Event Preview: Beamish Great North Steam Fair 2011

Event: Great North Steam Fair

Where: Beamish – the Living Museum of the North

When: Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th April from 1000 to 1700 each day (last admission 1500)

The annual Great North Steam Fair takes place at Beamish, the Living Museum of the North between Thursday 14th and Sunday 17th April. For the tram enthusiast visiting the highlight is bound to be the visit of Heaton Park’s Manchester 765 which should be used on an intensive tram service along with the home based fleet. In addition there will be many visiting vehicles of various varieties (as well as Beamish based vehicles) including vintage and veteran steam engines, motor cars, motorcycles, buses and stationary engines.

Initially the event was due to feature the debut operation of Sunderland 101 (ex-Blackpool Balloon 703) and Newcastle 114 following its repaint/overhaul but unfortunately the work on both these trams has been delayed and neither will be available for service. However, Manchester 765 will be visiting for the event (and a few weeks after) on loan from the Heaton Park Tramway (via Blackpool where it has been since last June) and it is expected to be used on an intensive tram service round the site. This tram service will see 765 meet up with long time stable mate from Heaton Park, Leeds 6 (which remains on loan), Beamish (Oporto) 196 (another tram which has Heaton Park connections having run there in 2010), Gateshead 10 and Sunderland 16.

As the title suggests the trams are not the main focus of the event with steam vehicles of various types and sizes due to star. Although we are a tram website for the sake of completeness these vehicles are due to attend (or are resident at the Museum):

* Beamish Boneshaker Cycles – on display and being demonstrated

* Beamish High Bikes

* Stone Crusher

* Beamish Colliery Winder

* Beamish Colliery Jack Engine

* Wolsingham Engine

* Matchless Motorcycle and Sidecar

* 1893 Savage Steam Gallopers

* Humber Quadracycle

* AJS Motorcyle

* Vintage Case Tractor

* Smiths Electric Van

* 1920 ABC “Skootamota” ladies motorcycle

* Beamish Portable Engine – the Steam Mule

* Fergie Tractor

* Bull Nose Morris – Sunday only

* Mann Steam Tractor

* Ransomes Sims & Jeffries 6NHP traction engine “Northern Star”

* Foden Steam lorry “Cestria”

* Model T Ford Van

* Andrew Barclay No. 12 – Jack

* Aveling and Porter steam roller “Ayesha”

* Clayton and Shuttleworth traction engine “Louise”

* Ford Model T Pickup

* Fletcher Jennings 0-4-0T “Baxter”

* McLaren Traction Engine

* Scammell Showman’s Tractor

* Kerr Stuart Wren 0-4-0ST “Peter Pan”

* LNER Y7 0-4-0T 985

* Pockerley Waggonway locomotives: Puffing Billy, Steam Elephant and Locomotion

* Wallis Advance Steam Roller

* Seagrave Fire Engine

* Northern SOS Bus (in service but not with passengers)

* Marshall Traction Engine “Mary Margaret”

* Fowler Steam Roller “Rambler”

* Foster Traction Engine

* Burrell Showman’s Engine “Winston Churchill”

* Winget Stone Crusher

* Coffee Pot No. 1

As always all vehicles will attend subject to availability and may be changed at the last moment.

As can be seen a large number of vehicles and other steam exhibits are due to be in action throughout the four day event which is sure to be another excellent transport event at Beamish!

In addition to the main event there is a special photographic charter on Saturday 16th April between 1730 and 2000. As demand for the event is high, pre-booking is required and this can be done by phoning 0191 370 4000 or emailing museum@beamish.org.uk . To cover operational and running costs the evening will cost £10. It has been confirmed that the following star attractions will star in the event:

* 1923 LNER Y7 (68088) engine in steam at Rowley Station

* 1871 Head Wrightson “Coffee Pot No. 1” and 1877 Fletcher Jennings engine “Baxter” in operation at the Colliery Railway

* Heaton Park’s 1914 built Manchester Corporation Tram No. 765 on the Edwardian Town Street

Further details on the charter can be found on the Beamish website.

* Photos of all the planned exhibits are available on the Planned Exhibits for the Beamish Great North Steam Fair 2011 Flickr collection.

The Lowdown on…Beamish – The Living Museum of the North

Beamish – The Living Museum of the North

Beamish has been open for over 40 years and tells the story of the people of North East England at two important points in their history – 1825 and 1913. The former period is represented by Pockerley Waggonway and Pockerley Manor with 1913 represented by the Colliery Village, town, railway station and Home Farm. Beamish stands in 300 acres of County Durham countryside, eight miles south west of Newcastle upon Tyne and twelve miles north west of Durham city. Most of the houses, shops and other buildings have been dismantled, brought to Beamish and rebuilt here.

The Trams

There are currently seven trams on site at Beamish with another (Blackpool Marton Box 31) away on loan at the Heaton Park Tramway. Of these four are available for service – Leeds 6 (on loan from the Heaton Park Tramway), Gateshead 10, Sunderland 16 and Beamish (Oporto) 196 and these will be joined by Manchester 765 in time for the event. Also on site at Beamish are Sunderland 101 (ex-Blackpool Balloon 703), Newcastle 114 and Sheffield 264, the former two of which are receiving attention for use at the Museum later this year. More details on the tram fleet can be found on the Fleet List

How to find the Museum

Probably the easiest way to get to Beamish is by car with the museum being well signposted from the A1M, Junction 63. For anyone using Sat-nav the postcode is DH9 0RG.

For public transport users the nearest main-line station is Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Chester-le-Street is closer but suffers from an irregular train service). Service buses run regularly from Newcastle City Centre to the Museum Entrance Gates. The Waggonway service 28/28A runs from Newcastle to Chester-le-Street via Gateshead, Low Fell, Birtley and Ouston with buses every 30 minutes during Monday to Saturday daytimes and hourly on Sundays and evenings. On Saturdays throughout the Summer it is also possible to travel on the 128 from Durham City Centre (buses run every hour). Full detailed information on bus times can be found on Traveline North East here.

Full details on how to get to the Museum can be found on their website here.

How Much Does it Cost?

Admission prices cost £16 for adults, £10 for children (aged 5-16), £13 for 60s and over, £13 for students and two family tickets are available – £46 for 2 adults and 2 children and £32 for 1 adult and 2 children. It is possible to buy your tickets before arriving at the Museum online – click here for more information.

Want to Know More?

The official Beamish website can be found here with plenty of information on the Museum.

For any updates on the Great North Steam Fair visit Paul Jarman’s – Transport Curator – excellent blog here.


To find out what the weather might be doing click here for the BBC 5 day weather forecast for Chester-le-Street, only 3 miles away (please note Beamish is not an option on the BBC Weather website!)

Online Coverage

It is not known whether there will be any online updates during the event but keep an eye on Yahoo! Groups: Tramgen to see if any updates are made.

After the event British Trams Online will provide comprehensive coverage in the form of an article and photos.

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 (Sunday 10th April 2011). To ensure you have the most up-to-date information please check the official website or Transport Blog.

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