Funding for Leeds 602 restoration rejected

The Tramway Museum Society has turned down the offer of a substantial bequest to be spent on fully restoring Leeds 602 to an operational condition. Last year, a TMS member who was actively involved in the initial preservation of 602 back in 1960 very sadly passed away, leaving a legacy of around £250,000 to the Society to enable its restoration to a pristine condition. However, after much discussion and a ‘Condition Survey’, the TMS Board decided not to accept this very generous offer, as 602 is to be conserved in its current condition instead, and is therefore set to remain as a static exhibit indefinitely.

As many readers will know, Leeds 602 is the only representative of a tramcar fitted with VAMBAC control equipment in the National collection, and one of only three in existence in the world today. Of the three, 602 is the only one that has not received significant alterations since entering preservation, and as it is also considered to be the only all-electric tramcar to have run in what the Museum refers to as ‘the first generation period’, it has been decided that it should be conserved as it is. Although the tram has been overhauled at least twice at Crich, it is believed that a large proportion of the original vehicle remains intact. The Museum’s Tramcar Conservation Committee therefore decided that, to carry out a major restoration would involve destroying what remains of the original tramcar, and due to its historical significance it was felt that it is worth more in its present form than it would be as a restored working exhibit. Following this recommendation, a majority vote by the TMS Board of Management agreed to reject the legacy and not to go ahead with the restoration plan.

Predictably, this decision has proved to be highly controversial, and the fact that details of the the TMS failed to release their own official statement before the news became public knowledge has not helped matters. Whilst the policies described above are certainly not unique to Crich, concerns have been expressed at a number of contradictions: similar concerns have recently been expressed regarding the decision to restore London County Council 1, a tramcar which has never run at Crich and has only ever been repainted since it last ran in revenue earning service before it became a museum piece. It was argued at the time by the Museum Curator that the main role of the National Tramway Museum is to preserve trams to represent how they appeared in their heyday, and that retaining the original materials used in their construction is not a priority, so long as it is reasonably possible to replace like with like. If this is the case, then surely the same applies to 602 as well? Another argument put forward is that LCC 1 needed to be fully rebuilt to save it from disintegrating, as its condition has deteriorated significantly since it came to Crich. Although Leeds 602 is in a far superior condition, one could question how long this will be the case for? Incidentally, if the TMS wish to conserve trams in ‘as withdrawn’ condition then it has turned its back on an ideal opportunity to do so by operating the recently retired Blackpool cars acquired in the last few years. The only exception is of course Blackpool Balloon car 249, but with visitors able to board the car and inspect its lower deck interior, the deterioration process will surely accelerate.

The Crich museum was originally intended as a safe haven for displaced tramcars, where they could be demonstrated to the general public for the benefit of all. It is highly debatable how much the public will benefit from a tram such as 602 being conserved to protect its originality, and certainly opens up questions regarding the museum’s future direction. The fact that another legacy, to be used to finance the construction of a replica Manchester ‘Standard’ tram, was recently accepted by the Society is another major bug bear for many members as such a project would represent a major shift in direction for the museum, yet this funding was accepted with grateful thanks without the membership being consulted. Although no solid proof exists, many people believe that other factors have influenced the decision regarding Leeds 602, and a common viewpoint is that the running fleet at Crich is becoming increasingly biased towards durable workhorses that are easy to maintain and operate. This would certainly explain the decision to operate the recently acquired Blackpool trams, and would leave a highly complex tram such as 602 without a role in the operating fleet.

Another concern is that, over the years, people have often questioned why certain trams in the national collection do not run, or are seemingly not considered for workshop attention. The answer from TMS members is invariably along the lines of – “find us £250,000 and we’ll restore it” – which is exactly what this late member has done for his favourite tram, and has achieved absolutely nothing by doing so. Perhaps understandably, a few representatives of other museum tramways are more than a little unhappy with the situation, and cannot help but wish that the money had been sent in their direction instead.

It would therefore seem that Leeds 602 is destined to spend the rest of its day in the Exhibition Hall unless the recent decision is ever reversed – and if this happened, would anyone seriously consider stumping up the required cash, knowing full well that it had previously been available but was not wanted? The moral of this story seems to be that, if you are planning on leaving a large sum of money to a preservation society for a specific purpose, make sure it is a project they actually want to carry out beforehand, otherwise there is a risk that your generosity may be in vain! Another possible viewpoint – which is the one held by the author of this article – is that an organisation that can afford to turn down £250,000 probably doesn’t deserve to be left money in a will, and that there are plenty of other tramway preservation groups who would put such money to excellent use which are more worthy of supporting instead!

Please be aware that the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer. Comments on this topic are welcomed, but please do not resort to personally attacking individuals, and be aware that any such posts will be deleted in accordance with the guidelines of this blog.

Seen in happier times, Leeds 602 is shown in service at Crich in 2003, when it was reinstated to traffic to mark its 50th anniversary. A few years later this beautiful tram was withdrawn and now appears destined never to run again. (Photo by Tony Waddington)


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140 Responses to Funding for Leeds 602 restoration rejected

  1. Daniel says:

    Very sad indeed. I always liked this tram as I had been on it once when I was a lot younger and had hoped to ride on it again. It’s very contradictory for them to want to conserve and possibly quite a risky move as you have pointed out.
    I assume there must be more to this story than meets the eye. Some people on another news site have alluded to technicalities of the contract which have made this difficult to carry out but how much that affected this decision I don’t know. I’d certainly like a full explanation from the TMS and I hope that this decision is reversed.
    I hope things don’t get nasty in these comments as I feel they did on the other site. I feel that professionalism tends to slip on that site when it comes to divisive issues.
    I have no affiliation with the TMS by the way, I just like the museum but this decision has made me think twice.

  2. Ken Walker says:

    It must also be borne in mind that if the policy regarding 602 were reversed in the future, it is likely that the condition of 602 will have deteriorated without any work being carried out on it, and the cost of a full restoration will have risen sharply, making the possibility of restoration less likely. As has been said before, I think it very unlikely that all the parts on this or any other tram are the ones fitted when new. Trams carrying passengers, sustaining wear and tear and undergoing overhauls to return them to ‘as new’ condition was and is a normal part of operating all kinds of public transport and operators didn’t leave trams in the depots to avoid replacing original parts, so what is being done with 602 is certainly not conserving tramway practice. I presume that in the future nobody will be wanting to preserve Metrolink 3062, which has so far not turned a wheel in service yet has already lost many of its ‘original’ parts during its time as a ‘Christmas tree’.
    Perhaps the benefactor in this case should have offered the money towards building a replica of 602 instead!

  3. Clifford Stead says:

    As a Leeds lad it is a real shame to see this really historic tram left as a static exhibit especially with all that money on offer to get it going again. A real pity.

  4. T4D says:

    Whatever they would have decided, someone would have said it’s the wrong decision. Rejecting that amount of money must have been pretty though. But knowing how the Crich workshop works we probably would have got something which looks like 602 but really is a new-built using some old parts like the seat frames. They certainly know the amount of work needed and did their maths. Do you remember Oporto 273? That came to Crich in one piece but had a new underframe, loads of new woodwork, didn’t that also get new trucks? They say the identity goes with the frame, so really 273 was scrapped in the 1990s and a new 273 was built using parts of the old one. Do we really want that for 602? From what has been reported here and a bit of educated guesswork it looks as if 602 is sufficiently sound to survive, which LCC 1 apparently is not, but too far gone to retain many original bits when it’s restored to operational condition.

  5. Ian Smith says:

    ALL museums MUST have a suitable collections policy and within that policy, there have to be some decisions made, which might not be in full accordance with enthusiasts’ requirements. In the case of 602, there are three other VAMBAC vehicles which are in working order or have worked recently. At least one of these has a fully working VAMBAC setup, which can demonstrate it’s workings. 602 has a set of un-modified VAMBAC equipment and can act as the “icon” vehicle for future generations to see an original set of working electrics.

    Tram enthusiasts must learn, as the railway world has learnt, that museums have different priorities, which include conservation, and that it is NOT right to end up with everything working because over time you destroy that which you have set out to preserve.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I do understand this viewpoint, but I certainly don’t agree with it. My view is that the National Tramway Museum exists primarily to retain vehicles for the benefit of the nation (I think that wording appears in their mission statement?); personally I don’t see how the public will benefit from 602’s VAMBAC equipment being preserved as it is and not operating it, as nobody can actually see it. It reminds me of these paintings that are locked away from view after costing millions to preserve, and are considered ‘too valuable’ for us common folk to be allowed near them!

      • Mark Evans says:

        Andrew let me start by saying I agree with you in that National Tramway Museum exists primarily to retain vehicles for the benefit of the nation. Retaining also means striking the right balance with regards to conservation verse restoration. For example the national railway museum at York has a marvelous collection and it is always a pleasure to see them in steam. But we all know and accept that some there, due to their historic nature will never to touched other than to prevent decay (for example Rocket). Although Leeds 602 has had some work done on it, it has never been fully restored and is therefore largely as built in 1953 by Roe. We also have other VAMBACs preserved such as 304 which demonstrate how the principle works. What the TMS board have rightly decided is that the car is too important to restore. Also by leaving it as is we give future generations the knowlege of how it was put together and the abilty to study 1950 technology.

    • Geoffrey Ryder says:

      As a TMS member for many years, I cannot recall seeing any form of status report on the trams in the TMS collection and the curatorial plans for restoration or otherwise. I believe that such a report should be made available at least in summary form to the members, updated every 2 years. With such a large potential legacy for 602, I believe that the TMS members should have been consulted by the Board BEFORE the decision was made to reject the legacy, not just told in a brief letter after the decision was made.

      • Franklyn says:

        I totally agree with what Geoffrey says above. The decision taken regarding 602 is an excellent example of a reason why I (and quite a few others) are not TMS members any longer!

        It’s complete nonsence to suggest that 602 is in original condition. It received substantial work while I was there in the early 90’s, including the removal for inspection and repair of it’s much talked about VAMBAC equipment. The late Brian Pickup also did a huge amount of work on it in the TMS workshops!

