© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011
Manchester has had (new) trams running through its streets
for a little under 20 years. Previously, its "traditional" electric
tramway system was, at its heyday, the third largest in the
UK (after Glasgow and London). Nevertheless, it was an early
victim to closure, services ending in January 1949.
Remarkably, a short stretch of double-track tramway survived
(albeit under tarmac). Entirely within Heaton Park, in the city's
northern suburbs, it had served a terminus in the park. The
tarmac was removed in the 1970s, and trams began to operate
again under the aegis of the Manchester Transport Museum
Society. The Society's website tells the full story.
I would be travelling homewards from Yorkshire during the bank
holiday weekend, and checked the websites for a suitable visit
to break the journey. Remarkably, most of the steam railways in
the area seem to have chosen the weekend for all kinds of
antics, many of them involving the locomotives wearing faces.
Perhaps not. Then I remembered the tramway...
MTMS have in their custody the lovingly-restored former
Manchester car no. 765; however during the spring period
services are being operated by a much more exotic beast -
visiting from Beamish, but originally from much further away -
Porto car no. 196 (I wonder if it was one of the cars we rode in
1972? See Raildiaries pages Portuguese Steam)
The original track has been extended, running alongside existing
roads further into the park, and there are plans for further
extension. Judging from our fellow travellers, the tramway is
already well used as a means of getting around in the park - the
extension will doubtless enhance this use and add to its fund-
raising potential for the activities of the society.
Heaton Park Tramway (MTMS site)
Heaton Park website