Crich twenty years ago

Crich twenty years ago

by Christoph Heuer » 13.01.2008, 22:12


twenty years ago, to be precise at the end of August 1988, I visited Crich for the first time. I was then 18 years old, still at school and spent a week with friends in Sheffield at the time to explore the tramway systems in the UK. There were only Blackpool, Newcastle, the Docklands Light Railway and Crich.

The first visit to Crich was midweek, if I remember correctly on the Thursday before August Bank Holiday. There someone told me that there would be far more trams in operation on the coming weekend and I returned on the Sunday, I think.

Just imagine what a different place Crich was then by listing the things which were not there is 1988.

The lay-by was just being constructed. Bandstand stop northbound was still right opposite the southbound stop and not on the reservation. There was no shelter either. The exhibition hall was not open. The was no Red Lion or Library extension or workshop gallery. Instead there was a green hut right next to the Tea Rooms on the north side. What was that?

Many of the trams in service then are still regular performers now. But imagine the additions! In 1988 MET 331 was a metal skeleton. 74s lower deck was not even discovered. 3006 was on the wrong side of the Berlin wall and 273 was in Portugal. 399, 869, 7, 1622 and 345 had not been restored. What a difference!

So here are the pictures:

5 was receiving workshop attention. In the background is 331.

A classic picture. 1282 having just arrived at Stephensons Place. Note the points leading to former depot A are still in situ and the lay-by is just receiving the setts.

Sheffield 510 leaving the bandstand stop southbound. Note the Paris bus on the top of the embankment right above the bandstand.

Ouch! The first ride on the open top of a tramcar in my entire life was cut short by the fact that 106 decided to drop and damage its life tray on Glory Mine south points. The passengers are being rescued by 1282. The fourth car (!) in operation on that day was 167.

This is the Bank Holiday weekend and the well known view across the fields when approaching from Whatstandwell. 1282 is only just visible, if you know where to look.

Now here is a surprise! Cars in service were 40, 45, 1282, 106, 812, 167, 602, Leeds 180, Rack 2, 60, 49 and 510 and ... the Steam Loco in steam!

A scene just beyond Bandstand stop. The car park is also used to display vintage buses. I can identify an RM and a Green Line RM but not the others.

One vintage bus was allowed to park in the new lay-by which appears to have been finished just in time for the weekend. No idea about its identity, though.

One of the few cars which were in service then but which have been off the road for a long time is Blackpool 49.

Blackpool 40 was still carring the "Think electric" slogans. Here we see the back of it while it leaves Wakebridge northbound.

I hope you enjoyed this short travel in time and look forward to your comments.

Kind regards

Christoph Heuer
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Joined: 10.01.2008, 00:00

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by bluegoblin7 » 22.01.2008, 21:11

My my hasn't Crich changed so much?!?!

It really is different. Oh how I wish we could bring back the Steam Tram, and also screw Health and Safety and run crazy half-routes, shuttles, all-track tours, and even let customers "have a go"!

Oh happy days! (Although I wasn't around to see them!)

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Joined: 18.01.2008, 14:44
Location: Ashbourne, Derbyshire

by Andrew 7 » 26.01.2008, 14:15

Thanks for sharing those pictures Christoph - they are fascinating, as are your memories. That was just a few years before my first Crich visit, and I've never seen John Bull in steam, so I guess that just proves how very lucky you are!!!

I do remember Blackpool 49 in service though, and of course the other trams you mentioned. Didn't Rack 2 look different back then though!? I have to say I prefer it the way it is now, but its good to see how it used to look again. :)
Andrew 7
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Joined: 25.01.2008, 21:50


by bluegoblin7 » 26.01.2008, 14:34

I also would like to see John Bull steam again one day!

I hadn't noticed about Rack 2, but now you mention it, yes it is definitely better now!

RE Blackpool 49, I saw this in service too, and would love to ride it again!

Posts: 62
Joined: 18.01.2008, 14:44
Location: Ashbourne, Derbyshire

by gprior » 28.01.2008, 13:30

Excellent photos there Christoph. I find it fascinating to see photos from years ago with views that some of us have never seen, or don't remember.

I've always wondered why Crich haven't released books of photos from the early days with a little bit of writing. I am sure it wouldn't cost a great deal to produce them - maybe have a small book for each year Crich has been open?

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Joined: 19.01.2008, 13:57

Mystery Bus

by Nick » 28.01.2008, 18:41

I think (not 100% sure) that the bus is a Huddersfield Corporation Utility Daimler. I believe it now carries PMT (Potteries Motor Traction...the successor to Potteries Electric Traction) livery

Its always brillient to see older pictures of times gone by. Rack 2 is certainly as i remember it in these photos, with headlight and desti box and it still looks odd to me today without them

I doubt John Bull will ever steam again as i believe its workings are very original and tired. We're more likely to see MBRO 84 in steam - which is more traditional anyway
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Joined: 27.01.2008, 16:51

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