2012 has been an extremely busy year for the hard-working volunteers and staff in the workshop at Crich Tramway Village, but this is paying dividends with no less than three trams recently operating on test along the mile-long museum tramway. All three cars have been out of service for lengthy periods, but following workshop attention two are set to re-join the operating fleet shortly, whilst the third is being prepared for a special event.
The first of the trio to appear on the main line was Leeds 345. After being reunited with its overhauled truck a few weeks ago, the tram has undergone some dynamic testing on the main line but is now back in the workshop for further paintwork touching-up. 345 has not had a good few years; following a major restoration it was launched into public service on 1st April 2006, but by summer 2009 was out of service again due to a number of defects. Extensive work has been carried out to rectify these issues over the past year and soon, 345 will hopefully be back in regular use which will hopefully be more succesful than its previous stint of museum service. Last week we erroneously reported that 345 had already re-entered passenger service but in fact this is not the case. Thanks go to TMS Member Dan Heeley for setting the record straight.
Hot on the heels of Leeds 345 was Blackpool 167, another tram which has suffered more than its share of problems in the recent past. Considerable investigative work into the bearing problems experienced by this tram, and the axle which seized on two seperate occasions (the first being during its visit to Blackpool in September 2010) has been conducted and the car was finally reunited with its own bogies earlier this month, having languished in the depot area for many months. 167 was taken out for a test run on Saturday 18th August and has clocked up further mileage since then. This seems to have gone well so far, and it is to be sincerely hoped that this beautiful tram will soon be able to settle down into trouble-free service on a regular basis for the first time since 2008.
Perhaps the most exciting comeback of all, however, has been Glasgow ‘Coronation’ car 1282 which also appeared on a test run on August 18th when it succesfully operated to Glory Mine and back for the first time since it was withdrawn from service back in 2003. Although the condition of 1282‘s inetrior is believed to be less than satisfactory, it will nonetheless be good to see the car running again for the upcoming Glasgow 50/Enthusiast’s event being held on 15th & 16th September. However, the exact role that this tram will play in this event remains to be confirmed.
Hopefully the efforts being made at Crich to add extra variety and interest in the pool of operational trams will be much appreciated by enthusiasts, volunteers and the general public alike, and a strong fleet can be maintained in the years ahead to ensure that Crich retains its status as a ‘must-see’ attraction for anyone who enjoys riding on traditional tramcars.