Crich workshop budget slashed

Despite 2012 shaping up to be a classic year for Crich Tramway Village in many ways, with some fantastic enthusiasts events and the launch of three ‘new’ tramcars into the operating fleet, visitor numbers are giving major cause for concern – probably as a result of the dire weather conditions which have affected most of the country during late spring and early summer. The Tramway Museum Society have reacted to this by discussing areas where the 2012/13 budget can be cut back with the workshop likely to be hardest hit.

After a few years of decline, 2012 is proving to be another difficult season for the Museum. So far, visitor numbers have fallen by more than 5,000 compared to this point in time last year. May was a particularly bad month with almost 18% less visitors than in 2011. With this in mind, the Treasurer and Financial Controller have wisely reacted by holding meetings to discuss how they can save some money in order to reduce the impact of this worrying development on the Museum’s activities. The workshop team have already responded by stating they can make savings of £60,000 which will obviously provide a major boost – but even so it is looking increasingly likely that gate revenue this year will fall short of expenditure.

Although this sounds dramatic, it should be remembered that must major overhaul work on trams at Crich is usually funded by external organisations, such as the Tramcar Sponsorship Organisation and the London County Council Tramways Trust. The last twelve months have been unusual as two trams have received significant attention which was paid for using TMS funds; these being Leeds 345 and the access tram, Berlin 3006. The next major workshop project is likely to be a heavy overhaul and repaint for Sheffield 510, which the Tramcar Sponsorship Organisation have generously agreed to sponsor, thus ensuring that the excellent restoration work carried out in the workshop will not be allowed to stand still. The LCCTT are also planning to offer financial support towards work on London County Council 106, and it is hoped that this tram may be accomodated in the workshop programme within the next two years.

If anything, it is the current running fleet that may suffer from the budget cutbacks, with a number of trams now due to be lifted for their scheduled eight-year overhauls. The recently published TMS Annual Report & Accounts states that some trams are likely to require quite major work in the near future, and so it is likely that the support of funding bodies will be needed more than ever in the next few years. Hopefully trams that are currently out of service awaiting workshop attention, such as Oporto 273 and Liverpool 869, will not be forgotten and efforts will be made to ensure that a large and varied operating fleet is maintained at all times in order to keep visitors happy, whilst also ensuring that financial resources are used sensibly in case the negative trend continues.

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2 Responses to Crich workshop budget slashed

  1. Geoffrey Ryder says:

    Members visiting but not working at the museum could be charged a reduced rate admission instead of being allowed in free, which is what happens at many other museum venues.

  2. I for one am going to make sure that I go and visit this year. Though I have been many times before and really enjoy it is normally difficult for me to get up there as I live in a different part of the country. However I think it is worth the effort just to give some money through the access fee and a small donation. I shall have to drag my wife and parents in law, who are visiting from the phillipines in August, along too! Though this may not seem like much the more that people can visit, hopefully the more money can be raised, to help out.

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