Crich50 – The Workshop View

As a bonus to the normal article on the events of the Sunday of the Crich50 celebrations we now present an article from Jack Gordon. Jack, as well as being the editor of Tramways Monthly, was volunteering in the Workshop on the day and provides his perspective on the day and also a short write-up of what happened on the final day of the Bank Holiday Weekend (when he was volunteering as a conductor – he certainly gets about!)

Arriving at about 9.20 on Sunday morning things were already moving about, with Electric Loco 717 moving TW3 to release GMJ – or should I say Ted? – for its duty later in the day. TW3 was then put back in the depot with 717 soon replaced. The schizophrenic GMJ/Ted was then moved in front of the workshop extension where it remained until its duty.

It was relatively quiet then until the tram crews started getting their trams out – this saw trams being seen all over the fan that were then being put away. At one stage Berlin 3006 was in front of the workshop and this needed to be moved quickly to enable Sheffield 15 to be released for its trip to Wakebridge carrying the “Fifty-Niners” behind GMJ/Ted. All was solved though and 15 was hand shunted and GMJ/Ted brought up in behind it before setting off for Town End – it departed at around noon being followed by Leeds 399. On its return to the depot fan 15 was hand-shunted into the depot and GMJ/Ted was sent to the centre siding, where it remained for most of the rest of the day.

Shortly before this the first photo opportunity of the day had been set up, with Sheffield 330 and Sheffield 189 both being extracted from Depot V and being placed beside each other. During this time other trams were displayed on the fan as mentioned above, including my personal favourite MET 331, which did un-authentically carry the “Enfield Town” destination briefly! There were also many questions about when Cardiff 131 would appear out of the workshop – to which we responded “all in good time”!

After about an hour in the open, Sheffield 189 was then replaced in Depot V, and it was time to get Cardiff 131 in the open! Opportunity was taken to pose the two Crich water cars together, and 131 was driven round next to 330, making a “request” stop along the way for a group of photographers.

Then, it was time for the main event of the day – a cavalcade of all the working trams. Three pages of text were written to describe how the cavalcade would work, with trams heading to various places – the newest to Glory Mine, others to Wakebridge, and some only as far as Cliffside. Unfortunately, this cavalcade ended up being delayed by over an hour by a spectacular dewirement of Sheffield 330 as we were moving it to the workshop to enable trams behind to be prepared for the cavalcade. The wire bounce also dewired Leeds 399. Nevertheless, after assessing the situation (a very bent trolley pole!) 330 was moved to the workshop and had its trolley straightened out allowing it to take part in the cavalcade.

For the cavalcade I had been assigned to 330, and we soon set off following MET 331 – I was naturally pleased! Once the rest of the cars behind us – Paisley 68 and Southampton 45 – caught up, we headed back towards Town End, waiting for the call down to the street. Over twenty trams were involved in the cavalcade – stretching right back to the Bowes Lyon Bridge – and a full list is at the end of this article.

After the cavalcade there followed the mammoth task of getting everything back where it belonged: passenger trams either back in service or to the depot, 330 back into Depot V and 131 behind GMJ/Ted on the centre siding.

After the organised chaos had subsided, it was time for the next line up of the day – the capitals line-up! Postman Pat was duly taken over to Track 11, where cars such as 1297, 106 and 35 normally reside, and set about extracting Edinburgh 35 and Hill of Howth 10. Cardiff 21, the visiting horse car, was also extracted from Depot V and kept on the traverser. Unfortunately there was a slight delay in London being represented as London Transport 1622 was delayed at Glory Mine because of a snapped trolley rope. Despite my hints to use MET 331 instead, 1622 was soon displayed to the north of 35. Because of this delay and the fact that we were already a good hour behind schedule, the line-up did not last as long as planned, as 1622 needed to be removed from the line-up to allow Cardiff 131 to be brought forward and displayed next to Cardiff 21. This saw quite a bit of shunting to get 1622 to the centre stub and 131 alongside 21.

Towards the end of the day 131 ventured onto the mainline again, as well as giving rides to various people – including myself and a couple of other BTO contributors. Despite nudges from us the BTO webmaster refused! (Webmaster’s note: in my defence I was a little concerned by this time of how I was getting back to Derby as East Midlands Trains drivers had decided not to work on this day and so I was having to catch a dreaded bus!) During this time 21, 10 and 35 were returned to the depots where they came from.

By the end of the day, trams were all over the place (Well… at the start of the day really!), with London 106 being in the Exhibition Hall on the Trade Stand normally occupied by Howth 10 and Glasgow 1297 was also in the Exhibition Hall behind Glasgow 1282. It was possible to see 1297 as well as 1, 264, DHMD 1 and 102 as the Exhibition Hall doors had been opened. There was also one more job left to be done – re-unite GMJ/Ted with the other “GMJ” nameplate – the “Ted” ‘plate has been removed and placed in store.

So, was it a good event? For me, definitely. This is only the fourth “big” event i’ve been to at Crich – and to be fair two of them (Tramathon and Enthusiasts’ ’08) I didn’t really see much off.

So, therefore, the official British Trams Online Rating is:


Trams in the Cavalcade (in order):

Cardiff 131

Leeds 399

Leeds 345

Glasgow 812

Paisley 68

Southampton 45

Sheffield 330

MET 331

Liverpool 869

Glasgow 22

Blackpool ‘Rack’ 2

Blackpool 40

Johannesburg 60

Blackpool Electric Loco 717

Blackpool ‘Toastrack’ 166

Sheffield 74

Chesterfield 7

London Transport 1622

Oporto 273

Berlin 3006

Other Trams on the mainline:

Sheffield 15


Other trams on display:

Cardiff 21

Hill of Howth 10

Edinburgh 35

By my count that gives a massive 26 trams outside on the day – one more than the TMS50 celebrations four years ago!

Monday 25th May 2009

While not enough happened to warrant a whole article, the Monday was very busy, and saw an intensive 6-minute service with five trams and the AccessTram. There were probably about a 700 visitors on site, and there was also a tractor display as well as some workshop shunting. Trams in service were Chesterfield 7, Southampton 45, Paisley 68, Blackpool 166 and Oporto 273 – trams very suited to the weather that was experienced – though the crew of 166 did get soaked as it was being put away!

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