Home Places to visit Beamish Museum’s Great North Steam Fair

Beamish Museum’s Great North Steam Fair

15-inch gauge locomotives will be appearing for the first time. Picture; Beamish Museum
15-inch gauge locomotives will be appearing for the first time. Picture; Beamish Museum

All aboard in the school holidays, April 11-14

More than 140 vehicles will join Beamish Museum’s own vintage exhibits at the Great North Steam Fair, running from today until Sunday (April 11-14).

From Manchester 765 and Blackpool & Fleetwood Box 40 trams to the sole-surviving 1906 Morriss steam car and Model Tramway Exhibition, it will be an event not to miss for transport fans at the County Durham open-air museum.

In The 1900s Pit Village, visitors will also be able to take a short train ride hauled by River Irt and Katie – the first 15-inch gauge locomotives to operate at the museum.

Paul Foster, Historic Events Officer at Beamish, said: “Visitors can see an amazing array of pre-1930 vehicles in action and on display around the museum, with 25 road steam vehicles and 120 internal combustion vehicles.

Don't run out of steam on a penny farthing! Picture; Beamish Museum
Don’t run out of steam on a penny farthing! Picture; Beamish Museum

‘Locomotives and traction engines’

“Featuring magnificent locomotives, traction engines, steam rollers, fire engines, cars, lorries, motorbikes, a tractor (complete with passenger-carrying trailer) and bicycles, along with fascinating demonstrations and exhibitions, there’s so much for visitors to see and do.”

Manchester Tram 765, built in 1914, was one of the third series of combination cars built for routes with low bridges. The tram, which previously visited the museum during the 2011 Great North Steam Fair, is on loan to Beamish from Heaton Park Tramway and will remain at the museum until late June.

Also taking part in the event will be the National Tramway Museum’s Blackpool & Fleetwood Box 40 tramcar, one of the oldest operational electric tramcars in the national collection.

Box 40 will stay at the museum until the end of August.

Trams Manchester 765 and Blackpool Fleetwood Box 40. Picture; Beamish Museum
Trams Manchester 765 and Blackpool Fleetwood Box 40. Picture; Beamish Museum

Narrow gauge railway

During the fair, steam locomotives Lewin and Coffee Pot will be running, plus see Simplex and Samson on the narrow gauge railway, in The 1900s Colliery Yard.

Steam locomotive Peckett 2000 will also be running passenger rides at Rowley Station and Puffing Billy will take visitors on a trip through the Georgian landscape at the Waggonway.

The Friends of Beamish will be in the schoolyard in The 1900s Pit Village with a display of vintage motor vehicles and bicycles, plus see the Durham Pals, Gordon Highlanders and Scots at War military re-enactment groups around the museum.

Visit a Model Tramway Exhibition in the Collections Study Room at the Regional Resource Centre on Saturday and Sunday to see model tram layouts, including a model of Beamish.

Roads are ablaze with classic vehicles at the Great North Steam Fair. Picture; Beamish Museum
Roads are ablaze with classic vehicles at the Great North Steam Fair. Picture; Beamish Museum

Model tram kits

Two trade stands will be selling model tram kits and accessories.

The fair is part of the Great North Festival of Transport, which also includes Horses at Work on April 27-28.

The Great North Steam Fair is included in admission to Beamish and is free for Unlimited Pass holders (pay once and come back free for a year) and Friends of Beamish members.

Beamish Museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm. For more information visit www.beamish.org.uk.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.

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