Crich announce first events for 2014

Crich Tramway Village have uploaded details of the first few special events for the 2014 season to their website – although thus far this consists of little to interest the tram enthusiast market. Just four ‘premiere’ events have been confirmed so far, these being two 1940s themed weekends, as well as the familiar ‘Beside the Seaside’ and Edwardian events.

The announcement of two 1940s weekends has come as a bit of a surprise, as it had previously been stated that the Easter event had been axed and only one such event would take place next year. However, those who want to get a taste of wartime Britain now have two weekends to choose from to visit Crich for this popular event; 20th & 21st April, or 9th & 10th August. Another surprise is that the Edwardian weekend will be held on 12th & 13th July, although the Tramway Museum Society news bulletin ‘Contact’ had previously stated that this event would be moved to September! Oddly, a note is added stating that the Edwardian event may be subject to change, although no such comment is provided for the other events. As the revisions to the rather stale events programme had been part of departing General Manager Tony Hill’s plan to try and improve the museum’s fortunes, it is hard to ignore the feeling that his ideas are now being quietly abandoned, despite insistence that they will still be implemented.

The only other event to be confirmed at the time of writing is ‘Beside the Seaside’, which will be held on 25th & 26th May. Presumably this will feature a good number of the resident Blackpool cars operating, but as this will almost certainly clash with Blackpool Transport’s heritage tram operation, it is unlikely that many Blackpool tram fans will visit Crich that weekend! Surely moving this event to a different date would have been a beneficial move if the museum seriously wants to attract more visitors?

Hopefully, future announcements will offer much more appeal to tram enthusiasts and offer some much-needed innovation, which will hopefully help to turn around the worrying trend of falling visitor numbers at the National Tramway Museum. With the 50th anniversary of electric tram operation at Crich due to be celebrated next year and Sheffield 510 and Blackpool 762 expected to be re-launched into service, there is a lot of potential to encourage more enthusiasts and the general public to visit and hopefully these opportunities will be fully exploited.

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23 Responses to Crich announce first events for 2014

  1. Chris says:

    Not really much to say. Think people will go over the alarming rate of Crich demise which will be swiftly followed up by a equally strong rebuttal.

    Just like when the LTT demise started. People said those were “bitter” “misguided” “fools” “never will happen” etc etc… History repeating itlelf but its the scale of this collapse that will send shock waves round the preservation sector…

    • Daniel says:

      LTT hasn’t exactly gone down the drain though has it? If Crich can just change the formula then things should get back on track hopefully.

      • Chris says:

        1) Boat Flogged to Amercia
        2) Went begging back to Blackpool Transport to “merge” as they simply no longer could afford to keep the trams…
        3) Buses will continue to leave.
        4) High profile resignations…

        And thats just scratching the surface. Much much more will come out…

  2. Nigel Pennick says:

    50 years is longer than many tram systems lasted. Unfortunately the trend is to theme park events re-enacting times that few can now remember as time passes. There can be no nostalgia market when nobody is left alive who remembers the old trams in service, so the transition to theme park “Tramway Village” is inevitable.

    • Daniel says:

      It’s not about reminiscing in those events. The Edwardian event was never about that and most heritage railways don’t operate events for people to reminisce because they wouldn’t make their money that way.
      Those re-enactments have always been to help younger generations learn about the past and encourage an interest in History. Families go because it is fun and educational.
      Nostalgia hasn’t been a feasible market for a few years now at any heritage railway/tramway.

      • Nigel Pennick says:

        Of course anyone who runs a business must try to bring in the punters, or go bust. Crich is essentially in the showbiz industry like any other museum today. It is a fact that Crich was founded by nostalgia to ‘save’ trams that were being taken out of service; late it took on the reconstruction of trams that had been converted into henhouses and the like. Re-enactments are indeed a way to get bums on seats so to speak but are only costume dramas with people pretending to be living in another time as a show. Its historical authenticity and educational value is dubious at best, but if it is a good show then customers will come to see it, and it will provide money to keep some of the old trams in existence, and maybe even operational.

  3. Daniel says:

    They need to update their advertising and get council support.

