Beamish Museum Tramway

after several years as the second busiest tramway in the UK (behind Blackpool) has been relegated into seventh place by the opening of new tramways in Manchester, Sheffield, the West Midlands, Croydon and Nottingham. The tramway is one and a half miles long and consists of a single track circular route around the open-air museum site. There are three passing loops at the tram stops and a section of double track through the re-created town street.

The tramway operates every day that the museum is open - a normal summer service uses three cars, providing a tram every 10 minutes in one direction and every 20 in the other.

The tramway opened in 1973 and has been extended in stages to its current size. The silver jubilee was celebrated in 1998.

The tramway is operated by museum staff, aided by volunteers on busy days.  Engineering support comes from the volunteers of the Beamish Tramway Group.

There are five operational trams in the fleet:

Gateshead 10, a long bogie single deck car buit in 1925;

Sunderland 16, a fully enclosed double deck car, built in 1900, but running in its 1920s condition;

Blackpool 31, an open-topped bogie car, rebuilt into this form in the 1920s;

Newcastle 114, a short canopied open top 'class a' car from 1899;

Beamish 196, a short single deck car rebuilt from Oporto 196.

Other trams that have operated at Beamish are:

Sheffield 264, a double deck open balcony car dating from 1907, currently out of use pending a major body overhaul;

Sheffield 513, built by Charles Roberts in 1950, now moved to Blackpool under a long-term loan agreement.

On 18 January 2003 another visitor was seen on the tramway, working on the section between Foulbridge and the main entrance.

The museum is home to two trolleybuses:

Newcastle 501 in running order, built in 1948;

Keighley 12 built in 1924, currently undergoing restoration.

For more information about Beamish, visit:

Beamish Museum's Official Website

A tour around Beamish Museum

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Author: Andrew Burchell, aburchell@iee.org, last updated: 18/8/2004.  Click here to visit my home page.