A taste of Eastbourne at Seaton

The Seaton Tramway in Devon have just announced details of a special operating day on Saturday 8th June which will offer visitors even more of a nostalgic experience than usual. On this day it is intended to operate a five car service, using only vehicles which originate from the former tramway at Eastbourne – these being cars 2, 4, 6, 8 and 12.

For any readers not familiar with the history of the Modern Electric Tramway company founded by Claude Lane, this originated with a small number of minature electric tramcars which were transported to various fetes and rallies. A more permanent operation at Eastbourne followed as the ambition grew, but this was later superseded by the present line at Seaton which opened in 1970, shortly after Claude sadly passed away. Since then the tram fleet has continued to expand as the line’s popularity has grown, with restored vintage tram bodies from London, Bournemouth and Exeter, and a further three purpose-built double deckers constructed in Bolton joining the older cars in service along the Axe valley.

As the newer, larger trams tend to dominate the service these days, the tramway has decided to hold some ‘Eastbourne Days’, the first of which is to take place on June 8th. This should hopefully see all of the available rolling stock from the 1960s in action, subject to availability and weather. These consist of the similar open-top cars 6 and 8, as well as the London-inspired car 2. Joining them will be car 12 which now resembles a London Feltham, but started life at Eastbourne as a fully enclosed single decker with more than a passing resemblance to a Blackpool tram. Completing the line-up is Seaton’s very own Blackpool style Open ‘Boat’, car 4, which will be making its first appearance in service this year. This should give a good selection of different trams to ride on and will allow enthusiasts wishing to sample the oldest trams in the fleet the perfect excuse to visit this delightful narrow-gauge tramway. Better still, the following day is likely to see an enhanced tram service in operation to coincide with the annual classic car show being held at Seaton Underfoot Car Park, and hopefully this will enable even more different trams to stretch their wheels over the course of the weekend. Additional attractions on Sunday 9th June will include the chance to visit the tramway’s Riverside Depot, where all of the trams are stored, maintained and overhauled, and a number of trade stalls at Colyton Station.

Seaton Tramway deserve to be applauded for putting on this event for enthusiasts to enjoy, having focussed its special events programme more at the general public for the last few years. Hopefully the inagural ‘Eastbourne Day’ will be a big success and encourage further such events to be held, in order to attract even more visitors to one of Devon’s best loved tourist attractions.

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1 Response to A taste of Eastbourne at Seaton

  1. Geoff Pickles says:

    I’m afraid you’ve missed out an important part of the Company’s history. The first permanent layout was at Rhyl, in North Wales, at the Voryd Amusement Park. This was a quarter-mile single-track line, running from the Promenade (West Parade) to Wellington Road. Operations began in the early 1950s and continued for approximately two or three years, ending at some time after the Eastbourne line opened in 1954.

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