Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

These pictures were taken at about 11:30 yesterday. In Ripley it snowed all afternoon and into the evening and from time to time during the night. It is snowing lightly at 8:00 this morning but the sun is also trying to shine. Posted by Picasa


  1. What a beatiful urban landscape !

  2. alanjames812@hotmail.com1/12/10 13:46

    hi Richard,

    The Crich Tramway Museum website now mentions that Santa Specials for this weekend have now been cancelled due to the bad weather.

    Alan james

  3. I went to London yesterday. As soon as we left the Chunnel, it was chaos. French technology starting in Belgium was tempting fate. Eurostar broke down in Ashford. Some speakers at the conference at the IMechE were desperate getting back to Sheffield.
    Chaos again this morning. Chaos stopt in Brussels. Dutch Railways were running almost spot on time despite snowfall.

  4. Charles Grey2/12/10 20:41

    I see from the museum blog that Santas have been cancelled. Such a waste of museum money we can scarcely afford. Can't sweep the deficit under the carpet, yet Malcolm Wright who leads the events team keeps spending money like it grows on trees. Anyone could have told him that events in winter were bound to end in tears, yet he irresponsibly ploughs ahead. Rather typical of him.

  5. Henry Brougham2/12/10 22:02

    Typical! The man in the big hat wasting yet more money on something that never made any in the first place!

  6. As one of the events team, I think you need to get your facts right. It is not just MCW who agreed to doing santas but the whole board. as for it not making money, well it does but with not doing it for the last two years, it was going to be hard to get the event back to what it was. It doesn't cost that much to put this event on as we have kept everything from the last few santas and havn't had to buy much new stuff.

    It is not our fault that the museum can't open and if you can do better, please step forward and tell us how we can do it. We're also not the only museum to cancel an event for this weekend.

  7. The clue is to develop events that cost little (in other words: cancellation costs are minimal ) yet can generate a lot of revenue. Santa Specials are a good example. Don't forget that trams are comparatively easy to commission. I think that the Board was right to try Santa's again this year. That winter arrived so soon (it has been a long while since it started this early) could not have been foreseen. If you don't shoot, you won't hit. What should be done now is be ready to resume the Santa project as soon as it is viable. By the way: the Board can't staff the trams, the members have to do it. If you want to help, come to the museum and make your hands dirty in stead of wearing them out writing unfounded opinions on blogs like these. Unfortunately I live across a sea, otherwise I would have come over to help the museum this winter.

  8. I actually think the Museum deserves some credit for attempting to hold Santa Specials again after a few years off. I believe that holding some events in the winter period could be good for business - certainly if it was busy it could help top up the year's takings. Beamish & Heaton Park have proved that the season doesn't have to end in October, and I think thats the right attitude to take!

  9. can i just ask the two that made the comments about wasteing money do you come to museum to help run or just to pick fault
    if you was to go up crich at the moment you would see why its not open as there are 4 to 8 foot drifts of snow and if we the events team and others was to clear it how much money would we get in as the roads to crich have not been treated and as a local bus driver i know what derbyshire is like and the event been a waste of money is rubbish its only because it dos't involve trams and its for family your not happy grow and relise the museum is for famliys too

  10. Charles Grey4/12/10 19:16

    In response to Aaron, if an event doesn't cost much to put on, what about the cost of:

    - keeping trams operable specifically for the event
    - heating and lighting areas of the museum that wouldn't otherwise be used in winter
    - paying the wages of the gate staff
    - stocking the tea rooms

    I could go on...

    Such a statement shows his complete lack of thought beyond the events team.

    As to it being the board who decide on the event, who else would encourage the board to agree to it? Surely Mr Wright, as head of the events team. It needs someone who will see that it's daft to put on an event like this in an exposed part of derbyshire, and save the wasted money.

  11. in response to Charles Grey, i do think beyond the events team as part on the traffic dept and work hard there to get things done. As for crich putting an event on in an remote part of the country, what about all the other attractions in the area that have to cancel events this weekend due to the snow. Yes there is the cost of keeping 4 trams warm but they are in the workshop which is kept warm at least during the week for them to work in. To put events all year round costs money but they do bring a percentage of revenue to keep the museum going and if it wasn't for the events team working so hard to do these, we would not have any events.

