AN HISTORIC tramway is back on track after being damaged by heartless thieves.

Heaton Park's heritage tramway was targeted by offenders last month with the yobs making off with a 40-metre section of overhead wires containing copper.

Heartbroken volunteers feared the line may may be forced to close indefinitely, however the community rallied around the historic attraction with supporting flooding in as dozens donated money to help the group repair the damage and cover their losses.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and KeolisAmey Metrolink (KAM) also quickly stepped in to save the day and repairs have now been completed in a single day.

Together with specialist transport engineering firm Pod-Track, TfGM and KAM sourced replacement wires and spent yesterday putting them in place.

Graham Thornton, head of tram engineering projects for KAM, said: "These trams are a vital piece of Greater Manchester’s heritage and for us, and we’re proud to get the tramway operational again, for the volunteers and public to enjoy.”

After some testing has been carried out the tramway should be back up to full speed and volunteers are now planning a grand re-opening later this month to celebrate.

Keith Whitmore, Chairman of Heaton Park Tramway Trust said: "I want to place on record our thanks to TFGM, Keolis Amey Metrolink, Pod-Track and our own City Council Officers based in the park for the tremendous response, and working in partnership to come to the rescue of our much loved heritage tramway, which will now be up and running again so quickly.

"Without their help the future of the tramway looked very bleak indeed. When our volunteers arrived to see the tramway in such a state following the theft of the wiring there was doubt that trams would not operate for some time.

"Now everyone wants to just say a big thank you for the massive response to get our tramway moving again."

Geoff Senior, operations manager at the tramway added that all the volunteers were "grateful for the support" and "will always remember this marvellous response".

Heaton Park Tramway dates back to 1901 and is the only remaining original part of the Manchester Corporation Tramway which ran until 1949.

It was first used as a siding into the park for trams running along Middleton Road and was in operation until 1934.

Over the years the 300-meter stretch of tram line has been extended to 800 meters and now runs from Middleton Road to the Heaton Park boat house.