Over the weekend of 15th and 16th September 2012 the Crich Tramway Village held their main tram enthusiast’s event of the year which this year was commemorating the 50th anniversary of the last tram in Glasgow. Before the event much had been released about what would happen including the resurrection of Glasgow 1282, the re-identity and repainting of Glasgow 1068 and a rare appearance outside of Glasgow 1115 amongst other things but surprises were also promised. Gareth Prior reports from both days of the event, which turned out to be one of the best events at Crich for a number of years…
Saturday 15th September
The first day of event was greeted with clear blue skies and sunshine which certainly proved to be a good omen as to what was to happen in the next eight hours. As the Museum opened at 1000 the first of the service trams were starting to leave Depot to head down to Town End and form the extensive passenger service planned for the day. With the Glasgow trams needed for some events in the morning these cars were kept back but there were still a healthy seven trams departing Depot to enter service including Blackpool 166 which was to form the first service of the day from Town End (it had originally been planned that Leeds 345 would re-enter service on this day and form that service but it had not yet been cleared for service). The seven non-Glasgow trams which were to be used on this day had been previously advertised and as some of these cars were tucked up in the Depot behind other trams whose time in the sun would not happen until the following day some shunting was required. This included Southampton 45 and London Transport 1622 being moved out of the way. Even before the service cars had left Depot though there were two other trams which had made a move with works car Sheffield 330 departing depot to run through to Glory Mine and back whilst Croydon Tramlink 058 also made a trip up to Glory Mine although this wasn’t going to return until the end of the day as it was moved there to get it out the way of day’s events. Meanwhile 330was to operate on the main line on and off all day and these were not just demonstration runs but the tram also carried passengers on board!
The first big event of the day occurred shortly after 1115 when Paisley 68 was unveiled to the world in its new identity of Glasgow 1068. As has been reported extensively 1068, as it is now known, has been painted into the blue route Glasgow livery and this launch ceremony was the first chance that many people had to see the stunning colours adorning the tram. After a couple of short speeches and the ceremonial handing over of the controller, 1068 departed the Depot fan with members of the Scottish Transport and Tramway Society on board. At the same time the other three Glasgow trams due to operate – 22, 812 and the resurrected 1282 – also departed Depot with passengers able to board them then and there. This was the first passenger trip for 1282 since 2003 and the tram was returned to service for the weekend only to help commemorate the end of Glasgow’s trams – it being the last tram to operate in Glasgow. All four trams ran through to Glory Mine and then returned towards the Town. At the Entrance they were paused so that they could form a Procession into the Town, this was led by 1068 with 22, 812 and 1282following behind. Once they were back in Town they entered normal passenger service for a short while.
Next up was one of the most anticipated photographic opportunities at Crich for a number of years and that was the chance to see all five Glasgow route colours together. To enable this to happen Glasgow 1115(in the red route livery) had been extracted from the back of the Exhibition Hall before the weekend with Blackpool 49 taking its place to represent tramcars of the 1920s. 1115 is a tram that has very rarely seen daylight in recent years as it was cooped up in the “night-time” scene in the old Exhibition Hall before immediately being moved into the new Exhibition Hall display a couple of years ago. So to see this tram out in the daylight was one of the highlights of the weekend and ensured that my camera was kept very busy. Five trams would form the Glasgow line-up and 1115 was to be the first put into place with the Blackpool Electric Locomotive used to tow it from the back of the Depot onto the fan. Then the other four started to return to the Depot with 22 (white), 812 (yellow) and 1282 (green) soon sitting alongside 1115. The fifth and final tram back was Glasgow 1068 which, as mentioned earlier, carries the blue route livery. With the five trams now in situ on the Depot Fan they proved to a huge draw to the enthusiasts present with probably hundreds if not thousands of photos taken of the “Glasgow 5”. The Scottish theme on the Depot fan didn’t end with these five trams though as the capital of Scotland was not to be ignored with Edinburgh 35 being displayed on the Traverser. To allow this tram out from the very back of the Depot Oporto 273had also made an appearance on the fan briefly.
