After nine months work the new terminus at Seaton will open to the public from Thursday 28th June. The first trams will depart Seaton at 1000 following the completion of the £3 million project to build a new facility more in keeping with the surrounding area which has seen its own multi-million pound investment in recent years including the Seaton Jurassic facility.
As we have been reporting the old Edwardian style terminus was closed to the public in September to allow the new structure to take shape and throughout the period since major demolition and construction work has taken place. It has originally been hoped to open the terminus at Easter but delays experienced over the winter thanks to a couple of incidences of snowfall in the area meant this was not possible. Whilst the work has been taking place Riverside Depot has been the focus of operations from Seaton with trams starting and terminating there with ticket holders able to catch a shuttle bus from the usual terminus and behind the scenes depot tours also provided.
The all new terminus will have fully covered accommodation along with a café and gift shop. The café/gift shop will be known as Claude’s – in a nice touch named after Claude Lane, the founder of the tramway and inspiration behind the whole project as bringing trams to this part of Devon. The café will have a brand new menu whilst the gift shop will contain a new range of souvenirs and gifts.
During the construction of the terminus almost 450 tonnes of ballast, 300 sleepers and over 190 piles have been used in the project to lift the station two metres off the ground. There will be four platforms in the terminal building which will house four trams each night, creating a “stunning showroom displaying some of the famous heritage trams”. There will also be new interpretation within the building to provide a more immersive visitor experience celebrating the story of the Seaton Tramway.
The all year facility will become the home to many of the tramway special events including The Dinosaur Tram Adventure, The Fairy Special, The Pirate Tram, The Bright Sparks Science show and The Polar Express Tram Ride Experience. It will also provide space for events, exhibitions and be part of a greater visitor experience with passengers being taken back in time to the Victorian splendour of Colyton Station.
Jenny Nunn, Chief Executive of Seaton Tramway, said: “The new project has been a huge undertaking by the tramway and represents major investment in the tourism economy of Seaton. The town has witnessed a very successful regeneration project over the past few years, which has seen the addition of Tesco, Seaton Jurassic, Premier Inn and 220 Bovis homes. The new Tram Station will be one of the final pieces in the puzzle for the town’s regeneration project and a unique addition to the Southwest’s coastline. With the 301 square metres of internal space, it will enable the charity to attract even more visitors to the area than ever before.”
The first trams will leave Seaton at 1000 on Thursday 28th June with the first 1,000 visitors receiving a limited edition commemorative poster. There will be an official grand opening later in August. Until 27th June services will continue to run between Riverside and Colyton with the behind the scenes tours also still running so you will need to be quick if you want to see in the depot before the chance ends!