Crich Event Preview: Beside the Seaside

During the school half term holidays at the end of May, Crich Tramway Village is being transformed into a seaside-style attraction, with a whole host of traditional activities to entertain visitors of all ages. For the first time ever, this now annual event has been expanded to run for nine days and an ambitious itinerary is planned, with the museum’s large collection of Blackpool trams expected to feature heavily. For enthusiasts, the main attraction is likely to be Blackpool Balloon car 711 which should be making its debut in service at Crich.

When is it happening?

Saturday 24th May to Sunday 1st June inclusive. The village is open from 1000 each day. Last admission will be at 1600 on all days.

What sort of tram service will operate for this event?

Sat 24/Sun 25/Mon 26th May – A seven minute service using six trams. There will be a special ‘Circular Tour’ service between Victoria Park and Wakebridge to complement the normal Town End to Glory Mine service. Trams should be drawn from the pool of operational Blackpool cars 40, 166, 236, 630 & 711, plus Southampton 45 and Oporto 273.

Tue 27/Wed 28/Thur 29/Fri 30th May – A more basic tram service will be provided using four cars, and again these will be drawn from the same pool of vehicles as listed above.

Sat 31st May/Sun 1st June – A seven minute service using six trams, with the ‘Circular Tour’ service again operating between Victoria Park and Wakebridge alongside the normal tram service. With a 1950s/1960s theme evident on site trams in service will be those that represent this time period rather than the Blackpool emphasis of the other days.

On all days the first tram is scheduled to set off Town End at 1030, with the final departure of the day at 1800.

What other trams can I see?

Unfortunately Blackpool Jubilee car 762 is still not ready for passenger service, but is expected to be displayed in the depot yard, and will be joined by Balloon 711 on 31st May & 1st June. The Blackpool electric loco should also be in evidence on most days across the week. All of the other trams on site will of course be on display as usual, with the depots, Exhibition Hall and workshop gallery all open to visitors.

What other attractions are there?

This event is primarily targeted at families and so there will be a whole host of extra seaside-themed attractions, including a steam galloper, big wheel, donkey rides for the children and a beach area. Entertainment will be supplied by magic shows and Punch & Judy, with the Crich Brass Band performing on the Bandstand over the first three days. The second weekend, May 31st & June 1st, will also have a 1950s/1960s theme with visiting vehicles from this period, a flea circus and live musical acts, Lola Lamour and Turn Back Time.

How much will it cost?

Normal admission prices apply for this event and membership cards, free passes etc. will be valid as normal. Unlimited tram rides are included in the entry fee, although some of the special attractions such as donkey rides may incur a small additional charge. For further details, please visit

Some live coverage of this event will hopefully be provided on 31st May on the British Trams Online Facebook page, and we’ll be providing more extensive coverage on the main website later on.

Please note that the above information is all provided in good faith, however changes to the advertised vehicles and events may occur if necessary and neither this website or Crich Tramway Village are responsible for any such changes to the programme. Also be aware that open cars may well be replaced by enclosed cars in the event of poor weather, but every effort will be made to deliver the programme as detailed above.

Three of the Blackpool trams expected to be running for this event seen in action at the 2012 event (hopefully the weather will be kinder this year!): Open Boat 236, Brush Railcoach 630 and Standard 40. (Photo by Andrew Waddington)


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16 Responses to Crich Event Preview: Beside the Seaside

  1. Tom says:

    Sounds like a fantastic event! A good line up as well. Shame that Rack 2 doesn’t appear to be ready but never mind, as I’ve never been on 45, 166, 236, 273, 630 or 711 before.

  2. A. D. Young says:

    And the Dreadnought, the most spectacular-appearing surviving tram of any period or any place, where will that be displayed? Or is it to remain tucked away at Clay Cross, if indeed that’s where it is?

    This is a 19th-century car and if I were curator I’d be worried it might now be too fragile for anything other than occasional service except on occasions like these.

    But its present situation in off-site storage is no good either, surely, when it isn’t a runner and requires who knows what kind of work to bring it to running condition.

    Which begs the question, what kind of work is needed on this car to bring it even to static display condition?

    D. A. Young

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      59 will of course be staying at Clay Cross – indeed there are several Blackpool cars at Crich which it seems are not playing any part in this event.

