112 years since it last carried passengers, 107 took to the rails at Middleton with two lovely black Friesan Stallions pulling it.   We started with hand pushed brake test runs at about 9.30 and then a test run with the horses to prove the method of operation.  It was then signed off by the Railway as fit to run and at 11.00am it carried its first load of passengers.  The horses were a little startled at the load and took a while to settle down to pulling together using the correct trace harness without a pole but once they learnt the trick of leaning into the tram to start they worked brilliantly under Duncan Jaggers expert hands.

This was the view from the top deck on the historic first run.

The tram settled down to doing a trip every 15 minutes, not helped by us having mislaid one of the drawhooks, so till after lunch the drawhook had to be moved from end to end.  Middleton's chief engineers then found the said drawhook, neatly hung up on the scaffolding by where we had done the final work.

Mike Waring did a sterling job as conductor, punching the souvenir tickets and collecting the old penny fares in the Kaye's Patent Fare Box.

Geoff Senior from Heaton Park tramway acted as brakesman all day and his son Matt marshalled the upper deck passengers and helped them down the stairs.  Altogether the tram performed some 19 round trips plus test runs and carried nearly 200 passengers, on one trip it had the full load of 34.  The suspension worked as designed and the tram proved very stable with a smooth ride.

Afterwards there were some very strange marks on the trackbed of the worlds oldest railway.

This must have been what the original railway looked like between 1758 when it opened and 1812 when it was converted to steam haulage.  Thanks to our great friends at the Middleton Railway for putting on such a marvellous event.


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