The Heaton Park Tramway has released a statement confirming that its advertised Autumn Gala day on Sunday 17th November has been reduced in scope. This is due to the fact that work on the new Lakeside Depot is not sufficiently complete to enable any trams to move inside, and therefore no more cars can be commissioned for operation in time for the event. Although depot work is progressing well, with installation of the first overhead wires now underway, a few minor setbacks have sadly made an already challenging target too great to achieve.
The statement is as follows: “After careful consideration of where we are at with depot works we have reluctantly decided to scale down this year’s Autumn gala. We will, instead be hosting an end of season friendly whereby all three Trams will be out and about (subject to weather), 623 will operate ‘drive for a tenner’ TDEs. There will also be a chance to view and photograph Trams currently stored. Additionally there will be refreshments in the depot and the chance to chat to us and see what’s in store for next year. This will allow us to focus our efforts on completing the depot and getting the fleet under cover before the worst of the winter weather sets in.’
It was also confirmed that, subject to the Lakeside Depot being sufficiently complete and the tram being transported and commissioned in time, Blackpool Ex-Towing car 680 will be launched into service at Heaton Park early next year, with a special launch day planned for the February half-term week. If all goes to plan this should be a fantastic start to the year, not just for the park but also for trams in general, and hopefully will make up for any disappointment caused by the change of plans regarding next month’s event. However, the short term pain should also be seen as a small sacrifice for long term gain, and hopefully enthusiasts will support this tramway despite this latest minor setback.