Saturday 28th September may have seemed like a normal day to visitors of Crich Tramway Village, but after most paying guests had left the site, two trams which are not part of the museum’s current operating fleet came out to play turning this into a quite remarkable day. Both trams duly ventured out onto the main line, one following a very long absence, and the other making its first ever trip to Glory Mine.
The evening’s excitement began with a test run performed by Blackpool Jubilee car 762. Following a lengthy period of workshop attention, this tram recently commenced moving under its own power at Crich, and on September 28th it was driven along the entire length of the museum tramway for the very first time. This was primarily for clearance tests, which were deemed successful, although 762 only just fits in the Glory Mine reversing stub! Due to the nature of this historic trip, 762 was driven very slowly with Glasgow 1068 sent in front, so that the behaviour of its pantograph could be closely observed from 1068‘s open top deck, to ensure that it never left the overhead wire. This would have been the first time that the Jubilee car had operated alongside a Scottish tram since the 1980s, when both Edinburgh 35 and Glasgow 1297 were loaned to Blackpool. Thankfully all went well and the large purple tram was safely tucked up inside the depot afterwards, having completed its latest adventure in Derbyshire. 762 is now expected to undergo further extensive testing, as well as crew familiarisation, which will hopefully allow it to enter public service early next season.
Once 762 had been put to bed, it was Leicester 76‘s turn to move onto the main line for a pre-arranged photo charter, organised by the East Midlands Railway Photographic Society. After being extracted from its usual home in the Exhibition Hall for a starring role at the recent Crich Enthusiasts Day, well-known transport photographer Jason Cross had decided to organise a special photo shoot with the only restored tramcar hailing from his home city. Having only run at Crich for three years in the 1970s, this was almost certainly 76‘s first appearance outside of the depot area for well over thirty years and unsurprisingly, the event was well supported despite the short notice given, ensuring that a healthy sum of money was raised for the Tramway Museum Society, justifying the efforts made to ensure that the tram was fit to be moved along the main running line. The novelty of a Leicester tram in a period street was certainly not wasted, with 76 being posed in various places, including alongside the Red Lion public house – which of course had not been built when it last operated! Hopefully this imaginative event could pave the way for more similar events at Crich in the future, as other museums have found ‘out-of-hours’ photo charters can be very profitable whilst also allowing enthusiasts to capture scenes which would normally be impossible.