In an unexpected but very welcome development it has been announced that Newcastle 114 is to visit the Crich Tramway Village for the Electric 50 celebrations taking place at the home of the National Tramway Museum on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September. The loan will enable Crich to fill a gap in their collection as they will be able to illustrate an electric uncanopied open top car mounted on a four wheel truck.
Newcastle 114 – which is of course normally based at Beamish: The Living Museum of the North in County Durham – is an “A-class” tram and was one of 24 constructed for Newcastle Corporation Tramways by Hurst Nelson and Co. Ltd in Motherwell in 1901. After its career ended in the northeast it was sold to Sheffield and ran in the steel city until final withdrawal in 1951 after which it was sold on for further use. It was discovered in use on a farm near Scunthorpe and eventually ended up at Beamish in 1987. A full restoration took place over the following nine years with 114 triumphantly entering service in May 1996.
Both Crich and Beamish are delighted with the news of the loan. Colin Heaton, Chairman of the Tramway Museum Society, said: “Crich Tramway Village and Beamish, the Living Museum of the North have a long, friendly and fruitful relationship. I am delighted that in connection with our very special anniversary we are to host our first visiting tram from another heritage tramway. Newcastle 114 will be a welcome representative of it’s Museum at our celebrations and provides an opportunity to experience a type of tram not yet present in the collection at Crich.”
Paul Jarman, from Beamish, commented: “I’m delighted that Beamish and the TMS are working together again, and that this time we are able to send one of our trams to Crich for a working visit. It further strengthens our relationship and is the fruition of a great deal of behind the scenes hard work by the staff and volunteers at Crich to put together an imaginative programme for the September event – I for one am greatly looking forward to being there and seeing the fruits of all their work!”
With the news that 114 will be making the trip to Crich the Electric 50 celebrations on 13th and 14th September look set to be one of the highlights of the tram calendar in 2014. It will be the second on loan tram to run at Crich this year following in the footsteps of Blackpool Balloon 711 (on loan for 2014 having already entered service during May) and with Blackpool & Fleetwood Box 40 also due to return to its “home” following Fleetwood Tram Sunday there should be plenty to keep even the most hard to please tram enthusiast happy (let’s not forget that Blackpool Pantograph 167 will also be back by then). The highlight of both days is due to be a 25 tram Cavalcade with the Saturday celebrating 50 Years of Electric Operation at Crich with tramcars in the order of first electric operation at Crich and the Sunday version will feature “The Development of the Tram”. An intensive tram service will feature on both days (with at least 15 trams in service at any one time – up to 25 different trams should run each day) and there will also be unusual photo opportunities. It is also hoped to display Newcastle 114 alongside fellow Newcastle tram 102, part of the withdrawn Crich fleet.