News in brief from Crich

The latest edition of the Tramway Musuem Society Journal reports on a number of interesting developments at Crich. As many of these can be explained fairly briefly it is not felt that they warrant their own individual articles, and so here some of the more important items of news are brought together for your reading pleasure.

Firstly, Crich Tramway Village has trialled the use of discounted admission vouchers sold on the ‘Groupon’ website. This had a very positive impact on visitor numbers for the last few weeks of the 2013 season, with more than a thousand tickets sold online in just one week! This has managed to cancel out the decline in attendance figures witnessed across the year, and as a result the museum managed to end the year with visitor numbers above budget. However, it is still a great shame that a 30% discount had to be offered as an incentive to achieve this result – but hopefully a corner has now been turned, and further innovations will help to secure a more profitable future for the museum.

In the workshop, and the cosmetic work being carried out on Edinburgh 35 has recently uncovered some relics from the past, in the form of some period advertisements which were found when the ‘British Gas’ adverts worn by the tram whilst operating at the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988 were finally removed. One side promotes Dexter Weatherproofs (an appropriate product to be advertised on a Scottish car!) whilst the other encourages city residents to ‘drink more milk’. These adverts, not seen since the tram visited Blackpool in the 1980s, are now being conserved and will remain on the car when it moves into the Exhibition Hall for display next year.

Rather surprisingly, efforts are being made to replace the worn platform gates on Johannesburg 60. These had been removed in 2010 in anticipation of its aborted trip to Blackpool, but were never refitted. The timing of this work is a little strange as 60 did not run in 2013 as it is now due for workshop attention; hopefully this small task is an indication that the tram will not have to wait too long before it is returned to service.

Some further details have also been released in regard of the winter work programme, to which a budget of £100,000 has been allocated (released from the museum’s reserves). Some of the planned improvements to the attraction are low cost, others less so, such as planned improvements to the admissions building and the indoor play area, costed at £25,000 each. £10,000 has also been assigned for the provision of a tram stop at Glory Mine – which seems a rather hefty sum as this will be a very basic stop with no extra visitor facilities or adaptions to the existing footpath currently envisaged.

Finally, two former Co-Op vehicles have been offered to the TMS. One of these is a motor van, whilst the other is of greater rarity as it is horse-drawn. These items could certainly add to the nostalgic atmosphere of Stephenson Place, but as they have no real relevance to the British tramway story, the Society needs to carefully consider whether or not to accept this generous offer.

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2 Responses to News in brief from Crich

  1. Chris Callan says:

    So Heaton Park Tramway can build a entire Tram Depot for just shy of £60,0000… Crich estimate it will cost them £10,000 to build. So Crich are proposing to spend around 15% of Heaton Parks Tramway Depot Budget on a basic simple shell tram shelter. Really hoped that after the past criticism of their calculated expenditure they would have looked much closer at expenditure.

    Its frightening how easy they find it to spend money. They cant complain when groups and individuals decide to redirect money elsewhere where their money will be stretched further….

    • T4D says:

      Yeah, you might be right in £ and p about the Heaton Park depot but they put an awful lot of volunteer labour into that, and skilled volunteer labour, I hasten to add! That comes for free but certainly has a value. In the end they might have built a depot worth £125,000 or even more which sounds much more impressive, doesn’t it?
      Crich seem to put their figures as if everything was done by paid staff or contractors even if some work is done by volunteers and the actual money going out is less than the figures stated. It’s really a bean-counter issue I think.

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