As always there is plenty going on at the Crich Tramway Village with various developments taking place in various departments as the Museum has been preparing for the peak summer season. With revenue from visitors currently short of expectations, the next few weeks could be a crucial time for the attraction and hopefully better weather will help to compensate for the disapointing level of income so far in 2012. However, behind the scenes there is still a lot going on and this report aims to give an overview of some of these developments.
Perhaps of most interest is the workshop, where Leeds 345 has resided for over a year whilst various defects which have arisen since its entry into service in 2006 have been rectified. A major milestone has now been achieved with the car being reunited with its overhauled truck on Saturday 21st July following completion of extensive work which has included replacement of both axles and the axle bearings. A lot of work has also been carried out on the body and the overhauled sanding equipment has recently been fitted, and appears to be working well. This tram should soon be back in service, providing the Museum with a very useful fully enclosed handbraked car which should prove popular in poor weather.
Work has also been carried out on two Scottish trams, in preparation for the much-anticipated Glasgow event in September. Little progress has been made on the transformation of Paisley 68 into Glasgow 1068 recently, but following the completion of final varnishing on London United Tramways 159 a more concerted effort can now be made to get it ready in time for this event. A professional signwriter has been contracted to begin work on the car from late July. This tram was joined in the workshop by Glasgow 812 which has received a refurbished resistance box following a failure in June; the car is now available for service once again.
Other trams under attention have included Blackpool Jubilee car 762 which has been fitted with a newly overhauled pantograph and the windscreen wipers are also under attention, although it remains to be seen when this tram will enter service at its new home. LUT 159 has not operated since its high-profile failure during its launch day and sadly missed out on the recent Edwardian Weekend, which would have been a perfect opportunity to showcase this superb restoration. Hopefully the cause of its issues will soon be found allowing this wonderful tram to join the operating fleet.
Plans are afoot to make some adjustments to the trolley reverser at Town End to enable its use by Blackpool Boat 236, which would make it the first of its type to use a reverser since the closure of the inland routes at Blackpool. This work will be carried out early one morning to minimise disruption to the tram service.
Finally, the Curatorial Department have also been kept busy by prepartions for the short-term loan of Grimsby & Immingham 14 which was displayed on Immingham Docks on Sunday 22nd July. Protracted negotiations are also underway to borrow some tramcar trucks from other museums for display in the Great Exhibition Hall.