Black Country Living Museum looks towards the future

Dudley’s Black Country Living Museum – home to the UK’s only 3”6’ on street tramway – have announced ambitious plans for a major expansion of the museum which would include an extension to the tramway to form a circular route around the site. The plans are all part of a 10 year vision which would seek to create a world class visitor attraction welcoming 500,000 visitors per year by 2022.

The vision – known as BCLM: Forging Ahead – would include a new entrance on Castle Hill, a new visitor centre, a bustling 1940s-1960s town, a manufacturing and making zone and a new learning centre in addition to an expanded tramway. It is planned that the tramway would operate in a figure of 8 around the museum.

The Museum would require £10 million of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help bring this vision to reality and to this end they are currently preparing a formal bid. The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership have just pledged their support for the expansion which would create 60 new jobs and 29 apprentices.

The Black Country Living Museum currently has an operational fleet of two trams – Wolverhampton & District 34 which operates the majority of services and double decker Wolverhampton 49 – with a further tram (Dudley, Stourbridge & District 5) currently away in Wales undergoing a full overhaul. If the tramway is expanded and visitor numbers increase at the museum whether more trams will need to be restored to serviceable condition is unclear but there are further trams on site which could eventually be chosen for restoration if necessary.

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6 Responses to Black Country Living Museum looks towards the future

  1. Joginder Singh says:

    Possibly with the addition of an operational {or reproduction of} example of a tram from the largest 3′ 6″ tramway in the UK Birmingham, I would go there just to see and ride on it

  2. John Stewart says:

    The repatriated Burton and Ashby tram could operate there.

  3. Chris Mitchell says:

    Why is Bournemouth 85 going from Christchurch museum to Crich? Surely it could run at Black Country with an overhaul?

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Because the BCLM are only interested in vehicles from the Black Country. Besides, it was offered to the National Tramway Museum and they have accepted it as a valuable addition to their collection – end of story.

    • Christopher Callan says:

      Do you not think Black County have enough to worry about. Havent even got operational tramway at present once again service suspended this time due the trams been out of use (and that position hasn’t changed for significant period of time now)

  4. Dave says:

    Black Country’s local only policy will be their downfall. ALL of our museum Tramways have Trams from ‘elsewhere’ either because it just ended up there or it was available and a runner. There are a couple of Lisbon cars around which could run with minimal work to use in the meantime. Even Trolleybuses are thrown out for not being local buses for local people!
    They have never understood the need to maintain not run into the ground and are now paying the price. 34 is totally life expired and 49 isn’t that great (certainly it leaks like a sieve if it gets caught in a shower and limited use is best for it to save it from the museum policy of run to destruction).