The Bessbrook and Newry Tramway may long since have run out of track but thanks to Southern Regional College staff and students one of it's trams has been restored to it's former beauty.

The tram that had previously lain derelict for decades in a field close to Camlough Lake once ran on the line taking workers between Newry and Bessbrook.  The hydro-electrically powered tramway transported passengers and freight between 1885 and 1948. 

The restored Bessbrook and Newry Tramway tram
The restored Bessbrook and Newry Tramway tram

 Students from the Carpentry & Joinery and Painting and Decorating sections at Greenbank campus, Newry completed the restoration under the careful guidance of Woodwork Technician Kieran Watson.  As the derelict tram was extensively damaged, it required a lot of work. The interesting part was that all the metal had corroded and fell apart, while much of the wooden structure was still in place. The complete inside of the tram was restored, along with the external cladding and the roof although intact required a new covering to be fitted.  

At all times the team attempted to restore the components to the same design as was used in the original structure.  The main steel chassis was totally decayed and needed to be replaced completely.  Fortunately, local company GM Steel Fabricators in Dundalk made a new chassis structure for the tram, free of charge.  Joseph Walls Ltd agricultural supplier Hilltown had another old carriage which they donated to us for spare parts. The meticulous restoration directly reflects the high calibre skills harnessed and developed at Southern Regional College.  

The tram has now been temporarily relocated to a Council storage area on the middle bank Newry, where some art work will be fitted to it. The plan is, subject to planning approval to locate the finished tram under the flyover on the Camlough road to symbolise the link between Bessbrook and Newry.

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