The annual Enthusiasts’ Day at the Crich Tramway Village took place on Saturday 14th September. As usual the day saw some rare trams out of the depot and Exhibition Hall on display for the visiting enthusiasts with two main line-ups plus an intensive tram service using different trams in the morning and afternoon. Gareth Prior reports.
Over the past couple of years it would be fair to say that the Enthusiast based events at Crich have undergone a resurgence with more rare trams put on display rather than the same old vehicles being rolled out year after year. After the success of the Glasgow 50 celebration in 2012 a lower key event was planned this year but even so it did not disappoint with one very rare tram out in the open, a debut appearance for a tram at Crich as well as several trams on display which very rarely get the chance to shine in the open.
The day started with plenty of activity around the depot as the eight trams due to operate the service in the morning starting to make their preparations before leaving the depot and forming a small cavalcade down to Town End. The eight trams to see service in the morning were Glasgow 22, Blackpool 40, Sheffield 74, Blackpool 166, Blackpool 167, Blackpool 236, Leeds 345 and Berlin 223 006-4.
Even whilst those trams were leaving the depot the first “set-piece” of the day had been set up on the depot fan over by the Workshop. Titled “Little and Large” this saw one of the smallest and certainly the largest trams in the fleet posed side by side – and when they are displayed like that you can certainly see the size difference! The two trams were Sheffield 15 (which would also play a starring role in the afternoon) and Blackpool 762 – I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to work out which was Little and which was Large.
With all of the service trams out of the way the next display of trams started to be put together with the Blackpool Electric Locomotive on hand to drag London Transport 1 out of the depot (where it had been moved from its former resting place in the Exhibition Hall the previous day). This saw 1 dragged slightly out of the depot complex to enable it to then be pushed back down onto the sub track in the middle of the depot yard (of note was that the Croydon Tramlink pair of 058 and 061 had been moved away from the depot and were stabled at Glory Mine throughout the day, although to be honest the first I had even noticed they had been moved was when I went to Glory Mine for the first time!). With 1 in place the Loco turned its attention to Blackpool 762 which was moved from its “Little and Large” display and placed at the back of the depot. The London line-up continued to be created in the next half hour or so with first London Transport 1622 and London United Tramways 159 moved under their own power from the depot and then currently withdrawn MET 331 was pulled into position by the Loco. And so the four tram London line-up was completed (obviously there is a fifth London tram on site but London County Council 106 is currently in the Workshop undergoing overhaul.
Next up there was some general shunting with Oporto 273 moved from the rear of Road 12 onto the Traverser and then into the Workshop. This tram is now expected to receive attention there before eventually returning to the operational fleet after a couple of years out of use.
As part of the pre-published programme of events there was due to be a “Lunchtime Surprise” with a tram displayed on the depot fan which is very rarely seen out in the open – and this surprise certainly didn’t disappoint! The tram in question was Leicester 76 which has spent the past 38 years out of service and has been a constant exhibit in the Exhibition Hall since that structure was opened. Anyone who had looked inside Depot V on arrival at the Museum would have noticed that the tram was there but even so it was good to see a surprise during the day as it just adds to the excitement over not quite knowing what is going to happen next! Rather than leave 76 on the Traverser as normally happens with display trams 76 was dragged into the depot yard where it was posed in the sun (which decided to put in an appearance soon after 76 did!) just in front of the entrance to the Exhibition Hall. At this stage the London line-up was dissolved although 1 remained in position for a while which enabled some rare photos of the two stars together (albeit with several tracks in between).
Soon afterwards the first of the morning service trams started to return to depot which gave more photo opportunities around the depot as they passed trams which they won’t have passed in quite some time. After the crews took their well earned lunch breaks more trams started to enter service with a further eight seeing service meaning a very creditable 16 trams operated in normal passenger service during the day (plus Cardiff 131 which was used on demonstration runs with passengers allowed on board). The afternoon service cars were Chesterfield 7, London United Tramways 159, Leeds 180, Leeds 399, Blackpool 630, Glasgow 812, Glasgow 1068 and London Transport 1622. With trams coming in, trams going out and trams still on display the depot became a very busy place to be and there were plenty of impromptu photographic opportunities provided one of the highlights of which was Chesterfield 7 alongside Leicester 76 in their similar liveries.