        After the restoration the tram entered regular service and I worked as a conduictor on it many times. However before the early 90’s restoration 602 had already been modified at Crich following an incident where it was found that sticking contactors could cause a runaway where the contact fingers could jam in a power notch and the actuators not reset the controller into the relevant braking positions. I believe the solution was to install a switch in the cab which effectively bypassed the “knitting machine” in the roof to directly apply full braking. I wonder how original they now think THAT switch is? 😉

  6. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Maybe the tram needs to go somewhere else where it will be appreciated and hopefully used to run. I remember seeing one of these 2 Railcars on the way to Scarborough in 1956 and have filmed it in 1988 in action. I just feel sad for the person who left the money to Crich. What happens to the money now? My Crossley bus survives as one of the few but I have replaced many parts in my bid to put it into the original 1949 condition and will continue to replace time expired parts in the future. As a point of interest many pillars and all the inner stress panels were replaced between 1974 and 1976. The nearside exterior all dates from 1975 etc, etc. So what is original? Like most restored vehicles little remains of the original materials but they are replaced to the original pattern. Many trams buses etc on midlife overhaul acquire many new parts which is normal.
    I really wonder at times what the hell goes on at Crich. I like many enjoy 2 to 3 trips a year there and there have been some wonderful restorations but some recent decisions are very misguided. A great pity 602 was not able to run in preservation in it’s home city also sad was the fate of 601 at the Middleton Railway. I just wonder whether those reaching these decisions have lost touch with reality.

  7. Andy says:

    I think that what has been shown here is that if you are going to leave any money to ANY museum for a specific project/item it would be best to check that the museum [not just Crich] would be happy to accept the monies and is in alignment with the particular museum policies on donations, projects etc.

  8. Tommy Carr says:

    If the money is there, crich should accept it. It’s their only chance at the moment, and 602 nicely represents tramcar equipment with it’s VAMBAC control.

  9. Andy says:

    T4D, 273 had its trucks overhauled, 159 had new trucks with some bits from the donor Lison trucks. Regards 602, if I remember rightly, the interior is original along with most of the rest of the vehicle. It’s had some electrical work done but the VAMBAC equipment is as built and the wiring is original plus a few mods carried out. Most of the body panels have been removed and put back with fresh sealant but are the original panels. the trucks have had some work carried out on them but not the usual full overhaul, though I stand to be corrected on the trucks. Hope this clarifies things a bit more. Perhaps better words than original would be ‘as withdrawn’?

  10. Ross Stewart says:

    I have to agree with many of the comments in the article especially when there appears, on the face of it, to be some contradiction in approach between London 1 and Leeds 602. I can’t figure it out.
    On top of that there is the view that to conserve 602 in its current condition is for the best. However I can’t see how that will benefit either the public or the members as we will probably never be allowed inside it, or see the equipment or see underneath. To all but the privileged few it will remain just a purple square box. What a missed opportunity, in my view.

    • Andy says:

      Ross, there is no contradiction in the approaach between LCC1 and 602. LCC1 needed work doing to it as it is in a poor state of condition unlike 602. The construction of LCC1 doesn’t help with its condition [aluminium panels against steel framework]. It may come to that in many years time 602 may require work being done to it like it will be with LCC1 [and pevious restorations] if its condition suddenly deteriorates for some reason.
      You’ve raised a good point about seeing inside or underneath, so apart from digging a pit in the exhibition hall to allow people to walk underneath or raise it on a framework where it’ll be stuck virtually permanently is there any other option? If you have an idea please feel free to explain, you’ll find that Crich will listen to sensible ideas.

      • Ken Walker says:

        If nothing is done to 602 then without doubt its condition will gradually deteriorate. Then as stated previously it will cost far more to restore the tram to operational condition, and very likely cost a fortune to reinstate even to its current static condition – which will no doubt involve replacing parts. And of course there will not be anybody waving a cheque under their noses. It is also a well-known fact that spending long periods out of use does not do electrical equipment any good.

      • Andrew Waddington says:

        Thanks for your useful insight Andy. Regarding your comments that 602’s interior is largely as it was when it was withdrawn from service in Leeds, I wonder if it would be possible for some restricted access to be given to the public so we can all see and appreciate the conserved interior? In order to preserve items such as the seat upholstery it would probably be unwise to let people clamber all over it, but could access be given to the central platform area, with the saloons themselves blocked off but visible? At least then visitors would be able to appreciate the superb interior of this iconic tram, and the argument for leaving it as it is now would be somewhat strengthened as the public would actually benefit from it.

        • Daniel says:

          That’s a great idea! If we can’t ride on it we might as well be given limited access to it at least and let it be fully appreciated. I am coming round more to what the TMS have chosen now as Mark Evans has pointed out how it is important to conserve items like this too and as David Y Dredge has showed it is not the most suitable Tram to work in the museum
          Nonetheless, turning down 250k is a little bit mad.

  11. Pete C says:

    To my mind the interesting thing about this vehicle, as I understand it, is not just the VAMBAC equipment, but that it was one of one of two prototype single deck cars built for Leeds Corporation in the early 1950’s. The intention then was that the Corporation would eventually obtain a fleet of such trams which would run partially in underground tunnels, as part of a modernised stystem. Unfortunately this ambitious scheme came to nothing when the Council changed its policy and decided to scrap the whole tramway system. So the vehicle is of tremendous historic interest as well as being unique. It seems strange to me that the museum should reject a huge bequest to restore the vehicle but I wouldn’t claim to be an expert. I do hope their decision won’t mean that the vehicle will deteriorate over future years.

  12. David Taylor says:

    I am saddened that I will never get to ride this tram due to a few jobs worth’s making rules to please themselves.

    I doubt if any preserved vehicles are original as they were modified in service and rebuilt later with new materials. The two oldest vehicles in the world Manx 1&2 have new bogies and electrical equipment and may even have had the bodywork worked upon. To be really pedantic can we call a tram original if it has been repainted because every time you buy paint the specifications change.

    Andrew ends his article by saying it only his opinion but I am sure a lot of people agree with him.

    Please restore these trams to do what they were built for, carrying passengers.

  13. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    The proverb “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” seems appropriate here.

  14. Nigel Pennick says:

    Almost every museum has stuff it puts away and never touches, so it gradually deteriorates until some interested party takes notice or asks questions. If it is never to run again, perhaps 602 would be better returned to Leeds and displayed there as a static exhibit in its home city where it would at least have some interest.

  15. Christopher Callan says:

    Its clear to me that the preservation movement is divided in terms of the direction and progression path going forward. Whilst personally i find the decision disappointing I reluctantly accept that the current custodians of the national collection will not reverse the decision and so see little point any more challenging them evolve. They believe they are right. And in the fullness of time history will decide whether they were right or wrong. I personally fear for them going forward.

    Perhaps its time to just let them get on with it. And focus on the modern progressive groups popping up all over the country.

  16. tony stevenson says:

    Will the last board member to leave turn off the light switch.

  17. PR Garside says:

    Well that’s my Will altered then.
    I have left Crich a sum in my will as I am a lifelong Leeds Transport Enthusiast.
    What a shame that a persons bequest cannot be followed.
    Sorry Crich, the LTHS will get this when the time comes.

    • Daniel says:

      This is why they MUST overturn the decision as it will have long term implications such as this.

      • Mark Evans says:

        Speaking as someone who has work a lot in different museums I agree with the TMS Board. When people visit various Archaeological sites, they see a nice Victorian ruin, as the Victorians dug so in a lot of cases they ended up destroying the very thing they were digging, they meant well but a lot of stuff we would find there now which would add to our understanding of the past was lost. Some (not all) Museum exhibits are like that. If 602 was restored we would lose an example of 1950s engineering, as the only work done on it has been minor. Personally I would love to see the car run but VAMBAC technology is already demonstrated by 2 other examples and I would personally prefer to see it left (with conservational work where needed) in its 1953 condition.

  18. John West says:

    At what point can we expect 602 to be dumped at clay cross and be left to fester there?

  19. Colin Smith says:

    So, are we to understand that the policy for the future is to be conservation rather than restoration? If so, I assume that all vehicles currently in the national collection will one day soon be laid aside as static exhibits. After all each and every one of them is now “unique” in at least one way. Perhaps future bequests to Crich need to be specifically earmarked for the purchase and provision of glass cabinets in which to store all these “unique” vehicles because, theoretically at least, if a speck of dust lands on them, is dusted off and this action leaves a slight scratch in the paintwork then the exhibit is no longer “unique!”

  20. John Henderson says:

    Please correct me if I am wrong on one or two issues that cross my mind concerning Leeds 602.
    1) The late Granville King whose “Will” offered this sum of money, was I believe the prime mover in the acquisition of 602 at the closure point of Leeds Tramways. It may be possible to confirm by someone that it was he who purchased the tram, and no doubt supported its preservation in various ways (financially and/or otherwise) since acquisition. If this is the case, this alone is a key tragedy of the current turmoil and Board decision making now.
    2) I believe (please someone confirm or deny) that the Museum Curator is an “Employed Member of Staff” who I assume was responsible for advising the TMS Board regarding responding to the Bequest. If this is the case, surely employment is being mixed up with voluntary enthusiast business within the Society. Surely employees are expected to do duties for which they get paid, and not “cross the line”?
    3) Are there any other reasons, that prevented what I would have preferred to think should have occurred to be an automatic acceptance of the bequest? Are there any technical, or Health & Safety issues associated with restoration of this tram, that may open up a “Hornet’s Nest” for other tramcars (restored or otherwise)?
    It will soon be the Annual General Meeting of the TMS, when I am sure this complete subject and its many implications will be a major point of discussion, and perhaps an increase in attendance by members. Even though it is likely that reversing the decision may be impossible for the late Granville King’s wishes, shock waves for potential income in the future may no doubt questionable.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      John, I’ll answer your questions as best I can, but if anyone knows better please jump in!

