Is Crich in crisis?

The worrying trend of declining visitor numbers at Crich Tramway Village, which has been apparent for several years now, has led to the museum management having to make some difficult decisions recently. It has been decided that the level of paid staff was unsustainable, and therefore a major restructure has taken place, with three senior staff being laid off.

Perhaps most surprising is the news that Museum Curator Glynn Wilton is one of the three people to have been made redundant. Instead, a number of posts have effectively been merged together, with the curatorial department now in the control of Laura Waters, who has been heavily involved with the Society’s archives in a professional role for a number of years. The other changes involve positions relating to management, education and marketing. The result is that three new posts have replaced a previous six, which should save the museum a considerable amount of money, no doubt necessary thanks to the appointment of a General Manager earlier this year. Indeed, it is presumed that this has led to the restructuring taking place.

Whilst some people have argued for some time now that the museum has become too reliant on paid staff and that highly paid management roles in particular could be reduced, the recent redundancies certainly set alarm bells ringing and give a clear message that all is not well at Crich. Hopefully the museum will be able to keep playing to its strengths, particularly the dedicated volunteer workforce, to ensure that the visitor experience does not suffer too greatly if further cutbacks prove necessary. It has already been well document that the workshop budget has been slashed this year, and work on trams which are not funded by external sources appears to have dried up in the last few years. This could be a major worry if trams continue to be withdrawn at a higher rate than overhauls are carried out, and whilst Crich boast a far larger operating fleet than any other UK museum tramway, it is hoped that this will not decline too much in the years ahead.

Another area of concern, is that a number of this year’s special events have been very poorly patronised. The recent ‘Capital Weekend’ was, according to several regular staff and visitors, not noticeably busier than a normal summer weekend, and the ‘1950s Rock & Roll Weekend’ was also rather quiet. The annual events programme is now being reviewed and it is likely that some of the less popular events will not be returning in 2014, as the time and expense taken to put on some events is not proving worthwhile. Hopefully the opportunity will be taken to introduce some new special events rather than merely reducing the programme, as it is perfectly possible that in some cases, low attendance figures may be a result of the fact that most events have been repeated for several years without many new additions. The 50th anniversary of electric tram operation at Crich next July is certainly a milestone well worth celebrating, and hopefully this will be fully exploited to encourage enthusiasts and the general public alike to visit any events held to mark this occasion.

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

40 Responses to Is Crich in crisis?

  1. Bob Hayes says:

    It is very much to be hoped that Crich is not facing a crisis. However, as museums – transport and others – have sought grants from public administrations there has been a steady drift towards the appointment of salaried staff. In fact some funding sources specifically require the engagement of external ‘expertise’.

    Whilst a grant is ‘live’ such labour costs are included as an element of the grant. Subsequently the salaries become an ongoing expenditure that has to be met from internal funding. Heritage Lottery and similar funding has helped see many projects completed. However the unfortunate consequences of such funding are:

    a) the risk of a grant-dependency culture developing

    b) increasing proportion of funds spent on salaries rather than exhibits

    c) managerialism replacing the voluntary ethos

    In the long term, not just because of current economic conditions, we need to sustain voluntarism and rebuild a more self-sufficient approach. I wish all at Crich well for the future.

  2. Tommy Carr says:

    In terms of events, crich need to hold more events like Glasgow 50 last year. The events in recent years have appeared to be less ‘exciting’ than in previous years, and the fact that more and more trams being withdrawn is not good. People visiting regularly are probably quite disappointed when the same trams always run, for example, cars like 40 and 399, and the fact that except for 159, there have been no ‘new’ cars since probably 273 in 2002.

    • Phill Spowart says:

      No new trams since 2002? Where have 345, 1068, 630, the boat, 166 and 131 vanished to?

      • Andrew Waddington says:

        I suppose it depends on your definition of ‘new’ – though I’d certainly agree with you on 131, 236, 345 & 630. 166 was an overhaul of a car that hadn’t been out of service for that long, and as for 1068 – lovely as it is – its only been repainted!

