More trams occupy Lakeside Depot

Despite not currently being open for business, 2014 has still got off to a busy start for volunteers at the Heaton Park Tramway, where work continues on the completion of the new Lakeside Depot. A fairly major shunting exercise on Sunday 5th January saw Leeds 6 finally gain covered accomodation after being exposed to the great outdoors for the last few years, with another of the tram fleet also entering the new building for the very first time.

At the start of the year, just two tramcars were housed inside the Lakeside Depot: Manchester 173 and Blackpool Vanguard 619. However, in order to maximise the available depot space it was all change on 5th January when 619 was extracted, allowing Leeds 6 to move inside for the first time. This tram had been loaned to Beamish Museum in spring 2010 and was initially exchanged for Oporto 196; however when both this tram and Blackpool 31 returned home a shortage of depot space meant that 6 had to live outside, and it remained there, seeing semi-regular use, until it finally returned to Manchester in April 2013. Once again, insufficient space in the tramway’s original depot meant that 6 was housed in a small storage compound outside, but happily its time in the wilderness is now over. It may be remembered that an overhaul on this car has already been started, and at some point during 2014 it should return to service painted in a gleaming coat of maroon and white, and restored to its previous identity as Hull 96.

Later that day, Blackpool Brush Railcoach 623 was also awoken from its winter slumbers and taken to Lakeside, where it was stabled at the top of the completed depot track 3, with 6 and 173 behind. This move has taken place to free up more room in the Middleton Road depot so that Manchester 765 can be lifted and its trucks rolled out for overhaul. This means that car 619 is now once again stored outdoors along with Blackpool works car 752, but with trackwork progressing well it should not be too long before both trams can also fit inside the new depot.

A general view of the inside of Heaton Park's new tram depot, with Blackpool 623, Leeds 6 and Manchester 173 now in residence and providing a very varied line-up. (Photo by Martin Bryan)


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23 Responses to More trams occupy Lakeside Depot

  1. Clifford Stead says:

    Make sure there is plenty of room for 1007 too, that will bring a whole new generation of tram enthusiasts to Heaton Park.

  2. Nathan H says:

    1007? How are they going to fit a trolley pole to it?

    • Ken Walker says:

      And where are they going to build the raised platforms? Please tell me that’s not going to happen!!!

      • roger woodhead says:

        IF, AND ITS A BIG IF, MTMS obtain a T68 I will be happy to see raised platforms at each end of the route. Such a vehicle will give MTMS a purpose built fully accessible tram which no other site can. There are conversions elsewhere but they cost money to convert and IMO detract from the originality of the vehicle. If the gates at the other side of the Park are reached then the use of a T68 would be even more beneficial not to say also very appropriate!

  3. John Stewart says:

    Raised platforms indeed! It just brings home how sad it is that Manchester is going to have Britain’s most extensive tramway system operated by newly-built trams of an obsolete design. We can now see the error of not lowering platforms / raising track on Bury to Altrincham in 1991.

    • freel07 says:

      Not strictly an error John. The decision was dictated by the available funds. Almost a choice between high platforms or no Metrolink!

  4. John says:

    To put the record straight, a T68 cannot operate on the extant Heaton Park Tramway. Yes, we are interested in discussing preserving one – we have never made a secret of that. IF anything happens then a press release will be released. At the moment this is all pure conjecture.

  5. Ian Banks says:

    How many trams will the new depot hold will double deckers clear the roof on all roads?

    • John says:

      the new depot can hold 9, but likely to be 6 as it can hold 2 Blackpool length Trams on each road or 1 Blackpool and 2 short Trams. It is tall enough to take Bolton 66 which is the tallest Tram we are likely to house (that is in the future if it ever leaves Blackpool)

      • Tommy Carr says:

        Has it ever been considered to put the three manchester cars (5, 765 and 173) in the Middleton road depot as a ‘manchester display’ whilst putting the others in the lakeside depot?

        • Martin Bryan says:

          It was felt it would probably not be a good idea to ever keep 173, 5 and 765 in the same depot as should the worst ever happen and one of the depots be damged by fire the whole collection of local area trams would be lost.

          • Tommy Carr says:

            Fair point. Anyway, the depot is progressing very well. Will it be like the other depot where visitors can walk round?

      • Ian Banks says:

        Thanks very much, I must try and visit this year never been before its a long way from Essex for the day.

  6. Tommy Carr says:

    I personally thought that, before the seats were stripped out, HP could have taken one half of 1011 for display. I wouldn’t mind seeing it run, actually!

  7. Frank Gradwell says:

    They could always use it as a garden shed

  8. Martin Bryan says:

    Lakeside depot will purely be for tram car storage and not accessible to walk around.

  9. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    I sincerely hope there will be oppurtunities to have a look around Lakeside Depot. I for one would be displeased if not.

  10. John says:

    Lakeside depot is a storage facility only and will therefore not be accessible due to the ‘unfinished’ nature of the floor, reduced lighting etc. Supervised access on the galas and possibly by prior arrangement is planned.

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