It’s all systems go at our Great North Steam Fair, which runs until Sunday!
The second event of the Great North Festival of Transport is in full swing, where we have an amazing line-up of over 100 vehicles and locomotives in action and on view at the museum.
Around 90 motor vehicles such as motorcycles, cars and lorries, and more than 15 road steam vehicles can be seen – an amazing spectacle for families and enthusiasts alike!
Matt Ellis, Keeper of Transport at Beamish, said: “Over the event we’ve got various activities going on. The big headline is that we’ve got Providence hauling River Mite round, recreating the original journey of River Mite from York to Ravenglass in Cumbria, which was 50 years ago.
“So that’s quite an anniversary that we’re marking. Whilst we couldn’t do it on the modern roads it’s quite cool to do at Beamish.”
Other highlights include Steam Elephant in operation at the Waggonway 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.
Matt added: “On the narrow gauge railway in the Colliery we’ll be doing a timber tramway theme. We’ve got two steam locomotives coming, one of which worked on the Kerry Tramway in Wales. So we’re doing a logging operation supplying two saw benches, which are both powered by agricultural traction engines as they would have been in the early 1900s.
“Down on the Events Field we’ll be doing threshing and baling, again agricultural traction engines driving the threshing and baling machine.”
The two-foot gauge railway engine, Samson, will be running on a temporary track at the Waggonway. Samson was built by volunteer Dave Young using a single photograph. Matt said: “You’ll be able to speak to Dave and there’ll also be the chance to see or buy the Book of Samson.
“On Friday and Saturday we’ll have William Lane foundry doing pewter casting demonstrations to give you an idea of how components of steam locomotives would be made. We’ll also have the Ravenglass and Eskdale Preservation Society based at the Waggonway with River Mite.
“Down at Rowley Station, Bon Accord will be running with its side skirts on, which was designed for tramway running in the streets of Aberdeen.”
As well as all the steam vehicles at the Great North Steam Fair, there will be dozens of internal combustion vehicles around the site. “The Friends of Beamish run that side of the event and they’ll be based in the steam navvy paddock. When the vehicles aren’t out on the circuit running they will be on display there for you to talk to the owners,” Matt said.
On Saturday and Sunday, visitors can see the Durham Pals and Gordon Highlanders military re-enactment groups.
For those younger visitors, the museum’s Learning Team will be in The Pit Village chapel demonstrating how steam engines work, with a visit to see a static engine.
Take a walk around the museum and discover the amazing array of steam engines at this ever-popular event. There’s so much to see and do!
Matt added: “The Great North Steam Fair is not a paid-for event, it’s available on the Unlimited Pass, and if you want to see everything it’s probably best to come on more than one of the four days.”
Please note: Trams will not be running between Pockerley and the Entrance due to track maintenance work. They will be operating a two-way service between the Entrance and Pockerley via The Town.
Model Tramway Exhibition
On Saturday, 8th and Sunday, 9th April, there will be an extended Model Tramway Exhibition in the Collections Study Room, next to our Open Stores.
There will be 13 tramways attending and traders will be present, including Paul Coles with the KW trams shop at his first Beamish exhibition.
Beamish Cog Railway
Did you know that England’s only cog railway is at Beamish? And visitors can have a go on the unique 7¼ inch gauge track during special events?
The railway is operated by the Beamish Model Engineering Group and the volunteers will be offering rides to passengers on Saturday, 8th and Sunday, 9th April, during the Great North Steam Fair.
Head to the Regional Resource Centre to have a go on the unique railway (small charge applies)!