Berlin 223 006-4 to celebrate its birthday at Crich

An extra event has been announced at Crich with Access Tram, Berlin 223 006-4, set to take centre stage on Monday 30th September. The day will be a 50th anniversary celebration of the entry into service of the tram in its home city and will see 223 006-4 allocated to service as one of the main service cars at Crich rather than just performing its regular morning and afternoon access tram trips.

The tram has been in Derbyshire since withdrawal in Berlin in 1996 and entered service as the Access Tram in 1997 with 2019 being the 23rd season of its operation during which time it has clocked over 16,400 miles on the line between Town End and Glory Mine. But the tram’s history goes back much further than that having first entered service in 1969.

The tram – which has carried three numbers in its career – is a TZ69 Rekowagen (or Reko for short) which means reconstructed in English. It was built by East Berlin Transport in the Railway Works at a time when it was difficult to acquire new trams and was one of 200 built in 10 years from 1959. Its original number was 5131 before it was renumbered 223 006-4 in 1971 and finally 3006 in 1992. It has held the identities of the last two in its time in Derbyshire, starting off as 3006 before a repaint into the current cream livery saw it return to the longer 223 006-4.

It now fulfils a vital role at Crich as the Access Tram with a wheelchair lift to allow the less able the chance to have a ride on a vintage tram at the museum, something which wouldn’t be possible without this tram for many.

Usually confined to running, as required, two trips a day at 1130 and 1430 on Monday 30th September it will be able to up its own mileage for the year as it will be running throughout the day between 1030 and 1700. And the crew for the day will be wearing BVB (East Berlin Transport) uniforms. There will also be photos and other items available to view as part of the interpretation of the tram.

In its first Crich guise as 3006 in the orange livery we see the tram just leaving depot on 8th June 2008. (Photograph by Gareth Prior)

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