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Heritage tramways report successful season Tuesday December 19, 2023

The UK’s preserved tramways have enjoyed a busy year as the custodians of the country’s rich light rail heritage continue their post-pandemic recovery.

The heritage sector was particularly hard-hit by Covid-19 restrictions, but the continued popularity of ‘staycation’ holidays has seen healthy visitor numbers for some of the nation’s top tourist attractions.

During recent meetings of the UKTram Heritage Committee, members heard that the return of popular themed events had also provided a boost for many operators.

James Hammett, UKTram Managing Director, explained: “The past few years have been particularly difficult for our heritage tramways, but in 2023 many have reported a bumper summer season which bodes well for the future.

“This means they can now renew their focus on other challenges facing the sector with the support of UKTram and other organisations, including the Office of Rail and Road and the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board.”

The most recent meeting of the Heritage Committee included discussions on training for technicians working on overhead line equipment, revisions to horse tramway guidance, and the legal status of young volunteers.

It also featured presentations on the wheel/rail interface by Dr Lindsey Smith from the ORR and on wheel flange gauging by Andrew Bailey from the National Tramway Museum.

“The breadth of the topics reflects the diverse workstreams of the Committee to help heritage tramways meet the multiple challenges they face, and the commitment of operators to enhance safety while providing the best possible experience for a growing number of visitors,” James added.