A soggy return for LCC 106

There seems to be a unwritten rule that when you launch an open top tram the weather should be as wet as possible and once again that rule was adhered to on Saturday 13th June when London County Council 106 was relaunched into service. The relaunch was the highlight of the Classic London event at the Crich Tramway Village which also saw an intensive tram service in operation along with various visiting vehicles with a London theme including a trolleybus from the Trolleybus Museum in Sandtoft.

LCC 106 – which last ran in 2010 – has undergone an extensive overhaul in the Crich workshops to return it to service with much of the funding coming from the London County Council Tramways Trust. Shortly after 1115 on Saturday 13th June – in pouring rain – the doors of the workshop were opened and 106 was driven out onto the depot fan for the handover ceremony to take place. Normally at tram launches it is difficult to get uninterrupted views of the tram but funnily enough with the torrential rain most visitors on the day had obviously decided to find some activities with cover! The handover was conducted by Leon Daniels, Director (Surface Transport) Transport for London who explained that it was his first visit to Crich since 1983 – and how the site had changed beyond all recognition in the intervening years. With the formalities dealt with those present were invited to board the tram although for this inaugural trip there weren’t many opting for a top deck ride (only two brave souls decided this seemed a good idea and they boarded just outside the depot gates)! The tram ran one trip to Glory Mine and then back to Town End before retiring back to the depot to allow for crew lunch breaks to take place although it was to return to service later on in the afternoon.

The launch of 106 was the undoubted highlight of the event but it was by no means the only thing happening with an intensive tram service in operation throughout the day. It has been planned that in addition to 106 a further four trams would be in service with the London trio of 159, 331 and 1622 joined by Glasgow 1068. In the event the weather precluded the use of 159 and 1068 but there were actually sic different trams used in passenger service instead. The enclosed London cars of Metropolitan Electric Tramways 331 and London Transport 1622 were joined by Leeds 399, Sheffield 510 and Blackpool 630 and of course LCC 106 during the afternoon.

Away from the trams there were six visiting London buses including a Dennis 4-ton bus from 1925 (which ran without passengers in between the trams to provide extra photographic opportunities) and Regent 1 STL2377 which provided passenger rides up and down the main Museum street. London Trolleybus 1348 – from the Trolleybus Museum at Sandtoft – was displayed on the depot fan throughout the day and there were also other road vehicles including London Taxis and a vintage London Fire Brigade van.

As mentioned before the weather didn’t exactly play ball during the day with it starting off as very wet, becoming a little less wet in the early afternoon and then ending very wet again! Despite this a good show was, as always, put on by Crich as the operating fleet increases by a further tram.

Classic London continues at the Crich Tramway Village on Sunday 14th June and with a better weather forecast if you are in the area why not pop along for a day of tram fun?

London County Council 106 is seen outside the workshop during the handover ceremony.

106 sets off on its maiden voyage - there is still plenty of room on top!

London Transport 1622 is passed by the visiting Dennis 4-ton bus outside the Red Lion. (All Photographhs by Gareth Prior, 13th June 2015)

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3 Responses to A soggy return for LCC 106

  1. Christopher Callan says:

    Have to say do have some sympathy for them very unfortunate this time of year to have such a wash out event. Certainly had some “mixed” open top launches in recent years. Were incredibly lucky in August 2013 for Boat Car 602s Launch at Blackpool first in a long time seemingly that didnt end in torrential rain

  2. Having visited Crich Tuesday 9 June, I just count myself fortunate to have been able to experience 106s first journey in 10 years (see British Trams Online News) in dry and very warm weather. The restoration is superb.

  3. Mark Evans says:

    Soggy though it was, I greatly enjoyed my Saturday visit, my first time at a London-themed event. I was very impressed by the refinement and attractive interiors of Feltham 331 and former LCC 1622. It makes one wonder whether LPTB was far too hasty in abandoning its acquired tramway network – and I speak as a trolleybus devotee.

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