Another season ends at Crich

The 2012 season at Crich Tramway Village came to an end on Sunday 4th November, with Metropolitan 331, Leeds 399 and Glasgow 812 in service on this cold and damp day. The final passenger journey of the year was performed by Leeds 399 – highly appropriate as this popular workhorse has been one of the most regularly used cars of the year.

2012 has been a year of great ups and downs at Crich. Sadly, visitor numbers remain in serious decline with most of the year’s special events recording lower attendance numbers than those from 2011. There have also been concerns over falling numbers of volunteers, and at times finding enough people to crew the trams needed to operate a respectable level of service has proved difficult. An Emergency General Meeting, requested by a number of members unhappy with the Board of Management and the direction that the Museum seems to be taking, did not help matters either, although in the end Tramway Museum Society members voted against the proposed changes to the management structure. Despite this, it would appear that there is a desire to make changes to try and reverse some of the negative trends affecting this Museum.

However, in many respects 2012 has been an excellent year for Crich with some of the best enthusiast events seen there for many years, and a very credible total of 22 different passenger trams used during the year. High points included the succesful launch of Blackpool ‘Boat’ 236 and Blackpool Brush Railcoach 630, both of which have been very useful and popular additions to the operating fleet. Unfortuantely London United Tramways 159 suffered a derailment on its launch day and did not run in public service again, although its launch did generate some very useful publicity for the Tramway Village. Other highlights included the repainting of two trams – Berlin 3006 and Paisley 68 – into different liveries, creating much additional interest at fairly minimal cost, and the re-entry into service of both Blackpool 167 and Leeds 345 following workshop attention. However, the most memorable event of the year for most people will almost certainly be the Glasgow 50 weekend, which saw Glasgow ‘Coronation’ 1282 back in service after a nine year absence, and the rare appearance out of doors by Glasgow 1115, amongst many other highlights. Events such as this one have proved that Crich is fully deserving of its ‘National’ title, and hopefully such levels of interest will be maintained in the years ahead.

Looking ahead to 2013, and hopefully LUT 159 will settle down into regular use with work to rectify some minor issues currently underway. It is also hoped that Blackpool Jubilee car 762, which arrived on site in November 2011 but has not yet run its own under power at Crich, may join the active fleet, along with Sheffield 510 which is now undergoing a major overhaul funded by the Tramcar Sponsorship Organisation. Hopefully these and the recent additions already mentioned will ensure that a large number of trams remain operational for many years to come, ensuring that there will be no shortage of variety and interest for visitors. Some of the best happenings of 2012 were rather unexpected ones however, so maybe the same will be true of 2013… only time will tell!!!

One of three trams in service on the last day of the 2012 season, Glasgow 812 is pictured here in front of the workshop a week earlier, during the Museum's annual Halloween event. (Photo by Andy Bailey)

Chesterfield 7 is seen returning to the depot on 27th October, as another busy year for this tram draws to a close. (Photo by Andy Bailey)

This entry was posted in Crich Tramway Village. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Another season ends at Crich

  1. Geoffrey Ryder says:

    I think that although the EGM (which I attended) may not have achieved its objectives directly, it did serve as a wake up call to the Board that certain matters at the museum required urgent attention. Positive changes and improvements are now apparent which otherwise may not have happened.

  2. Andrew Blood says:

    A challenging season for Crich in 2012 but one in which they seem to have made real progress, especially with catering for the Enthusiast market. Here’s to an even better season in 2013 and even more fantastic events and surprises.

Comments are closed.