Up close and personal with Sheffield 189

The ‘Best of Sheffield’ event held at Crich Tramway Village to celebrate the return to service of Sheffield 510 provided visitors with a rare opportunity to not only see Sheffield 189 out in the open air, but also to have a look inside the tram. Whilst the lower deck was used to publicise the activities of the Tramcar Sponsorship Organisation, the upper deck was not and that is the subject of the rare photo we have published below.

189 was of course one of the early stalwarts of the running fleet at Crich; having arrived in working order from Sheffield, it was put to work as soon as electric tram operation began at the museum site in 1964 and was used regularly until 1980 when it was withdrawn from service due to concerns around the condition of the bodywork. These days the tram is normally fairly well hidden at the back of the depots, but it does occasionally come out for special events such as the one held on the weekend of 17th & 18th May. An interesting fact about 189 is that it was the search for somewhere to store this tram and a Sheffield ‘Roberts’ car which led to the discovery of the Crich site – and the rest, as they say, is history! This no doubt boosts 189‘s popularity, and as such it has in the past been considered for a full restoration, and the TSO are reportedly short-listing it as a candidate to be the subject of their next major project.

A look inside the upper deck of Sheffield 189 reveals that, despite many years of inactivity and not having yet received the full Crich workshop treatment, it still looks quite tidy and intact. Note the '2 + 1' style reversible seating, upholstered in leather, and the simple yet smart ceiling panels. (Photo by Martin Bryan)

A more familiar view of Sheffield 189 whilst displayed in the depot yard at Crich on Saturday 17th May. Its appearance here is a little deceptive as the lower side panels are in a very poor condition, which can be seen when examined more closely. (Photo by Tony Waddington)

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29 Responses to Up close and personal with Sheffield 189

  1. Daniel says:

    I do hope the TSO fund its revival next. This, 46 or 869 and I am a happy man. If not now then at some point. I’ve always felt there should be more Sheffield trams running given how local it is.

    • Andrew Waddington says:

      46 restored would be lovely as there is nothing like it at Crich, but 189 – no thanks! Apart from being fairly local I don’t think it would add anything to the operating fleet at all, unlike something more ‘different’ such as Hill of Howth 10, Grimsby & Immingham 14, Glasgow 1282 or dare I say, Leeds 602? Each to their own though!

      • Daniel says:

        Well tells an interesting part of the Sheffield tram story. I guess I am biased as I am from Sheffield but I would like to see it back as it’s been out for so long and I’ve never been on it. It would no doubt be a stalwart of the fleet like the Leeds cars that do the most mileage right now.
        I can’t say I am too fussed about HoH 10 or Grimsby 14. I’d rather see Gateshead 10 back as that was a nice tram and won’t break the bank to bring back. I think Leicester 76 would be a good addition with its reversed staircase. I really want Liverpool 869 and MET 331 to come back as there isn’t currently a single streamliner in the fleet at the moment. Leeds 602 would’ve been nice though.
        The STTS is raising funds for 1282 right now so that’s some good news.

        I’ve gotten myself sidetracked, I need to take my head out the clouds and buy a lottery ticket haha.

      • Daniel says:

        Almost forgot. 46 would be my preferred choice given that it adds so much to collection.

  2. russ b says:

    I couldn’t agree more, we could do with more operational Sheffield trams.

  3. Thomas Atkinson says:

    Why launch an appeal whilst so much money sits in reserved funds or worse rejected.

    • Daniel says:

      The money they have is not infinite. They need to keep raising money and hopefully they can keep bringing back more trams. Never hurts to try and get a bit more, not least on the weekend where there last project was funded from.

      • Andrew Waddington says:

        I know what you mean but I think Thomas was meaning that it seems hypocritical to ask for money to restore a tram when only recently, money to restore another tram was turned down. Personally I would rather put my money elsewhere thanks!

