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Black Country Living Museum - Trams and trollies no more ?

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Sidmouth, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?...569.1073741861.144002195699684&type=1&theater

    It is being reported that the trams and trolley buses at the Black country Living Museum have ceased running . Full text in the link above
     
  2. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    Sad. Sounds like a victim of local authority support cutbacks.
     
  3. Reading General

    Reading General Well-Known Member

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    that facebook writer was not very objective, I wonder how accurate it is
     
  4. david1984

    david1984 Well-Known Member

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    Probably had to translate it from the Dudley dialect first.

    He's right in what he says though, the place has the potential to be another Beamish, but something's gone spectacularly wrong.
     
  5. threelinkdave

    threelinkdave Well-Known Member

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    Nothing on their website but did discover that the trolley buses are run by a separate Transport Volunteers group - no volunteer no bus' No mention of the tram at all so may be a track issue.
     
  6. StoneRoad

    StoneRoad Member

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    Sad, but not totally un-expected.

    Look further down that facebook page - it seems it is "OK" for Crich to scrap / deconstruct a London horse tram to "save space.
     
  7. 5786Dan

    5786Dan New Member

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    Crich are only deconstructing a Tram which would be not possible to restore as its past the point of no return. They are rescuing all salvageable parts for future use on another project.
    On another note, they are expecting a new tram in the new year. It's not been unveiled yet but putting two loose ends together from two articles it is likely to be a widened balloon from Blackpool. That's my guess anyway.
     
  8. woodbasher

    woodbasher New Member

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    The Dudley and Stourbridge Tram No5 has been undergoing a long term restoration at Llangollen in the shed at Pentre. It was in a pretty rotten state when it arrived and has needed new side and end pillars plus interior work., Restoration has been on a stop start basis, This is down to the funding available from the museum, it used to be 2 days a week but was cut back to 1, with 2 people on it. It has been said that they want it back mid summer and 34 will take its place but it will need more days a week to achieve this, but with the funding cuts could all change again.Will find out more tomorow when we return to work and post update.
     
  9. david1984

    david1984 Well-Known Member

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    60% of rolling stock at Crich seem to be from Blackpool from what I saw, though I suppose options for more heritage tramcars are limited.
     
  10. woodbasher

    woodbasher New Member

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    From what I can gather the Tram has been put on hold from the end of december untill such time as the track is relaid.
     
  11. 5786Dan

    5786Dan New Member

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    In fairness to them Blackpool is a key place in tram history with many unusual types of Tram being run in Blackpool and not elsewhere as well as them being more readily available. I'm sure they'd love to have a more evenly spread out fleet with some Bristol trams, Manchester trams and a few Nottingham Trams but that's just not possible I'm afraid. It's a bit like how there are a disproportionate amount of GWR locomotives in preservation compared to the LNER for example, just what was available.
     
  12. 5944

    5944 Part of the furniture

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    http://www.tramway.co.uk/library-collections/tramcar-collection

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tramcars_of_the_National_Tramway_Museum

    15 out of about 80 trams are from Blackpool, but some of them have been preserved for many years. Around 6 from Blackpool are operational at Crich, about a third of the operational fleet. Perhaps the Blackpool stuff seems to be more noticeable though because several vehicles were still in daily service until fairly recently.
     
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  13. John Stewart

    John Stewart Well-Known Member

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    I understand that unsafe track is the tram problem; the reason for trolleybus suspension seems a little more obscure. The problem with the Black Country Living Museum is that it has always striven to show life as it really was in those parts and that was often rather grim. Add in a raw winter's day with a cold drizzle and the grimness is exemplified only too well. The trams and trolleybuses gave some "fun relief" and their absence will inevitably reduce the attractiveness of a visit there even more. It really has beeen poorly developed and promoted compared with Beamish.
     
  14. Crichworkshop2000

    Crichworkshop2000 New Member

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    Regards the deconstruction of the horse car at Crich, I was involved with the removal of the tram from our off site stores along with our curator. The tram is being dismantled, all parts measured and catalogued for either future restoration or a source of spares for any other horse tram to be restored, nothing has been 100% decided. All parts are being flatpacked into suitable storage containers to make better storage. It has also been reported that there is one side of it restored and on display in the exhibition hall. This is untrue as they are 2 totally different trams and the North Met car arrived on 28th December with both sides.
    Ther has also been rumour about what visiting trams we are having to celebrate 50 years of electric traction. There are some comments that are close but negotiations are still n going with the owners
     
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  15. I have absolutely no connection with either the Black Country Museum or Beamish (other than as someone who loves visiting both!). But I feel the urge to ask these two correspondents on what evidence they base these opinions, which are being presented as facts? Have either of them been to the Black Country Museum recently?

    This is a transport forum so, OK, the transport at both sites is inevitably the focus for some contributors. And yes, it appears there has been a bit of a hiccup with the tram and trolleybus at the BCM. However, may I present the following observations as someone who is a semi-regular visitor to both attractions and who, personally, would not rate one above the other?

