Beamish Museum’s Great North Steam Fair

A must for transport buffs, April 6-9

Beamish steam
River Mite in the hands of Providence. Picture; Beamish Museum

Vintage transport and social history fans are in for a treat as more than 100 vehicles and locomotives gather for a transport extravaganza from today at Beamish Museum.

There are locos, traction engines, steam rollers, cars, lorries, and motorbikes, along with demonstrations and exhibitions.

Visitors can see vehicles in action and on display around the museum, including more than 15 road steam vehicles and about 90 internal combustion vehicles.

Narrow gauge locomotive River Mite is visiting from the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway in Cumbria. It will be towed on a trailer by road engine Providence, recreating when it originally hauled River Mite 50 years ago from York, where it was built, to Ravenglass.

Paul Jarman, Beamish’s assistant director transport and industry, said: “This event has certainly become one of the region’s, if not the country’s, finest vintage and veteran transport events, with visitors and exhibitors alike enjoying the opportunity to see the historic transport in action on our internal road system.

“Once again the team has worked hard to bring together a list of guest entries and put them into an environment that enables a better recreation of the street scenes of the era around the First World War than can be seen anywhere else.”

Steam locomotives taking part are Steam Elephant and Samson at The Waggonway; Peckett 1370 at Rowley Station; Kerr Stuart built locomotives Diana and Roger on the narrow gauge railway and Puffing Billy making a rare working visit to the colliery railway where it joins the 1871 built Coffee Pot on a train of chaldron waggons. In the station is the Aberdeen Gas Works locomotive Bon Accord in steam on static display.

Demonstrations include two saw benches, timber logging, threshing and baling with traction engines, Friends of Beamish and, on Friday and Saturday, pewter casting by William Lane Foundry.

On Saturday and Sunday, visitors can see the Durham Pals and Gordon Highlanders military re-enactment groups, take a ride on the model engineers’ railway and visit the model tramway exhibition.

The Great North Steam Fair is the second event in the Great North Festival of Transport, which will conclude with Horses at Work from April 21-23.

The festival, as with all daytime events, is included in admission to Beamish and is free to Unlimited Pass holders. For more information visit  www.beamish.org.uk.

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