20th Sep 2017
Beamish Tramway: its history & development
Venue: Northern RFC, Brunton Park
Back in December1972, Frank Atkinson, the energetic and persuasive mastermind behind Beamish Museum, approached a group of local enthusiastic engineers to help to establish a working electric tramway on the museum site. Remarkably, this was achieved in six months, the short demonstration line using Gateshead Tram 10 and a spluttering diesel generator opening to passengers in May 1973. Ever since, the Tramway has grown with the site, extending in stages to reach the present circular route configuration in 1993. Today, it operates a year-round service for our 700,000+ visitors, dealing with over 1 million passenger journeys per annum with a fleet of seven trams, plus acting as host to visiting trams from other museums. The presentation describes this development, details some of the engineering involved and delving into how our trams were sourced and restored to operational condition. Hot on the heels of the news of award of our substantial Heritage Lottery grant, we will look into the evolving plans for the Trolleybus route now being designed to serve the 1950s Town to be created as part of 'Remaking Beamish'