      1) Granville King was indeed the key person responsible for 602’s preservation, and without him it may well not exist at all today. I have it on good authority that he was not treated particularly kindly by at least some of the TMS Board at an AGM a few years ago when he asked questions about the tram, so it is perhaps not surprising that his money is not wanted.
      2) The Curator is indeed on the payroll, but it is her job to decide what is best for the collection and advise the Board accordingly. The opinion that 602 should be conserved was expressed unanimously by the Tramcar Conservation Committee, who I believe are volunteers, and the Board made their final decision based on this.
      3) If there are any other issues preventing 602’s restoration, the TMS obviously don’t want us to know about them as they were not mentioned in the letter sent out to TMS members. This simply explained the reasoning behind the decision to conserve 602 and say no thanks to the £250,000. Incidentally, I wonder when all this would have been reported to the membership had the information not leaked out and been posted on another tram news site?

      • Big G says:

        Andrew, Thank you for the invitation to jump in, but this discussion is beginning to get out of hand. There has been reasoned discussion on both sides of the argument but, equally, a lot of unreasoned emotion and, even worse, unsubstantiated hearsay and innuendo. This post should not have been answered and certainly not in this manner. The late TMS member named above is not around to give his version of events and it is totally wrong to drag him, posthumously, into the debate. To suggest that the Board’s decision might be based on personal animosity is offensive to the decision makers and I suggest that that line of discussion goes no further.
        Your answer to the second “question” is factually correct but not strongly enough worded. Mr Henderson appears to see the curator somewhat as a servant with ideas above her station; she is a qualified and experienced professional whose job, as fulfilled in this instance is to research and accumulate data from as many sources as possible, to asses it and to give a considered recommendation. The decisions are then made by the conservation committee and ratified, or not, by the Board. This is what being an accredited museum is about. Mr Henderson’s remarks do, I believe, infringe your embargo on personal attacks and are directed against an individual who, due to her employee status, is unable to respond.
        Your answer to the third question rightly states that the letter explains the reasoning behind the decision. You do, however, precede it with an example of that unsubstantiated innuendo, alluded to earlier, implying that there might be a hidden agenda. That is not up to your usual unbiased standards.
        The people involved in this decision making process should be commended on their integrity in making that decision based on the evidence placed before them and not being influenced by the greed which seems to inflict some of your correspondents who appear to advocate grabbing the money on offer with no consideration of ethics.

        • Andrew Waddington says:

          Thanks for your comments ‘Big G’. I’m sorry that you feel my standards have dropped but on this occasion I felt unable to report on this matter without sharing some opinion, as like you I am very passionate about tram preservation and have strong beliefs about it. I, and this website, am more than happy to publish arguments which differ from my own views in order to provide balanced coverage, and I hope that readers will use these alongside what I have written to make up their own minds. As a number of people have commented in favour of the decision to conserve Leeds 602, this is clearly happening here.

          Perhaps what I said about the gentleman who left the legacy for car 602 was getting a little too far, but it is fairly well known that he was spoken to rather harshly by representatives of the TMS in the recent past and therefore my comment reflects that the TMS have not exactly shown him a lot of gratitude for what he has done for us all. In that sense, rejecting the legacy could be seen as not being the first time that his support has been brushed aside rather than appreciated, although I don’t think that would have influenced the decision making process. I for one am very thankful that he did ensure that 602 was saved, after all had it been scrapped there would be nothing to debate as we couldn’t conserve or restore a tram that had been scrapped many years ago!

  21. Geoffrey Ryder says:

    Yes TMS members should write to the Board and express their views now on the communication that has been sent to them and then attend the AGM.

  22. Russell B says:

    purely out of interest can someone inform me what this other tram news website is that is referred to above?


    • Andrew Waddington says:

      The ‘Trams Today’ Facebook page is where the story on 602 was first reported – before the official TMS statement was released.

      • Daniel says:

        Where can we view the TMS statement?

        • Andrew Waddington says:

          The TMS sent a letter out to all members of the Society. As far as I know it hasn’t appeared online yet, and as it was probably intended for members only I don’t wish to reproduce it in full here. In a nutshell though, it explains that 602 is to be conserved and how this decision was made, with an explanation of its historical significance and the process of compiling a ‘Tramcar Attitude Statement’, which is used to determine what a tram’s role in the collection is.

    • Daniel says:

      Trams Today on Facebook

  23. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    It would appear Crich are behaving like Singapore by dictating what is good for tramway preservation and tramway enthusiasts.

  24. Paul D says:

    First and foremost, my sympathies are with the family of Mr King that what would have been such as fitting legacy to his long standing association with the car has seemingly been denied.

    The fact is that the NTM have a written ‘Conservation Policy’ which is there to direct decisions like this about what should be done with their fleet (i.e. conserve, restore, operate etc) which is entirely appropriate and reasonable provided:
    1. It is publicly available for the guidance of persons considering making such targeted donations.
    2. It is implemented and can be seen to be implemented fairly and consistently.
    3. The rationale behind potentially contentious decisions is communicated openly and promptly.

    It would appear that in this instance, there have been failings on at least one of those points and from information in the public arena potentially on the other two as well.

    1. I have never seen the ‘Conservation Policy’ published (certainly it isn’t to be found on the website) so how is someone to know in advance how a potential donation is likely to be received and whether they are better offering their funds to other causes? Had Mr King known his legacy would be rejected, would he have directed it elsewhere?? [we will never know]
    2. Taking other recent announcements about project-specific donations there does seem to be some contradictions in how the policy is implemented.
    a. Leeds 301 (LCC 1) is widely understood to be (paint excepted) in the exact condition it ended service in Leeds so would appear to be more ‘original’ and more worthy of conservation in ‘ex-service’ condition (many original Leeds parts will be lost if it is put back in to London condition) whereas 602 has had substantial work including replacement parts at least twice in its time at Crich.
    b. Restoration of Sheffield 510 funded by a substantial contribution from the TSO, has recently been completed including a reproduction of its special ‘last week’ branding on new panels. The originals I believe still hang on the depot wall. If there is such concern about preserving original material from 602, could a similar scheme not be arranged?
    c. The workshop commitment needed has also been cited as a reason for not accepting the legacy, but that apparently did not affect the decision to accept funding for 301/1 nor the offer of funds for a Manchester Standard Replica both of which will require at least the same time and man hours.
    3. There clearly was a considerable lag between the decision being made and release of information by official channels leading to reports leaking via other sources, plus what has been said by various members in the interim had been in part contradictory and misleading.

    Overall, while the decision may have been made for the right reasons and in line with the written policy, once again the ‘closed shop’ mentality and air of secrecy that pervades the upper echelons of the TMS establishment has once again lead to a PR disaster over shadowing the excellent efforts that the restoration team are deservedly renown for and the fine job they would undoubtedly have made of 602 given the chance…


  25. David Y Dredge says:

    602 is a magnificent tram, but with four 45hp motors a rather powerful beast. Blackpool Coronations ‘sent the substation graphs soaring’ with four 35hp motors, compared to the more usual two motor cars with a total power rating of 70-80hp. I don’t know what 602 weighs, but at a guess, it would be less than a Coronation, giving it a high power to weight ratio, too great as I read somewhere for it to be sold on to Blackpool. Add to that, it’s a very complicated tram and probably represents less by way of return on workshop time than more conventional vehicles, irrespective of the rejected bequest. VAMBAC control equipment was also prone to problems caused by sand, dust and cobwebs at Blackpool, while slow running on the Crich tramway may well be less than suited to it. Note too that 602 is to be ‘conserved’ rather than subjected to benign neglect.

    LCC No 1 was run into the ground by the time it was withdrawn in Leeds and had some roughly done modifications to its underframe (as I understand it) to allow it to negotiate corners. It was in a poor state when it arrived at Clapham, but at least in both cases the vehicles (as with those at Clay Cross) are under cover.

    Museums across the board are restricted in resources and their use of them must be targeted towards what is seen to be the greatest benefit. Not everyone will agree with the NTM’s policies, but perhaps there are other considerations to be borne in mind which stand in the way of what many of us might like to see.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      As I mentioned before, the TMS have made a statement given their reasoning behind the decision not to restore 602 and none of the possible reasons you suggest where mentioned in it. Arguably, they might have strengthened the argument, but the TMS say that is not why this decision was taken.

      • Daniel says:

        But it’s a fair point though. When I have spoken to TMS workshop staff about the collection as a visitor they said that it was very difficult to operate.

  26. A. D. Young says:

    I’m baffled and maybe I’m also ignorant, but what on earth can be so wrong with 602 in its present condition that its restoration to running condition would entail eliminating the authenticity of the vehicle, the more so as, to a limited extent, it’s been done before at Crich?

    By and large, although shaped like a tram, 602’s body is built the way thousands of Roe bodies were built at that time. Its interior fittings aren’t a million miles away from those in 600, except they’re new whereas 600’s were refurbished from lots of sources (were there any new parts in 600?).

    Other than for its electric braking, its trucks are similar to those under the Blackpool Vambac cars while the electric braking itself is only a variant of that used on thousands of US, European and Eastern bloc PCC cars, of which the Crich collection has examples on display.

    So what’s left that’s unique? Mostly that which can only be demonstrated by movement, for example ride quality, silence in motion, its striking appearance as compared to the veterans that went before (displayed in plenty within the museum in running condition) its acceleration and braking characteristics.

    All pretty amorphous really, but surely no more so than the reasons behind the curatorial and board decisions not to touch the car, even with a bequest in hand earmarked for such a purpose.

    Otherwise words fail me.

    But this too shall pass.

    D. A. Young

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Crich restorations always tend to be very thorough though, and generally replace parts that are deemed unlikely to last for the approx. 30 year lifespan of a newly restored tramcar in passenger service. If this strategy were used, then a full restoration for 602 would almost certainly leave us with very little of the original tram, or indeed the one which we see in the Exhibition Hall today.

      I totally agree with your views on 602’s uniqueness – the VAMBAC equipment etc. can only be truly appreciated and understood in comparison to other traditional trams by riding on it. People who look at 602 will never be able to appreciate why 602 is so important in public transport history just by seeing it, their only acknowledgement that it stands out from the rest of the collection will probably be “its purple”, and even that is no longer unique thanks to Blackpool 762’s arrival, and the temporary addition of the modified Balloon car 711.

  27. David Butterworth says:

    A true case if ever there was one of ‘looking a gift horse in the mouth’, more like a punch in the jaws! £250,000!! Oh dear! In my opinion this is a misguided decision.

