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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Sylvan woods

Blackpool trams can now be ridden on from the shores of the Pacific to Heaton Park's sylvan woods in Manchester (or is it Bury?).

Whilst most enthusiasts were gathered by the seaside this weekend I paid a visit

to the Heaton Park line of the MTMS which was understandably quiet. The park itself was host to one of the inevitable 'Runs' which now seem to be a weekend leisure fixture in many parts of the country. Large numbers of determined families flooded past my more sedentary stroll around the lake in what was glorious sunshine.

I thought at one point that so many MTMS members had transferred to Blackpool that the Heaton Park operation was closed for the weekend. But not so. The unfamiliar sound of former Blackpool '619' hove into view to traverse the very delightful stretch through woodland at the side of the lake. Sans passengers it nonetheless provided a colourful sight and contrast to the milling camera toting throng in Blackpool this weekend. At the original depot - an old favourite 765 - the tram which became the genesis for the Heaton Park operation, basked quietly in the sunshine, being out of service and allowing space in the depot building for

visitors to walk around. Inside sounds of Members pursuing final work on the

Hull single deck car could be heard behind the temporary screen - I refrained from taking a peek having ridden the tram in earlier years, and indeed seen it parked in the Leeds Permanent Way Yard in a more nondescript state in 1958.

It should be remembered that 619 was itself born out of the frame and trucks of one of Blackpool's OMO cars. Earlier in the week a visit to Rigby Road Depot saw

OMO 8 being carefully shunted into position in the Body Shop ahead of the 130th

showcase. All in all an admirable few days of contrasts.

A rare sight of OMO 8 as it traverses Rigby Road yard propelled by the Unimog. Both images by Colin MacLeod. Heaton Park Images : John Woodman

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