        • Phill says:


          The key is “restricted funds”. If you can explain a way we can legally and morally use funds given for one specific tram on a completely different one, I’m sure the board would love to hear it.

          • Thomas Atkinson says:

            Id simply use the money for what it was intended. Why complicate things with moral dilemas and legal minefields.

            298 Fund -> Use its restricted funds to complete what is a weight around the museums neck.

            59 TSO/FTS Joint Fund -> Use the money to return the car to Crich or Blackpool for storadge and fund condition survey and nice good clean.

            “Manchester Standard” -> Joint project with Heaton Park Tramway. Even if the money didnt stretch to completion would act a solid basis to get project off ground.

            “602” -> Reverse the ludicrous decision. And get cracking with it.

            So many other examples. Get them done. Through shared best practise and in some cases putting the work out to tender or joint projects.

          • Andrew Waddington says:

            But why collect money for one tram when so much is available for another? I would like to hear what the TSO & TMS plan to do with the significant sum of money already in the pot to complete Blackpool Brush car 298 before yet another project is launched. If the TMS are unwilling to accommodate 298 in their clearly very busy workshop schedule then maybe the work should be offered out to tender?

          • Phill says:

            Andrew-First let me be clear, there are many good arguments over whether 602 should have been done. I think BTOs coverage has been pretty fair so far.
            However, the argument that “they rejected some restricted funds, so asking for money for something else is wrong” doesn’t hold water. Rightly or wrongly, they don’t want to do 602, so any money accepted to restore it would be dead money. Whether it was accepted or not, nothing else would have been affected financially.

            There are many good arguments as to why we should have accepted, and much more, but please don’t water them down with one that seems a bit flakey. Personally I’d have loved to see it go again, but I can see the argument for the chosen path.

            And for Mr Atkinson-298 was surveyed last year, I believe the findings will be released sometime. From what I know, the 59 fund got nowhere near the required sum, though I think that is pretty high up the survey list.

        • Thomas Atkinson says:

          It resembles a the National Bank not a National Museum purporting to be a preservation group. How an earth can they have the audacity to ask for money whilst turning down such a generous donation and having such huge sums of money locked away designated funds for specific projects. Get that money spent then start to worry about future appeals.

        • Daniel says:

          But it wasn’t the TSO that turned the money down. It was the museum wasn’t it?

          • Andrew Waddington says:

            The money still ends up with the TMS though doesn’t it? Maybe it is time that people made their voices heard and gave financial support to non-TMS projects for a change. Ultimately the success or failure of relative appeals will be what really shows how enthusiasts feel about Crich, as well as Blackpool, Heaton Park, Birkenhead etc.

          • Chris Callan says:

            The TSO & TMS are naturally intertwined. All be it legally separate entities. Think people rightly or wrongly growing increasingly disillusioned.

            Any allocated TSO Restricted Funds should be spent. The now infamous “attitude statement” needs rolling out across the entire fleet & published. So people know exactly where they stand. And if “their” tram is not deemed suitable for restoration they can find somewhere else to give their money to to either build a replica or similar type elsewhere.

            Everybody said it was a critical year. And they clearly made progress during the winter. But at alarming pace its been rapidly undone.

          • Daniel says:

            Andrew – Not really the TSO’s fault though is it? Not fair to punish them for the TMS’ actions.
            Not hypocritical from them at all. If it was the TMS then that would be hypocritical at this point in time but not the TSO as they are a separate organisation.

          • Paul D says:

            The TSO may legally be a seperate entity, but it exists with the sole purpose of supporting trams in the National Collection. If the TSO were truly independent of the TMS & NTM, shouldn’t they also fund restorations at other locations and other tram owners be able to apply to them for funding?

      • Thomas Atkinson says:

        Id challenge the assertion that it does ” not hurt” whilst they gather money and it invariably ends up sat gathering dust deflating in value as a direct result of inflation and low interests rates that money could be been spent elsewhere.

