Lightning strikes twice for Stockport 5

The saying that lightning never strikes twice has unfortunately been proved untrue by the Manchester Transport Museum Society, who have had to withdraw the planned loan of Stockport 5 to Beamish for their main transport event in April for the second year running. This is the latest of several less than ideal developments affecting the Manchester tramway, although the MTMS remain optimistic that the loan will still go ahead at a later date.

Some remedial work was being undertaken on car 5 recently in preparation for its holiday in the North East, when some rotten timber was discovered on its upper deck floor. This will obviously need to be rectified as soon as possible, and it will not be possible to complete the work required before the Beamish event. The tram is therefore out of service at present, but hopefully this will not be the case for very long. MTMS Chairman Bob Hill, who was also involved in Stockport 5‘s restoration, said this week: “I am pleased to say the planned exchange of 5 with Blackpool 31 will still go ahead, just a little later than planned”. No dates for the intended transfer have been announced so as to avoid further disapointment.

As well as the bad news about Stockport 5, it has been decided to postpone the tramway’s next event, as well as the official opening of the new Lakeside Depot as poor weather has slowed down progress at the work site. Mr Hill explained in a press release published on 21st February: “A number of unforeseen circumstances have conspired against us and we don’t feel that it would be fair to our members who have put such an effort in to have a number of incomplete projects on show. By postponing until the summer we can showcase our achievements and wonderful tramcars properly and be rightly proud of our efforts. Whilst it is disappointing to have to postpone events it does give us the opportunity to consolidate our efforts and produce a summer gala that I know will both surprise and delight our visitors.”

No doubt once the various jobs have been completed, the tramway’s fortunes will improve drastically and although the delays are disappointing, there remains no doubt at all that Heaton Park has been one of the big tramway success stories of the last few years. The tramway has already promised that its next gala will be bigger and better than what was initially planned – and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us all!

Stockport 5, sadly now out of service, is seen in action during the 2013 Autumn Gala at the Heaton Park Tramway. Hopefully plans for this superb tram to operate at Beamish will be realised before too long. (Photo by Andrew Waddington)


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16 Responses to Lightning strikes twice for Stockport 5

  1. David Holt says:

    The reason for the Lakeside depot opening postponement is that, following the withdrawal of Stockport 5, there will not be enough trams available for the event. A small team of volunteers have worked extremely hard in appalling conditions to make sure that the trackwork and OLE, and other site work, will be ready in time. It is disappointing and perplexing therefore to see “slowed progress at the worksite” being blamed for the postponement.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      To be fair there are several factors that have led to the postponement of the gala, however the official press release which the MTMS sent to British Trams Online clearly states that “the wettest January on record has caused a number of issues which has hampered progress on the depot and trackwork”. That is certainly no criticism of the workers who have done an outstanding job as you say, but they are only human after all. The fact is that the depot will not be sufficiently complete for an opening event to be held in March, and it was felt better to hold this event later in the year.

      • David Holt says:

        You know best evidently then. I shall take everything I see on here with a massive pinch of salt in future, as I hope will everyone else.

        • freel07 says:

          I think this is a case of ‘don’t shoot the messenger’. Andrew has reported the MTMS press release as far as I can see so any doubt about accuracy should be levelled at the Society not British Trams Online who do their best to keep us informed as accurately as possible given the information they are provided with. Perhaps Mr Holt should take his concerns up with his colleagues who provided the press release.
          Keep up the good work Gareth and Andrew.

      • Ken Walker says:

        The press release goes on to say “Also 765 requires more work than was originally identified and a problem has been identified with rotten wood on Stockport 5′s upper deck floor. This means that both cars would not be ready in time”. So a shortage of serviceable trams is given as one of the reasons for the postponement (and probably the main one), the other problems being put down to the appalling weather to which David Holt refers (and I don’t think anyone will dispute!)

    • John says:

      Is it the job of the MTMS Board to state reasons why events have been postponed not individuals. There are many factors which were taken into consideration. Vehicle availability is one of them. The Board took the view that a brief press release would suffice and not bore the readers rigid with 101 reasons.

