More details have now been revealed for the 2013 Middleton Railway ‘Festival of Transport’ event, which is being held over the August Bank Holiday weekend. An exciting programme of events is planned to cater for people with an interest in just about any form of transport – but naturally what we are most looking forward to is the operation of Leeds horse tram 107 for the first time in over a century!
With the restoration of 107 now almost complete, the car will enter public service during this action-packed event. The tram will be on static display on the first day before operating for the first time in preservation on Sunday 25th August. On this day it is intended that the car will initially run empty for testing and crew training purposes from 9:30am, with an entry into passenger service anticipated at around 11:00am providing the early test runs go well. The tram will then run until around 5:00pm, with a one hour break at 1:00pm.
Leeds 107 will also be in service again on Monday 26th August, with an official launch ceremony planned for 2:00pm which will be attended by the Mayor of Leeds. Operating times should be the same as Sunday’s, although naturally all is subject to change. This will almost certainly be the last chance to ride on the tram in its native city as, once the festival is over, no time will be wasted in preparing 107 for transportation to Crich Tramway Village, where it will join the numerous other Leeds trams there to become a valuable part of the national museum collection. Therefore, these two days will not only be the first time that a Leeds tramcar has operated in Leeds since the closure of that city’s tram system in 1959, but it could well be the last time that this ever happens, making this a particularly significant occasion.
Admission to the whole event costs £8 with an additional £2 charge to ride on the horse tram, in order to recoup the expense of hiring in horses to pull it. Other attractions on offer will include a display of numerous historic vehicles, including traction engines in steam, a number of other special displays, a vintage bus shuttle service connecting the site with the nearby Armley Mills Museum, and an intensive service on the railway itself which should see three steam locomotives and one diesel engine in action.
Although sadly the Leeds transport event clashes with the particularly ambitious programme of events planned in Blackpool, it is hoped that the festival will still attract a healthy number of visitors and that the entry into service of the only surviving Leeds horse tramcar will prove popular. British Trams Online should be in attendance for the event and we look forward to providing coverage of Leeds 107‘s first weekend in service following restoration by the Leeds Transport Historical Society.