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Tramway to Heaven at the Giant’s Causeway

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Visitors to the Giant’s Causeway can arrive in style thanks to a new tram from Severn Lamb UK. Commissioned this summer, the smart diesel-powered tram links the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland with the town of Bushmills, and is operated by the Giant’s Causeway & Bushmills Railway (GCBR).

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As they sit back and relax in the simple but elegantly appointed coaches, passengers enjoy a breathtaking 15-minute journey along the beautiful North Antrim coast. Fitted out with wooden benches, period style features and a public address system, the coaches were designed by Severn Lamb to replicate the original hydroelectric tramcars that operated along the GCBR line from 1883 to 1949.

“Our designers went to great lengths to recreate look and feel of the classic trams that used to run on this line, ” highlights Severn Lamb managing director Patrick Severn Lamb. “The finished product is a stunning example of the craftsmanship and capabilities of Severn Lamb in providing a unique product to a unique location. We wish the Giant’s Causeway & Bushmills Railway well and I am sure their visitors will enjoy the ride.”

The diesel locomotive, which also functions as the lead passenger coach, features a Kubota V3600-E3 engine and easy to drive single person operation. Despite the obvious nostalgia for the steam engines that used to operate on the line, GCBR general manager Kathleen Miller reckons the new trams offers a greatly enhanced experience.

“We do still get some diehard fans asking for steam, and we still run a few steam specials, but the new rolling stock is a million times better and really looks the part, ” she says. “Severn Lamb were very amenable and made sure everything was up and running to our satisfaction.”

Seating a total of 90-passengers, the tram travels back and forth between The Giant’s Causeway and Bushmills, with up 10 services daily in each direction. No services were disrupted when the new coaches were installed after an overnight ferry from England and early morning road journey up from Belfast.

The result of an ancient volcanic eruption, the Giant’s Causeway is an intriguing network of interlocking basalt columns that populate a stretch of North Antrim coastline overlooking the Atlantic Sea. Founded in 1883, the Giants Causeway & Bushmills Railway was originally known as the Giant’s Causeway Tramway, and operated successfully for 63 years before being resurrected by a team of volunteers in 2002. Each season, beginning on St Patrick’s Day in March, thousands of tourists and daytrippers enjoy a scenic ride along the 2-mile (3.2km) heritage line, where additional attractions include a model railway and gift shop. 

About Severn Lamb

Based near the English town of Stratford-on-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace), Severn Lamb has been building rail trains, road trains, monorails and “people movers” for the leisure industry for over 60 years. Other recent orders include trains for Fraispertuis City theme park in France, Beach Hills Resort in South Korea and a commission for the Al Hoota Caves in Oman, which will be the Middle East nation’s only railway when it opens in 2011. Severn Lamb UK will be exhibiting at Leisure Industry Week in Birmingham, England, from 21 to 23 September and the Euro Attractions Show in Rome from 6 to 8 October.

Images:
Top: Scenic views await riders on the new tram at the Giant’s Causeway & Bushmills Railway.
Bottom: The elegant interior of the new tramcar by Severn Lamb.

For more information please contact Patrick Severn Lamb at Severn Lamb UK, +44 (0)1789 400140, patrick.lamb@severn-lamb.com.

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