As another operating season approaches for the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville near Lowestoft, now seems a good time to reflect on the successes of 2013 for this superb museum, as well as looking forward to some of the planned developments expected for the year ahead.
Even before 2013 began, the EATM Society fully expected visitor numbers to drop, as 2012 had witnessed some major one-off special events, most notably a gathering of London trolleybuses which attracted record-breaking attendance figures. However, the end result actually wasn’t too bad, with a decrease of under 5% despite a significant decline in the number of school parties visiting the attraction. This was actually a better result than that of the last comparable year, 2011, and shows that the museum is doing a good job of establishing itself as an increasingly popular destination for tourists in the Lowestoft area. Although it may not have as many visitors as larger museums such as Beamish or Crich, the EATM is of course manned entirely by volunteers, and this matched with careful use of finances means that the museum is probably in a stronger position now than it has ever been.
New developments for 2014 include two new building projects; a small storage building for the narrow-gauge railway rolling stock incorporating a small display area, and a taxi showroom which is expected to be opened for visitors this summer. The museum will also welcome a beautifully restored trolleybus on loan from the Ipswich Transport Museum, which will hopefully cement a strong working relationship between these two organisations. Who knows, maybe we could see their restored tramcar, Ipswich 33, at East Anglia one day!?
Although the trams are set for a fairly uneventful year at Carlton Colville, work is continuing on the restoration of Glasgow 488 in Wales. As well as ongoing structural work, both controllers have now been removed for overhaul and are now being attended to at East Anglia, which will ensure that the hard working volunteers who are particularly interested in trams will still have something to get stuck into during the coming months!