Just six weeks after a devastating storm on Valentines night washed away half a mile of track on the Seaton Tramway alongside the River Axe the tramway have announced that they are ready to resume a full service again – meaning that their daily opening will be able to commence on Saturday 29th March as originally planned.
The storm hit the day before the line was originally due to open for February Half Term and meant that the tramway was unable to operate a service at all during that week. But rather than sit about and worry about what they could do the management at Seaton did not let this setback delay operations too much with services resuming from Saturday 22nd February on the section between Colyford and Colyton. To enable this to happen two trams – 6 and 8 – were transported by road to Colyton where they currently remain but will make their way back home to Riverside Depot this Friday.
A further part of line between Seaton and Axmouth loop was opened from Saturday 8th March and work on the remaining affected section has now been completed which will allow a full service to operate from Saturday 29th March, and then every day until November as per the published timetable.
Much like the main line railway at Dawlish, parts of the damaged rail and track were salvaged and removed for diggers and rollers to access and level the site. Over 600 tonnes of fill and ballast were brought in by road and then transported along the line to the site of the damage, compacted and then the track relayed and packed on top.
Jenny Nunn, Managing Director of the Seaton Tramway, commented: “It seems difficult to comprehend that, what the storm took away in a matter of hours, has taken six weeks to put back and even now work will continue after we re-open on Saturday to ensure the track can withstand any future incidents like this. Now we’re looking forward to getting back to the real job which is running a tramway and welcoming visitors from far and wide to take this unique trip along this much-loved route by the River Axe.”
Full credit has to go to both staff from Seaton Tramway and also the contractors, Axminster Excavators, for repairing the damage so quickly and enabling the tramway to do what it does best – providing a major tourist attraction for the area.
Seaton will not be the only tramway to re-open this weekend with the Crich Tramway Village welcoming its first paying visitors of 2014 on Saturday 29th March (with daily opening until November) whilst at the Heaton Park Tramway the first passenger services of the year will be on Sunday 30th March when it is hoped that Blackpool 7 will run for the final time carrying that number before reverting to being number 619.