The ongoing will they, won’t they saga of whether trams would be returning to operation on the Birkenhead Heritage Tramway seems to have finally been resolved with the positive news that services resumed last weekend (6th/7th January 2012) following yet another u-turn from Wirral Borough Council.
As regular readers of this website will be aware the Birkenhead Heritage Tramway was ordered to stop services at the end of October 2011 (with the exception of one day of Santa Specials in December) following the retirement of the electrical engineer from Wirral Borough Council. Then just before Christmas it appeared that everything was fine again as the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society were told by officials from the Council that they could resume operation in the new year. However, soon after this announcement was
made public the Council reversed their decision claiming they had never given the go-ahead for a resumption of operation so the MTPS went into Christmas not knowing what 2012 would hold for them.
But along came 2012 and a change in luck for the MTPS! Wirral Borough Council informed them that they could resume operation from the first weekend in January after all with no apparent reasons given for the continued indecision into whether the trams could operate or not.
Wirral Borough Council have been in negotiations with Merseytravel to take over control of the tramway for a while but these have been delayed with the Pacific Road Arts Centre being a stumbling block in the deal. Originally the Council were insisting this building was part of the deal and must remain as an Arts Centre but Merseytravel didn’t want to take it on. However, late last year the Council decided it didn’t have to remain as an Arts Centre and it was hoped that this would mean the deal would finally go-ahead, but as yet nothing has been finalised. Merseytravel have big expansion plans for the tramway if they take over with an extension into the Wirral Waters development proposed and to this end they have purchased several trams from Blackpool which would eventually be rebuilt for use on this tramway.
Whilst we all wait for the takeover to finally be concluded – and Merseytravel must be optimistic considering they have purchased and moved their Blackpool tramcars – the Birkenhead Heritage Tramway will continue to operate on a limited basis every Saturday and Sunday from 1300.