Derek Shepherd

It is with huge sadness that the Manchester Transport Museum Society announces the death of our long standing Deputy Chairman Derek Shepherd today the 1st of November.Born in Bolton on the 12th of November 1930 he died after a short illness, just two weeks before his 90th birthday, an event he had been so looking forward to.Derek lived a long, full and packed life, one that would take so long to chart to do true justice to, so we offer this as a flavour of our friend and mentor. Others I’m sure will know more of Derek from other sides of his family and Church lives and will wish to offer their own thoughts and thanks, while we offer our condolences to his family and friends. A Tramwayman through and through, his connections with his beloved trams in his home town led to him starting to help out with the Tramways Department in Bolton during the dark days of the Second World War, along with friend Alan Ralphs both then teenagers. By the end of the war, these chores including shunting trams around the shed and even driving trams up into the town centre when the need arose. Something unthinkable in todays world, but clearly they did what was needed when the times required it. His first job was as a Trolley Boy on the trams, duties he indeed carried out on the towns last tram in service on 29th of March 1947, surely one of the very last young men to fulfil that role on Britain’s tramways. This gave him an active career on the tramways of the area lasting 75 years, an amazing feat. After further studies and National Service, a long career in the electricity generating industry saw him retire as the Power Station Manager for Kearsley Power Station, which of course had its own internal electric railway and where various trams were seen to run ‘on test’ in later years. A member of the local tramway pressure group from a young age, something that saw him attending meetings in the Briton’s Protection pub in Manchester during the war – by tram of course, as far as was still possible. He went on to be an early member of the Tramway Museum Society at the National Tramway Museum in Crich, only not being a founder member as he was in Germany on National Service at the time, and a founder member of the local MTMS and was in the thick of both societies efforts to set up their respective museums over the following decades. However the need to have a preserved Bolton tram was too strong and led him along with a small group of others to seek out one of the remaining tram bodies from a local farm. Over the following 18 years it was restored to its former glory, before arriving in Blackpool on 23rd July 1981, where it has run with great success ever since – a testament to his and the rest of the team’s hard work and dedication. Not one to sit back having done that, he was active in many other local museums such as Science and Industry Museum in Manchester with the National Electricity Gallery and was at the heart of the various tramway projects around the centenary of Blackpool’s tramways in 1985. Indeed many of the visiting trams that ran there that year did so with his help. This was something that led to him being honored as President of the TMS the following year in recognition for that work. It also led on to the creation of the Bolton Trams Company, set up to carry out further tramcar rebuilds from 1987 until 2002. With us within Heaton Park, he was always there, driving us forward, planning the next development of the tramway and having the vision for where the society should be heading, to keep us growing. A dedicated husband to Julie, father to his 5 children and a grandfather to 8 and great grandfather of 2 he was also a lifelong committed Christian. These things ran deep through his life and led to his fatherly hand on all of us he helped to develop a love of tramways. A great mentor for those willing to listen to his deep fund of knowledge, fascinating tales of times past and wealth of experience from having been there, done that and getting the job done, both to keep the trams running and the lights on in homes and industry, in what feels like another world to us now.

Thank you Derek for so very very much Ding Ding, Right Away Driver and Rest in Peace my friend.

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Tramway Closed until further notice.

Following information from the City Council and the Park Management, we have been requested to close down all activity at the tramway with immediate effect. This includes not just tramway operation, but all activities undertaken. Although the Park itself will remain open at present. Sadly this means as well as our regular operation our 40th birthday event on the last weekend of March is also postponed as is as our tram driving experiences. Anyone with a Tram Driver Experience booked for April will be contacted within the next few weeks to rebook. Well make sure to keep you all up to date, with the work we’ve been getting on with recently and when we will be reopening.

Anyone who has purchased a Tram Driver Experience is asked to email to re-book their session for later on in the year.

Tramway Reopening

After several weeks of testing and preparation we have finally been able to confirm the tramways reopening date.

We will be reopening on Saturday 26 of October 2019 and we would love for you to come and join us.

The reopening ceremony will be at 11:30 at Middleton Road Depot.

We are hoping for some high profile guests, but we are still waiting on confirmation.

Shortly after the ceremony we will run a 3 car service with Manchester 765, Hull 96 and Blackpool 623 until approx. 16:30.

All fares are free for the whole weekend.

If you haven’t visited us before, please see below for directions.

We would recommend using South car park off Sheepfoot Lane as it is closest to the museum.

Sheepfoot Lane carpark:

Middleton Road Depot:

If you have any questions or queries, please email

Overhead Wire STOLEN!

It is with great sadness that we must announce that we are indefinitely closed due to the theft of overhead wire. Our dedicated volunteers are working hard to work out how best to replace missing wire and repair other damaged caused.

***Update*** We have now launched a GoFundMe page at the suggestion of many of our followers. If you would like to help us get the Tramway up and running again, Please click the link below.

2019 So Far….

So its been a while since we have posted anything on here, so here is an update for the year so far.

Tony loving the weather and driving 765

At the time of writing, we are all still recovering from our Tramtastic event on Sunday 7/7/19

The team worked tirelessly to get everything ready for the day.

The whole line required safety checking and cleaning after 4 weeks of downtime due to the ParkLife event held in Heaton Park.

765 made it back home (eventually) after spending some additional time gaining a tan on the M62.

Adam and Toby building the track that 765 will soon roll down.

All service cars (96, 623 and 765) fell on the same week for our deep service, which meant a full day over the pit for each.

Martin examining the bodywork of 765.

The museum and shop both had a late spring clean.

After rebuilding the lifeguards and protective ironwork on 765, we managed to sneak a quick test run in.

All work was completed in time for Tramtastic.
Below are a selection of pictures taken on the day.

Our next event this this year will be the Translancs Transport Festival which will take place on the fairground at Heaton Park.

The tramway will be operating everything we have that is serviceable and there may also be surprise at the start and end of the day (winky face)

As part of the national scheme, we will be taking part in the “Museums at Night” event on Saturday 02nd of November meaning we will be operating a service after dark, hopefully with an illuminated tram.

After our Season Swansong Event on Sunday 17th November we close for the winter. This is a time where our workshop team get a chance to work on all those nitty gritty jobs that we have been putting off all year like finally tidying up the workshop and tidying up the doors on lakeside depot. We may also have a bit of a suprise ready for when the 2020 season starts up in March 2020.

So should we expect from 2020?


Thanks to the enormous popularity of our Taster Tram Driver Experience in 2019 we are introducing an online booking system with time slots most weekends. This will increase our overall ability to facilitate more experiences throughout the year.

We will hopefully be introducing a new online shop, and the ability to track our trams in real time via our website. As far as I am aware, we will be the only tramway to offer this.

We may have 2 additional cars in our passenger carrying fleet.

5 is incredibly close to being completed, with just the top deck seats needing to be secured, some fiddly woodwork bits in the lower saloon and its final coat of paint on the truck.

619 is edging closer and closer to completion with its floor receiving its second coat of floor paint, scallops being measured and a test fit, and seats to be fitted over the winter shutdown, it is looking more and more likely that she will be ready by the middle of 2020.

We are still on the lookout for new volunteers, so if you fancy getting your hands dirty in the pit, serving in our shop, guarding on one of our trams, guiding visitors around the museum or even coming in and having a good chin wag please get in touch.

We are still taking donations for the Lakeside Depot extension.

Start of Saturday Service

4th May bring the start of Saturday services to the tramway.

For the first time this year, the tramway will start operations on Saturdays

Saturdays (4th May – 28th September 2019)

First Tram : 12:00

Last tram : 16:45