2021 looks set to be a year of change at the Crich Tramway Village with restorations start to come to a conclusion while work will start on the major restoration of Blackpool Brush Railcoach 298. With 298 set to be moved back to Crich from Clay Cross later this year it means that there will be some changes to those trams on display – both Derby 1 and Cardiff 21 will be leaving the museum site but not before they have one last day out in the open.
The body of 298 is currently located at Clay Cross and as we’ve known for a while will be returning to Crich for a start to be made on its restoration later this year. With the new underframe, currently being constructed by the Ffestiniog Railway, also due to be received coupled with the need to accommodate those trams which are in the final stages of restoration – London County Council 1, Newcastle 102 and London Transport 1622 – in the main depots a reorganisation of the main depots has been required.
This reorganisation has also enabled a refresh of the display in the Great Exhibition Hall which has been more or less the same since 2010 when it started the “Century of Trams” exhibition. This will see the Barnsley & District bus, no. 5, moved into the centre and will also allow Southampton 45 and Gateshead 5 to be more easily viewed by visitors.
Unfortunately, while this is mainly good news for the trams mentioned above – and the return to service of several trams, most of which haven’t been used for a number of years and some never at Crich – it does mean that some trams will have to say goodbye to the museum to provide space. Two trams will be departing – Derby 1 and Cardiff 21.
Cardiff 21 has been on loan at Crich since 2009 and has been part of the horse tram collection within the Great Exhibition Hall but is only restored cosmetically so has not been considered for service. This small double deck horse tram will now return to The National Museum of Wales after the best part of a 12 year holiday in the Derbyshire countryside.
The other tram which will make way is Derby 1 and its poor bent trolley pole! This tram will be making a return to Clay Cross, where it was located for around 20 years from the early 1970s until it was moved to Crich and treated to a cosmetic restoration for display in the Exhibition. A tram which hasn’t ever operated at Crich it is currently on a standard gauge truck which was from Blackpool’s illuminated Gondola (Derby’s tram system ran on a 4 foot gauge).
While it is always disappointing when a tram leaves public display, the fact that we are nearing the return to service of three other trams and with Blackpool 298’s own restoration about to commence in earnest means that there is a positive angle to this story. And don’t despair if you want to see the trams before leaving Crich! Subject to weather conditions it is planned that both will be displayed outside on Sunday 2nd May between 1100 and 1530.
Speaking about the changes, Dan Heeley, Workshop Co-ordinator and Duty Engineer, said: “The Vehicle Movement Plan was made after diligent consideration of the best moves possible for tram conditions, restoration and ultimately new and better displays for our visitors. After a difficult year in 2020, it is important that we move forward with restoration, for which we have received funds and assistance from our partners, including the Blackpool Railcoach Fund and The Tramcar Sponsorship Organisation for Blackpool 298.”
In addition to the moves for Derby 1 and Cardiff 21, there is also a move on the cards for Halle 902 which has been on a storage loan to Blackpool’s Rigby Road Depot for a couple of years but is now one of the trams which needs to be removed due to capacity constraints. 902 will be going into store when it leaves Blackpool.
To get the trams ready for departure and to reorganise those moving to new locations a shunt of trams took place on Saturday 3rd April – while the museum was still closed ahead of its reopening on Monday 12th April – which saw some rarely moved trams making outside appearances. We’ll have some photos from this shunt in a future update of British Trams Online.
- A number of special events have also now been added to the Crich Tramway Village website for later in the season, including the planned return of Tram Day on Saturday 18th September.