The annual Enthusiasts’ Tram Event took place at the Crich Tramway Village on Sunday 29th May with the usual mix of an intensive tram service and withdrawn trams on display. The highlight of the 2011 event was without doubt the launch of Blackpool Toastrack 166 following its winter overhaul, with this tram even making an unexpected return to passenger service! British Trams Online Editor Gareth Prior reports from the event.
As is usual with enthusiasts events at Crich the day starts with a lot of toing and froing to get the first of the passenger trams into service and this event was no different with much shifting and shunting of trams taking place upon arrival just after the opening time of 1000. The morning saw 11 passenger trams in service with Blackpool and Fleetwood Rack 2 (which due to the continued building works at the Stone Workshop was unable to load at Town End but used a temporary stop outside the (closed) Workshop Viewing Gallery), Chesterfield 7, Blackpool Standard 40, Southampton 45, Sheffield 74, Leeds 180, Blackpool Pantograph 167, MET 331, Leeds 399, Glasgow 812 and Berlin 3006 the chosen cars. These trams quickly fell into the usual service pattern with trams either running on their own, in pairs or threes as they negotiated the single line sections of line in the run up to Glory Mine.
Whilst the trams settled into the service the first big event of the day had already been lined up on the Depot Fan (in fact this had been sorted before the Museum doors had opened in the morning). To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the closure of the Grimsby and Immingham Tramway two trams which had run on that system were dragged out the Depot and put on display in one of Crich’s famous photo line-ups. Grimsby and Immingham 14 – which is one of the rarer vehicles in the Museum’s collection as it has never run in service throughout its stay – and Gateshead 5 (which moved to Grimsby following the closure of the Gateshead system operating as number 20) were the two trams to feature in this line-up.
As lunchtime approached trams started to return to Depot for lunch breaks with some of these staying in the Depot to allow the other operational trams a chance to carry passengers. The afternoon saw Glasgow 22, Johannesburg 60 and London Transport 1622 all enter service with Chesterfield 7, Sheffield 74 (which ended the day in the Workshop), MET 331 and Glasgow 812 all taking a well earned breather.
The next big event was almost the highlight of the day and that was the relaunch of Blackpool Toastrack 166 following the overhaul it had been receiving over the winter. Just after 1315 the Workshop doors flung open and 166 was driven out with fellow Blackpool tram Standard 40 also coming out of the Workshop for a short parallel run. Following a short ceremony to officially launch the tram and the chance to take photos of the tram with the Workshop team who had helped to bring the tram back to life, 166 left the Depot Yard for what the assembled crowds had been led to believe would be a short Workshop test with members of the Workshop team on board. However, after this short run the tram soon entered passenger service! As an added bonus when 166 entered service it was paired with Rack 2 making for some excellent photographic opportunities for the enthusiasts present.
Back in the Depot Yard preparations were made for the second photographic line-up of the day, this one featuring trams which are due to enter the Workshop for overhaul in the future. The first of these trams was Sheffield 510 which had been in the Wash Bay for the morning and was then dragged out by the Blackpool Electric Locomotive and placed on display. This was followed by Berlin 3006 which was taken out of service briefly to allow its display and then Liverpool 869 was moved from the confines of the Depot to complete the line-up. 3006 only remained on display briefly as it was soon called back into service but the other two remained on display for a while longer.
Other highlights of the day included Cardiff 131 going for its traditional Enthusiasts’ Tram Event runs on the main line, although this year it was the only Works Car to make it out of the Depot Yard. After the line-up mentioned above Liverpool 869 also made a brief run out on the main line out of service. This tram has not been fully commissioned for passenger service this year as it requires some attention although is expected to see use on the Driving Experience in 2011.
All too soon the day started to draw to a close with further trams returning to the Depot after a hard days work leaving just a few left to operate the remaining services which carried on until around 1800. All in all it was another successful Enthusiasts’ Tram Event with enough to keep most people happy with plenty of different trams in service, out of service trams displayed in the open and of course the launch and return to service of 166. Full credit has to go to all those involved in the preparation and organisation of the days event.
As well as the Enthusiasts’ event here was also an event for all the family – “Beside the Seaside”. This event not only took place on the Sunday but continued on until Monday 30th May and featured a temporary beach alongside the Red Lion pub, children’s entertainment including Punch and Judy and seaside entertainment including a George Formby tribute act! On the Sunday this seemed to prove very popular with the many families at the Museum and looks like being a very good addition to the Crich events calendar.
For The Record…
Trams in Service:
Blackpool & Fleetwood Rack 2 (AM & PM), Chesterfield 7 (AM), Glasgow 22 (PM), Blackpool Standard 40 (AM & PM), Southampton 45 (AM & PM), Johannesburg 60 (PM), Sheffield 74 (AM), Blackpool Toastrack 166 (PM – after launch), Leeds 180 (AM & PM), Blackpool Pantograph 167 (AM & PM), MET 331 (AM), Leeds 399 (AM & PM), Glasgow 812 (AM), London Transport 1622 (PM), Berlin 3006 (AM & PM – with break for photo line-up)
Other Stars of the Day:
Gateshead 5 (Grimsby & Immingham 50 Years since closure Depot Yard line-up), Grimsby & Immingham 14 (Grimsby & Immingham 50 Years since closure Depot Yard line-up), Blackpool Standard 40 (166’s launch into service), Cardiff 131 (demonstration runs in main line – PM), Blackpool Toastrack 166 (launch into service), Sheffield 510 (Trams due to enter Workshop for Overhaul Depot Yard line-up), Liverpool 869 (Trams due to enter Workshop for Overhaul Depot Yard line-up & demonstration run on main line – PM), Berlin 3006 (Trams due to enter Workshop for Overhaul Depot Yard line-up)
Monday 30th May – Beside the Seaside Day 2
Sadly the second day of the Beside the Seaside event was met by very wet weather which obviously put off a lot of potential visitors and shows just how big a part the weather can play in getting the punters through the door of our heritage tramways in the UK. The weather also caused a lot of the family activities to be put under cover with the children’s entertainer doing his entertaining in the Exhibition Hall with other events taking place in the main Depot.
On the tram front six trams had been assigned to the service and in the end this proved to be quite enough with the lack of visitors present at the Museum. Because of the weather the hoped for Blackpool tram theme (to go with the Seaside theme of the event) didn’t materialise with only Pantograph 167 able to be used. The other trams in service at the start of the day were Glasgow cars 22 and 812, London cars 1622 and 331 and Leeds 180 – a distinct enclosed feel with the exception of the balconies on 22!
Unfortunately mid way through the morning 167 suffered a fault at Glory Mine with reports suggesting this is a recurrence of the motor bearing fault it suffered at Blackpool last September. The tram was left on the left hand (as you come from Wakebridge) loop line at Glory Mine which meant that for a few hours all journeys had to terminate just short of the loop before some clever trolley manoeuvring for the return journey to Wakebridge. 167 was rescued mid afternoon with Blackpool Electric Locomotive assisting in this operation. The crew of 167 were utilised in the afternoon on Berlin 3006 making seven passenger trams in use on this wet Bank Holiday Monday.
For The Record…
Trams in Service:
Glasgow 22, Blackpool Pantograph 167, Leeds 180, MET 331, Glasgow 812, London Transport 1622, Berlin 3006
Related Content on British Trams Online
Gallery 262: Crich Enthusiasts Tram Event & Beside the Seaside 2011 – 83 photos from Gareth Prior