Back on the mainline as well as the seven service cars plus Sheffield 330, Leeds 345 had appeared. This tram has been undergoing extensive workshop attention this year and following the completion of this the chance was taken to undertake some testing of 345during the day. It had originally been hoped it would enter passenger service over the course of the weekend but unfortunately this was not possible but at least the many visitors got the chance to see it back on the mainline after several years. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the tram is carrying passengers again. The four operational Glasgow trams soon joined back in the fun on the mainline running in service for a few more hours which meant that attention on the Depot fan could be turned towards the shunting.
First of all it was decided that road 5 in the Depot needed to be cleared and this meant that firstly Berlin 223 006-4 then Blackpool cars 236 and 630 were moved – all under their own power. All three of these trams were then displayed on the Depot fan with 236 alongside Glasgow 1115. The Berlin tram was then called into Access tram operation and soon left the Depot to fulfil the role in which it was acquired for.
Next up was the big surprise of the day. Enthusiast’s events at Crich often see a withdrawn tram displayed somewhere on the Depot Fan and this year it had been advertised that there would be a tram placed on the Traverser for photos during the afternoon of both days, with a different vehicle chosen for this honour on each day. As the Traverser was called into action it made it ways along the tracks until it came to a stand outside the far end track of the Exhibition Hall. It is at this stage that everyone present tries to work out just what trams are situated on that track but normally before you have chance the doors are flung open to reveal all, and that is exactly what happened on this occasion! The doors were open and low and behold which tram resides there but Brussels Snow Broom 96! As if the appearance of 1115 outside wasn’t rare enough the organisers at Crich had only gone and selected another incredibly rare tram to be displayed for photos! Like 1115, 96 has been seen outside hardly ever with it being part of the display in the Exhibition Hall for years (both old and new) and it is not thought the tram has ever been out as part of an Enthusiast’s event before. So the electric tug was attached to 96and it was gently dragged onto the Traverser much to the delight of the assembled enthusiasts.
The Workshop crew weren’t quite finished there as they made preparations for the final set piece of the day. This meant that Blackpool 762 had to be moved out of the Workshop and once again the Blackpool Electric Locomotive was on hand to conduct the move. 762 ended up in the main Depot at the rear of road 5 alongside another former Blackpool resident in unrestored Brush 298.
And then to the final event planned for day one of the event – turning the Crich workshop in Glasgow’s Coplawhill Works! With five Glasgow trams starring in the event the chance was being taken to create a once in a lifetime scene at Crich with all the trams in the Workshop at once. 1115 was the first tram to be moved with the Blackpool loco again moving it to the back of road 3. Then the four operational trams started to head back to Depot with 1282 the first and this was placed in front of 1115. The final three then turned up with 1068, 22 and 812all initially stabled in front of the Workshop to allow the crews to clean them after their days exertions before they also moved in to create the scene the organisers wanted.
Shortly after this scene has been created the remaining trams started to make their way back to Depot with Leeds 399 forming the final service of the day from Town End. The sun had shone practically all day and the event had seemed to be an incredible success with so many highlights to think about. But the event was on for the whole weekend so just what would happen on day two?
