On 5th July 1964, a huge piece of transport preservation history was made, when Blackpool & Fleetwood 2 became the first electric tramcar to operate in public service at the Crich Tramway Museum. Not only was this a massive leap forward for the site which became Britain’s National Tramway Museum, but also represented the first such operation of a passenger tram in a museum environment in the UK. Fifty years on, and plans are now afoot to celebrate this important milestone in grand fashion.
It has now been announced that the main event to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of electric tram services at Crich will be held on the weekend of 13th and 14th September 2014. This seems slightly odd as there was no real reason why the occasion could not have celebrated on the exact date of the anniversary, which conveniently falls on a weekend next year. The event will also incorporate the annual enthusiasts event, so rather than providing an extra tram-orientated event, will merely be an expansion of an existing one, similar to the excellent ‘Glasgow 50′ weekend staged last year.
No further details have yet been released as to what the weekend will entail, but it is anticipated that this will be one of the most ambitious events seen at Crich for some time. Initial suggestions have included a ’25 tram spectacular’ which could well see some currently inactive trams return to use. Hopefully ‘Rack’ 2 will be recommissioned so that it can play a key role in this occasion, due to its significance as the electric tram that inaugurated the museum’s public service. The all-important first day also witnessed Blackpool Standard 49 in service, and whilst this tram has not run since 1992, it would be nice if it could at least be displayed outside to recognise its involvement in that historic first day. Sheffield 46 also ran on that day, but is currently outstationed at Clay Cross and is therefore unlikely to appear. However, several other trams which ran at Crich during the early years, such as Glasgow 22, Blackpool 40, Leeds 180, Sheffield 510 and Glasgow 812, all remain active and could play a starring role.
The ‘Electric 50′ event will clearly be a great opportunity for the museum to remind its critics exactly why it has earned its ‘National’ tag, and will hopefully provide one of 2014′s tram-related highlights.