Heaton Park’s ‘Tramtastic Day Out’ on Sunday 22nd July turned out to be another great event, with a three-car service on the heritage line for the first time this year, and several other members of the fleet posed for photography. However, there was an extra surprise in store, as Stockport 5 also made an unexpected appearance running under its own power after an absence of a few years whilst it has been undergoing extensive renovation, including the fitting of a new roof canvas.
5 actually made its first tentative moves under power a few days ahead of the big day, but this wasn’t widely known until 22nd July, when the tram operated out of service. The Stockport car was chosen to lead a short procession featuring all three operational trams currently on site – Hull 96, Blackpool 623 and of course, Heaton Park stalwart Manchester 765. This was also the first day back in passenger service for Blackpool Brush Railcoach 623 following its return from Blackpool just six days earlier.
Other trams enjoying a day in the sun included the stunning open top car Manchester 173 which was displayed on the siding near the Middleton Road depot and museum. Two of the resident Blackpool trams – Works car 1 and the partially completed Vanguard 619 - were both posed in front of the Lakeside depot, giving plenty of interesting photographic opportunities. So, with a total of seven different trams outside during the day, this was a really good event from the tramway, and one that has certainly whetted appetities for Stockport 5‘s return to service, hopefully to come later in the year. Although there remains a fair amount of work left to finish, notably reassembling the top deck, seeing it running along the tramway was a great sight and no doubt a real boost to the small team of volunteers who have been working on it for the last couple of years.