Following the latest relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in England (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate rules made by their devolved governments), as from 4th July it will be possible for tourist attractions to reopen – and this includes heritage tramways. However, with restrictions still in place it will be a different experience for visitors with social distancing still being put into practice as an example. Shortly after the government made the announcement it was confirmed that both the Crich Tramway Village and Seaton Tramway would be re-opening in July.
For Crich reopening will be from Saturday 11th July and initially the museum will be open Tuesdays-Thursdays (1000-1600) and Saturdays and Sundays (1000-1730). It will remain closed on Mondays and Fridays with last admission on all days 90 minutes before closure. With a restriction in numbers which can be carried on board trams, timed tickets will be issued on a first come, first served basis at the Admissions office. This will only be valid for a return tram journey from Town End to Glory Mine and back and it will not be possible to board or alight a tram at any intermediate stop. It is possible, however, to request another timed ticket if you wish to travel again later in the day.
The museum have released full guidance for visiting on their website which should be read before visiting. This includes confirmation that face coverings must be worn on board trams and that the depots will be closed to visitors as it won’t be possible for social distancing to be employed in the tight confines. Exhibition areas will have one-way systems put into place as there will also be limited capacity in these along with shops, catering and toilets.
Enhanced cleaning measures have been introduced both in the buildings and also the trams whilst a number of hygiene stations and hand sanitiser dispensers have been added around the site.
Anyone visiting Crich is advised to pre-book through the website where possible and to check before travelling for the latest information. All the measures introduced at Crich are for safety of staff, volunteers and visitors and are understandable in the present climate. But hopefully they will provide confidence for some to visit the museum at a time when every penny counts.
Down in Devon, meanwhile, and the Seaton Tramway are going to be quick off the mark as they will reopen from Saturday 4th July at 1000. Details of the service which will be operated have yet to be revealed but as with Crich they have sought to reassure any prospective visitors that they will be taking all possible measures to ensure the safety of staff and visitors whilst they visit.
This will include the compulsory wearing of face masks, contact details being taken of all visitors (to aid track and trace), hand sanitiser stations on all entrances and exits, temperature checks on all staff, sneeze guards at till points, floor markings and limited capacity on board trams.
For both Crich and Seaton this is hopefully the first step towards normal operations at some point in the future but they will both be very different attractions for the time being. There will still be some of you out there who may feel it is too early but others will be itching to get out and about again. Just remember, everyone will have different viewpoints and neither one is correct but slowly and surely the UK will have to learn to live with the “new normal” to see what is possible in this climate.