Volunteers who run the tramway were heartbroken to discover that thieves had targeted the overhead lines. It was feared the line would be closed indefinitely, much to the dismay of the volunteers.
When TfGM heard about the situation, there was never a question people would want to get involved. As Danny Vaughan, Head of Metrolink, explained:
“The Heaton Park Tramway is a fantastic attraction, enjoyed by thousands of people every year, and an important piece of our transport heritage. As soon as we heard about this appalling theft, I picked up the phone to KAM and they were already on with finding a solution. Credit to them and Pod-Trak, they’ve pulled out all the stops and wasted no time in getting the tramway operational again, much to the delight, I’m sure, of future visitors.”
Graham Thornton, Head of Tram Engineering Projects for Keolis Amey Metrolink, was instrumental in getting the repairs done. He added:
“We’ve got strong links with the Heaton Park Tramway – over the years, our staff have volunteered their expertise and time, so we simply had to help. We’ve sourced the wires they need and organised for Pod-Trak to carry out the repairs. These trams are a vital piece of Greater Manchester’s heritage and for us, and we’re proud to get the tramway operational again, for the volunteers and public to enjoy.”
The repairs were completed in a day, meaning that the tramway will soon be back in action after some testing has been carried out on the new wires. The team of dedicated volunteers are planning a grand re-opening later this month to celebrate.
Keith Whitmore, Chairman of Heaton Park Tramway Trust said:
"I want to place on record our thanks to TFGM, Keolis Amey Metrolink, Pod-Track and our own City Council Officers based in the park for the tremendous response, and working in partnership to come to the rescue of our much loved heritage tramway, which will now be up and running again so quickly. Without their help the future of the tramway looked very bleak indeed. When our volunteers arrived to see the tramway in such a state following the theft of the wiring there was doubt that trams would not operate for some time. Now everyone wants to just say a big thank you for the massive response to get our tramway moving again."
Geoff Senior, Operations Manager at the Heaton Park Tramway said:
"Ours is the only tramway that operates on its original 1901 track. All our volunteers are so grateful for the support given to keep our tramway operating; we rely on gifts, grants and donations to survive, and we will always remember this marvelous response."
The track is the only remaining part of the Manchester Corporation Tramways, which ran between 1901 and 1949. It was originally used as a siding into the park for trams running along Middleton Road, and was in operation until 1934. The original 300-metre stretch was extended to 800 metres and now runs from Middleton Road to the Heaton Park boat house.