It is well known that the conditions in the main running sheds at Crich Tramway Village are less than ideal for housing a priceless collection of vintage trams, in their current condition. Now, a serious effort is being made to assess the temperature and humidity in the depots as well as the Exhibition Hall, the library and at the off-site Clay Cross store.
One of the biggest problems facing the museum is the damp environment in which many of its trams are stored, particularly in winter when the operational trams endure a fairly long period of inactivity. It has often been noted that the cars inside are soaking wet when they are moved to the workshop for commissioning, and the evaluation taking place will hopefully go a long way towards finding a cost-effective way to help better conserve the trams. To achieve this aim, the buildings listed above have all had tiny tag monitors installed to assess the humidity and temperature, which can then be compared to determine which buildings offer the best conditions for the fleet and which require improving. Tags will also be fitted to two of the trams inside the depots to monitor the affect of the conditions on them. This seems like a positive step regarding the conservation of the museum’s irreplaceable collection of trams, and it is hoped that this could lead to major improvements to the main depots, something which has often been suggested as something which the museum really needs.
Another development involving the depots at Crich, which should be more immediately obvious to visitors, is the agreed addition of interpretive display panels for the trams housed in the depots. This follows on from the provision of information about the individual trams in the Exhibition Hall and will go a long way towards fulfilling the museum’s requirement to educate visitors about its exhibits. The panels will be in place by the start of the 2015 season and should enhance the depots as an attraction in their own right as well as being an essential storage facility.