More general shunting then took place around the depot with first 76 being put back into the depot for the first time swiftly followed by London Transport 1. MET 331 was then moved – under its own power having been shunted by the Loco earlier in the day – from the Workshop to the rear of track 12. Leicester 76 was then pulled out of the depot again temporarily to allow Edinburgh 35 to be shunted into its usual place in the middle of track 12 with 76 then put in front of it (it is planned that the Leicester car will be returned to the Exhibition Hall in the near future so it needs to remain easily accessible). Finally Leeds 345 was able to put away into the depot having been stabled in front of the Workshop whilst all the shunting was ongoing.
Attention then turned to the final depot line-up of the day, the much anticipated Horse Car line-up. Sheffield 15 was already on the depot fan following its morning display with Blackpool 762 but there were another four horse cars to move, with three coming from the Exhibition Hall. First up was Chesterfield 8 which was moved onto the Traverser and then the depot fan followed swiftly by Oporto 9. The next horse car was a bit trickier as diesel locomotive Rupert was in the way so this had to be moved first which was duly done with Cardiff 21 then moved straight away, with the pair sharing the same Traverser move. The chance was then taken to move the Snaefell Mountain Railway Truck from its previous position in the Exhibition Hall. With these four horse cars now in position the final member was then prepared for movement: Leeds 107. In the lead up to the event there had been confusion over whether this tram would be able to make an appearance following its recent incident in Leeds but the go-ahead was finally given a few days before the event. 107 was dragged out of the Workshop and was then gently displayed alongside the other four trams, thus completing the stunning Horse Car line-up.
After a while a start was made on putting the horse cars back into their rightful homes, with those heading for the Exhibition Hall being put in slightly different positions and 107 put back into the Workshops as investigations continue. The afternoon service cars then started to return to depot as another hugely successful Enthusiasts’ Day at Crich came to a conclusion. Just what will they come up with next year?!
The Event in Numbers
1 London tram on display as part of the morning London line-up ahead of moving into the Workshop for restoration.
4 Number of London Trams on display
5 Number of Horse Cars on display
17 Number of trams carrying passengers
30 Number of trams/bits of tram/other vehicles moved during the event
60 Johannesburg tram temporarily moved into Exhibition Hall as replacement for Leicester 76.
76 Leicester car making a surprise appearance, its first outside in many years
107 Leeds horse car making its first official public appearance at Crich
273 Number of Oporto tramcar moved into Workshop for attention to return it to operating condition
869 Number of Liverpool tram moved into Exhibition Hall temporarily for display
For the Record
AM – Glasgow 22, Blackpool 40, Sheffield 74, Blackpool 166, Blackpool 167, Blackpool 236, Leeds 345, Berlin 223 006-4
PM – Chesterfield 7, London United Tramways 159, Leeds 180, Leeds 399, Blackpool 630, Glasgow 812, Glasgow 1068, London Transport 1622
Plus Cardiff 131 operating passenger trips in morning and early afternoon
Depot fan set-pieces:
Little and Large: Sheffield 15, Blackpool 762
London: London Transport 1, London United Tramways 159, MET 331, London Transport 1622
Surprise!: Leicester 76
Horse Cars: Chesterfield 8, Oporto 9, Sheffield 15, Cardiff 21, Leeds 107
Other trams shunted:
Edinburgh 35, Oporto 273 (moved into Workshop), Rupert, Snaefell Mountain Railway Bogie Truck
Also on British Trams Online
Over 100 hundred photos from the day can be found in Gallery 402. Photos by Gareth Prior and Geoff & Hazel Quarmby
Elsewhere on the Internet
Mollsmyre has uploaded both photos and video of the day. The photos can be found at http://www.mollsmyre.co.uk/tramway-village-enthusiast-day.html and the video at http://youtu.be/s2MCQQBaq1s.