    • Gareth Prior says:

      I have never understood this argument people have against Crich saying its always the same trams running. If you go to any of our heritage tramways in this country on a non special event day you are going to constantly get the same trams and yet people don’t complain about that. Could it be that people have a different attitude to Crich and expect more than with other tramways? Which if it is so is rather ironic as people always complain that Crich has a different attitude to everyone else!

  3. David Jones says:

    Iwas a very early member/ subscriber. But I have thought for years that the location is wrong.too far from anywhere, poor transport links ( I used to pick up Stanley Swift on the last x2 from Nottingham ) . Today’s family tourist wants other attractions nearby, unless you have the financial clout of Alton Towers.
    Years ago , I had no car , so dropped out. Now, like everyone , We have two cars, but do not go because of the expense. I see no solution.

  4. Mike Norris says:

    Crich are masters of their own destiny.
    Unless you arrive by car, you are not made to feel welcome,
    Its a fair stretch to walk from the ‘front’ (door, as was ) to the entrance
    at the far end of the car park. I have knowledge that some of their
    sponsorship money was to include the re-opening of that very front
    door, for pedestrians, but it has not happened.
    Better spending your money at Peak rail, if you are in that area
    where your custom IS appreciated !

    • Colin Smith says:

      How very true. Many of the people I met at Crich when I last visited were unhelpful, bordering on being rude in fact, and the whole site is geared up for the private motorist, which is a real shame considering that the tram is so “green.” I no longer have access to a car and so am unable to get to Crich without it involving huge expense and, possibly, even an overnight stay.

  5. John Woodman says:

    The latest report on the National Tram Museum by your correspondent is no surprise to many concerned Members of the Tramway Museum Society. The Museum’s operating viability has been on a downward trajectory for several years with operating deficits increasing year on year. The effort of those Members of the TMS who see need for urgent reappraisal of the way in which the Society’s affairs are managed made their views known through the Extraordinary General Meeting over a year ago. Efforts to instil a degree of realism into the management of the Museum were out voted by a postal ballot which ensured the status quo was maintained.

    The underlying factors governing the financial viability of the Museum and its operations are beyond the competence of the Board and despite brave efforts of the newly appointed General Manager – it will prove to
    turn round this ship through the ditching of some of the crew.

    Without external funding continuing to buttress capital costs and to some degree the operating costs of the Crich Museum – the finances of
    the operation are beyond the tinkering stage. A more visionary and
    robust review of the Society’s approach to its collection and sustainability of the Museum has been long overdue for at least a decade.

    Location Location Location is the mantra for successful leisure development – not to mention any property based investment. Unfortunately being at the base of a redundant quarry on top of a hill in Derbyshire, without public transport access means that the economics of
    travel to the Museum is increasingly beyond the resources of the public unless they have a particular affection for old trams. Similarly the volounteer base on which Crich has subsisted over its 50 years is also affected by the cost of transport except – not to mention an ageing
    membership and declining pool of active Members. Inexorably the level of free labour will decline thus further inhibiting the ability of the Museum to maintain regular tram operation, not to mention the profusion of ‘events’ introduced to further stimulate visitor admissions.

    If the Board of Management had the foresight to look into the proverbial crystal ball and took time to consider external forces at work which make the present operation untenable in its current form – we might have seen a dynamic ‘blue skies’ approach emerge to the current travails. The
    state and content of the Society’s Annual Report is symptomatic of a blinkered frozen state of mind by the Members responsible for the Museum’s condition. It requires a magnifying glass to read the text and for all the platitudes and back slapping content – the financial numbers tell the real story that no amount of ‘spin’ can talk away.

    I wish the Museum well despite these words – and as a Life Member want to see the best solution for what is now an increasingly difficult situation. However with the same familiar names at the helm – its more a case of reorganising the deckchairs while the band plays on in the Major’s Bar. Perhaps time for another EGM – and installation of a new team running the Society’s affairs.

    John Woodman

  6. John Woodman says:

    My comment above PARA 2 LINE 4 – please add the words ‘be a massive challenge to’ and insert ‘just’ after ‘ship’

  7. Graham Feakins says:

    Yes, all rather disturbing and the location may well have something to do with it, especially as public transport to the museum is not exactly excellent these days. It didn’t stop us young volunteers in the past, though.

