SHIPLEY Glen Tramway, which had to cancel 125th anniversary celebrations due to the pandemic, is to re-open this weekend.

The historic site will open on Sunday but the information centre and shop will remain closed at first. The Trustees said the tramway will initially be running on Sundays, from 12noon to 4pm, and tickets will be sold at the bottom station only. Each tram will accommodate a limited number of passengers, and volunteers will direct them.

Changes are to be made to the information centre and museum, to enable visitors to return at a later date. A new roadside sign has been installed in the field next to the bottom station to welcome back passengers.

The tramway - the last survivor of the Victorian and Edwardian Shipley Glen fairground attractions - closed for passengers at the end of March 2020 when the first lockdown was announced. Since then it has been maintained by maintenance volunteers and kept ready to run, with Covid safety planning.

A statement by the Trustees said: "The shop is a small area where it would be difficult to serve and distance Covid-19 safely, so sadly for now we have decided it will open at a later date when more restrictions are lifted. For the information centre we are hoping to make some changes and re-open once completed.

"There will be simple procedures for cleaning as we need to protect both our volunteers and our passengers. Hopefully, these processes will reduce as the restrictions and indeed the pandemic reduces.

"Thank you so much to all our existing volunteers who are ready to return, and a warm welcome to all the new volunteers who we have managed to meet over the last few weeks. We look forward to once again meeting customers old and new and rebuilding the ambience of Britain’s oldest funicular!"

Councillor Dale Smith, chairman of the Trustees, said: "Opened in 1895 and still going strong, with visitors from across the world, the tramway delights in its charm that reminds people of days of yore and the simple pleasures of life.

"Our dedicated volunteers are ready to welcome friends old and new to ride the tramway."

Last year was the 125th anniversary of the tramway, but due to Covid celebrations were unable to take place. The attraction was opened in 1895 by entrepreneur Sam Wilson, who spotted potential for a new attraction at Shipley Glen where thousands of people were spending Saturday and Sunday afternoons, away from smoky mills. To reach the Glen, most people walked down Victoria Road in Saltaire, across the River Aire bridge and up the woodland bridleway. Wilson had an idea for a tramway and in late 1894 construction began. A track was laid, with top station buildings clad in corrugated iron and a bottom station comprised of three wooden platforms and a ticket booth. A trial run took place on May 18, 1895 and the tramway opened to the public the next day.

Today, Shipley Glen Tramway is Britain’s oldest funicular railway. It has been used for themed events, wedding parties and there has been a marriage proposal on it. It is run by a team of volunteers, including drivers and 'greeters' who supervise passengers and give safety instructions.

The heritage of the charming Victorian attraction is preserved in the museum, which displays old tramway footage, swing boats from the former fairground at the top, and a mock-up of an original tram. In the ticket office items on show include an old shop till.

* For more about the tramway visit