In Service: Blackpool & Fleetwood 2, Chesterfield 7, Glasgow 22, Blackpool 40, Johannesburg 60, Blackpool 166, Leeds 180, Leeds 399, Glasgow 812, Glasgow 1068, Glasgow 1282, Berlin 223 006-4 (briefly)
Also out of mainline: Croydon Tramlink 058 (moved to Glory Mine at start of day, returned at end), Sheffield 330 (demonstration runs with passengers also carried), Leeds 345 (testing)
Glasgow Line-Up: Glasgow 22, Glasgow 812, Glasgow 1068, Glasgow 1115, Glasgow 1282
Shunted and/or on Display: Edinburgh 35 (displayed on Traverser – AM), Brussels Snow Broom 96 (displayed on Traverser – PM), Blackpool 167 (shunted), Blackpool 236 (displayed on fan), Oporto 273 (shunted), Blackpool 630 (displayed on fan), Blackpool 762 (shunted from Workshop to Depot), Berlin 223 006-4 (displayed briefly on fan), Blackpool Electric Locomotive used for some shunting
Sunday 16th September
The lovely sunny skies of day one had unfortunately been replaced by more overcast conditions on this day but luckily although it threatened a few times the rain stayed off to make sure those people visiting on this day were not to be disappointed by the event. Even before the Museum was open to the public the first event had been set up with Liverpool 869 being stabled on the spare track at Town End. The reason this tram was being used was because after its career was ended in Liverpool it was sold on to Glasgow Corporation (numbered as 1055 in the Glasgow fleet) so it definitely had a role to play in the commemorations of the closure of the tramway.
Once the Museum was open it was a chance to see that Coplawhill Works was still very much evident in the Workshop with the five trams seemingly unmoved from the previous night. The Depot fan was already awash with activity with London United Tramways 159 displayed on the Traverser for photos and it has to be said that it truly does look stunning and hopefully it won’t be too long before it’s issues are solved and the tram is carrying passengers regularly at Crich. The selected eight passenger trams then started to depart Depot for a day in service. The first service tram on this day would be a welcome return to service of Blackpool 167. This tram has had well documented problems with its motor bearings with two high profile failures (one in Blackpool and one at Crich) in the last couple of years but after extensive workshop attention and testing it was ready to return to service once again. The tram left Town End shortly after 1030 and managed to complete the whole day in service with no apparent trams. It was joined by seven other trams to operate the service initially and works car Cardiff 131 was also out on the mainline and just like Sheffield 330the day before this too was carrying passengers for most of the day!
Shortly after 1100 it was time for all the Glasgow trams to leave the Workshop (well all of them except for 1115 that is) and they were due to form a Procession as per the day before. Now this is one thing I can’t report on totally accurately as I was on a tram on the north of line at the time but it doesn’t look like all four of the tram actually ran through to Glory Mine as per the previous day as only 1282 and 22 were spotted heading that way. 1068 was seen using the Depot crossover to return to the Workshop but when I returned to the Town 812still seemed to be in the Workshop. Whether they had run a short procession at the Town is not known. Eventually all four of the Glasgow trams were out on the mainline and they were all around Town End at the same time which led to the next photo opportunity of the day.
As mentioned earlier Liverpool 869 was stabled at Town End from the start of the day and this had allowed several photos of that tram and others next to each other but that was not the main purpose of it being there as it was to be towed back to the Depot by one of its former Glasgow colleagues! Glasgow 22 was the tram chosen for this task and it was coupled to 869 whilst Glasgow 812 was alongside allowing for some photo opportunities of the three ex-Glasgow cars together. Then once 812 was out the way 22 and 869followed on the way up to the Depot from where the Liverpool tram was backed into the Depot.
The big event of the previous day – the Glasgow five route livery line-up – was repeated again on this day with the four operational trams starting to return to Depot around lunchtime. This was set up in the same way as before and the sun must have really enjoyed it the previous day as this coincided with the only semi-prolonged sunny spell of the day. Once again the cameras were kept busy whilst the trams were here for the line-up.
With lunchtime completed the four operational trams headed back into service for the remainder of the day and this meant that the Workshop team could turn their attentions to the afternoon shunting. The first tram to be moved (apart from Glasgow 1115 which was moved the matter of a few feet!) was Blackpool 762 which did the reverse move of the previous day from the Depot to the Workshop. Next up was Liverpool 869 which was taken out of the Workshop where it had been deposited by Glasgow 22 earlier in the day and returned to its resting place in the Depot. Both of these moves were conducted by the ever present Blackpool Electric Locomotive. After this two moves took place at the same time – Leeds 399 was moved between roads in the Depot under its own power and the electric tug moved the Modern Tower Wagon TW4 from the Depot onto the Traverser. Considering the Traverser was where the next big photo opportunity was due to take place there might have been a little concern that we were going from the sublime (Brussels Snow Broom 96) to the ridiculous (TW4) for the photo opp but those concerns were soon allayed as all the Tower Wagon was being used for was to replace the backdrop in the Exhibition Hall which had been moved to allow 96 out! The big photo opportunity was still to come but one final move was undertaken before this with Sheffield 510 being moved from road 1 to road 2 in the Workshop.