    Compare the message from this topic to the Bluebell Railway, which has just reported this: “(From This Is Sussex) “Tens of thousands of rail enthusiasts have stunned Bluebell Railway organisers with a surge in ticket sales after the line arrived at East Grinstead.

    “By the end of May almost 60,000 passengers had journeyed along the line since the start of the year, an increase of 36 per cent on last year’s figures.

    “The success of the line means the Bluebell Railway has brought forward additional projects, including plans to repair its Camelot locomotive.

    “Commercial manager Tim Baker was astounded by the success.

    “He said: ‘The opening of the extension to East Grinstead has really opened up all kinds of opportunities for both the Bluebell and the town of East Grinstead. With the current economic climate, it was very difficult to predict how popular the extension would be.

    “‘We always expected a lift in passenger numbers, but it is fair to say we have been overwhelmed with the number of passengers since the opening day.'”

    Nevertheless, I remain disturbed by the continuing reports as above of seemingly unfriendly TMS ‘front-line’ personnel. I personally have seen people turn back almost as they arrive or leave/complain shortly thereafter because of short shrift imparted – but that was a few years ago. I was assured that matters had improved but apparently not.

    • Graham Feakins says:

      P.S. to John Woodman – YES again! One perhaps needs to warm the paper containing the TMS annual report (issued to Society Members in fully-printed, booklet form) as I am sure it must be printed in invisible ink (lemon juice?)! What whizz-kid dreamt up the concept of printing the main text in almost the lightest grey possible? The HTML tags &c comments below this comment box reflect what we have been forced to try and read on paper. That sort of thing doesn’t exactly assist in regaining members’ support, I suggest.

  8. Geoffrey Ryder says:

    John Woodman is exactly right in what he says. I attended the E G M last year and was very disappointed that little was achieved on the day. I have looked at the Chairman’s Report for 2013 and, just like in 2012, no comments are made about the dire result for the year. However the diagram at the bottom of page 18 of the Report and Accounts says it all. I also note that no younger members have put their names forward to join the Board at the AGM this year, which is very sad. The new General Manager will have a very difficult task to turn round the fortunes of the Crich museum.
    Looking at some of the other comments, perhaps the time has come to look at establishing a second operating museum in the South with emphasis on trams which ran in London and the southern part of the Uk. Crich has just too many trams to look after and keep in an operating condition.

  9. Stuart Ibbotson says:

    Just a brief comment about Crich,I come about twice a year and notice the decline in visitors each time I visit,I have also noticed that there has been nothing done at Glory Mine and I have been told there are mine shafts in the area,couldn’t there a visitors viewing area up at Glory Mine where people can get off the tram and view the valley,and also fence off the area where it could be dangerous,and return on the next tram down if there is any room on the vehicle,or a visitors centre there.
    I agree with other people that it is the same event every year what you do,couldn’t you change things around and think of what to put on at Crich,keep the enthusiast day going,because I that is a special day for them.
    Thank you

  10. Tommy Carr says:

    Sorry, I forgot about 236 and £345! I meant to type in passenger cars as well!

  11. Andrew Batty says:

    Declining visitor numbers are not unique to Crich. It is certainly true it is not served well by public transport, being about 1000 feet up doesn’t help, and a reduction in disposable income has hit a lot of organisations and their visitors hard. Beamish museum is also in the middle of countryside, serves a similar audience and was apparently going to break the 500,000 barrier in 2012. Maybe there are some lessons there around diversifying the appeal of Crich to more than the trams per se and much more about the environment they worked in, their social impact, and lessons being relearnt today. Maybe this has all been looked at before, but that is no reason to do so again. Are there any combined tickets on offer with other attractions? Pensioners get free travel, are there any deals there? Can a classic bus be run from Whatstandwell station? What is the relationship with Crich the village? Beer festivals, music festivals, food festivals? Appeal to people under 40, buy a kids ticket the adult goes free and so on. Contract engineering to vehicles other than trams? Are the staff in boiler suits outward facing? If not why not? I could go on at much length, but it strikes me doing nothing will lead to slow decline as the target demographic ages and let’s face it, dies off.

