A trio of wins for Manx Electric Railway in Tram of the Year!

To be fair it was always likely to be a case of how big the win would be in the British Trams Online Tram of the Year 2018 and so it turned out with the Manx Electric Railway winning three of four categories (indeed the only categories it qualified for!) whilst the other award saw a retention of sorts with a second Stagecoach Supertram Tram-Train securing the most votes.

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Aberdeen 15 returns home for restoration

The new year is not even two weeks old and we can report on an exciting development for heritage trams with the movement of Aberdeen Corporation Transport 15 from Dundee to Alford for a start to be made on its restoration. This won’t just be a cosmetic restoration though as it is planned to make it an operational tram with it being offered for loan to tramways across the UK although its permanent home will be on static display at the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford.

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Picture in Time: Tyne & Wear Metro 4026

Not previously featured in this series is the Tyne and Wear Metro until today that is! For the next few weeks we will be looking at some archive images from the Metro which has been serving the area since 1980.

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Branch Line Society to tour the Blackpool Tramway

The Branch Line Society are well known for their unique tours mainly on the national rail network but they do also sometimes dip into trams including a couple of tours recently at Crich which have covered practically every inch of track available. For their latest tour they will be heading to Blackpool for a tour across the tramway which will once again cover several rare pieces of track plus some unique moves utilising Engineering Car 754!

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Ambitious plans for major expansion of tram and tram-train in Greater Manchester

This week has seen the release of Greater Manchester’s ambitious plans for the “city-region’s” future and tucked amongst the various documents is major plans to improve transport in the area. This will include further Metrolink extensions and also the start of tram-train services as the area tries to get 50% of all journeys on public transport, walking and cycling by 2040. The plan is very much long-term and it is probable that many of the projects mentioned in the document end up not going forward but it does show ambition and could really solidify Greater Manchester’s position as the tram and light rail capital of the UK!

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Failsafe brakes must be installed on Snaefell ahead of 2019 season

It has now transpired that the Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate have ordered the Department of Infrastructure to fit failsafe brakes onto the trams of the Snaefell Mountain Railway before the 2019 season can start. The news has only just been reported on publicly and follows on from the incident in 2017 when a tram ran through the road crossing at Bungalow due to an issue with its brakes.

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Metrolink punctuality goes up then down

We’re a little bit behind reporting on Manchester Metrolink’s performance statistics with the latest two reports now out with these two periods covering the time between 14th October and 8th December. In these periods there was a slight improvement in period 7 before period 8 saw another decrease in punctuality with fewer than 90% of journeys departing less than two minutes late. Meanwhile, reliability remains at a fairly consistent level and is now at its highest level for many months.

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Regular behind the scenes tours at Seaton’s Riverside Depot in 2019

A new innovation for 2019 at the Seaton Tramway will the chance to see behind the scenes at Riverside Depot with regular tours taking place throughout the year, including a tram ride between Seaton and the depot. As it may be recalled when the new Seaton terminus was being constructed, and with tram rides starting from Riverside, there was the chance to see inside the depot for the first time outside of the now defunct annual galas and now this will once again be possible thanks to this new offering.

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RAIB get involved over lorry/car v tram-train incidents

Although initially saying that there were no lessons to be learnt following the collision between a lorry and a tram-train on the opening day of services to Rotherham Parkgate back in October the RAIB have now written to Sheffield City Council regarding the junction after the second similar collision occurred at the end of November 2018.

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Picture in Time: Gateshead 5

A tram which last ran in passenger service at Crich in 2007 is Gateshead 5 and it is that tram which we feature in our archive photo series today with a black and white image.

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In Pictures: Tracklaying continues in Blackpool

Although the bulk of trackwork on the junction between the Promenade tramway and the new line up Talbot Road to Blackpool North Railway Station was completed in December during a partial closure of the tramway there remains some work to be completed along with other work along Talbot Road. It is expected that the trackwork will be completed during February although with the Wilkinson’s building still very much in situ there will still need to more tracklaying in the future once this has finally been demolished. Tony Stevenson has provided us with these latest images.

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Reduced Tram-Train service on Sundays

Tram-Train services between Cathedral and Rotherham Parkgate will run to a reduced timetable for four consecutive Sundays from 13th January to allow for Network Rail engineering works. For most of the day only two services an hour will run (instead of the usual three) although there is no intermediate service between 0939 and 1039 from Cathedral. First tram remains at 0827 from Cathedral and 0859 from Rotherham Parkgate with the final through Cathedral-Parkgate service at 1800 (1831 back). This revised service will run on Sundays 13th, 20th, 27th January and 3rd February only.

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In Pictures: Short running at Beamish

Trams at Beamish are currently not operating the full circuit of the tramway with sleeper replacement work underway between Pockerley and the Town. This means that trams are having to turn at each end of the tramway with passengers being required to disembark whilst the trams pull forward to undertake the reversing manoeuvre which includes the more unusual sight at Beamish of trolleys having to be reversed out on the main tramway regularly throughout the day.

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2018 sees record passenger numbers on Luas

As would be expected considering it was the first full year of the Cross City Green line extension, 2018 saw a record breaking year for passenger numbers on Luas with nearly 42 million passengers carried on the network.

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Picture in Time: Blackpool Tramway from the Tower bridge

The only bridge to have gone over the Promenade tramway in Blackpool was that close to the Tower which, although considered an eyesore for many, gave some different photographic opportunities of the tram. As we return to our archive photo series it is that very bridge that we feature with a couple of images taken in 1975 with both Balloon Cars and OMO Cars running on the tramway.

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Another big increase in passenger numbers for Edinburgh Trams

2018 was another record-breaking year for Edinburgh Trams with a 10% increase in passengers bringing the total number carried during those 12 months to 7.3 million. With no extension opening during the year this is an excellent increase for the line and has been achieved by the continued higher frequency service.

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Full service resumes on Tramlink

London Tramlink services are once again running between Church Street and Mitcham Junction following the major fire at the storage warehouse adjacent to the tracks on New Year’s Eve. Fire crews and demolition experts were still on site over the weekend making the site (which was between the Ampere Way and Waddon Marsh tramstops) safe and once this was completed a normal service resumed throughout the tram network from the evening of Sunday 6th January. A full service was also able to run on Monday 7th January.

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Work to take place on West Midlands Metro overhead

Over the past year (and earlier) we have often reported on overhead line faults on West Midlands Metro, causing major disruption to the service. But now major work is to be undertaken on upgrading the overhead in an effort to improve the reliability which will hopefully mean the major disruption seen at several times in 2018 will be a thing of the past.

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In Pictures: Trafford Park extension works continue

Work remains ongoing on the Manchester Metrolink Trafford Park extension with track now in place in several locations along the 5.5km line which will leave the current Eccles branch shortly after Pomona. Six new stops will be constructed on the line which is expected to start operation in 2020 with a new service to be introduced from Trafford Centre to Crumpsall. These latest photos show recent progress as at 4th January 2019 with thanks to Keith Chadbourne.

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This week on British Trams Online

With our first main site update of 2019 we move the Advent Calendar photos into the Gallery section, for those of you who may have missed this feature in the lead up to Christmas:

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