One of the most popular annual events to be staged at Crich Tramway Village, the Starlight Halloween event, has been expanded for 2014 to run for a full nine days, covering the whole of the school half-term holiday week in late October. A few innovations for this year joined the usual spectacle of special lighting effects in the village to create a very special atmosphere, with the highlight being provided by decorations fitted to Blackpool 167.
During late afternoon, 167 emerged from the confines of the workshop with coloured light bulbs suspended from its trolley tower, similar to the festoon lights which once adorned many Blackpool trams. In addition, further lights were strung around the upper body and around the destination boxes. Unlike last year, 167‘s temporary illuminations did not prevent visitors from riding on the tram which was a much better idea. The result was simple yet stunning, creating a unique attraction and adding considerably to the special event. Glasgow 812 was also decorated with various spooky additions inside its upper and lower saloons, and both of these trams are expected to be regular performers in service for the next week. Further spooky scenes could be found around the site, including a number of ghoulish characters which were draped over some trams inside the depots and the Exhibition Hall!
Due to cold and damp weather conditions, it was rather sensibly decided not to run either of the open Blackpool tramcars fitted with light bulbs – Toastrack 166 or Boat 236 - on this first day, although the Boat car was brought outside in the evening and displayed in the depot yard with its orange light bulbs looking very impressive in the dark. Another Blackpool tram, Jubilee car 762, was also posed outside bringing back fond memories of the many illumination evenings when this tram operated on its home system, not so many years ago.
A number of small but imaginative ideas look set to make the 2014 Starlight Specials at Crich a fitting end to what has been a very memorable year for the National Tramway Museum. The event runs up to and including Sunday 2nd November, which is also the last open day for the museum this year, and hopefully the expanded event will be another great success to round off a year which has been generally positive at this attraction.