  28. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    To me the whole thing stinks. Crich management should be ashamed and I feel sorry for the relatives of the donor and also the team of restorers at Crich who do a wonderful job with their thorough restorations. Funny I was only thinking at the beginning of May that things were improving with the interesting mix of events on offer. Unfortunately the old guard still seem to be in control. As I said previously it is a great pity that the Parkside site next to the Middleton Railway did not get off the ground due to a number of reasons one being serious wanton destruction of trams kept there. Had the venture been more succesful then maybe Crich would never have got it’s hands on such an unteresting tram. I also feel there is an element at Crich that is stuck in the pre-forties and this tram is far too modern to be bothered with. So if anyone from Leeds is contemplating leaving a large sum to Crich to build their favourite Middleton Bogie I would think again.

  29. David Taylor says:

    This is not the first time Crich has ridden rough shod over the enthusiast. 869 was rescued by LUPS and brought to Crich to be restored by the LUPS. Crich then said it is on our land it is ours.

    The MTPS took the tram to Liverpool and restored it only to have Crich snatched it back.

    If the reason for not restoring 602 is because the equipment is rare but no one can see it, why not remove the equipment and display it in the exhibition hall then fit other electrics to allow the tram to run in service. this would satisfy both camps.

    At 67 I will not now be leaving my lottery winnings to the TMS.

  30. Jim Robinson says:

    I wonder if the TMS have shot themselves in the foot over this ? I have no doubt that by rejecting this legacy they will make others (myself included) think about what they leave and to whom. Also the letter to TMS members is written in an unfortunate style (not intended I am sure) and seems to be talking down to us surfs !

  31. Geoff Q says:

    VAMBAC equipment was also installed on the Blackpool ‘Coronation’ cars, of course. I remembered seeing a series of TV programmes entitled Salvage Squad, in one of which ‘Coronation’ 304 was beautifully restored. It has detailed shots of the VAMBAC equipment (which had to be completely stripped) and also the link man, Suggs, interviewed an 83-year-old retired driver who had driven the ‘Coronations’. He remembered the reason for abandoning those cars, not 20 years old, because of the unpredictability of their braking, which nearly caused him a collision on one occasion.

    It might make one think, when considering that the Crich tramway is hilly throughout. Perhaps the decision is not as daft as many correspondents have thought.

    The programme can be viewed by Googling “Salvage Squad series 2 episode 7”.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      The point I’ve been making though is that the reason the TMS have given for not restoring 602 has got nothing to do with the practicality of running it. Last time I dared to suggest there may have been other factors which influenced the decision I was quickly shot down, so it seems we are to believe that it is solely because of 602’s apparent historic value in its current condition.

    • Franklyn says:

      The braking problem is quite correct. However Crich overcame it a long time ago by fitting a switch in the cab which i understand bypassed the VAMBAC and simply applied full brakes for any such runaway emergencies. This was done after one of the more senior drivers at the time had one of these “brown trouser moments” as he put it! So that’s at least one bit of the non-original electrical system this paid conservator has missed!

      Regarding Salvage Squad, from memory I think 602’s VAMBAC ‘knitting machine’ was taken out at one point for servicing and sent away to a specialist. I seem to remember being told that 304’s VAMBAC was on the very same workbench at the very same time! My evil sense of humour really does hope they mixed up some of the bits!

      • colin says:

        You refer to ‘this paid conservator’, Franklyn, whom I assume can only be the Museum’s full-time Curator. Whilst not wishing to make personal comments against her, and bearing in mind that the conservation rather than restoration decision was made by a committee, the Curator must take ultimate professional responsibilty for a museum’s collection. As 602 has undoubtedly been altered substantially during its time at Crich, certainly more than LCC1, the conservation decision does indeed seem a strange one. The conservation route on LCC1, favoured by the previous Curator, and rejected by the Board in favour of restoration, would seem to be at odds with the Board’s subsequent stance on 602. Could the fact that all the substantial restoration funds for LCC1 were available from outside the TMS, whilst the costs for 602, apparently (from knowledgeable sources) exceeding the £250,000 bequest and therefore requiring a TMS funding input, have been the true deciding factor? If this is not the case, and conservation was indeed the reason, then I would argue that the current Curator is acting in an unprofessional manner by not urgently reviewing the case of LCC1 along the same lines as 602.

  32. Franklyn says:

    My final say on the whole 602 and LCC1 thing is this… They are of fairly similar construction. But whatever the construction, anyone who owns an old vehicle of any type will tell you there’s nothing worse than not using it. Electrical contacts become corroded, things seize up, parts that should receive lubrication through use don’t get lubricated for years and the general condition deteriorates. This has now happened to crisis point with LCC1.

    Being high on a Derbyshire hill, the weather at Crich can be inhospitable at the best of times. In winter cars storred in the main depot can be found running in water. When 399 was first restored it’s hanging straps grew a lovely coating of thick white fur between October and Easter because the leather used wasn’t treated with fungiside.

    The TMS spent tons of money trying to insulate the old exhibition (alongside the depot where LCC1 resided for many years) but it never really worked. This is why they insist on ‘drying out’ their trams before they run every season. It later years, when I went to work for Blackpool Transport, I asked how they handled the drying out problem. The reply was it was unnessesary because their depot had plenty of ventilation! The same ventilation Crich had just spent a fortune trying to stop whistling round their doors!

    Perhaps the gentleman whose donation was unceremoneously turned down would have been wiser leave his money to someone to build a replica of 602? With the controversial Crich / Manchester standard project getting the green light it would have been interesting to see their reaction to that! They would probably say they don’t have space for it like they didn;t have space for a Blackpool twin car or a Centenary, but could find a home for two Brush cars and now two balloons.

    Hang on a minute…. Where’s that ‘crich standard’ going to eventually live again?

  33. David Tudor says:

    Crich would seem to be a home for non-functioning PCC cars. Your correspondents seem to have overlooked the two other vehicles, at Crich from Halle and Den Haag, both with PCC equipments. The Den Haag car was sold sans traction motors, and I arranged replacements from Leipzig, whereas the Halle vehicle was purchased as a second access tram but proved unsuited. It looks as if the ability to service PCC equipment is a major factor in the decision.

  34. A. D. Young says:

    David Tudor may have a point by suggesting “the ability to service PCC equipment is a major factor in the decision.”

    If, however, there’s a genuine will to remedy this problem, there are dozens of people with PCC experience in US museums for example and in those few places where PCC cars still run in service. Equally so in Europe, where Boris Cefer of Ostrava comes to mind.

    Some arrangement whereby one or more of these individuals would come to Crich on a short-term contract to conduct on-the-job training, including recommendations for the most suitable equipment to acquire for routine PCC/Vambac maintenance, surely would not be impossible.

    Incidentally, the Vambac controls, Maley and Taunton trucks etc. were deliberately designed to avoid infringing PCC patents, even though M&T in fact had a licence from the PCC to use their patents in building UK PCC cars (as indeed did Tatra).

    The reason given for this action, though probably not the only or even the real reason, was the stringent British currency controls of the 1940s. From the perspective of 70 years later, the royalty fee of $150 the PCC’s successor was said to be charging per car seems like peanuts.

    Unlike Andrew Waddington, I’m not neutral when it comes to whether 602 runs again, or doesn’t. It must, if only on a limited basis. I wonder if this furore over 602 has happened because a nerve has been struck due to the size of the bequest turned down, a bequest made by an individual intimately connected with 602’s acquisition and early history at Crich? I guess that if the bequest has failed, the gift falls into his residuary estate.

    Equally, I wonder if this issue also arises partly from the conceptual clash between conservation and restoration? If so, it has the potential to split the entire tramway and railway preservation movement right down the middle.

    To grossly oversimplify, the conservation argument springs from the fine arts museum curatorial approach, where artifacts are individual pieces-a Leonardo painting, a Chippendale chair, a Gobelin tapestry etc.

    Authenticity is key here, together with conservation to maintain that authenticity as far as possible. Hence the tremendous fuss by critics over cleaning of the Sistine Chapel’s Michelangelo’s ceiling. They claimed many original details were lost in the process and so some of its authenticity.

    As I see it, the conservation view can offer useful insights, but to adopt it in toto as curatorial practice for one or more vehicles of a railway or tramway museum is to ignore the realities faced by any museum of industrial technology.

    That reality is machinery, units composed of hundreds if not thousands of component parts working in unison to do one or more jobs. In this case, that job is movement and surely it is a sine qua non of a heritage railway or a tram museum that some, if not all, of their exhibits must move.

    And it is on this point that the potential for a split appears. The conservation approach, if carried out strictly in rail or tram museums, would reduce each exhibit to a single static artifact, akin to the exhibits in an art gallery.

    Crich was established in part to recreate all of the tramway experience and that included movement, i.e.operation of cars. For the past half-century it has carried out that function, and continues to do so, in exemplary fashion.

    What’s unique about 602 is its propulsion package and the consequent improvement in ride quality and control it (and the Blackpool cars similarly fitted) offered over older cars. The fact that a great deal of its originality survives is a happy coincidence, but one mustn’t lose sight of the fact that even in its brief days in Leeds service it underwent various modifications, and once at Crich, as has already been pointed out, it’s been been under various kinds of heavy repair on several occasions.

    If conserved as is, I fail to see how its 1950s construction attributes can be meaningfully displayed in a museum setting, hidden as they are just as effectively as its propulsion package, and if they can’t be displayed, before long that might mean a one-way ticket to Clay Cross for 602.

    Crich has 19th and early 20th century wood-bodied cars in its collection. There’ll be a time not so far distant, when these will be regarded as too fragile to run more than a few times a year, if at all. If 602, like more fragile vehicles in the collection, was to be used in service only on special occasions, then why would there be the need for a massive and potentially destructive (from a conservator’s point of view) overhaul?

    I don’t know why the car was withdrawn from service (someone will, and I’d be glad to hear from them) but surely it cannot be far from acceptable operating condition right now. (If not, why not? I’d certainly be interested in knowing). I’d have thought a modest fettling, rather than one of Crich workshop’s rightly-famed 30-year specials would be sufficient to keep it serviceable for the few times a year it might run, and at the same time conserve its 1950s attributes as well.

