One of the most elusive trams in the national collection at Crich Tramway Village made an extremely rare appearance outside on Saturday 25th August, as preparations for the upcoming Glasgow event on 15th & 16th September. The tram concerned was Glasgow 1115, which is normally trapped right at the back of the Great Exhibition Hall, but has been moved to the main depots in readiness for a starring role at next month’s event.
1115 is a Kilmarnock bogie double-deck tram which ran at Crich in the early years of the museum, but has not operated since the 1970s. Between 1992 and 2010, it was entombed within the ‘Tram at Night’ display within the Exhibition Hall which was literally built around it, but a remodelling of the static exhibition area in 2010 allowed the tram to see daylight once more. Unfortunately the car was soon positioned in a very bad place, making it difficult to extract it, and many enthusiasts hardly dared to hope that it would emerge again for many years.
However, in a very welcome move, efforts have been made to ensure that 1115 will feature in the event being held to mark 50 years since the closure of the Glasgow tram system and a massive shunting operation took place on the morning of August 25th to release the tram. This was no easy task as three other trams which are also rarely moved were in the way, and all three had to be moved outside before 1115 could make its bid for freedom! First to emerge was Douglas 1, making its second appearance out of doors this year, and this was followed by Blackpool Conduit car 4 and Derby 1. The latter was an especially rare move to the delicate structural condition of the tram. Once Glasgow 1115 had been moved to road 7 inside the depot complex, its place in the Exhibition Hall was taken by Blackpool 49 which will temporarily become the centrepiece of the 1920s display, and the other trams were then put back in their usual positions. This means that 49 is currently standing next to Blackpool Balloon 249, reuniting the duo for the first time since 49 left its home system some fifty years ago!
Those involved in the exercise to bring Glasgow 1115 outside deserve considerable praise, and although unable to run under its own power, many people will never have seen this tram outside at all. With Glasgow 1282 now commissioned and the repainting of Paisley 68 as Glasgow 1068 almost complete, the combined Glasgow/Enthusiast’s event at Crich looks set to be one of the best tram events of 2012 and hopefully will be rewarded with the good attendance figures it deserves.