The Crich depot shuffle

The tram depots at Crich have undergone some significant shuffling recently, as workshop staff and volunteers try to fit as many trams into the existing buildings as possible. This has come about due to the addition of three more trams from Blackpool in recent months, with the imminent return to service of a few other cars also creating some further head-scratching.

Due to the decision being made not to proceed with constructing extra depot accomodation at Crich, for the time being at least, every bit of covered space is now being used to its maximum potential. Depot V is completely full of trams with Cardiff 131, Newcastle 102, Prague 180, Sheffield 189, London County Council 106 and Blackpool 49 currently residing there. The smaller Depot VI is being used as a store for some of the larger trams in the collection that are not operational, with long-term resident New York 674 now joined by Halle 902 and more recently, Gateshead 5.

There has also been plenty of change in the main running sheds, with inactive cars stored at the rear of most tracks. Road 4 is traditionally used for works vehicles and other trams stored out of use, and this is still the case. However, when Grimsby & Immingham 14 was brought out for a photo opportunity on Saturday 12th May, Leeds 2 was put behind it so that 14 will be more accessible in readiness for a suggested visit to Immingham Museum which may occur this summer.

Blackpool Jubilee car 762 is now at the back of road 5 with two other Blackpool trams, 167 and 298, on road 6. Brush Railcoach 298 has swapped places with Gateshead 5 having previously been more hidden away in Depot VI. Sheffield 510 remains on road 7 awaiting its turn in the workshop and alongside is Glasgow 1282 on road 8, with Liverpool 869 at the back of road 9. Roads 10 and 11 are filled with serviceable trams, but as road 12 is only accessible via the traverser, Edinburgh 35 is kept at the back with Oporto 273 recently moved in front of it. At the front of this track is Sheffield works car 330 which has in fact been commissioned for use this year, but now that Cardiff 131 is back home from Blackpool it is unlikely to be needed again.

The final move has seen the withdrawn diesel shunter engine Rupert transferred to the Exhibition Hall, where it is hidden behind a sheet close to the horse trams. Although this looks untidy in what is now a very well-presented exhibition space, at least moves like this mean that the entire collection is safely accomodated undercover, something which many other preservation groups must be envious of. However, these movements once again highlight the lack of space available for any further acquisitions and hopefully a proper solution to this issue will be found before too long.


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