Wheels of Industry - April transport gala

Wheels of Industry – April transport gala

It would be fair to say that news of the 2024 events programme is landing a little late – the pressures of everything else that is going on, plus the competing projects vying for our time making the timescales somewhat tighter for fitting everything in.  This year we have two transport-themed events (rather than four, as last year), and these feature a bit of re-branding to both tailor them to our operation better, and to keep them fresh (the old steam fair format was becoming quite unwieldy for us to manage).  We also have to more proactively manage the health & safety around some of the elements of the operation, as alluded to in earlier posts – not least around road steam, where there have been some fairly minor, but nonetheless, avoidable, incidents in recent years.  The other factor is, of course, cost – and haulage is becoming more and more expensive for everyone involved.  However, we’ve put together a plan which we think keeps the excitement of the old events, but within more manageable parameters.

The two events are:

  • Wheels of Industry (April 6/7 2024)
  • Fares Please! (June 29/30 2024) (more on this at a later date)

The first exhibits for Wheels of Industry are now confirmed, and subject to all of the usual caveats, will include a mixture of road steam and vintage/veteran road transport around the museum, and some guest railway locomotives in the Colliery.  We hope to repeat the heavy-haulage operation that proved to be very popular a few years ago, as well as a variety of commercial road transport (steam and internal combustion) to accompany the motorcars and motorcycles.

The rail-related exhibits include:

Manning Wardle 0-6-0ST ‘Sir Berkeley’ which appears courtesy of the Vintage Carriage Trust and Middleton Railway, and will be staying with us through to the first Bank Holiday in May.  The loco has dumb-buffers fitted, so will be an appropriate companion for the chaldron waggons, and we are looking forward to seeing it working in the industrial setting around the Colliery Railway.

Quarry Hunslet narrow gauge 0-4-0STs ‘Britomart’ and ‘Hugh Napier’ from the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway (both of these having visited Beamish in the past and which proved to be very popular).

We will also be operating our own fleet of trams, buses, the Waggonway and Glyder, Samson and Coffee Pot No.1 throughout the event too.

Here are a few of the road steam entries that we are expecting to attend Wheels of Industry in April…  We should also be hosting the RSPCA Tasker ‘The Horses Friend’ which will probably work around Spainsfield Farm for much of the event.  In total there are around 17 road steam engines expected, many of which are making first-time appearances at Beamish.