New extension opened by Pete Waterman – without technical hitches and cable thieves
From the outside, it could be seen as ‘me too-ism’, following the opening of Metrolink’s new Chorlton-cum-Hardy line last week. Elsewhere, north of Manchester, another tramway extension was opened. That of Heaton Park’s historic tramway.
Prior to this week, the 3/4 mile long tramway stopped short of the boating lake. Today, this goal has been achieved with trams stopping by the lake itself. All nicely timed for the forthcoming Trans-Lancs Vehicle Rally in September.
In Chorlton-cum-Hardy, the first 24 hours of its opening was greeted with eager passengers, boarding from St Werburghs to Old Trafford, and its first cable thieves. Meanwhile in Heaton Park, professional rail enthusiast and music mogul Pete Waterman cut the tape.
Whereas its bigger brother has state of the art Flexity Swift M5000 trams, The Heaton Park Tramway has a fine collection of preserved vehicles from Manchester Corporation, Blackpool Corporation and Hull Corporation. As well as operational vehicles, it has some in storage.
Its depot, nearest the Middleton Road entrance of Heaton Park is a small museum, converted from a tram shelter. The tramway was a branch from Manchester Corporation’s system which allowed special cars to operate from the city centre for Sunday School outings.
Heaton Park Tramway operates most Sundays, summer Saturdays and all Bank Holidays. Fares start from 60p (Child return) and £1.20 (Adult return). Multi-ride tickets (£1.20 and £2.40), family tickets and 10 trip tickets are also available.
It’s well worth a trip, especially if you cannot afford or get to the Crich Tramway Village. The Middleton Road entrance (nearest to the tram depot) is well served by bus with the 59, 64, 149 and 167 stopping nearby. Nearer to the new boating lake terminus is Heaton Park Metrolink station and bus stops for the 135, 137 and 484 routes.
S.V., 12 July 2011.