It was 2013 that the last passengers enjoyed the opportunity for a ride on open topper Stockport 5 but that all changed on Friday 4th December with the tram relaunched into service on its home tramway at the Heaton Park Tramway. The tram was taken out of service after 2013 to allow an overhaul to take place and following seven years of hard work the work is now complete and the tram is part of the operational fleet once more!
Friday 4th December was not only key as the relaunch into service of Stockport 5 but it also marked the return to operation of the Heaton Park Tramway for the first time since it was forced to close as a result of the “you know what” in March.
5 ran for a few hours in the afternoon with special Covid operating practices in place which saw Lakeside being the only place you could board and alight the tram. It was also officially launched into service with a special ceremony taking place at Lakeside Depot featuring fellow Greater Manchester trams Manchester 765 and Manchester 173 (the latter of which is not operational but is in the long-term plans to get it to so).
Following the launch of 5 into service, the Heaton Park Tramway are now running on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the Lightopia Festival which is taking place in Heaton Park. A 2 tram service will run on each of these evenings with 5 and Manchester 765 set to be first choice cars and Blackpool 623 on stand-by as a reserve. Only Lightopia ticket holders will be able to enjoy a ride (the Park is closed to anyone else) and boarding will be at Whitegate and alighting at Lakeside. Reduced capacity will be offered on the trams with up to two groups of 6 on the top deck and up to two groups of 6 on the lower deck. Fares are £5 for a group of 3 or less and £10 of groups of 4-6. Lightopia takes place until 10th January 2021.