The hardest working heritage trams in the UK are without a doubt those which operate at Beamish with the trams an integral part of the museum taking visitors around the site throughout the year. 2018 was another busy year as shown in the latest mileage figures released on Beamish Transport Online with five trams running at some point in the year with just over 25,000 miles run – a figure slightly down on 2017’s 27,550 as a result of various trams being unavailable at times during the year.
Leading the way was, for the second year running, Sheffield 264 which managed 7,825 miles (2017 – 7,650). This was despite the tram suffering a failed motor in late March which kept it off the road for a week in the lead up to the Great North Steam Fair. 264 is now due to be lifted for a reprofiling of the wheelsets and a motor overhaul. It is due to be returned to service for the main summer season.
Newcastle 114 was the second most used tram – 5,600 miles (2017 – 6,225) with Oporto 196 running 4,700 miles (2017 – 6,725). The lower figure for the Portuguese this year was a result of it spending some time out of service with compressor faults.
Although only returning to service at the end of June, Blackpool 31 ran 4,150 miles (2017 – 0) showing not only how popular this tram it is but also the fine sunny weather we enjoyed for much of the summer of 2018. The fifth and final tram to see use was Sunderland 16 which operated 2,225 miles (2017 – 6,125) having been lifted following the return to service of 31 and not entering service again until October. It is anticipated that 16 will be the highest mileage tram in 2019.
2019 should see five trams in service for much of the year (once the work on 264 is completed) with Gateshead 10 remaining under attention. The compressor is currently being worked on and there has also been some progress on the controllers.