    Experiencing the contrast between this car’s performance on the road and those of older single-truck two-motor cars, is startling and revelatory, a necessary “take home” museum message for the average Crich visitor as to the “wrong” but unavoidable direction UK transit policy took in the unsubsidised transport world of the 1950s.

    It’s an experience completely unavailable to Crich visitors at present, all the more upsetting as there are two other genuine PCC cars in the collection which could provide a similar experience and send the same message to visitors. They’ve never yet operated at Crich—but could under the right combination of circumstances, including the will to have them run, the money to make it happen etc.

    The argument that 602’s a power-hungry four-motor car has validity, but there are a few other 4-motor cars in the collection and some do run in service every now and again.

    A pity there isn’t a similar fuss being raised about the fate of cars like the Blackpool Dreadnought (what could be more unique than this disused gem, already restored twice to some degree, yet now out of service once more), or the two Glasgow double-truck standards (1100, 1115), Sheffield 46, Howth 10, Leicester 76, Newcastle 102, the two Sheffield single-truckers (189 and 264), or even Leeds 600 and TARS 274.

    As it stands at present and for many years previously, those cars not consigned to the Clay Cross store have mostly been on static display at Crich. That’s fine, but would be even better if the public had more of a museum “take-home” experience by being allowed to walk through the cars, taking in the sight and the smell of their interiors, contrasting the older cars whose owners were content to to transport the “great unwashed” on austere wooden benches in pompous, dark, wood-panelled surroundings, and more recent cars whose exterior and interior appearance delivered comfort in a light, psychologically-welcoming environment, almost always kitted out with luxurious interior designs.

    Best of all as I see it, would be the long-term loan (as with Hull 132/Leeds 446) of the less fragile of these cars to other museums, with a modest restoration to operating condition, supervised by Crich personnel. But there I fear I’ve entered the realms of fantasy.

    A. D. Young

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      I’m a bit confused about your thoughts on me being neutral – I’ve already been criticised for being anything but! I agree with all that you’ve said, for people to appreciate the technology that 602 represents it needs to operate. Another interesting point that has also come to light… the booklet published for this week’s Sheffield event at Crich states that 510’s seat upholstery is original, but has merely been tidied up and retained in the operational tram, meaning that it will presumably be subjected to having visitors sit on it for many more years to come. Hang on a minute though, wasn’t the originality of 602’s internal features a reason given for it to not be operated? One rule for one tram and another for another tram it seems!

    • freel07 says:

      To throw my 2 penny worth in. I would have liked to see 602 run again having been lucky enough to ride on it when it did run at Crich. However as I see it what the ‘conservation pundits’ are saying about 602 is that it is in as built condition whereas none of the others mentioned are. It never really saw sustained use in Leeds and so they say it still retains all its original fittings. Even 510 which is of similar vintage albeit slightly older saw sustained use and those seats which are claimed to be original and have been tidied up are probably not those it was delivered with.

      Most heritage tramcars, railway locos and rolling stock are assemblies of components from several overhauls both in service and in preservation and are therefore somewhat like the proverbial ‘Trigger’s broom’ and therefore not really conservation candidates. 602 is a very rare example of an unmolested as built tram and has therefore sadly fallen into this trap.

  35. Frank Gradwell says:

    Mr Young has it spot on right.

    You can’t preserve the tramway “experience” with non operational trams.

    Professional museum staff have their place, but they need to learn that in a place like Crich they are in a semi commercial environment, and one that will only function by allowing people to ride.

    Decisions like this will mitigate not just against that necessity, but against further bequests, and against new volunteers coming forward to replace the old guard.

    Time for a re-appraisal – but I’ll be the taxman has had some of quarter of a million now, which would have been IHT exempt if it had been taken up by Crich – well done again!

    Time to stop aiming that gun at the floor!

  36. David Taylor says:

    Sadly this argument has taken on a life of of its own, now a week since Andrew started the conversation most of the comments are for the tram to be returned to service. All this time the Crich committee have remained silent. Surely if they wanted to offer Members and the public a good service they could answer some of the comments and try to get out of the hole they have dug for themselves.

  37. A. D. Young says:

    My apologies to Andrew Waddington; it was Gareth in today’s editorial who said he was fairly neutral about this issue.

    David Taylor is right-this hornet’s nest of correspondence surely merits some response from a representative of the Crich Board by now, to members and to outsiders alike, if only from a public relations point of view. Maintaining silence, unless it’s because they are considering the release of a measured and full response in the next few days, is bad PR, bad politics and damaging to the museum’s overall institutional credibility.

    There may well be good grounds for the decision they took, looked at from their perspective and it is their right to come to any decision they may choose within the parameters of the museum’s overall mission.

    But as this particular decision on the face of it, seems questionable and contradictory in terms of current standards and practices, maintaining a stony, sphinx-like, silence (other than for the letter in early May) is a poor approach to dealing with the criticism. In the absence of communication, rumours abound, speculation is rife and emotions run high.

    Moreover, it isn’t the first time the Crich Board has been accused (rightly of wrongly) of taking this silent approach. A track record is building up that may be harmful to the museum as an institution, in ways no one can predict.

    Mr. Gradwell’s point about the taxman is one I hadn’t considered-but perhaps neither did the Crich Board. If they did, I’d be interested to know if this was factored into their decision.

    A. D. Young

  38. Thomas Atkinson says:

    In many ways their are clear parallels to the Lancastrian Transport fall from grace in many respects. Long detailed analysis that is forensic and hard hitting rather with very little in response to it. Other than the usual tired “you want crich to fail type messages” and some particularly nasty bile and quite menacing undertones elsewhere. Feels quite familiar actually. The aloofness & failure to engage in the correct way.

    Smashing records for all the wrong reasons. Most Commented article on in a long long time. If not ever…

  39. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    I like many others are mindful of the achievements of Crich over the years. However in recent times some of their decisions in respect of preservation leave them open to criticism particularly from those of us including myself with many years in preservation 43 years in my case. I do not think anybody on here would wish Crich to fail but we can not sit back and say nothing. As far as the LTC was concerned I myself acknowledged that prior to their fall from grace they had been in the forefront of saving buses and trams that would otherwise have been scrapped at the time. I knew all the personalities involved but not those in respect of Crich. In respect of Leeds 602 it is a shame that Leeds is the largest city without a decent transport museum sited locally. The result of which everything tram wise has gravitated to Crich.

  40. Thomas Atkinson says:

    Long term believe a large % of the collection should actually be distributed far and wide. The regional Hub System should be implemented. Removing the idea of National Collection in one location. A shift of focus is needed arguably already well under-way.

    Leeds (East Midlands) – The failed Middleton Scheme should be reactivated. & Collection of Leeds and other local systems drawn from the current pool + replicas to establish a base of local operations. Likes of 107 & 602 will be given the place they deserve operating in perpetuity.

    (North West) Manchester – One of the real success stories demonstrating that a local group in the right location can thrive. Get them the pot of money for the replica standard do it as a joint project.

    (North West) Blackpool – Fulfil the dream. Get Rigby Road back to its former glory. Packed full of every type of tram. & some visitors just like the past. Can and no doubt will be one day a world class museum…

    (North East) Beamish & Co – NEETT, TTTT & Beamish continue to grow and allow Beamish to be the hub of operational tramcar preservation. Excellent example of local groups working together.

    Their lots of other places who can take on the mantle of their local areas tramcar preservation responsibilities. Redistribution of power and responsibilities is needed. Their still a place for Crich. Nobody wants them to close down. Despite what a paranoid few think. They have a role if they want to going forward. But they are now part of wider preservation landscape. The days of Crich dictating and leading are long long gone

    • Paul D says:

      In principle Thomas, you are absolutely right. The National Railway Museum work along very similar lines, loading loco and stock to preserved lines, often involving the lines carrying out restoration and overhaul as part of the deal. As well as opening the collection to a wider audience with very obvious publicity benefits, it also leads to an ever changing line-up at York, keeping it fresh and encouraging repeat visitors.

      The NRM see the preserved railways as colleagues and friends, unfortunately some in the higher echelons of the TMS give the impression they see anyone else operating a tramway as a rival and a threat. That needs to change radically before regular exchanges of trams with other lines can become a reality.

  41. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Yes Thomas fair points but just one thing Leeds is a northern city!

  42. A. D. Young says:

    >just one thing Leeds is a northern city!


    A. D. Young

  43. Ralph Oakes-Garnett says:

    Look at the comment about Leeds in the East Midlands.

    • A. D. Young says:

      Aha. Thanks for clearing that up-it slipped right by me, a Leeds lad of the 1940s and 1950s.

      Now that a couple of weeks have gone by has there been any open and official response by the Crich Board to this PR fiasco?

      I for example have not seen the original letter, nor have I seen any official explanation of why such a bequest was turned down other than that which I’ve read on this site. Restricted funds are nothing new to any charitable institution, but surely, (to be Hollywood/show biz crass), when you’re offered cash, you take the money and run!

      So what if the gift requires you do something against your current curatorial policies? Nothing is immutable and sooner rather than later, policy will inevitably change to suit the times. It has in the past, it will again in the future.

      602 doesn’t have to be a mainstay of the fleet. I still maintain though, that it should be put into acceptable running condition for use on special occasions.

      The idea of long-term tram loans a la the National Railway Museum is sound as well as creative-and is not without precedent at Crich. Perhaps that’s the way to go with cars such as Leeds 600, 602 and others.

      A. D. Young

      • Colin says:

        See my post of 18 May in response to Franklyn. It could be that Crich turned down the bequest because the TMS would have to make up a funding shortfall and weren’t prepared/able to do that. It’s possible that, by claiming conservation issues, they saved face, but prior to this were prepared to go down the restoration (rather than conservation) route with LCC1 because external funding was available for complete restoration. It would seem to me on this basis that the TMS Board drifts from policy to policy. As others have commented on this thread, the Board really needs to make a public statement of its precise, accurate position on such issues, bearing in mind it’s responsible for a national collection.

