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David Bradley reviews what they have to offer

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"Neil Worthington" <neil.worthington@virgin.net>
It's always good to get feedback from visitors, and your views have been passed on in full to the appropriate people at Sandtoft.

Just a few quick notes on why certain things are as they are:
  • We are always short of staff and especially so on our busiest day, the Gathering, so sometimes round pegs get banged into square holes, not entirely successfully.
  • Many people find the business of exchanging money for tickets, with a conductor, while the vehicle is on the move, is all part and parcel of the trolleybus experience.
  • General publicity for Sandtoft has perhaps suffered in the absence of a Publicity Director for a while. Advertising locally is usually quite effective, which brings in the families, while enthusiasts, who probably travel greater distances, generally know about major events like the Gathering well in advance - they're on fixed dates in the calendar [last Sunday in July for the Gathering]. Sandtoft has two web sites and posts brief information to the <news:uk.transport.buses> newsgroup.
  • Improving things for the future will depend, as always, on the availability of finance and volunteer labour.
  • This is the standard we attempt to aspire to: "To be nationally acknowledged as the Museum of the Trolleybus and to entertain, educate and give excellent value and service to our visitors".

"tram7" <tram7@seasidetram.swinternet.co.uk>
I hope that you enjoyed the event even though 1521 was hidden at the back of the depot. I must say that I am surprised that whoever you asked refused to move the barrier for your photo, we usually try to be as helpful as possible to all interested parties. You just must have chosen "the wrong 'un".

I'm very impressed by the photo's of the event on your site. I must however pick you up on a couple of your captions. What you must remember is that it is a 'Transport Museum' and not a 'London Transport Museum', so you can't complain that it is a pity other operators buses were there or that the Trolley bus stop isn't a London one :-)

Apart from that minor gripe, well done. I spent most of the event behind a video camera, hoping to get some material for a new video of the Museum that will hopefully appear next year. [John Downes]

[This is a subsequent contribution from John]

Thank you for the privilege of a preview of your museum reviews. I have been most impressed with your page layouts and style and these continue the high standard.

I have never been to Sandtoft, I did visit the Black Country Museum last year, and no trolleys were running as the wiring was down for modification, but I broadly agree with your comments re the facilities. They are, however, properly funded professionals.

Which leaves us with EATM. I must point out that I have only been a regular volunteer for two seasons, but I shall stick my neck out and pass comment anyway!

We have no paid staff and no outside funding which may help to explain the limited opening times. The fact that you weren't allowed in early, despite the relatively large number of volunteers on site that particular weekend, was probably as all testing, any training and rechecking of operators has to be done without the public on site. The flyer did give the opening times but I accept that you may not have seen one prior to the event. Perhaps we should invest in a talking timetable?

You may have heard the saga of the car park, basically we are about to purchase the freehold having leased it from the hotel for years. The membership has donated 70,000 in a little over six weeks, no outside funding at all. Once we at last own the thing, then a better surface can be made, and maybe a more impressive entrance constructed.

Tram 1858 has a major controller fault which developed about a month ago and requires complete dismantling and refurbishment to repair. It should be back in service next season but I can understand your disappointment.

At this sort of event perhaps we should have a couple of knowledgeable volunteers around purely to talk to the public and answer queries?

The extra effort being made was that we normally only run one trolleybus and two trams on a normal day. There were three London Trolleys running during the day amongst the others and I suggest that was three more than you'll find anywhere else. That alone should justify the 'London Focus' tag.

Purely volunteer funding also explains the lack of the 'back road' to allow trolleys a circular run, but there are plans. The railway is about to be realigned to allow for this. Worked stopped for around 18 months as it looked as if we would have to provide a car park on site, which required the complete relaying of the railway nearer the centre of the site.

As to the cafe. I never cease to wonder at the operation of this particular feature. The excuse is again that it is volunteer run, and I for one wouldn't want to have anything to do with it. I doubt whether a franchisee would run it for the limited number of opening days, so I suspect it will remain a law unto itself. I for one take sandwiches!

I shall direct the attention of those in charge to these pages. I think you have been totally fair and there are some areas where we could certainly improve. An 'outsider' such as yourself is probably better qualified to spot them than us on the inside. [John Downes]

"Terry Russell" <terry@terryrusselltrams.wanadoo.co.uk>
When you compare Carlton Colville with Crich it is a very "Mickey Mouse" affair. I feel it a great shame that they have/had so many fine and valuable vehicles that the lack of funds and lack of active members restricted the restorations. It is a transport museum with members of the London Trolleybus "Group" playing a major role, but are they trying to do too many things; Trams; trolleys; industrial railway; buses; dust carts; taxis; the list is endless.