    • Chris says:

      They get more than enough public money. The fact is they squander. They burn through cash likes it monopoly money….

      Council are willing to help places. But they have to be willing to accept help…. The fact a general manager never lasts long tell its own story…

      • Daniel says:

        I didn’t know they received any public money. How do they get through it quickly.
        To be fair, we don’t fully know why Tony Hill left, if it happens again then okay, fair enough.
        They do need a better marketing strategy.

  4. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    When mentioning the LTT it is important to remember that they purchased and saved a number of trams and buses for which we should be grateful. What happened recently is unfortunate but had they not saved the trams in the first place there would have been no boat to San Francisco.
    Let us hope that Crich sees the light. My son is interested in trams and buses but the present ones. It is important to encourage the younger generation to take an interest in the presentday tram systems. Hopefullt the interest in older ones follows like myself. I was interested in buses and trams from the fifties onwards paying scant attention to such things as TD5 buses and Horsefields. The only old ones that appealed were the Crossleys at my dad’s depot. Preferring to get excited about railcars and Atlanteans. My interest in TD5s, STLs and pre thirties trams came later.

    • Ken Walker says:

      Too true Ralph. I remember in my (as it turned out misguided) teenage years, letting The likes of Daimler CVG6s and Leyland PD2s go and waiting for an Atlantean or Mancunian to turn up. Of course today I would be very pleased if ANY of said types of vehicle turned up on service!

  5. james c jones says:

    reading between the lines on here most peeps have moved all there negativitey from the LTT to crich if people are not happy how the national collection is being looked after or run put your money where your mouths are join the society and affect real changes from the inside go to meetings and the agm you all get a vote if the old guard are blocking progress and change vote them out of office no amount of wingeing on rumours or half truths will change anything ! and also remember there is two sides to every story you need all the facts to be able to comment its too easy to jump on a band wagon and start kicking !

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I always find suggestions to support an organisation that you think is badly run a bit odd… surely it makes more sense to support those that we DO agree with!? There are many good people at Crich, but unfortunately getting change seems virtually impossible when some people seem to regard the museum as their own glorified model railway. Members held an Emergency General Meeting – it doesn’t seem to have achieved much sadly, although I applaud the efforts of those behind it. A previous attempt to organise an event was shot down by those in power… what are we supposed to do exactly?

    • Chris says:

      People are waking up and realising theirs groups out their who deserve the cash more than others. Their no “bandwagon”. Each and every one of us have formed their opinions on their own over a significant period of time… To take such a simplistic “oh you all just on the bandwagon” is an absolute insult. You know absolutely nothing about how much people posting on here have put in or what they have done…

      Ill put my money where my mouth is when the projects right for me and am confident it will not be squandered or left to gather dust thus me not ever seeing any benefit….

  6. Christoph Heuer says:

    The following quote from Gareth from the main page of BTO dated 25 October 2013 was about the resignation of the General Manager but it also suits this discussion quite well, I think:

    “Mind you the good news is that Crich don’t need to bother with replacing him as there seem to be so many experts out there who can solve all the woes easily who can step into the breach… ”

    To me this is one of the best comments ever. Crich is the National Tramway Museum so it suffers as much as the trainer of national football team. The entire population believes they can do a better job than the one actually holding the post. 😉

    • Paul says:


      In both cases it shows what passion those commenting have for the subject. It’s not that they wish harm but are frustrated at a lack of success and unwillingness to adapt to changing circumstances.

      To continue the analogy, It should be about the bigger picture and not just one man (or in the case of Crich the TMS Board) it is the performance of the whole team or the needs of the whole fleet that matter, but to the outside observer, some of the decision making from the board shows the same amount of logic as a Glen Hoddle team selection…


    • Tick Tock... says:

      Quite frankly my pet gold fish could do a better job than the current guardians of what was the National Tramway Museum (now for some strange reason that only they can explain branded a village much the bemusement of anyone who visits…) And by the way my gold fish is dead (just to put into perspective how well their doing)

      You’re right about one thing. Why bother replacing him. Expensive waste of time. If they’re incapable of implementing even the most basic of first steps why bother getting someone in to tell them what those in power clearly dont want to hear…

      • Deckerman says:

        Firstly Mr T. Tock, my sincere sympathies at your loss. R.I.P. Goldie.