    • Andy B says:

      The comment ‘Are the staff in boiler suits outward facing?’ I assume you mean the workshop staff. By being on public view we have a duty to talk to the customers. I always when looking up to the viewing gallery, give a friendly smile and say hello. It’s not hard to do and can get good responses from the public in engaging in conversation. I like to think that besides the workshop there is a good working relation between staff and volunteers in each department.

  12. Ian Buck says:

    As someone with an avid interest in trams in genera, not just from another era I find Crich not the best place to visit. The location is an issue, Beamish may be “in the country” but is well served by buses to the door and they give you your bus fare back!
    Heaton Park is a favourite of mine, just a fairly short walk from Bowker Vale Metrolink giving old and new together.
    However, I have found the friendliness of Crich most off putting, during my last visit got the impression that I was visiting a theme park out to make money that happens to run trams. The driver of our tram (the Berlin one) spent almost the entire journey complaining about the fact there were no conductors and he had to work on his own, the information he gave about the tram was incorrect and smiling definitely didn’t seem to be an option.
    We had driven a long way from the south of England because of the location problems and quite frankly were not impressed and this wasn’t our first visit, it will probably be our last which is a pity as I still haven’t seen 159 move yet.
    We shall definitely be visiting Heaton Park and Birkenhead however, where you are always welcomed with a smile.
    On the subject of the Bluebell – no surprise there – look where it is located, I am sure the half hourly train from London and Croydon helps as well as Southern actively publicising it as a good day out with attractive fares!

  13. David Edwards says:

    I agree with all the above comments especially those concerning visitors arriving on foot. What happened to the Tramathon? That used to get me to visit.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Tramathon was merged with Enthusiast’s Day a few years ago, and last year ran across a weekend rather than one day (although this year it’s back to a single day in September). The last few Tramathons were a bit lacking for various reasons – mainly the fact that not enough crews are available to run every serviceable tram at once, meaning that the only way to use the whole operating fleet was for crews to swap trams at lunchtime. Unfortunately this didn’t seem very fair on the volunteers who were expected to clean two trams rather than just one!

  14. David Holt says:

    The marketing name leaves a lot to be desired. “Tram City” or “Tram Town” would be far more upbeat, exciting and forward-looking than “Crich Tramway Village”.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I can see your point David, but does Crich offer enough attractions to justify calling itself a town or a city? Even ‘village’ is probably stretching it a bit!

      • David Holt says:

        Strictly speaking it’s a hamlet, but what hamlet (or village) ever had such a huge tram depot! The Red Lion is a town pub, the Assembly rooms is a city building, the Burnley tram office a town or city institution. The Salford Grand Union, presently in storage at Crich, could be the basis for a city centre of the future. An upbeat and open-ended forward vision is a great help in encouraging support and attracting attention.

  15. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    I visit Crich around 3 times a year. I started going in April 1970 and used to enjoy the journey by public transport. In them days either X2 from Manchester change to Midland General E at Matlock connections were good around 25 minute wait at Matlck. Or you could get the train from Piccadilly to Buxton and then the NW/Trent service 4 as far as Matlock and change however there was the option on both variations to go as far as Whatstandwell and walk up to Crich. I remember doing this walk with Stanley Swift on one occasion! Sadly the Midland line from Central direct to Matlock had just been abandoned a year or so before. These days TP is the only option from Manchester centre and the service at Matlock is reduced.
    It has to be said though that trips to Crich with people not into trams was interesting and very scenic as is Crich which nobody can deny.
    I have a preserved Crossley as most people are aware and for a number of years used to take it to the extravaganzas and later downgraded events. I often got the impression that there was the old bus/tram divide and they always wanted to have vehicles parked in the street. I did run a numbe of journies with the bus up and down and on the car park service which was difficult to say the least in respect of manoevering in tight spaces.
    I have always enjoyed going to Crich and I particularly liked the Glasgow/Enthusiasts weekend last August. Just wish there were more events like this.
    There also needs to be an acceptance that modern trams systems in Britain are good for Crich not a threat. Part of the problem is not encouraging enthusiasm for modern trams as well as old and thus drawing in younger members. I would be very sad to see Crich fail after the many years of time effort and money put into it. I am 62 but I am still enthusiastic about newre trams and buses ok I do not like the corporate images around but there is plenty else of interest. In summary you can not just stagnate into interest solely about first generation trams.