  2. Alan Kirkman says:

    The thought of the Mayor etc. being up over his shoes in mud and that photo appearing in the MEN etc. should be enough to give anyone working on the project the willies. The whole situation is that all the work has not been done and even if it could be and other cars made available, that would not have enabled anyone to be sure the shed front would be fit for guests to be expected to suffer. Postponement allows time for drying and perhaps even some more rain, for who can be certain this winter. It is the only wise decision and I congratulate the MTMS board for a sensible decision.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Well said Alan, and thanks for your comment. The opening of the new depot will be a huge triumph for everyone involved and I’m sure that the MTMS want everything to look its best for such an important occasion. Waiting a bit longer is a small price to pay for the sight of trams such as Manchester 173 and Blackpool cars 680 and 702 in their new home!

    • Ken Walker says:

      Quite so Alan. It’s not unusual for parts of Heaton Park itself to be like a swamp during a normal winter, let alone this one. We can console ourselves with the thought that if the Heaton Park tramway had been in the south west it would probably have been drying out well into the summer. And it’s only natural that after the amazing achievements of the last couple of years the MTMS Board will want to hold their celebrations when the site is looking its best for the invited guests.

  3. Trambola says:

    Mr Waddington, I fear you are being a little disrespectful to Mr Holt! If he is who I believe, he has far more experience and expertise in the field of tramways and LRT, than you will ever have!

    Ill be honest, I don’t particularly care for you articles, due to the style of writing. They’re far too subjectiveand poorly researched. You allow your own opinions to be intertwined of that of the ‘press release’ you are cribbing! Only a matter of days ago you were taken to task by Bryan Lindop, for stating something as fact that was clearly not the case!

    I wish BTO all the best, but a little more ‘facts’ and little less opinion would go down better!

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      That’s your opinion to which you are of course entitled, but I think you’ll find that most people enjoy the writing that both Gareth and myself put on this website. I have not been ‘taken to task’ by Bryan Lindop either, that article was based on an OFFICIAL statement made by 671′s new owners which had, it turns out, been released prematurely. It was on Facebook and has also appeared on at least two other tram news sites where it was again reported as fact! I do actually know Bryan himself and he has told me that my articles are very good and well written, so I’m not sure what in particular you are referring to when you suggest otherwise.

      In any case, this discussion has been had on BTO before and the majority of readers seem to be happy with the content and the fact/opinion balance we have. If however, anyone reading this thinks they can do better, I’m more than happy to step aside and let them have a go…

      • Geoff, Isle of Man says:

        Don’t you dare ‘step aside’, Andrew! I can definitely count myself as being part of the overwhelming majority that values BTO very highly, and thinks that you and Gareth do an outstanding job.

    • Ken Walker says:

      At the end of the day, Andrew Waddington has quoted from an official MTMS press release, and so if David Holt has an issue with what has been said (I presume he is one of those who have been working on the depot) I would have thought that the appropriate response would have been privately via internal MTMS communications, rather than publicly on this site.

    • JOHN says:

      If you don’t like the site and articles don’t read it.

    • Christopher Callan says:

      Perhaps in future comments hiding behind pseudonyms that attack individuals should not be published. Free Speech comes with the Responsibility of been liable for what you say. Fear that those hiding behind the masks are pushing the whole of preservation reputation into the mud. Bitter and Twisted individuals with personal vendettas. Clearly not in touch with reality. And id hope that if they are identified serious questions must and should be asked whether the individuals have in fact brought their local societies into disrepute and wider issue whether such individuals should be working or volunteering in safety critical role. As clearly the unhinged nature of their ramblings must raise questions.

  4. Gareth Prior says:

    If anyone ever has any cause for concern or complaint over any news story carried on these pages they are free to email me at and I will then respond after I have had time to review the contents. We strive to be as accurate as we can with all stories but occasionally some errors may creep in but in this case we have reported the information exactly as the press release gave it and I really don’t know what else we could have done!

    Discussion on this story is now closed but if anyone does wish to discuss it further please feel free to email me and I will do my best to respond to any issues you may have.