  44. Mark says:

    Perhaps this money has gone to Balloon 704 instead…

  45. John Gilbert says:

    So much useful comment above. All I would like to do is to support vehemently those who want 602 restored fully to a working state. This was, apart from the Blackpool Coronations, the most modern tram in Britain. It is absurd and simply incomprehensible that she is not to be restored to working order. One has to doubt the thought processes of those who made the decision!
    I rode in 602 in Leeds, obviously when she was brand new. It was obvious that, on her own she could not cope with traffic, and sad that the Corporation became faint-hearted and didn’t follow through with the original plan to provide a trailer.

  46. Chris Thornburn says:

    The thoughts of someone who is not a transport enthusiast, still less a TMS member, may be of interest: namely my daughter. She was with us over the holiday, and in conversation she said, knowing my interest, that she would like to leave a bequest to TMS in her will. I felt it was relevant to tell her about the recent Board decision, and she was horrified: “That’s insane! What kind of message does it send out? It’s insulting to someone’s memory, why couldn’t they get together and talk about it and find a compromise? And it’s arrogant, it’s a policy change so why wasn’t it put to the membership?”
    In consequence, she has now decided that she will not be going to leave anything to Crich. And for that matter, neither will I.

    • Colin says:

      With Chris Thornburn, longstanding TMS official, posting such comments, the TMS Board and Management really do have to get their act together and begin to publicly respond with convincing explanations. Any continuing silence will allow criticism of their actions to continue and give the impression that they either have contempt for TMS members and the general public (they’re responsible for a publicly owned national collection) or are totally inadequate in ability to manage such situations. A response via the Crich website would be a good place to start.

      • Colin says:

        Add to ‘longstanding TMS official’, ‘ex-TMS President’, which probably makes Chris’s comments even more significant.

    • Graham says:

      Now we have Chris Thornburn, an ex-TMS President, deciding not to leave anything to Crich. Things appear to be going seriously wrong at TMS Board level.

  47. Jamie Guest says:

    Not only Chris Thonrburn. Jim Soper another ex TMS President and also the architect who built the Red Lion and the Bowes Lyon Bridge is very concerned. He has written an open letter to the editor of ‘The Journal’ demolishing the whole concept of conservation. Also to add to the debate the way that 602 went to Crichj has become clearer. The late Granville King, whose legacy was rejected, started the move to purchase 602 and succeeded to do so with the help of 5 other people. Most of them were students and not at all wealthy but they raised £150 between them, which shows the effort and enthusiasm that they had in 1960. To make Leeds City Transport deal with them, they formed an ad hoc Leeds railcar preservation Group and that group purcahsed 602 which was then given to Crich. Full details of this can be found in the ‘preservation’ chapters of Volume 5 of Leeds Transport, by Jim Soper.


    • Colin says:

      In my opinion, this 602 episode is not about conservation at all. As I’ve written earlier on this thread, I believe, the conservation versus restoration issue is a smokescreen created by the TMS Board to hide the fact that the substantial bequest would still leave the TMS with a funding shortfall which the Board is either unwilling or unable to meet. Information on restoration costs from a knowledgeable source would seem to back this up. The Board was willing to go ahead and restore LCC1, where outside funding for a complete restoration was available, despite the then Curator arguing for conservation, to preserve historical integrity. No problem for the Board on overriding that one. It does seem to me that the TMS Board makes up policy as it goes along. Of course, I may be wrong, and I welcome a public response from the Board and Curator (as a museum professional in an accredited museum, the Curator has responsibility for the tramcar collection and consequently their restoration or conservation). Over a fortnight now, and still nothing. Hardly encouraging for a national museum.

      • Colin says:

        Slight correction to the second line of my last comment. Should read ‘I believe the conservation…..’ Minus the comma, it means something different. Apologies.

        As an afterthought to my comment re any public rebuttal by the Board of my funding shortfall stance, a simple publication of the estimated cost of restoring 602 would do the trick.

      • Paul D says:

        Not sure that is the case Colin – one unofficial comment from a TMS member suggested it had to be rejected because it was too much! They didn’t want to accept it all and have the excess tied up and unusable for other projects. IIRC Last time 602 was discussed the TMS estimate was c£150k…

        • Colin says:

          Thanks for that, Paul. I believe this is the first time on this thread that any figure relating to the actual cost has been posted. A confirmation from the Board would of course settle the matter (my ‘knowledgeable source’ indicated a higher figure). If a lower figure is the case and, as your source suggested, the TMS would consequently have been left with an unusable surplus, this again points to the fact that the conservation decision was a smokescreen. Until the Board and Curator go public, we’ll never know. Considering the time that’s now elapsed, I think we probably never will know, which is an awful conclusion to reach.

  48. David Holt says:

    The latest “Tramfare” magazine (Tramway and Light Railway Society) contains a learned article explaining how to make donations by will. Perhaps the advice in it needs to be rolled out, with appropriate modifications, to TMS members.

    • David says:

      In view of the TMS Board’s negative response over the substantial bequest for 602, presumably the ‘appropriate modifications, to TMS members’ are simply ‘don’t bother’. Unfortunate.

  49. John Gilbert says:

    Just a further comment to add to my earlier one. The great thing about no. 602, as indeed about the Blackpool Coronations – and the Marton route Railcoaches – was that, having resilient wheels, they were SILENT. Thick-headed British councillors could, it seems, never get their heads around the idea that tram noise was almost entirely connected with the wheel/rail interface. So resilient wheels, even without Vambac equipment with all its complications, at a stroke did away with the old idea of Mark I trams “clanking and grinding” their way about. It was just that we never had many/enough of them.

  50. Phill says:

    May I offer a slight alternative view on the subject of bequests and legacies?
    Leaving aside whether 602 should or should not have been done, the fact that it won’t means that refusing the money is the only honourable course of action. The money was restricted-not a penny of it could have been spent on anything else. Not another tram, not the depots, not the OHL and track-nothing, except 602. So are bequests left to Crich safe? Of course, because if they are restricted to a project that won’t/can’t be done, they will be returned to the estate. Not to everyones taste, but I would say it is honest. Imagine the outcry if we’d accepted it then spent it on something else!

    I see the point about the wishes of the deceased too, but as a museum Crich cannot take that point on its own. Museum guidelines are very clear, that you do not do something just because the money is there-it must be justified in other ways. To take LCC 1 as an example, whilst it is largely untouched, it is also quite clearly dropping to bits. Hardly surprising after many years in the service of two cities, then spending its preservation life in various damp barns. Similar justification applies to another Bluebird, this one being Donald Cambells jet boat.

    Much as I’d loved to have seen 602 run again, I can see the alternative reasons for it to be left alone. And think on this-the decision not to touch it can be reversed any time, but once we get ripped into it, the originality is lost. Now, think on the advances in technology that might come. Suppose it became possible to restore a tram AND conserve its originality? The Bluebird K7 team are already showing ways of restoring utterly destroyed machinery without losing original material. I recommend a look.
    You could draw a parallel with the egyptian tombs and mummies found in the 1800s too. People charged straight in, took a few black and white photos then grabbed the shiny stuff. What insights into egyptian life might they have destroyed? You may have seen how we can now see into ancient mummies with all manner of fancy scans, thus knowing what is in them without taking them apart. Right down to what they last ate and what diseases they most likely had.

  51. Geoffrey Ryder says:

    Thank you Mr Soper for a reasoned and very professional letter. Those Board Members of the TMS who voted against the acceptance of the legacy for the restoration of Leeds 602 and those other people associated with that vote should consider their positions and resign immediately to allow new more progressive members to be nominated to replace them on the Board of Management at the AGM in July. The whole matter is a disgrace and embarrassment to the TMS and its Members and to the public image of the organisation. I ask again: Why were the Members not consulted prior to the decision? Do we count for little more than our annual subscriptions and final legacies to the TMS? Very sad indeed.

    • Christopher Callan says:

      Its hard to disagree with any of that. Am not sure the organisation is capable of making the necessary reforms quick enough. This need tackling a long long time ago. Spiralled to new depths of despair.

  52. David Holt says:

    It needs to be noted that resilient wheels are a feature of the trams now “pussyfooting” around on our modern systems, bringing 602’s significance right up to date.

  53. Sam B Smith says:

    As a tramaholic, and a member and volunteer at the museum, i really would love to see 602 going again. But I believe that if I haven’t got the wrong end of the stick, Crich have done the right thing. I only wish the money could have been put towards some thing else, like new track (its beginning to show its age, in my opinion).

    • Daniel says:

      They’ve just replaced that haven’t they?

      • BigG says:

        Some track work was carried out over the winter but Sam is probably right. It is a continuous process, there is considerable work to be done, and track is only part of it. There is a constant need for upkeep of the overhead, buildings and infrastructure (and that includes the Red Lion and Bowes-Lyon Bridge). Add to that the need for new infrastructure, and the bills start to get very large indeed.
        If Crich is included in my will it is to be without conditions. Certainly not for a specific project in an attempt to coerce the board into reversing policy decisions made via the correct process.
        This is the only way in which the old fogeys (in which I include myself) can pass on a healthy and viable operation to a new generation, like Sam and the other younger members who have worked so hard over the last week to deliver such a highly successful ‘Beside the Seaside’ event.

  54. Mark Evans says:

    Following on from the comments Mr Soper has made, I feel that as a member of various museums covering transport and other fields need to respond. He is right about the need that in time everything decays unless work is done on them. Where we disagree is exactly what needs to be done. Take for example the Mary Rose. Regular work needs to be done to conserve the ship to prevent decay from occurring but there would be outrage if work was done to restore the Ship back to its state as a working example of Henry the 8ths Navy. But this kind of damage is exactly what some are saying should be done to Leeds 602. I am sure everyone respects the ground breaking work that the pioneers did at Crich. They displayed the same love and determination that we saw when Blackpool modernised. The museum though has changed though over the years, a lot of the cars they saved were running on extra time from the native system with only a bit of fiddling with. We are now in a situation where we do not have this luxury and where the trams need extensive restoration work, which as Andrew has stated is destructive to the original, this leads to painful choices and since the board is not an expert, it has to go with the curatorial advice it is given. I think though it is a great pity that some respected and senior members have chosen to attack the museum they founded in public rather than at the TMS AGM.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Everyone has the right to freedom of speech though, and that is all that the likes of Mr Soper have done. Frankly they probably feel very saddened by the way that the museum they helped to shape has lost sight of its purpose. You say that the museum has changed over the years, but I’m clearly far from alone in thinking that it has changed for the worse and that it needs to go back to basiscs ASAP before even more damage to the long-term reputation and survival of the museum is put at risk. The number of people who are publicly stating they will not support Crich financially again or who are making their views very public has become far too great to be ignored and the TMS Board MUST respond as soon as possible.