    1. Visitors to Beamish are probably a little spoiled with the variety of transport on offer!
    2. There is plenty of interest to see at the BCM (the metal plate houses, the Newcomen engine, colliery, toll house, several beautifully rebuilt cottages and authentic gardens) which you miss if you just jump on the tram and trolleybus straight down to the 'town' at the bottom and then get it back up to the top again.
    3. For those who are unable to make the walk down or up the hill at the BCM, there is still a beautifully converted vintage wagon, with ramp for wheelchair users. So it's not as if there is no transport available.
    4. On my latest visit to the BCM an entirely new street of properties had sprung up (including a wildly popular second chip shop), as well as a huge and gloriously rebuilt Workers Institute. Which is actually more development than I've seen on my last couple of trips to Beamish!
    5. Although it doesn't have a railway station or a waggonway, I would hazard a guess (although I haven't counted) that the BCM actually has more rebuilt and recreated buildings and gardens than Beamish does. So I think to say that the BCM has been 'poorly developed' is plain disingenuous.

    Everyone who reads this part of the forum will know that any such 'historical re-creation' sites (whether they be preserved railways, tramways or 'living museums') swallow vast amounts of money and time just to carry out comparatively simple projects. They are all doing magnificent work in preserving the past so, just because the BCM is having a hiccup with its tram and trolleybus service doesn't suddenly make it not worth visiting; just because it's not exactly the same as Beamish doesn't mean that 'something's gone spectacularly wrong'.

    Personally, I will continue to visit and thoroughly enjoy both as often as I can. The fact that they are not exactly the same is, for me, the very reason to visit them both!
     
  16. david1984

    david1984 Well-Known Member

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    I went a number of times as a child but not in recent years, reason I say something is badly wrong is because the figures tell you that, falling visiting numbers/money and attractions being taken out of use, doesn't paint a picture of long term prosperity does it ?.

    I'm not slating it for what it is, but those statistics needs turning round sooner than later.
     
  17. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    It may be heresy, but I personally prefer the Black Country Museum to Beamish, which is on a grander scale but actually still had a pretty short recreated street last time I was there, whereas BCM, and Blists Hill, both felt more "complete".

    I think the chip shop was still there - couldn't see it for hungry school parties!

    Steven
     
  18. An alternative view could point towards the country just emerging from its worst recession in a generation? Many visitor attractions have suffered and it will take time for all the roses in the garden to flower again.

    In addition, with a huge amount of money obviously having been invested by the BCM in the new buildings that have gone up in the past couple of years - which includes a new chip shop and tea room/restaurant facility, both of which are additional generators of revenue - perhaps it was considered a better strategy to invest in those things (which offer a greater (a) return and (b) bang for visitor buck than the (free) tram), when an alternative form of transport - in the form of the converted vintage vehicle I mentioned - is available to cover in the meantime?

    I would have thought it was a wise decision with a view on the long-term, don't you?

    Not trying to pick a fight with you David, I just think that you're unfairly aiming doom and gloom towards Dudley, solely on the basis of the tramway being OOS, without having recently visited or trying to see the bigger picture.
     
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  19. Brunswick Green 2

    Brunswick Green 2 New Member

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    Whilst both museums have their own individual attractions, the Black Country Museum is on a compact site compared to Beamish. Not sure of the acreage involved but I would suggest that any able bodied person can mange without the trams or trolley bus quite easily at the BCM. Personally I prefer Beamish because of the way it is landscaped but this does not detract from the Black country Museum as an excellent venue in its own right.
     
  20. HY_4273

    HY_4273 New Member

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    This story was published in this week's issue of Coach & Bus Week magazine (available in WH Smith) or http://coachandbusweek.com – see below. One always has to tread carefully about what one reads on web forums.

    Black Country trolley buses on track

    The Black Country Museum has hit back at stories published on internet forums which claimed the living museum's popular trolleybuses have been mothballed due to concerns about the presence of asbestos in the historic vehicles.
    Laura Wakelin, Director of Communications and Marketing told CBW: “We identified some minor work to do on our trolley buses, which requires the removal of asbestos. We moved quickly to obtain quotes from specialist contractors. It's now a case of getting the work done.
    As soon as that's complete, the trolley buses will be up and running. There is no exact timescale as yet but we're aiming to have them operational again in time for the start of the main season at Easter – if not before.
    There is certainly no fear of them not running here ever again. The trolleybuses are an important part of the visitor experience. Vintage buses are running but we want the trolleybuses too. We've got the UK's largest trolleybus route.”
    The current trolley bus fleet includes former Wolverhampton Corporation no.433 and ex Walsall no.862. Awaiting restoration is early Wolverhampton no.78, made by Guy Motors in 1931.
    Transport events taking place at the Dudley-based museum this year include the Festival of Black Country Vehicles on Sunday, July 27 and on Saturday, September 13, the Centenary of West Bromwich Buses.
     

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