  12. @ Charles Grey:

    Which of those costs you mention are still incurred if an event does not take place? Heating and lighting certainly not. I wonder what the marginal cost for staging the event really is. Not too much in my opinion.

    On a large scale, we do have to run a tourist attraction to provide money for the museum side. This includes taking risks such as staging events which will not provide a return, for whichever reason. You can not gain without a risk and obviously those who have to decide took the view that the risk would be worth it.

    BTW, isn't it a strange coincidence that recently there were two lines of fire against Malcolm Wright, one for Santa Specials, one for Town End trackwork? A bit of a witch hunt going on right now? Sad, if it was.

  13. Lapsang Souchong5/12/10 18:52

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear Mr Grey (in lieu of your real name)!

    1. Keeping trams operable is surely what workshop staff are paid to do all year round? Mind you there is the train (tram maybe?) of thought that says they really sit around all day supping cups of tea
    2. Any operation would budget for areas being open - not just the events team
    3. Similar to 2 - will be budgeted for
    4. Great mention was made of the megabucks that the tearooms have made in last year's accounts - surely this is another good reason to hold the event and rake it in?

    Why take potshots at one individual? Let's have your solutions to make the museum a success instead of destroying it!!!!!

  14. Mr H. Deejay5/12/10 22:21

    Hmmmmm, it feels as if this is an attack on Mr Wright, as a conductor i get to hear allsorts of whispers,but the one that always seems to do the rounds is the fact that the Mini Hitlers running the workshop were desperate to get the event cancelled anyway!So im sure two certain bods will be laughing because they have got one over on Mr Wright.I praise him for trying to get the Tramway earning money in the so called off season,not only are you up against the weather Malcolm,you are up against the two chuckle brothers in the workshop!

  15. Rotherham United6/12/10 11:52

    To me, to you!

  16. Graham Feakins7/12/10 02:03

    A few points. 1. Some leopards never change their spots and it might take others 40 years (or never in some cases) to realise that. Nevertheless, one of the membership criteria is surely to try and get on with others? However, there are several departments that cannot always interact 100%, mainly for several reasons. It used to be Traffic-Workshop-Track Gang where the interface difficulties were most telling. Seems similar today. (The Overhead crew seemed always to run around with a tower wagon whenever called out, whilst dear Alison and her predecessors bravely have put on a show of sustenance for the members and public seemingly without effort at short notice and I know who the next medal should be awarded to.) 2. Trams required for service in the off-season, cold damp Derbyshire conditions, not only require to be warmed up but it is possible that their motors have to be dried out because of the ingress of condensation, which takes many hours. If some trams have already been earmarked, then steps will have been taken to ensure that dampness will not invade the electrics in the first place. That costs money. 3. Even down in chilly South London, a Christmas street market day, coinciding with an official opening of some infrastructure iniative was organised this last weekend and, whilst well attended and enjoyable, the organisers told me that about a quarter of the intending stall-holders cancelled at the last minute. Bearing in mind the effort involved, the organisers are wondering whether to hold the event next year, which would be sad if they do not. 4. Santa Tram Specials are extremely popular in Germany, both with old tramcars in the towns and cities and they run with ancient trams in the snow up through woods - see e.g. here - and click on "Start". Father Nikolaus is freezing his bits off waiting for the groups of children off the trams as they arrive deep in the woods but it usually works and brings extras revenue to their tramway museum. Mulled wine etc. helps. 5. Never listen to rumours at Crich. Some prove to be wonderfully or, on the other hand, sadly true; some are simply because, I guess, there might be a real, practical reason why cancelling may be a blessing in disguise. 6. We did not always have the Tea Rooms on tap; however, in the olden days, arrangements were easily made with the local hostelries, especially the Cliff Inn, to help both in the pub and on site to provide all with sustenance. 7. Whatever one may think of Malcolm Wright, he always had the aim of running the trams in service, as indeed they did in the towns and cities where they came from and I suppose that is what a former General Manager might have insisted of his Engineering Department. I'm sure many GM's have been called little dictators and worse in their time. Trouble is, Crich does not perhaps have quite that organisational set-up and one must give way, just a bit, perhaps... to the Workshop and indeed the weather. Certainly, any winter track renewals at Crich would definitely have to take precedence over ideas of running during the 'closed' period. Having said that, just consider the appalling lack of service on the World's largest tramway system, where for two days scarcely a Southern Electric train ran on the Southeastern and Central divisions - only yesterday was any sense of timetabled services restored. I wish all a happy Christmas, for when it comes. Graham - Staff No. 210.