    • David Holt says:

      After they stopped the trains, I too used to catch the X2/452 from Manchester and then the E2 to Crich, arriving at 11 am I think. With Stanley on board there was always entertainment, like when he tumbled off his seat in a great clatter on the sinuous road going down into the valley from Taddington. He leaped up, whirled round, glared at the bus full of passengers and announced loudly “That was a blackout you know! I have them!”

  16. Arthur dawson says:

    Crich is not alone in its struggle to keep mind and body alive, all societies and clubs that are into rail transport/models etc have a problem with the age of their members getting older. A need to look into the present and future transport interests is lacking in a lot of cases, and as one well known “tram” person has said, “when we go so too will the societies/clubs” This issue needs an urgent address.

  17. Andy Parr says:

    I went to Crich last year with my wife and two small children. we’d “done” Gullivers World the day before. As a crank and knowing that Crich was nearby we decided to stay in a travelodge opvernight and then do Crich.

    I’m a crank but my wife isn’t, and we were both disappointed. Firstly, an argument about tickets at the desk. I’m a train driver with a Priv card, which gives a discount on many preserved railways, including Crich. I always keep a copy of the ATOC list on me to show doubters, and sure enough we met resistance. I politely argued my point, and we dd get discounted entry, but onbly with a lot of huffing and puffing from the clerk.

    Onto the trams – not enough running for my liking, and my son soon got bored. There wasn’t enough “non tram” interest for my wife – it all seemed to be a bit “third-rate Beamish”. I did fancy a ride in a small German tram, which had been adapted for wheelchair access. I was told it wasn’t running, then it did two trips with disabled and able bodied folk on board – which i missed – then was put away.

    The food offering in the pub was overpriced for what it was, service was terribly slow and lots of customers were muttering about it. The static displays were interesting to me, but with three other bored people in tow we left early.

    I have no desire to return. Not enough trams running for the cranks, not enough to do for non-cranks, a poor location to travel to, not much track – again down to the location.

    Admittedly I’m spoilt by having Heaton Park 10 miles from here, and Blackpool about 50 miles. But to go to Crich againm they’d have to put on something pretty special.

  18. Christoph Heuer says:

    Crich was more successful financially in the past. It is not financially successful now. So the question is: What has changed? I try to answer that question.
    In brief my theory is that the museum has tried to shift towards static exhibitions with a reduced tram service and this at a significantly higher entrance fee. At the same time other tourist attractions in the region have grown, especially those with a rail theme such as the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway and Peak Rail. The reduction in volunteer input has been answered with a reduction of the tram service and increased use of contractors and paid staff with the associated increase in cost. It would appear that this strategy has not worked.
    I offer various measures for discussion:
    a) Initially reduce the number of opening days in 2014. Hopefully this will both cut the cost of staff for the sales and catering outlets and allow a better tram service as the remaining volunteers are concentrated on fewer days.
    b) Enter a dialogue with all volunteers and past volunteers to establish all reasons for the decline in volunteer input and eliminate those reasons as far as possible to increase the number of volunteers again. Some reasons have been published in TMS publications but all pointed towards external factors beyond the control of the TMS. I don’t buy that argument.
    c) Look at the quality and price of food again and also at the souvenir items on offer. Compare those to other tourist attractions and alter both if necessary.
    d) Check your advertising efforts. I can not sensibly comment on those, as I do no know how much is being done but they do not seem to work as well as they used to.
    e) Look at other cost-cutting measures, especially where the museum might currently be over-engineering. Tramcar maintenance comes to my mind. How much do other museums do, especially Beamish?
    f) Analyse the success of other similar attractions and see if things can be copied. I’m open for suggestions on this one.

