Event: Stockport Celebration
Where: Heaton Park Tramway, Manchester
When: Sunday 28th August
The latest exciting event at Manchester’s Heaton Park Tramway is a celebration of all things Stockport, and is taking place on the August Bank Holiday Sunday. The main attraction will be the entry into service of Stockport 5 which will duly become the latest addition to the tramway’s operating fleet, and its arrival has been timed to co-incide with two important milestones in local transport history: the 110th anniversary of the opening of the Stockport tram system, and also the 60th anniversary of its closure. 2011 also sees car 5 itself reach the ripe old age of 110!
Despite being arranged at short notice, an interesting day of events is planned and the confirmed outline schedule is as follows:
*12:00 Photo opportunities with Stockport 5 & vintage Stockport bus
*13:00 Official launch of 5 & celebration of 110 years of Stockport trams, followed by the inaugural journey (for invited guests only)
*13:10 All three passenger trams to Lakeside for a photo opportunity
*13:40 Tram & bus parallel run – Stockport 5 will then enter public service alongside 765 for the remainder of the day.
*16:30 ‘Stockport’s Last Tram’ re-enactment at Lakeside with car 5 specially renumbered! Ceremonial journey with passengers transferring to a Stockport bus at Whitegate
16:45 Tram/bus photo opportunity at Middleton Rd. with park gates open
17:00 Event officially closes (5 may stay in service longer if there is demand for additional trips)
During the afternoon a celebration cake and other refreshments will be available in the tram depot in return for a small donation. The gift shop will also be open all day with a special commemorative leaflet detailing the history of 5 on sale.
As is the norm with events of this nature, all events are subject to change and the advertised vehicles will appear subject to availability. All times stated above are approximate and may be changed for operational reasons. There may also be a few extra surprises on the day!
Stockport 5 left Blackpool on Thursday 25th August for Heaton Park and before it can be used in service some jobs such as routine commissioning work and crew training are required. It is intended to complete these in the days leading up to August 28th – keep on eye on the Friends of the Heaton Park Tramway Facebook Group for any updates regarding this work.
Andrew Waddington – Contributing Writer
The Lowdown on…Heaton Park Tramway
Heaton Park Tramway
The Heaton Park Tramway is the only true preserved tramway in Britain, in that it incorporates part of the original Manchester tram system in the form of a short spur which entered the grounds of the enormous park via Middleton Road. Following a huge effort by volunteers, this was officially re-opened in March 1980 and has since been extended three times to give a line of approximately half a mile. The most recent extension has seen the tramway reach a new location opposite the park’s large boating lake; a far more picturesque area than the previous terminus, and one which has also made the tramway much more visible to passing visitors. This particular tramway has become famous for staging some excellent enthusiast events in the last few years, and has also gained an unrivalled reputation for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The arrival of Stockport 5 on site should continue its growth, as it will be the first open-top double-deck tram to see regular service on the heritage tramway over a sustained period.
There have been a number of changes to the tram fleet at Heaton Park in the past few years with long-term resident Manchester 765 being joined by Blackpool Replica Vanguard 619 in 2010; this tram has since been repainted in a Manchester-inspired red and cream livery as Heaton Park 7. Of course, the star of this particular event will be the new arrival Stockport 5 – however it is hoped that both of these trams will also appear on the tramway at some point during the day for riding and photographic opportunities.
How to find the Tramway
The Heaton Park Tramway is located four miles north of Manchester City Centre and what better way to get there than by modern tram on Manchester Metrolink. Regular Metrolink services operate to Bowker Vale and Heaton Park stations (either of which are suitable for visiting the HPT) on the Bury line. For full details on Metrolink services check their website here. Alternatively you can travel by car. Heaton Park is adjacent to junction 19 of the M60 ring road. Parking is available on Middleton Road and Sheepfont Lane. A map is available on the official Heaton Park (not tramway) website – here. Many buses also pass by the Middleton Road Park Entrance. Click here for a bus network route map on the TfGM website.
How Much Will it Cost?
As the tramway is located within a public park, access to the tramway and the depot/museum building is free of charge, with fares being payable on the trams. A return journey along the recently extended tramway – which gives a ride of just over one mile – costs just £1.20, with a day pass available for a bargain price of £2.40 allowing unlimited tram rides all day.
Want to Know More?
For further information on the Heaton Park Tramway, please take a look at: www.heatonparktramway.co.uk.
Manchester may not be known for its glorious sunshine, but we will certainly be hoping for a bit of it on this particular day! You can however access a 5 day weather forecast for Manchester by clicking here.
It is unlikely that there will be any live coverage of this event online, although it may be worth keeping an eye on the Tramgen Yahoo! Group just in case. Afterwards there will be extensive coverage provided on British Trams Online (although due to a large number of upcoming tramway visits we can’t confirm when this will appear!), and photos from the day will no doubt be posted on the Friends of Heaton Park Tramway Facebook page.
All information in this preview is provided in good faith and is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of going to press (Sunday 21st August 2011).