It has now been over 12 months since the last tram ran in passenger service at Beamish and with the nature of the museum’s operation it is going to be a while before you can enjoy a ride on board a tram again as they have provisionally set 4th September as the recommencement of services. The museum itself reopens on 12th April but this will be outside areas only and the various transport offering will then start to resume following that.
As we saw last year at several locations, the tram service which will operate will be different to that we were used to pre-pandemic. A Circular Tour” type operation will start from 4th September – likely to use Blackpool 31 initially – which will start and finish at Foulbridge (by the tram depot). This will be a trip around the tramway circuit, it won’t be possible to use it to get from one area of the museum to another as this would considerably slow up operation with the likely necessity for continued social distancing measures and various enhanced cleaning routines.
Blackpool 31 is likely to the chosen tram as its seating layout lends itself best to maximising the number of passengers who can be carried on board with those all important social distancing measures. If resources allow the number of trams and frequency of this service would be reviewed and increased if conditions allow.
Elsewhere on the transport front, the accessible bus service resumes from 12th April before a circular bus service gets underway from 17th May, although not serving the colliery. The Waggonway will start from 28th May with limited capacity, the Colliery Railway will see action from 1st May and then at weekends and during school holidays and the narrow gauge railway will also run on selected dates. Meanwhile, the Rowley Station railway line will not operate at all during 2021.
A special event is due to take place on 1st May with more details on this to follow. It is also planned to celebrate Coffee Pot No. 1’s 150th birthday during the season.
This is the plan as it is at the moment but as we’ve all become very used to is subject to change as conditions in the country continue to change. It may not be what we have been used to but after the last 12 months, even limited tram operation is better than nothing isn’t it?!