A New Addition to Beamish’s Tramway Fleet

January 25th 2024

An exciting new addition has been made to Beamish’s Tramway fleet.

Lisbon tram No.730 has moved to Beamish from its previous home at the Wirral Tramway, where it was under the ownership of the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society.

The Lisbon ‘standard’ class emerged in Portugal after the First World War, which saw a move to home-built tramcars (rather than imported vehicles) in order to mitigate against rising import costs during a period of political turmoil and social unrest.

No.730 entered service in Lisbon in 1938, before later being withdraw from service. The tram came to the UK in the mid-1990s and was first stored at Colyton on the Seaton Tramway in Devon, with the idea that it might be regauged and used as a mobile shop there. It was then privately purchased, before ultimately being passed to the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society in 2004. In 2013, 730 visited Beamish as part of the tramway’s 40th anniversary celebrations, participating in the museum’s Great North Steam Fair.

Paul Jarman, Beamish’s Director of Development – Transport, Industry & Design, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming tram 730 to the museum and it will become an integral member of the fleet.  The Tramway remains at the heart of the museum’s transport operation and we know it is a key attraction for many of our visitors, who will no doubt greatly enjoy riding on 730 once it enters service.  I’d like to thank the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society for their confidence in us as the new custodians of 730, and for those who have had the practical work of extracting the tram and arranging for it to be moved to Beamish.”

Lisbon 730 will join fellow Portuguese tram 196 at Beamish. 196 was built in 1935 at the Boavista Works of Companhia Carris de Ferro do Porto (The Oporto Tramways Company) and was brought to Beamish from Portugal in 1989. Tram 196 is currently operating in South Shields livery at the museum and it’s planned that 730 will be repainted in a local transport livery, to further reflect the North East’s tramway history.

Lisbon 730 is expected to join the Beamish fleet in service later this year.

The Beamish Tramway opened in 1973, celebrating its 50th anniversary last year. The Tramway serves to re-create the experience and atmosphere of tramway operation of an earlier generation, whilst providing an essential means of transport for visitors around the site.