  17. Alan Kirkman7/12/10 18:05

    Reading all this dismay and displeasure, I have a question. Will somebody tell me why I should bother to renew my membership?

  18. Bear in mind that the only heated depot space at Crich happens to be the workshop, which can only hold two trams of the running fleet. The other space is taken by restoration projects (159, our future flagship) and regular maintenance on the operating fleet. It only needs one car of the operational fleet to develop a serious fault (such as a fractured axle) and the whole schedule of regular maintenance in the workshop lies in tatters. The option might well be not to repair this fault but to condemn the tram until further notice. All through lack of climatised depot space. Indeed, the damp Derbyshire winter does more damage than many members think. Unfortunately it is not sexy to launch an airco appeal. Indeed, acquiring Blackpool trams seems to be more important than preserving the existing fleet. How very very short sighted of these members.

  19. @ Alan Kirkman:

    You wrote "Will somebody tell me why I should bother to renew my membership?"

    Well, I bother, and I am inclined to say "Why not?"

    Our museum gives hours of pleasure to volunteers, members and visitors. It is a respected institution with unique artefacts which in itself is unique. It is a major tourist attraction and local employer.

    As a member you have a chance to participate in all that, to have the fun, to have the good feeling that you support what you like, to be better informed than others. If you turn your back on the TMS you grant victory to those people whose misguided enthusiasm is responsible for all the displeasure we experience.

    So please, stay with us. Make your views known, present your ideas. If you want change, you can only achieve this from the inside. Don't expect all ideas to be adopted immediately. Accept that some decisions will be taken that you will not like. But in the end it's all about a great museum, our museum!



    P.S.: Well, yes, it sounds a bit as if I'm on a mission. Maybe I am, feel free to smile about it, feel free to laugh about it but please remain fair.

  20. Dear Mr H. Deejay, Would you like to mention who the mini Hitlers are in the workshop please. In my 31 years in the workshop I've not found any Hitlers so please tell. No doubt you won't be comming into the chuckle brothers tea bar this weekend will you assuming we are still open? If fact 'The Chuckle Brothers Tea Bar' sounds a good name seeing how everyone seems to be having fun in the workshop, comments made in jest about us in the workshop sitting round drinking tea when the traffic crew goes through in the morning to get their tram, whilst taking what we do seriously.
    As a rule we've no problems with anybody organising events especially if they can be a good little money earners like the Santa specials. The problem we had MANY years ago was that we were not given information as to what was happening and what was required from the workshop, but not now. I myself do many of the late duties and would like to say that I've not had a problem with the operations staff, in fact there has been a good working relationship.
    Also regards these mini Hitlers in the workshop, how come the number of staff (paid and volunteers) has increased over the last 4 years with some members comming back into the workshop? That surely shows we are doing something right. so Mr H Deejay, come show your face or keep your unfounded comments to you self.
    Graham Feakins makes some good points about dampness in the motors. Before a tram enters service at the beginning of the season, it's usual for the motors to spend a minimum of 3 days drying out with heaters. Please bear in mind that the trams operating at Crich are on an occasional basis unlike in the big cities when each tram went out daily, keeping the motors dry.

