The annual Heritage Railway Associate Awards – held with a lavish ceremony – have seen two tramways in the British Isles celebrating. The Seaton Tramway in Devon, the Isle of Man’s Douglas Bay Horse Tramway and the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society were rewarded for work in 2018.
The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway were given the Outstanding Visitor Experience Small Groups award. Ever since the Isle of Man government, through Isle of Man Railways, took on control of the operation of the tramway it has gone from strength to strength and this latest award is testament to this. With regular Meet the Trammers behind the scenes tours of the historic Summer Hill Stables now running along with many of the trams going through their first major rebuilds for many, many years the tramway has firmly re-established itself as a major component of the visitor experience on the Isle of Man.
Meanwhile Seaton were rewarded for the opening of the new modern Seaton terminus building in the Morgan Award for Outstanding Achievements. As we have reported in depth on these pages the new terminus building was opened in June 2018 and provides fully covered accommodation for passengers to await the next departure. It also has the ability to be used for evening events, special exhibitions and can house up to four trams each evening with the building illuminated to showcase the Seaton Tramway even when it is closed to the public. The building also includes a café and gift shop named Claude’s after the founder of the tramway Claude Lane.
Finally, the first award given to a tramway on the night was to the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society who walked away with the award in the Carriage and Wagon Awards Self-propelled.
Congratulations to all for their wins!