Monday 2 June 2014

Weymouth Harbour Tramway 1994

Twenty years to the day have passed since these photos were taken on this date in 1994. This special train, which originated at Waterloo, was conveying US Veterans of the Second World War and the invasion of Normandy to the quayside at Weymouth as part of the 50th. anniversary of D-Day commemorations. A US aircraft carrier was moored offshore and landing craft were on hand to re-enact troop landings on the beach. Until 1987 there were regular trains on this route taking passengers to the Channel Island ferries at the Town Quay. After 1987 only special trains or charter trains for enthusiasts made the journey. Most of the route is along the public highway and trains were preceded by railway staff with flags to ensure the track was free of obstructions. Motorists were especially affronted at having to yield road space to an inferior form of transport. This kind of street-running is common in the US but in Britain it’s very unusual. Railway administrators hate anomalies and there have been many attempts to close it down. In the end it has been allowed to wither away – no train has passed since 1999 and it’s impossible to envisage another doing so in future. The spectacle of these full size trains inching their way through the back streets of Weymouth is unlikely to be repeated. Unsurprisingly, on the day of the special train the locomotive broke down on the return trip and after a long delay a replacement was procured to take it on its weary way. 

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