It may have been a long time but trams are now officially back operating at Beamish with the first passenger runs since March 2020 taking place on Saturday 4th September. Blackpool car Marton 31 did the honours in slightly damp weather with trams now due to run every weekend for the remainder of September.
As we’ve reported, over the past few weeks testing and driver refreshers have been taking place on the tramway and although Oporto 196 and Blackpool 31 performed the majority of these Sheffield 264 had also been out on the tracks as part of its own recommissioning to operational condition.
With sufficient drivers now available to drive the trams again a limited service was able to recommence on Saturday 4th September. As we’ve mentioned before the service is currently unable to go the whole way round the tramway circuit as some additional maintenance is required in the section past the Events Field but trams are running from Fouldbridge to the east end of the Town. Its hoped that later in the autumn trams can get further into the town although this requires some changes to be made to some of the Covid measures in place in the town such as queuing arrangements.
With trams due to run every weekend throughout September it is planned that each operating day will see a one tram service. On the first day this was Blackpool 31 with Sheffield 264 also prepared to cover all weather eventualities. Newcastle 114 remains out of service requiring its motors to be refitted with Oporto 196 also operational and Sunderland 16 having moved under its own power around the depot.
To celebrate the return of transport to the museum during 2021, a special transport event will take place over the weekend of 25th and 26th September. Over this weekend it is hoped that there will be 50+1 working transport exhibits including some rarely seen vehicles from Beamish’s own collection. With the buses, railways and road transport all featuring, the trams will also play a part during the weekend.
Further ahead and it is hoped that Saturday 23rd October will see a Vintage Bus Running Day although this will be dependent on whether enough visiting exhibits can be found in time.
And looking even further ahead Beamish have given a tantalizing glimpse of what may happen in 2023 when the tramway will reach its 50th anniversary. It is planned that Gateshead 10 will be back in service and they are also considering the possibility of a couple of visiting tramcars as well. It may seem a long time ahead but we all need something to look forward don’t we?
- More details of the planned special events at Beamish later this year and coverage of the start of tramway operation can be found on the Beamish Transport Online blog at http://beamishtransportonline.co.uk/2021/09/ti-news-27-2021/