      Re: 59 and its prospects, the plight of this tram was discussed at the recent Fylde Tramway Society AGM and members were then assured that it would be the subject of a full condition survey in the near future to assess its current state. Let’s just hope this doesn’t result in a decision to conserve it forever! On a brighter note though, I understand that the building where 59 is housed is dry and secure, probably more so than the main running sheds at Crich, so there is no immediate risk to the tram, although I would imagine that some deterioration over a prolonged period of storage seems inevitable.

  3. Daniel says:

    This circular tour thing sounds interesting. Disappointed not to make this event too.

  4. Christopher Callan says:

    Would have been a fantastic July Summer Spectacular this event. Would have drawn in the punters from a far and better chance of nicer weather. Mistake for the event to clash with the limited day time operation Blackpool Heritage Tram Tour format.

    Wish the event well. But hopefully now its clear the early May next year likely to be none Blackpool operating day. Crich consider putting on good event then. & look to move the Blackpool event to the summer holidays.

  5. Andrew Waddington says:

    Rumours have now surfaced that 711 will not be running for this event with an unofficial Crich Facebook page stating it doesn’t fit in with the theme! I’m trying to find out the true situation but in the meantime anyone wishing to visit purely to ride on this tram might want to hold their horses!

    • Daniel says:

      Probably the right decision. This isn’t really an enthusiast event so some more casual visitors might be a bit disappointed to see they are getting on what to them may look like a modern bus when the theme is 1950s seaside.
      Plus, it’ll be nice to have 762 and 711 launched on the same day.

    • Gordon Burch says:

      The originators of the rumours and the facebook article have taken an element of truth and misunderstood it. With the normal provisos regarding serviceability I can confirm that 711 is due to run at the “Beside the Seaside” event and has been requested for the first weekend and all weekdays. What IS true is that it will not be operating over the second weekend as it has been deemed not to fit in with the 50s/60s theme. I hope that this clarifies things for your readership.

      • Andrew Waddington says:

        Thanks for the clarification Gordon – good to hear that 711 will indeed be out and about for the event, and I look forward to coming to see and ride on it soon.

      • Dave B says:

        Typical Derbyshire Logic at work again.

        The latest Blackpool car to join the fleet debuts on the weekend when there is heritage running days in Blackpool, then doesn’t run at all on the weekend there is no other tram events anywhere!

        surely common sense suggests you would atract extra visitors by switching the weekends around?

        • Daniel says:

          But who’s going to be at every Blackpool running day? You have 7 days to divide your time up between the two.

          • Andrew Waddington says:

            Maybe so, but the 3 days that Blackpool are running the heritage trams are the same 3 days that the most Blackpool cars will be operating at Crich, including (hopefully) 711. That is just plain daft and the majority of Blackpool tram enthusiasts will choose Blackpool every time.

          • Daniel says:

            I couldn’t respond to yours so I’ll write here.
            But there are more than 3 days that Blackpool trams will be running at Crich. Go on one of the other 4 days if you want to visit both. There’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy both attractions.

          • Andrew Waddington says:

            As has been said though, the most Blackpool trams will run on the same 3 days as the Blackpool heritage service operates. During the week less trams will be out at Crich, and as this may well include one or more non-Blackpool cars it really is no substitute. Then there’s the small matter of all those tram enthusiasts who have jobs!

          • Mary says:

            Me and the other half for two! Blackpool is a long trip so we make a long weekend of it. Hotel was booked when we were up there last time. He is a big Blackpool Tram Fan so if you had run the Blackpool cars on the oposite weekend he would certainly have been there.

          • Paul D says:

            Actually, a lot of people do the whole weekends in Blackpool, and will have had accommodation and travel arranged long before it was confirmed that 711 would not run on the second weekend of the event.

            If one weekend is to be Blackpool themed and the other 1950s themed (which is a perfectly reasonable split), Dave and Andrew are entirely correct that it does show a lack of foresight or lack of awareness of events outside the ivory tower to have the Blackpool theme coincide with the Blackpool Heritage operation. Very few Blackpool enthusiasts will chose Derbyshire over the opportunity to ride classic Blackpool trams especially the TMS’s own 167 beside the genuine seaside…

            As for having ‘7 days to choose from’ unfortunately most of us have to work Monday to Friday to pay for enjoying the Trams in Blackpool, Crich and elsewhere so are mostly limited to the weekends. If that doesn’t apply to you then you are lucky!

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