Summerlee Tramway closed

We normally report on there being two operational tramways in Scotland – one modern and one heritage. But whilst the modern tram system in Edinburgh has had positive news to report over the past month with the opening of the extension to Newhaven, there has been a less positive development at the Summerlee heritage line which is has not been running for several months with no sign of when it may return.

Recent visitors to Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life have been met with a notice just inside the entrance saying that the tramway is not running due to an “electrical fault”. When asking about this at the museum they have been told this has been the case since last September although there is some footage on the Summerlee Transport Group Facebook page of Dusseldorf 392 running after overhaul which was posted at the very start of October 2022. Regardless of the slight difference in dates it has been several months since trams ran.

The museum is owned by North Lanarkshire Council and they have been quoted in the railway press as saying that they aim to restore services as soon as possible.

There is currently no mention on either the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life or the Summerlee Transport Group websites that the tramway is not currently running.

With the Summerlee tramway out of action this means that there are currently three heritage lines in the UK which are closed. The other two are the line at the Black Country Living Museum and the Wirral Heritage Tramway in Birkenhead.

The Black Country Living Museum has not run their trams for several years as a result of development works. A statement on their website states: “Due to the ongoing construction works, on weekdays we are currently unable to operate any transport which requires the use of electric overhead wires. There will be limited services on our trolleybuses on selected weekends and bank holidays. Our trams are currently out of operation, but will be on show for visitors to view.”  There is no sign of when, or if, trams will resume running.

Meanwhile, the Wirral Heritage Tramway was closed temporarily in April just ahead of an inspection by the ORR. Wirral Borough Council said in a statement at the time of the closure: “Wirral Transport Museum and Tramway will be temporarily closed to allow for maintenance works to take place. This is ahead of a scheduled inspection by the Office of Rail and Road next week. It is anticipated that the facilities will reopen following that inspection.” However, this has not yet happened and it remains closed almost three months later.

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5 Responses to Summerlee Tramway closed

  1. Ken Jones says:

    Wirral system is subject to a local government takeover of the line plus Museum

    • Tramcar666 says:

      Ken – Wirral is owned by Wirral Council (so not sure which local government you are referring to) – are you referring to the proposed takeover by Big Heritage which was reported months ago?

  2. Nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    I suspect the current situation is a sign of the times. Funding is hard to come by as are volunteers by all accounts I have heard. Even the Blackpool Heritage Trams are going through a less than ideal time, with a growing shortage of operating stock (due in part to lack of maintenance facilities) and have not been able to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramroad as such. At least they have positive plans for the development of the Tramtown Project, although only time will tell to what extent these come to fruition. In the meantime, we as a community of enthusiasts should try to do all we can to support the Heritage Trams, whether by donations or simply turning up and riding, so that Blackpool can continue to fly the flag for the old school trams, along of course with Crich, Beamish, EATM and Heaton Park.

  3. David Umpleby says:

    “lack of maintenance facilities” what are they lacking? The facility at Rigby Road would be the envy of many preserved railways.

    • John says:

      David – it was reported some areas were out of use due to extraction issues. they are also starting to prepare for moving them across to the main depot.

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