        The money is reserved/restricted funds is loosing value month after month. It needs spending. As does the 602 money which will be lost completely if its not reversed.

        • Andrew Waddington says:

          Er, the 602 money HAS been lost completely – it was turned down flat, remember? Presumably it went to the deceased’s family.

  4. Tommy Carr says:

    I agree – I wouldn’t really be fussed if this tram wasn’t restored. Wouldn’t you rather have something unique like 602, 1282, 10, 14 or even 59 restored? However, in regards to 46, now that would be something worth restoring, as crich don’t have an operational, four wheel british single deck car.

    • Daniel says:

      Problem with 59 is that it’s from Blackpool and they must be trying cut down on the amount of operational Blackpool trams right now. I’d like to see it running nonetheless.

      • Andrew Waddington says:

        The thing with 59 is it depends whether you look at it as ‘another Blackpool car’ or go by tramcar type. Some will argue that 59 isn’t a typical design, but the influence it had on other systems was massive. Perhaps sending it back home to Blackpool for restoration would be the best option for it if money could be raised for the restoration it deserves?

  5. BigG says:

    From talking to other people I think that 46 would be a very popular subject for restoration – to original 5-bay open platform condition. And, as you rightly say, it would fill a gap!

  6. Russell B says:

    I’ve been saying exactly the same thing about 46 over recent weeks on a number of posts, but no one has picked my comments up. Basically there is no other operational 4 wheel tram in use at any other museum. Restored to original condition would be the way to go, with lengthened body, open platforms etc.

    As for 189, I know it is essentially a duplicate of other operational trams, but it is local to the museum and it was the tram which prompted the TMS to search for a museum site, therefore it is of historical significance to the preservation movement. I also fear that if something isn’t done to it over the next 10 years it is at risk of serious deterioration, probably more so than most other trams at the museum.

    • Paul D says:

      Birkenhead 20, Walasey 78 are both 4 wheelers currently in service at Birkenhead, Lanarkshire 53 and Glasgow 1017 are operational at Summerlee. Plus Sunderland 16 at Beamish, Stockport 5 and Hull 96 at Heaton Park should all be back in service before the end of this year…

      re: Sheffield 46 and 189, I would also be very happy to see them both in service, but after the debacle of 602, who is going to organise the fundraising or contribute without absolute surety that the money will be accepted, the job completed within a sensible timespan and the cars will be regularly used for many years to follow??

      • Phill says:

        I assume Russell refers to single deck 4 wheelers? In which case, I can only think of the ex paisley car up in Scotland. You could maybe add in our own 3006, but its not a typical british 4 wheeler.

        Regards the 602 debacle: As I said in reply to someone else, please explain how money left for use on 602 only could be used on anything else at all, both morally and legally?

        Also, you are quite right. Before organising fundraising, it seems very sensible to ask the museum in question if its something they actually want to do. Once they agree, I see no reason not to donate-bar any major disaster, you know it’ll be done. Since the TSO are actively asking for donations, I’d be shocked to the point of death if they suddenly decided it wasn’t happening after all.

        • Andrew Waddington says:

          I think that is what Russell meant. In which case, as Paul mentions, there is also Leeds 6/Hull 96 at Heaton Park. If the Black Country Living Museum ever re-opens its tramway there will also be Wolverhampton 34 in the single deck four wheel category. Also, we can consider unrestored cars… if I had a large cash windfall tomorrow and wanted to get a tram of this type restored, I would without question give the money to the MTMS to get Rawtenstall 23 restored to running order. Not only would it tick the above boxes but would also represent a system of which no other preserved trams exist, and give Heaton Park another useful addition to its fleet.

  7. Russell B says:

    Sorry chaps, I did mean a 4 wheel single decker. I also forgot to note that it would be unique if restored to original condition, ie open platforms in as built condition. There are other 4 wheel operational single decker’s as mentioned, but none I believe are British, open platforms and built as a single decker rather than cut down from a double decker. Hope that clears my point up.

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