  55. Christopher Callan says:

    Its clear over the winter a significant amount of time and effort went on behind the scenes to try and repair some of the damage and ill feeling towards Crich Tramway Village & Connected organisations & individuals associated with it. Small Steps were been made in the right direction & they were beginning to come to terms with the new preservation landscape recognising they were working within a collective not leading it.

    Nobody however loyal to the board can honestly say its been handled well. This sorry saga done unmitigated damage which ever way you look at it. Honestly no longer sure what the way forward is. Decisions like this have once again turned the spot light away from the progress been made and arguably washed away the progress over the winter months. Am not sure the organisation is capable of making the necessary reforms quick enough and as a result fear for its future as the flag ship home of the national collection.

  56. Nigel Pennick says:

    Re: Jim Soper’s comments on ‘conservation’ elsewhere. I wholeheartedly agree with him.

  57. Franklyn says:

    I totally agree with both Jim Soper and Chris Thornburn and his daughter. The facts are exactly as Jim stated in his letter, that unless you put something in a complete vaccum with no light then almost all materials crumble to dust eventually.

    I have no idea where Crich get their figures from for the cost of restoration work, but it’s worth remembering that 602 is one of the newest vehicles in their fleet, has (despite what their creator seems to believe) had work done since arriving there, and has also operated relatively recently. A decent bit of workshop attention to make sure the vehicle is still fit for use and some restoration / conservation should leave plenty of change out of £250,000. Maybe someone could ask Brian over at Blackpool for a more sensible estimate of the costs involved in bringing a basically ‘frozen’ but complete tram back into service?

    Despite what anyone at Crich (or anywhere else) thinks, 602 WILL need to be restored one day to stop it falling into the ground. It may not be for a few years yet, but it will eventually happen. If some money is available now to help extend the vehicle’s life then surely it should be accepted and maybe even added to from the TMS coffers, rather than the TMS having to pay the whole and much higher bill a few years down the line.

    Knowing what I know about Crich and the personalities there, I think there’s more to this saga than meets the eye. Why does the NATIONAL Tramway Museum have 2 useless PCC cars, which don’t operate and are of a type with absolutely no part to play in our national story of tramway development? All this when an offer of a twin car from Blackpool (important as it would show trailer operation) and even one of Britain’s last 1st generation trams (a Blackpool Centenary) were recently turned down.

    Perhaps if TMS board members and staff took holidays in Leeds and Blackpool the story may be different?

    One final note… Did you know that Crich could have had a totally original Centenary car as early as the 1980’s? I understand there was an offer on the table at the time to build a special 9th vehicle, one window bay shorter to better fit the Crich track layout, to place on the experimental trucks which 648 originally ran with when it was numbered 651.

    The whole ‘looking a gift-horse in the mouth’ doesn’t seem to be a new thing. It’s just tthat this time someone found out about it.

    • Colin says:

      Re Jim Soper’s open letter published elsewhere on this site, a couple of points really.

      Firstly, he writes ‘A sum of £250.000 in a restricted account accruing interest would go a long way towards financing this project.’ This is precisely the point I’ve been making, that more funding would probably be needed, and the TMS Board are either unwilling or unable to fund this shortfall. The Board readily agreed to restoration of LCC1, where total external funding was available. It’s part of TMS culture to restore and operate tramcars. Tram enthusiasts have a fetish for this. Run them all, let’s have lots of tramcar porn. So why this apparent u-turn in conserving rather than restoring 602? My belief is still that conservation was a smokescreen created by the Board to hide a funding shortfall problem.

      Secondly, conservation (i.e. caring for museum objects and not allowing them to rot) is unfortunately a fact of museum life. Remember, the TMS has the word ‘museum’ in its title for a reason. If members simply want to run trams, then abandon the idea of a museum, throw away accreditation and all its obligations and responsibilities, let the Curator and Education Officer go, hand back those tramcars held on behalf of the nation (LCC1 included?) and run trams to your hearts’ content in a TS (Tramway Society) Crich theme park.

      • Andrew Waddington says:

        Just a thought, but without tram enthusiasts who have an apparent ‘fetish’ for running trams (heaven forbid!), Crich wouldn’t actually exist and most of the trams in its collection would have been scrapped years ago. Personally I think all this professional stuff has sent Crich done the wrong path, but that’s a whole other debate!

        • Colin says:

          Re your last sentence, Andrew, a solution to ‘all this professional stuff’ is covered by the second point of my 29 May post. And you’d also be rid of Jim’s ‘conservation fetish’ (heaven forbid!) curators. Can’t see any problems arising. Can you?

    • Margaret says:

      Many thanks to Jim Soper for enlightening me in his open letter that ‘conservation is a fetish of some curators’. I’ll certainly have to look out for that. There I was thinking that the only fetishism at Crich Tramway Village was men (and a few women) dressing up in uniforms for fun.

      • BigG says:

        Sorry to disappoint you but if, as you say, you are on the lookout for fetishes neither this website nor Crich are the places to find them. There are, I understand, other websites that would better satisfy your needs.

        • Mike Douglas says:

          Oh, don’t spoil Margaret’s wonderful post, BigG. She doesn’t actually say she’s on the lookout for those perceived Crich fetishes ‘to satisfy her needs’ as you put it – she could well be on the lookout to avoid them. Maybe your interpretation says more about you, but I’ll of course give you the benefit of the doubt. Margaret’s put some humour into the 602 episode. I say let uniforms be worn at Crich with pride!

  58. David Holt says:

    The fact that Jim Soper is a former President of the Tramway Museum Society adds weight and authority to what he says. He has put a very great deal into the Museum’s development, contributing his professional advice on many different developments, and being highly respected for it. His views should be similarly sought and respected as we go forward into uncharted territory, along with those of other expert members. Such wisdom is not to be dismissed lightly.

  59. John Stewart says:

    The cost of restoring Leeds 602 to full working order in terms of the mechanical / electrical side cannot be anywhere near £250,000. Bodywork / seating / decoration items can always be trimmed to the budget available. If £250,000 is too much, the balance can go into a ring-fenced trust fund for its future maintenance. The executors may have the power to agree to “spare” money being used for other purposes or they could go to court for permission to do so. The courts often have to deal with legacies where it is impractical or pointless to spend the money quite as directed in the will.

    • Malcolm Hanson says:

      One for Jim Soper.

      Shock! Horror!

      The National Railway Museum has 1874 industrial saddle tank ‘Bauxite No 2 on display at York with its information panel stating it’s in ‘conserved not restored’ condition, having been ‘cared for, but not repainted’ since entering the National Collection. This museum conservation fetish disease (CFD) is obviously spreading alarmingly amongst curators at the highest level! Time for Jim and his band of restoration men to step in and inject some good old common sense before it’s too late! These trained museum professionals, even at the NRM, need to be shown a thing or two by enthusiasts at the NTM!

      • Mark Evans says:

        Firstly well said Malcolm, its nice to see that some can tell the difference between Restoration and Conservation. I think though that we need to get a grip on the facts rather than some of the hype and could I suggest that we follow the advice given at the start of the comments and treat everyone with respect regardless of if they are for or against 602.

        Reading the comments I feel that there is a misunderstanding in some area. Although the National Tramway Museum and National Railway Museum are both Centres of excellence with a dedicated workforce committed to the conservation of both collections and knowledge, that is where the similarity ends. At the NRM it is quite acceptable to ask why something is or is not being done since at the end of the day the museum is funded, hence owned by the Taxpayer. We should remember that the NTM is not government owned but is financed by private individuals who form the TMS, it is not an exclusive club anyone is welcome to join and will be welcomed with open arms . I note there have been a lot of comments on here DEMANDING that the TMS Board explain themselves to the public. The only people the Board have a duty to explain anything to are the members which they have already done by letter and am sure will address further at the TMS AGM.

        • James says:

          If the TMS no longer wish to be held to account via taxpayers and the like and wish what to only be accountable to the membership should put a statement out tomorrow. Withdraw from the designated scheme (and thus handing back any grant achieved via this scheme) and inform HMRC and the relevant bodies so the thousands in gift aid etc are handed no longer sought.

  60. jim robinson says:

    The silence of the TMS Board is puzzling, the members are surely entitled to an explanation of this matter, if not to be allowel a free vote by ALL of the members not by a few. This is the second time time (the blackpool cars were the first) when the Members were not consulted over a major issue. RIP TMS

    • Nathan says:

      I thought 630, 236/607 and 762 were chosen by TMS Board members? Or have I missed something?
      They made a good choice anyway, I love riding on the former two and look forward to riding the latter.

      • Christopher Callan says:

        Presumably referring to the decision to change their mind and reverse the original decision to accept a Centenary Car & Twin Set. Hindsight a wonderful thing now. The Twin & Centenary now get to play a part in the Blackpool Heritage Tram Tour Collection.

      • Andrew Waddington says:

        I think the point was that the membership were never consulted regarding which Blackpool trams were accepted and which were rejected; the almighty Board just chose their favourites and expected us all to like it, although at least 630 came with funding attached admittedly. For the record I like all the chosen trams very much, but for the national collection I personally think that the wrong choices were made – as Chris says though, the rejected trams have now been restored for further service in Blackpool, so it all worked out OK!

  61. David Taylor says:

    I liked the letter from Mr Soper it was full of facts and to the point. I still cannot understand why the board have not replied to the many comments above and I do not agree with the gentleman who said only the members should be told. As a regular visitor i would like to know how my money is being spent and it is actions like this both now and in the past that stop me and perhaps many others from joining the dictator society.

    • Christopher Callan says:

      Mark you seemingly chosen omit the staggering amount of money accrued via Gift Aid, Government Grants & donations from other groups and individual outside of the societies internal closed group. Its only right that the current custodians of the national collection are open and transparent going forward. To suggest tax payers and the like not entitled to voice concerns or ask for clarification and or explanation frankly rather disrespectful and no doubt if that view is a view held by the powers that be would make membership continued or otherwise unpalatable.

