News | Fleet Lists | Gallery | Articles | Tram Profiles | Tram of the Year | Diary of Events | Links | About the Site | Email

Last Updated Thursday 3rd May 2012

Event Preview: Launch of Blackpool Brush 630 at Crich Tramway Village
Written by Andrew Waddington
with additional material by Gareth Prior

Event: Launch of Blackpool Brush 630
Where: Crich Tramway Village
When: Saturday 12th May

Earlier this year, Blackpool Brush Railcoach 623 made history by entering public service at the Heaton Park Tramway, becoming the first of this long-lived tram class to carry passengers away from Blackpool. After a 75 year wait for this to happen, just four months later the second of the type is set to make its preservation debut, this time at Crich Tramway Village! Following acquisition by the Tramway Museum Society, Blackpool Brush Railcoach 630 was fully repainted in its 1990s style green and cream livery, complete with black window surrounds and Blackpool Transport logo stickers, and it moved to Crich at the end of last year. Following thorough commissioning and testing, the tram will enter service at its new home on 12th May.

Rather than take the obvious route of using all serviceable Blackpool trams on 630’s launch day, the TMS have instead opted for a Brush car theme to create a mini-event day. As well as 630, there are currently three other trams in the running fleet at Crich that were built by the Brush company – these being Chesterfield 7, Leeds 180 and London Transport 1622 – and it is intended that all three will provide the tram service on this day. This will provide plenty of interesting photo opportunities with the heavily modernised Blackpool tram along with more traditional vehicles, showcasing the development of British tramcar design in a delightful setting. An official launch ceremony is expected to take place in the depot yard at around 11:30am, with 630’s inaugural run following soon after.

Tickets are now on sale to ride on 630’s first run in passenger service at Crich, allowing the many fans of this popular car to be part of the latest chapter in its history. Tickets are priced at £10 and this also includes access to an exclusive photo stop, as well as a guided tour of the workshop to see the current restoration projects up close. To book a ticket, please call 01773 854321 during normal office hours, or send a cheque made payable to the Tramway Museum Society, to the Museum. All ticketholders will also be entered into a prize draw, with one lucky winner being able to drive 630 later on in the day! Other photo opportunities may well be arranged as well although at the time of writing this had not been confirmed.

The TMS are to be applauded for organising an extra event for enthusiasts at fairly short notice to celebrate the launch of Blackpool 630, and hopefully the day will be well attended. This is your chance to show the TMS your support for this tram and it is to be hoped that a high level of interest in its entry into service could be reflected in any future decisions regarding the car’s long-term future in the operating fleet at Crich.

The Lowdown on...Crich Tramway Village

Crich Tramway Village

The site of Crich Tramway Village was part of the mineral railway built by George Stephenson to link the quarry to Ambergate. The Crich site came into the hands of the Tramway Museum Society in 1959 and over the years has developed in an internationally recognised tramway collection with trams from all over the world. A running line of approximately one mile in length is operated when the Museum is open to the public, with trams also on display in the Depots and Great Exhibition Hall. The public can also view work on tram restoration projects from the Workshop Viewing Gallery where London United Tramways 159 and Blackpool ‘Boat’ 236 are both currently under attention. Several historic buildings populate the “town end” of the tramway including the facade of the Derby Assembly Rooms and the recently restored Stone Workshop which houses a new exhibition space and learning centre. There are also other attractions for the general public including the Woodland Walk with its sculpture trail, and a lead mining display at Wakebridge where passengers may alight from the trams. The small park area close to the Museum entrance has also been revamped recently and now looks much more in fitting with the period village atmosphere.

The Trams

As stated above, as well as Blackpool 630 three other Brush-built trams should be in service on this day (subject to availability) and hopefully a few other trams may appear on the depot fan at some point during the day. As this is a relatively low-key event, just the four trams are expected to operate in service but this will allow 630 to really soak up the limelight and of course, there will be other events featuring many more trams running later on in the year. Don’t forget the large depot complex and the Exhibition Hall are home to dozens of other trams which will be on display throughout the event – so even if your favourite tram isn’t in service you can still see it! An ‘Ultimate Driving Experience’ course is also booked for this day which should see another tram in action, and although not carrying passengers this should add to the day’s interest and create further photographic opportunities.

How to find the Museum

Crich is another tram location in the UK where it is a lot easier to get to if you have a car! It is just eight miles from junction 28 of the M1 and can also be accessed using the A38, the A6, the A61 and the A52. A map showing the location of the museum can be found of their website here.

If you do wish to travel by Public Transport it is possible but if using train you better bring your walking boots! The nearest railway station is at Whatstandwell (on the East Midlands Trains Derby-Matlock line) which is approximately one mile away although to get to the Museum it is a very steep uphill walk. Alternatively there are railway stations at Belper, Matlock and Alfreton from where you can either travel by bus or by Taxi. Local buses run from Matlock, Alfreton, Ripley and Belper and further details can be found from Derbyshire County Council here.

How Much Does it Cost?

Admission prices are as follows:
Adult £12.00
Child (4-15 years) £7.00
Senior £9.50
Family (2 adults and 3 children) £35.00

These prices give you free return admission for 12 months, excluding certain special events. Members of the Tramway Museum Society, and some other societies, are granted free admission. Please note that the above prices do not include a ride on 630’s first passenger trip at Crich, tickets for which cost £10 whether you are a TMS member or not.

Want to Know More?

The official Crich Tramway Village website has recently been given a makeover, and although some information is still being added, most details of use to visitors can be found here.

For the latest news from around the Museum check out their blog here which is regularly updated with news and photos from around the site.


It’s often been said that Crich has its own climate so it’s probably best not to expect too much weather-wise; but at least the star attraction is an enclosed tram this time! To view the BBC 5 day weather forecast for Matlock click here.

Online Coverage

It is not yet known whether any live coverage of this event will be available, but it is probably worth checking on the Tramgen Yahoo! Group and our own British Trams Online Facebook page as the event unfolds.

Crich Tramway Village have very kindly invited British Trams Online to the launch of 630 and we have accepted their offer of a ‘press pass’, for which we express our thanks. After the event we plan to provide full coverage of the occasion, with a review of the day’s events and a photo gallery to be uploaded soon after the event itself.

All information in this preview is provided in good faith and is, to the best of our knowledge, correct at the time of going to press, although all planned events are subject to change or cancellation if unforeseen circumstances dictate. Please note that this event is not organised by British Trams Online and that we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies contained in this article. If you plan to visit for any specific attraction, we would advise you to check the websites mentioned in this feature before travelling. We will of course endeavour to keep our news page updated with any new developments involving any of the trams that are due to appear at this event.

British Trams Online is an enthusiast run website for enthusiasts. It should be able to be viewed at all screen resolutions but I do advise you that it is probably best at 1024x768. The site is owned, maintained (and in the main written) by Gareth Prior. Any comments or suggestions please email.