    • Andrew Batty says:

      I think you make some good points here. In my view work the things that bring in the income harder, and look seriously at what doesn’t. I’m not advocating cessation of an activity because it doesn’t pay it’s way now, but consider what added value it might bring in the future if costs could be contained. I went to see the 6 A4s at the NRM and I was struck just how much money was being spent on food. NRM food is not cheap and despite most visitors being of the grey hair brigade, huge amounts of money were being taken. Despite what you hear and read pensioners have been spared most of the recent cuts. A lot of them have money and will spend it in the right product.

  19. Mike Norris says:

    Adding to me much earlier comment and also in reply to Andrew (above)
    I comment as having been a trustee ( and financial guarantor ) of the Bolton Transport Museum in the 80’s, along with the TMS, where we were proud to have secured an early Manpower service scheme (MSC) to use unemployed, but knowledgeable & skillfull men, to restore old vehicles. The first tram restored was the Blackpool Tramway locomotive, which evidently was a good job as we were then asked to complete pantograph/pullman car 167 also. The upcoming Blackpool centenary celebrations also had the TMS
    ask us if they could also include the re-gauging & restoration of Hill of Howth
    car 10, which was done in time for its appearance (in stumble paintwork)
    at Blackpool, thence to go to Crich, where it remains today.
    Having stated my credentials, I regularly travelled to Crich by way of the TP from Manchester, changing at Matlock to the 140 service to Crich, so having made a longish journey, to have to fight with ticket staff to accept the discount that was offered in past years for bus passengers, was rather galling. I even showed them a copy of the Derbyshire visitor publicity, so can
    concur with Andy’s comments on ticketing (above also)
    This is why I criticise Crich’s attitude to non car customers and that
    flippin walk to the door from the front.
    Last item, then I’ll complete my rant, the hot food is awful, hence I want
    the freedom to be able to easily leave the premises ( front door) to give
    my customs to the cliff public house next door, which serves good food
    reasonable priced ( and the then the long walk back through the car park……. )
    ‘rant over’

  20. James Robinson says:

    I see 3 problems at the museum – 1. the street scene has not been developed in recent years. 2. too many Blackpool cars – around 10% of fleet. 3. Too many paid staff, few of whom operate the trams which are the main attraction.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Personally I believe that the Blackpool trams are some of the most popular at the museum – certainly the Balloon is something a lot of visitors can relate to, whilst the toastracks and Boat car are always popular in fine weather (and even not so fine weather actually!).

    • Ken Walker says:

      It’s inevitable that Blackpool cars represent a greater part of the collection, as all systems apart from Blackpool had closed by the early 1960s, when the preservation movement was inits infancy. This of course is also the main reason for the museum being located where it is: unlike preserved railways, the TMS couldn’t just take over and run part of a closed tramway, as not only had they all closed down but due to them running down public highways it wouldn’t have been an option anyway.
      No doubt the early preservationists who set up the TMS were lacking in funds, just like their railway counterparts, and were therefore unlikely to turn down an offer of land at Crich. As some have already said, getting to Crich by public transport was easier then and they couldn’t have been expected to foresee the present situation 50 years ago. To move the museum now, assuming that they have somewhere to move to, would no doubt be financially beyond their means. So I don’t have a problem with the location.
      The other problems upon which several people have remarked, are of course a different matter. I haven’t personally encountered rude staff, but I agree that the catering arrangements leave a lot to be desired.

    • Phill Spowart says:

      We have a load of Blackpool cars because they’ve been paid for. Likewise, the paid staff do things that support the museum running. Or will you volunteer to clean the drains?

  21. citizen 128 says:

    Totally agree with Andrew about the Blackpool trams. At this moment in time there will be lots of kids growing up with memories that will turn to nostalgia for the old fleet. Then when they are old enough to drive, Crich may well benefit either in volunteers or in visitor numbers. It worked for me. I agree with James about the street scene though it is rather boring.

