Event preview: Our Friends Electric, Beamish Museum, County Durham, until April 7 2013
A four-vehicle, rotating line-up of beautifully restored trams will take to the tramway. Steam, vintage and veteran engines will hit the roads. And on the 40th anniversary of the Beamish, some of the secrets of the ingenious restoration projects overseen in Durham will be revealed.
This is a four-day festival with a distinct air of celebration. Beamish is the busiest heritage tramway in the country, with 1.5 million passenger journeys each year.
Only a lone track connected the Tram Depot with the Edwardian Town outskirts when it was founded in 1973. But these days it is home to eight trams, covering a mile-and-a-half of the 300-acre site.
Much of its success has been down to the dedicated Beamish Tramway Group, which has members who recall committing to work for six weeks but are still there 40 years later, tending to trams from Gateshead, Sheffield, Blackpool, Sunderland and Newcastle.
Highlights during the weekend include tours of the new on-site Regional Heritage Engineering Centre, a range of talks and a model tramway exhibition. A new book, Forty Years of Service, will also be launched.
- Open 10am-5pm. Tickets £10-£17.50 (free for under-5s, family ticket £32-£46). Follow the museum on Twitter @Beamish_Museum.