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  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Classic Trams in the Sunshine

Crich Tramway Village hosts a gleaming well maintained collection of preserved trams now a passing memory for many visitors. The amazing summer weather was on hand during my visit last Thursday en route to Oxford. Fortunately one of the operating cars was Blackpool Standard 40, providing that open balcony breeze on the top deck; whilst LUT 158 served as the other running car with totally open top deck and Edwardian features once familiar to far earlier generations. School visits loved that ride.

In the Work Shop another London tram, LCC Number 1, is a work in progress now gaining (or regaining) its familiar shape, but coated in dark blue with a distinctive upward white vee on the dash. Possibly an influence on Sunderland's management and their unique fleet livery in the 1930s.

Sheffield's final (Last Tram) was undergoing some minor treatment and a reminder of that system's ultimate homegrown design. The Crich depot infrastructure has been much improved with new (and clean) roof lights, firewalls and weatherproof doors for each of the tracks - making the appearance far more professional and solid.

The absence of any quarry workings and dust producing trucks lumbering in and out of the site suggests an opportunity to expand on and extend the overall museum operation, perhaps with complimenting heritage themes to attract a wider audience. A proposal for residential and commercial development in more recent years seems to have lapsed. However Crich is experiencing the usual housebuilding metamorphisis elsewhere in the village on the hillside approach from Alfreton.

The Exhibition Hall contains the usual suspects which include an enlarged horse tram collection as you enter, but somewhat cluttered and without meaningful display space. The token Blackpool 'Balloon' car remains in place but could be better off being operated as a running car instead of the ill-judged 'Sponge-Bob' vinyl clad 762. The latter being apparently a hit with young children and wholly out of sync with the ethos of the overall attraction. And in any event certainly not a warm weather car.

Two Dark Blue Trams : Above : LCC 1 getting back into its as built shape : and below as classic a tram as one would wish for : Sheffield Standard 189 complete with ornate lined out livery.

Blackpool Standard 40 in its own period 1920s fleet colours at Town End. Below : Sheffield's 'Last Tram' (actually 536 long gone) in its special final tram week condition. You can also ride on sister car 513 at the East Anglia Transport Museum at Carlton Colville. A tram not usually featuring online - Brussels Snowbroom (built in the USA) in its early condition and taking the place of similar cars operated by Leeds until 1959. The latter examples unfortunately being summarily scrapped on the system's closure.

All Images :

John Woodman


June 21st


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