  22. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    In respect of younger members as I commented earlier we need to foster an interest for younger people. The point I made about Crich representing an earlier generation of trams is very valid. Time did not stop in 1962 when Glasgow closed. We should be activley encouraging interest and preservation of more modern trams. These will be the trams the younger generation will remember and say “yes I used to ride on 2001” etc etc.
    Ther also needs to be an acceptance at Crich that other forms of transport particularly buses are not taboo. At the moment mention buses and it is akin to don’t mention the war!

    • Gareth Prior says:

      In fairness at last weekend’s “A Capital Weekend” there were two Routemaster buses in attendance and this is not the first time that some buses have been at Crich for special events. And of course Crich do encourage anyone with pre-1968 vehicles to attend the Museum. The trouble probably is that a lot of running buses are actually newer than that – it all depends what era do we think that Crich should be showing?

      And as far as younger members are concerned one very pleasing aspect of last Saturday was that there were a number of younger volunteers in attendance and indeed the whole event was organised by one of these younger members, which surely is a step in the right direction?

  23. Kevin Bartolf says:

    I visited Crich the other week on a weekday, not been for 10 years and nothing had changed! There hardly was a soul about, myself and my young lady travelled on 331 with 3 others at one point, if it was not for the coach tour with 40 people you could count the public. It is a great shame but they do need to up their game to bring the public in, I was very disappointed.

  24. Stuart Cooke says:

    The most frequent comment I get from friends visiting Crich is =When I went to Crich all the trams were inside , why don`t they park some outside .

  25. Deckerman says:

    Having read all the comments (and it must be one of the longest “threads” I have read in a long time which, if nothing else, at least shows just how much passion and comment Crich’s plight engenders) but if I may now be permitted to add my “pennyworth”.

    I concur with the majority of reasons stated and certainly about it’s location, cost, transport connections ( or lack of ), catering etc. But East Anglia Museum, Seaton and Beamish are hardly just off the M1, so I don’t think location is all the reason. In my visits, which are now purposely fewer and fewer, I would suggest that the single reason I find I no longer wish to return, is their general attitude to the visitor.

    What Crich seem to fail to realise is that whilst they may well have been the first “real” tram museum in the UK, they are no longer the only one, or even, it could be argued, the best one. So having an attitude that all visitors are a necessary evil that sadly have to be endured, is a very short sighted one, as once disgruntled, they will vote with their feet. And if enthusiasts, who will be perhaps a bit more forgiving, are also now fed up of their attitude, how do you think “Joe Public” will feel?

    There basically is not space to recant the full diatribe of lost opportunities, blatantly annoyed, ignorant and even offensive staff and this inherent belief that the fleet is their God given “Hornby Tram Set”, that the great unwashed have to sadly be allowed to mucky daily, in order for them to be able to open the gates again tomorrow and play trams. That attitude however would be fine, if it wasn’t for the fact that most ( not all- but enough), of the staff, seem hell bent on telling the great unwashed that they are just that. They are an annoyance, that means they have to be permitted to dirty their doorstep with their presence. I now choose specifically to visit those other tramway museums that don’t treat me, or my other fellow visitors, like something you should wipe off your shoe. And don’t forget that just like the Bluebell Railway etc, the vast majority of such attractions are not supported by enthusiasts. It is mummy, daddy and 2 .4 kiddies that keep them alive for the most part. So naff them off, which sadly Crich seems world class at doing and that’s not only your current revenue going or gone but also your future potential revenue too plus any new younger members too. Lose/ Lose. Not good!

    I genuinely hope that this place manages to sort itself out sharpish, or in time, the things that might suffer will be the trams themselves which are irreplaceable.
    We have seen too many losses, near disasters and the need for last minute saviours recently, to want to see any more, but ultimately, that could be the way it goes if Crich doesn’t start to learn it’s lesson and avoid having to permanently close it’s doors. I hope that we are still a very long way off that, but this mentality has been permeating Crich’s mind set for at least ten years that I know of, so nothings been learnt in all that time. So then you simply need to add a similar amount of time again, to how things are currently going and we might be having “Crich 10” events somewhere, rather than “Glasgow 50”!!

Comments are closed.