        But you are quite right, there is little point replacing the last manager, irrespective of his reasons for leaving, as it just seems that the position was formed to play “lip service” to those that called the EGM a couple of years ago. The basic idea was sound, but sadly, the whole cause of this debacle that threatens the entire attraction (and by default, it’s priceless collection of course), was that the Executive still had the right to veto any decision the manager made.

        A recent comment from Andrew Waddington is very true, namely that the Exec treat it as their own personal model railway. I call it their own “Hornby Tram Set”, but I think you get the analogy.

        Until they treat all their paying visitors with respect, enthusiast or not and can make “real world” decisions that quite frankly might indeed make some tram fans wince, then this museum is heading for closure.. end of!!

        It is a real shame that the Reverend Awdry didn’t write about ” Thomas the Tram and Friends”, as then you could paint Standard 40 Bright Blue, put a face on it and be beating the crowds off with a stick. But he didn’t. So Crich have to find a way out of this, that Tony Hill was starting to create with innovative ideas and events that may indeed have nothing to offer the tram fan, but it’s not them that keep the place going anymore.

        Crich WERE the first and the best, but they simply aren’t anymore. If you wanted to see a tram, you made your way to darkest Derbyshire, but now you don’t need to. A park in Manchester, 2 minutes off the M60 will do it. Or on the banks of the Mersey. Or ten minutes off the M5 etc etc.

        They just don’t seem to have grasped this fact yet, but I hope they do before the ” Closing Down Sale” sign goes up.

        For Sale. 50 odd preserved tramcars. Very low recent mileage. Immaculate Condition. Everything renewed. Huge bills to prove it. Only 2 previous owners. 1.Their original corporation. 2. A bunch of originally well meaning but now misguided and intransigent “enthusiasts”. Preferably only UK preservationists to apply. But India or China, as a good second choice. ( 605 only going to San Francisco doesn’t seem so bad now does it? ).

        If no sale, would make ideal hen huts, garden sheds or roadside cafes. Value. Priceless. But offers I.R.O. £1000. Apply TMS.

  7. Clay Cross pigeon says:

    Quite frankly, the recent editorial on this site is one of the most insulting things I’ve read for a long time; insulting to all those enthusiasts who genuinely care about the future of Crich and can forsee the way events will transpire if nothing is done to halt the decline. To openly criticise those who have a right to express an opinion seems tantamount to alienating the readership of the site; or is British Trams Online following in the footsteps of the tram village in heaping disdain on all those who dare to voice an opinion and retreating inside their little cocoons. This site has long been noted for rarely expressing an opinion or daring to be controversial but this latest comment takes this to the ultimate extreme; the message to enthusiasts is don’t bother commenting on anything or you will be ridiculed as a pretend expert. Disgraceful.

  8. Mike Norris says:

    For Chris & Daniel above, concerning the funding of Crich, the below
    accreditations appear on their publicity :-
    MLA Accredited Museum
    D award – designated as an outstanding museum
    Gold Winners – East Midlands Tourism – Enjoy England excellence awards
    Winner of 2005 excellence awards
    Quality Assured – visitor attraction
    Supported by the National Lottery Fund
    Heritage Lottery Fund

    Of course, not all will have brought in funds, but the obvious ones are there,
    so, yes, there was a LOT of public money.

  9. Nathan Honest says:

    One of the things they could do is lend out stored trams to other organisations i.e Leeds 600 at Heaton Park, 59 at Blackpool etc. It will increase public awareness of Crich, generate interest, and most importantly, give some neglected trams a new lease of life.

  10. Andy Bailey says:

    Natham, Crich has lent out trams to other organisations like Hull 132 which is at Hull at the moment. What would HP do with 600 and Blackpool with 59 which are not in a running state and require vast amounts of work to get them into a standard fopr operation? Don’t forget that 1068 and 131 have been to Beamish and 131 has also gone to Blackpool to work in the past. Also as a designated useum with an outstanding collection we also have to be careful where we lend our artifacts to [an artifact is classes as anything from a tramcar totickets etc].

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