Following the initial announcement in regard of the planned special events programme for Crich Tramway Village, what is apparently a full list of events for 2014 has now been released. Although it was generally expected that the number of major events would be reduced from past years due to the fact that many events attracted no more visitors than an average summer weekend, it has come as quite a shock that just eight events are being planned for next season.
Presumably, the Tramway Museum Society are adopting the ‘less is more’ approach that has worked well for Blackpool Transport’s heritage tram operation. However, rather than cut the number of ‘normal’ open days, the museum/village will continue to open daily from late March, and instead it is the special events that have been slashed. Most of the events that have been retained are also held on Bank Holiday weekends, i.e. the 1940s weekend (Easter), Beside the Seaside (late May) and Alice in Woodland (August). Whilst none of these are targeted at the enthusiast market, any tram enthusiasts wishing to attend any of them will therefore be forced to choose between Crich and Blackpool’s heritage tram running days.
In addition to the above, the popular Edwardian themed weekend takes place on 12th & 13th July, a second 1940s weekend takes place on 9th & 10th August, and the Starlight Halloween event has expanded over two evenings, 31st October & 1st November (not a whole week as previously suggested). Of more interest to tram enthusiasts will be a special event to re-launch Sheffield 510 following a major overhaul and repaint in May, as well as the previously confirmed ‘Electric 50′ celebrations in September. Surprisingly, no events have been scheduled at all during the month of June. It is also notable that established and popular annual events such as the Mini Meet, Red Oktober and the Emergency Vehicles Day have all been axed. No plans have yet been announced for the launch into museum service of Blackpool 762, which is expected at some point in 2014, so hopefully an extra event will be arranged to celebrate this.
Hopefully despite some initial criticism, the decision to reduce the events programme at Crich will prove to be the right one and this will not have an overly adverse effect on visitor numbers in 2014. Clearly the efforts being made to stage so many events was becoming unviable, and it must be hoped that those events that are being held will be successful.