The Blackpool rail coach is being restored but at such a slow pace the restoration probably cannot keep up with the deterioration. Poor old 1858 needs a major overhaul and would have been a prime runner at Crich, but Peter Davis would have lost ownership if it had gone there. How short sighted of him. Roy Hubble used to relate to us what was going on up there and when I heard that seat mounts on 1858 were being modified to compensate for the body sides caving inwards, that really worried me.

Jean Hubble now runs the Cafe and it seems that bacon butties for the on site workers were a major source of income plus coach trips of pensioners on Wednesdays. When I visited with a friend last summer we arrived at 1pm and we had just 3 hours to spend and while they were friendly enough, nothing moved until 2pm and for that hour the "crews" lounged in the cafe.

The "event" organiser was a self inflated 20 something who could not care whether I was there or not but was held in high esteem by all. Maybe the '0' Gauge Group [of the TLRS] were professionals back in those early days of the exhibitions and film shows but did not realise it. In fact when I see some of the activities of other groups, I know we were.

"PSGolds" <PSGolds@aol.com>
Interesting what you say. Some years ago I visited and asked if the destination blind on 260 could be turned to show 662 - Sudbury. It would have made an excellent picture for our local paper in Wembley. They refused, and so the picture I have is of 628 Clapham Junction.

I wish I had known about 1768 - would have liked to see it under the wires again. Sad really.

"trakless" <trakless@trolleybus.co.uk>
Read the reviews, bit harsh considering volunteer nature! But interesting comments, hope they don't take them to heart and accept in good faith.

"David Bryant" <biker@bryant58.freeserve.co.uk>
I am in the process of moving house and was turning out some old photographs. I came across these pictures of Reading Sunbeam S7 preserved 174 trolleybus [ 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 ], plus one of Bournemouth 301 [ 1 ], taken about 15 years ago at the Black Country Museum in Dudley. I remember the day well, as I had paid my entry fee to the museum, mainly to see the working trolleybuses on the circuit, but due to shortage of drivers, they cancelled it that day!

I also remember that the management of the museum refused to refund any of my entrance fee. My argument was, that I should have been told when I arrived, or a notice should have been displayed to the effect that the trolleybuses were not operating, but the "jobsworth" on the gate was having none of it. I wasn't the only one who was not impressed, as other people had been conned into paying their entrance fee, to see the non-existent operating trolleybuses. I even wrote a letter of complaint, but got nowhere. This David was not a happy bunny!!

"Ken" <ken-109@concorde27.fsnet.co.uk>
During 1992 I was a guest at Carlton Colville, where 1521 is located, and I drove 1521 on its first run after refurbishment, and what a fantastic day that was to be reunited with an old friend. Also I drove 1768 as well.

And the biggest surprise was that I was interviewed and I am in the video called 'THIRTY YEARS ON'. They even dug out a old photo of me as a trolleybus driver.

Ken Tuddenham.

"John Gilmour" <jgilmour@alphalink.com.au>
While visiting friends in England I was able to visit the Black Country Museum and Sandtoft. Both had been on my list for a while and I was blessed with good weather on the weekend of 1/2 June when I did get there.

Both are worth a visit, Sandtoft is definitely more for the committed TB fan but the Black Country Museum [BCM] has something for everybody, including a pub!

BCM has the more defined trolleybus route with a lovely little short sharp climb to the main terminus on an excellent road surface. There is very little special overhead work however, a crossing of the 3ft 6in tramway overhead and a trailing frog from the depot is all.

Sandtoft has much more special work in the wiring, to demonstrate the operating aspects of trolleybuses I presume, including an interlaced frog

"Pete Baggett" <pete@wulfrunian.net>
I've noticed that several people are complaining about the lack of vehicles running at the various sites. All three main museums rely entirely on volunteers to run their trolleybuses [the transport group at the Black Country Museum are not fully paid professionals; the trolleybuses there are crewed by volunteers just as on the other two sites]. There must be some people out there who would be prepared to give at least a few weekends a year to help out. If so, please volunteer, the reward could well be that you get to drive these wonderful vehicles.