    Andy B
    ps see you soon in the workshop then Mr H Deejay

  21. Alan, that all depends. What do you bring to the party? Or do you just want your Journal and free entry?

  22. Mr J R Hartley8/12/10 23:11

    I think we should admire the Tramway museuems efforts in this holiday season, ok, so maybe the Santa Specials were in doubt, but good old Glynn has pulled off a master stroke , blagging the Chuckle Brothers to bring the crowds in, i can see it now, Barry holds onto the handbrake and Paul pulls the other way " To me " .."To you " ohhhhhhh, the kids will love it ! and you know what, so will i ! Glynn we salute you, ok so sometimes your curatorial abilities come under scrutiny, and your dress sense does owe a lot to Mr Bean, but your uncanny sense into publicity stunts cannot be questioned! It leaves me excited into who will be opening the Stone Workshop now, Dick and Dom, Pat Sharp, mayb even Bob Carolgees and Spit the Dog ?. Thanks Glynn, you have truly made my Christmas .

  23. The animosity between departments is historically correct. It did happen in the old tram days. In reality I have no problem whatsoever with anyone at Crich. As Ada said: who are these mini Hitlers? To compare hard working staff in one of the vital departments in our museum with a villain like Hitler is absurd. Nobody in or around the workshop was executed on the spot German style for his opinions. Nor is the Board a stalinist Politburo. As far as I am aware, there is no Gestapo at Crich, although men in black have been spotted. Indeed, quite a few members (like myself and my wife) who used to enjoy working in the workshop but were driven out by the previous manager have returned since old hands took the helm again. If the Board comes up with a sensible operations plan including the cars required, the workshop and its staff (paid and volunteers) will do its duty as expected in the good Nelsonic tradition. If the treasurer needs to cut costs, the Workshop will advise him what can be done, which cars are low on costs and high on revenue and which cars will not be paying for their upkeep. In the end it all comes down to the membership: the TMS is a democratic society (perhaps a bit too) that tries to run a multi million pound cultural enterprise. Its amazing that somehow it still manages to do just that. So don't run away, stay in the society, use your influence to try to alter what you like or don't like. However there is one thing you should not do: don't show disrespect to others and insult people who are working their guts out to keep Crich running! By the way: best wishes for 2011 to my many friends at Crich and may we have many more discussions about the future of our wonderful museum!

  24. Santa Claus14/12/10 02:57

    I thought that the sceptics who read / contribute should know what a fantastic day I had on Sunday.
    Nearly 200 children queued up to visit me in my grotto, ranging from a few months old to fourteen (not forgetting all the mums and dads and grandmas and grandpas that wanted their pictures taken with me!).
    I'm getting old now but they came from near and far - Alfreton, Ambergate, Belper, Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Chesterfield, Derby, Hixon, Hucknall, Loughborough, Nottingham, Redditch, Sheffield (someone has to I suppose), Wakefield, Whatstandwell and Wingerworth are those I can remember.
    It never ceases to amaze me how some children come in wide eyed when they first see me, others take one look at me and bawl their eyes out, and others just can't stop talking. The stories that they tell me are wonderful and there is great satisfaction when the very shy ones are eventually persuaded to tell Santa what they want for Christmas.
    I'm definitely going to have to go on a diet after Christmas Day given all the mince pies that I'm going to be left. I certainly won't be thirsty as most children offered to leave me a glass of milk - those who offered sherry or whiskey were told that I can't drink and drive otherwise not everybody would receive their presents.
    Rudolph is going to get fat too with all the carrots that will be left for him but nobody remembered that there are 8 other reindeer to feed - they were soon put right and agreed to leave more than one carrot and glass of milk.
    Parents were very understanding when I apologised that the modern contraptions that run on rails weren't available due to the recent snow (sleighs don't need rails or electricity) and also that some had to wait for some time to see me!
    The Events team has worked extremely hard in very difficult circumstances to try and ensure that the Santa Specials are able to proceed. They are to be commended, not criticised, for that they have achieved. Lessons can be learned, and I am sure that these will be taken on board (Board too?) for next year, in relation to where to snow should be piled in order that a tram service has every possibility of running.
    Well done Events Team! Here's to next weekend / year!