A familiar face from Blackpool and Member of the TMS said goodbye to his tram driving days at Crich this week. Tony Stevenson is well known in the local enthusiast fraternity and over the years has been a regular volounteer at the National Tramway Museum.
By coincidence a research visit to Crich on Thursday coincided with Tony's last day at the Museum and I was fortunately on hand to test his tram driving skills. Three trams were in service on a somewhat grim day (shades of last Day of Leeds and Sheffield's Trams). Ironically Leeds 345 and 399 were the stalwarts in service along with Blackpool (Standard) 40. Tony is seen in charge of Leeds 345 on his final day.
Being Halloween week the museum resounded to the multitude of dressed up children accompanied by wearisome parents and grandparents. A handful of enthusiasts were noted but outnumbered by the paying public who were particularly keen to ride on open balcony 40.
The road journey to Crich whether you use the M62 and M1 or cross over to Bakewell, Buxton and head towards the M60 around Manchester are now atrocious with heavy traffic, queues and holdups caused by inevitable road accidents. In former times it was a doddle from the Fylde, but no longer and I can sympathise with anyone giving their time to traverse the road system in this 'northern powerhouse'.
Tony posed for the occasion on one of his final trips on an overcast day with light drizzle to make things even more atmospheric. Crich's loss may well be other group's gain closer to home ? Below : reversing the trolleypole and waiting for the single line baton at Wakebridge - all familiar routines at Crich.