via Middleton Road. Following a huge effort by volunteers, this was officially re-opened in March 1980 and has since been extended three times to give a line of approximately half a mile. Another relic from the past in the form of a massive waiting shelter has also survived from the city’s past, and has been converted into the tram depot – this building also houses a small museum, model tramway and gift shop.
The MTMS fleet has expanded considerably in recent times, not least thanks to the acquisition of several redundant Blackpool trams, and following a number of recent changes, three vehicles are currently on site and in regular use. These consist of two passenger cars, the aforementioned Manchester 765 and Heaton Park 7 – formerly Blackpool Replica Vanguard 619 – plus one works vehicle, Blackpool Railgrinder 752. All of these trams are expected to participate in these special events, be it in public service, on demonstration trips or driving experience duties.
How to find the Tramway
The Heaton Park Tramway is located four miles north of Manchester City Centre and what better way to get there than by modern tram on Manchester Metrolink. Regular Metrolink services operate to Bowker Vale and Heaton Park stations (either of which are suitable for visiting the HPT) on the Bury line. For full details on Metrolink services check their website here.
Alternatively you can travel by car. Heaton Park is adjacent to junction 19 of the M60 ring road. Parking is available on Middleton Road and Sheepfont Lane. A map is available on the official Heaton Park (not tramway) website – here.
Many buses also pass by the Middleton Road Park Entrance. Click here for a bus network route map on the TfGM website.
How Much Does it Cost?
The New Members Day is free to all who have joined the MTMS since 2005. Anyone who is not a member of the MTMS can join on the day for just £12 and join in all the special activities.
The evening celebration sees tickets available for £10, with pre-booking highly recommended.
A booking form to book for both events is available on the Heaton Park Tramway website.
Want to Know More?
Visit the official Heaton Park Tramway website here.
To check out the BBC 5 Day Forecast for Manchester click here.
Live Online Coverage
It is not known at this stage whether there will be any online updates on either of these events but if there are keep an eye on Yahoo! Groups: Tramgen .
All information in this preview is provided in good faith and is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of going to press (Saturday 18th June 2011).