Crich Tramway Village have uploaded details of the first few special events for the 2014 season to their website – although thus far this consists of little to interest the tram enthusiast market. Just four ‘premiere’ events have been confirmed so far, these being two 1940s themed weekends, as well as the familiar ‘Beside the Seaside’ and Edwardian events.
The announcement of two 1940s weekends has come as a bit of a surprise, as it had previously been stated that the Easter event had been axed and only one such event would take place next year. However, those who want to get a taste of wartime Britain now have two weekends to choose from to visit Crich for this popular event; 20th & 21st April, or 9th & 10th August. Another surprise is that the Edwardian weekend will be held on 12th & 13th July, although the Tramway Museum Society news bulletin ‘Contact’ had previously stated that this event would be moved to September! Oddly, a note is added stating that the Edwardian event may be subject to change, although no such comment is provided for the other events. As the revisions to the rather stale events programme had been part of departing General Manager Tony Hill’s plan to try and improve the museum’s fortunes, it is hard to ignore the feeling that his ideas are now being quietly abandoned, despite insistence that they will still be implemented.
The only other event to be confirmed at the time of writing is ‘Beside the Seaside’, which will be held on 25th & 26th May. Presumably this will feature a good number of the resident Blackpool cars operating, but as this will almost certainly clash with Blackpool Transport’s heritage tram operation, it is unlikely that many Blackpool tram fans will visit Crich that weekend! Surely moving this event to a different date would have been a beneficial move if the museum seriously wants to attract more visitors?
Hopefully, future announcements will offer much more appeal to tram enthusiasts and offer some much-needed innovation, which will hopefully help to turn around the worrying trend of falling visitor numbers at the National Tramway Museum. With the 50th anniversary of electric tram operation at Crich due to be celebrated next year and Sheffield 510 and Blackpool 762 expected to be re-launched into service, there is a lot of potential to encourage more enthusiasts and the general public to visit and hopefully these opportunities will be fully exploited.