And so onto the big afternoon photo opportunity. After the excitement of 96 the previous day how would they match that? Would it be possible to match it? With the backdrop in the Exhibition Hall now replaced it was obvious that the tram wouldn’t be coming from there and so if I was a betting man I would have put my money on Newcastle 102 as with Cardiff 131 out for the day it was easily accessible in Depot V. But as the Traverser moved it went past that road and proved why I‘m not a betting man! It then came to a rest outside the first road in Depot VI which contained none other than New York 674 – another rare tram to be seen outside! Although not as rare as 96 or indeed 1115 considering it was a regular service car at the Museum until the mid 1980s in recent years it has proved to be fairly elusive and I for one had never seen it outside. The electric tug was attached to the tram and it gently dragged it towards the Traverser as it had done the previous day with the Snow Broom. However, this movement was not to be as straightforward mainly due to the sheer length of 674. As the tug approached the far side of the Traverser it had to turn to the right but doing this it was still unable to get the whole tram onto the Traverser. So the tug went all the way round to the other side and after it managed to manoeuvre itself into Depot VI pushed 674fully onto the Traverser, or as fully as it would go! With its length the whole body did not fit on but the wheels of both trucks were both present. And so the last of the main set pieces of the weekend was set up and proved to yet another highlight for this incredible event!
The trams continued to operate in service on the mainline however unfortunately shortly after 1600 I had to leave the Museum to make my way back south but I knew that the event I had just attended had been one of the best at Crich in recent years and without a doubt the tram event of 2012!
In Service: Glasgow 22, Southampton 45, Sheffield 74, Blackpool 167, Blackpool 236, Metropolitan Electric Tramways 331, Blackpool 630, Glasgow 812, Glasgow 1068, Glasgow 1282, London Transport 1622, Berlin 223 006-4
Also out on mainline: Croydon Tramlink 058 (to Glory Mine at start of day), Cardiff 131 (demonstration runs with passengers), Liverpool 869 (displayed at Town End and then towed back to depot by Glasgow 22)
Glasgow line-up: Glasgow 22, Glasgow 812, Glasgow 1068, Glasgow 1115, Glasgow 1282
Shunted and/or on display: London United Tramways 159 (on display on Traverser – AM), Blackpool 166 (shunted), Leeds 399 (shunted), Sheffield 510 (shunted), New York 674 (displayed on Traverser – PM), Blackpool 762 (shunted), Modern Tower Wagon TW4 (used to replace Exhibition Hall backdrop), Blackpool Electric Locomotive (used for shunting)
It says it all when my colleague Andrew Waddington turns round to me on the Saturday and says if we were still giving marks for events he would have given it a maximum score! That is how good this event was and everyone involved in either organising the varied programme of events or making them happen should be very proud and I am sure I speak for most tram enthusiasts when I say a huge thank you for the Glasgow 50 event. To be honest there are really no negatives to speak of and you certainly couldn’t have been bored on either day as there was so much to see and do!
Highlights of the weekend? Well where to start! Glasgow 1068 – what a paintjob it really does look stunning! Glasgow 1282 – great to see it back in service and hopefully if funding permits this might the first of many limited returns to service for special events? Brussels Snow Broom 96 -outside, nothing else needs to be said! New York 674 – same as 96! Glasgow 1115 – same as the previous two and really the tram that made it for me! And the Glasgow five tram line-up – simply breathtaking!
Gallery 318: Glasgow 50/Enthusiast’s Tram Weekend at Crich 2012 125 photos from the weekend featuring all the trams you would expect it too!