  62. Colin says:

    This story’s moved well down the news items by now, so will probably very soon become a non-item as other stories emerge. No doubt the TMS Board will be pleased. Sit tight long enough, say nothing and all will go away. I really hope it’s brought up forcefully at the TMS AGM. The Board cannot be allowed to get away with its appalling failure to respond publicly to a whole range of critical comments posted over the last few weeks. Complete arrogance and contempt in my opinion. And to think that these people were voted for by, and therefore be accountable to, the TMS Members.

    • Daniel says:

      When is the AGM?

    • Christoph Heuer says:

      I have been following this discussion over the past few weeks and to be honest, I am surprised about the repeated calls for a public declaration by the TMS Board. The facts were reported on here three weeks ago, so what else do you expect?

      I am a TMS member and received a letter from the Board giving details about the decision. Probably the news item by Andrew Waddington was based on this letter.

      If you are really after more information or wish to express concerns, I think it is safe to assume that the best way to get further information is to write to the museum, either to the Board or to the new General Manager. Posts on a forum, website, Facebook group or elsewhere might not even be noted by the persons in question and will thus not produce a response. In fact, very few, if any, organisations reply on forums, the other preservation society I am involved with certainly does not!

      • Colin says:

        I note your comments, Christoph. As I’m not a TMS Member, but, as a UK taxpayer, have an interest in this national museum with its national collection, perhaps I should, as you suggest, write to the Board, or General Manager, or Curator. You say ‘the facts were reported [on this site] three weeks ago, so what else do [I] expect?’ Well, for a start, I expect an explanation for the Board’s policy inconsistency of refusing restoration of heavily modified 602, instead favouring conservation, whilst LCC1 is to be restored to operational condition despite the then Curator (subsequently, by sheer coincidence of course, made redundant by the Board) arguing professionally for conservation. Was this covered by the Board’s letter ‘giving details about the decision’?

        And re your comment that forum, etc posts ‘might not even be noted by the persons in question’, I simply cannot believe that these avid tram enthusiast Board Members have such a worryingly limited interest in the wider tram enthusiast world. Maybe they do. If so, they’re running a specialist museum in a relative vacuum. Perhaps, after all, that’s the whole problem.

        • BigG says:

          The Board (“these people” as you so contemptuously and arrogantly describe them) are, as you rightly say, elected by and are accountable to the TMS membership. I have no doubt that questions will be raised at the AGM.
          They are not, and I doubt whether many of them would claim to be, all avid tram enthusiasts.

          Your status as a UK Taxpayer is totally irrelevant. The fact that you may have paid for annual entry does not give you the status of a member. The fact that you buy your cornflakes at Tesco doeds not give you equivalent status to a shareholder.
          The letter of explanation that triggerd this whole train of correspondence was sent to TMS member to explain the reasoning behind their, very difficult, decision. If you want to be part of this process then you need to pay a little more to become a member. Better still, become a member and join the ranks of the volunteers who, on a daily basis, give of their time, dedication and commitment to keep the museum going. Most of them have not become embroiled in this vitriolic exchange. Maybe then your voice might then have some significance.

          • Doug says:

            For goodness sake, BigG, don’t bring Tesco into the debate. They’ve just reported (by their standards) a severe drop in sales. We’ll have the TMS Members and arrogant UK taxpayers on this thread putting forward their solutions for the supermarket (urgently buy more cornflakes?) in no time at all.

        • freel07 says:

          Colin, I am a little perplexed regarding your comment about being a UK taxpayer and the implication that this entitles you and all other UK taxpayers to an explanation. Although the Crich Tramway Village is badged as the National Tramway Museum it is not a national museum in the same sense as the National Railway Museum. It is not publicly funded and gets much of its money from admissions, sales and bequests. Therefore unless I have misunderstood your point I don’t think that your being a taxpayer is really relevant.

          • Colin says:

            If you wish, BigG, I’ll happily amend my ‘contemptuous and arrogant’ description of the Board as ‘these people’ (presumably from my earlier, 3 June post) to a hopefully more acceptable ‘these not all avid tram enthusiast Board Members’, but I do think you’re being a little sensitive.

            Re both your and freel07’s comments regarding my being a UK taxpayer as not really relevant (freel07) and totally irrelevant (you), there’s the little matter of Gift Aid, where visitors can agree to establishments such as yours reclaiming proportions of tax paid by them. Oh, and there was the government-funded (i.e. taxpayer-funded) job creation programme embraced by Crich some years ago (I was paying tax at that time, by the way). I don’t object at all to these taxpayer-originated schemes. I just wish you’d recognise and acknowledge them.

            Finally, and I stand corrected on this one, wasn’t LCC1 a tramcar saved for and by the nation years ago, coming to Crich via the (government/taxpayer-funded) Clapham Transport Museum?

            But as freel07 says, being a taxpayer isn’t really relevant.

            Heritage Lottery Fund? Not taxpayer-originated, agreed, but huge amounts received by Crich. I don’t play the Lottery, so I’ll stay quiet on the benefits to Crich of that one!

          • Christopher Callan says:

            So hand back the taxpayer subsides gift aid….

            Look at the accounts and you be stunned how much money is via directly and indirectly from the wider tax payer…

        • Colin, I think I do not give too much away by saying that LCC 1 was not mentioned in said letter. But why should it? The decision was about Leeds 602.

          As far as LCC 1 itself is concerned, I believe it was said on this or another thread that the condition is far worse than that of Leeds 602 so that really needed some work.

          That may sursprise you, but even if individual TMS Board members read BTO, I think it is far fetched to believe that they will give an official comment on here. In fact, I do not know a single preservation society that does!

          • Andrew Waddington says:

            Bryan Lindop of Blackpool Transport has used this website to make official announcements to the public several times. The Fleetwood Heritage Leisure Trust have also used this site to clarify various matters. We often receive official press releases from the Heaton Park Tramway and get similar information from the North Eastern Electrical Traction Trust and the Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society; sometimes we receive information before it goes online, as we respect when asked not to announce things until an appropriate time and work closely with preservation groups to respect their wishes. So, if anything then the TMS management are probably in the minority by NOT making such use of independent websites such as this one!

          • Andrew Waddington says:

            I forgot Beamish as well!

          • Colin says:

            It’s raining at the moment. I blame the TMS Board! There, that irrational outburst from a non-TMS Member with no apparent right to comment on NTM matters should satisfy some on this thread.

            Nothing personal at all against you, Christoph, just a final response from me on the whole matter. Words have failed me.

            Have a tramtastic, time up at Crich – all of you.

  63. Nathan says:

    While not strictly on topic, while we’re talking about conservation, what will happen to Blackpool 630? I thought it was bought on the basis it would run for a couple of years, and then would be scrapped and the parts used in 298. I think 630 has an important place in the National Collection, and not only would be a huge shame if it was scrapped, it would also render their conservation policy totally pointless.

  64. David Holt says:

    I think we need to be aware of the subtle trends which lie behind issues like this. Things are changing in the preservation world and in the means of communication within it, bringing new challenges.

    Forums like BTOL produce some really meaningful information and thoughts. But when bloggers use pseudonyms (Burqabloggers) how can we know whether Board members or employees are commenting, or not?

    I wouldn’t call the TMS letter “detailed” at all.

    Influence within the preservation movement is slipping inexorably out of the hands of the old guard, amongst whom I count myself. Social media is a big part of that, and needs to be handled with the utmost caution. Most of all, it must not become a perceived substitute for due procedure. We don’t all go online do we.

    All sorts of hoops have to jumped through in order to obtain Lottery grants. It appears that, conversely, legacies need to have no strings attached.

    As I said before, up-to-date legal, moral and practical guidance for would-be legators is needed urgently, otherwise this state of confusion may cost the movement dear.

  65. Christopher Callan says:

    Crich have confirmed via Contact that report is been produced and will be ready within a few weeks explaining decision in detail. Should have happened far quicker. Many rightly or wrongly would suggest the ships set sail.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      Fair play to the TMS for putting out a more detailed statement, but I don’t think they can really say anything now that is going to change peoples’ minds. I’m sure most people, like me, have already made up their minds about whether the decision made was right or wrong and no more PR spin is going to change that – especially so long after the initial shock revelation.

  66. John and Trudy Dean says:

    We are the Executors of Granville King, and have just come across your website with correspondence about Leeds Tramcar 602. We thought it would be helpful to clarify our position.

    We provisionally offered £250,000 to the TMS Board for the sole purpose of restoring 602 to working condition and for no other purpose without the express permission of ourselves. We had stated that ‘if the Board agreed to restore 602 in running order, we would be sympathetic to releasing any unused money in our bequest towards the restoration of other tramcars, thus assisting the Board to move towards its primary objective of providing a working museum, which was also one of Granville’s wishes.’

    When we were informed of the Board’s decision not to restore 602 and the fact that the Condition Survey in situ assessed the cost of restoration as around £100,000 we decided that we should allocate £150,000 to the Museum (more in line with the proportionate share of the Estate).

    We hope that this bequest would be sufficient to restore 602 should a decision be eventually made to do so. We place no timescale on this, but wish to secure the possibility of restoring 602 should a future decision ever be made to do this. We do not feel that we would be fulfilling Granville’s wishes to do anything else and intend to retain the money until this is agreed.

    We have drawn the Board’s attention to apparent shortcomings in the Attitude Statement for 602 on which they based their decision and are awaiting their response.

    We hope that your readers find this helpful.

    • Ken Walker says:

      At least we now have the facts regarding the money offer. Crich are very lucky that the Executors are leaving the money ‘on the table’ pending a possible outbreak of common sense.

    • Christopher Callan says:

      First of all sorry for your loss. The vast majority are incredibly grateful for this wonderfully kind act of generosity shown by the late Granville King. Massive credit is due to you as executors for persisting and trying hard to see the money go where it he intended. The ball now lies firmly in the museums court. You have done all they can to make them see sense. Massive thanks for persisting with them and for making the revised offer.

    • Daniel says:

      I’m sorry to hear of your loss. Thank you very much for letting us know this and I hope his wishes in regards to 602 are met.

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