The decision to close a popular Derbyshire tram museum due to safety concerns was not easy, a government body has said. The village of Crich Tramway, near Matlock, announced on Wednesday May 18 that it was closing until at least Friday May 20, due to a security concern.
The site was closed following an inspection by the Office of Rail and Road, which undertakes safety inspections on the road and rail network across the UK. The visit was planned and involved a discussion of repair work already planned to be carried out this year, museum staff said on Wednesday.
In a statement, an ORR spokesman said the decision was made reluctantly but to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. In a statement on its website, the museum said the issue centered on its drop-off fan and urged visitors to check its website and social media channels for updates.
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A spokesperson said: “Following an inspection of a potentially serious matter at the Crich Tramway Museum, we have taken the decision to close off certain areas of the site to protect members of the public and staff working at the Museum and provide security. improvements are made to its infrastructure. We know how much the tram is loved and we didn’t make this decision lightly, but we did so with safety in mind.
An anonymous whistleblower had previously alleged that the museum had prior knowledge of the security issues and was condemned following the ORR visit. However, Dr. Mike Galer, the site’s chief executive, dismissed that on Wednesday and said the site had shut down on its own.
Speaking to Derbyshire Live, he said: ‘We take security seriously at the museum and have numerous systems in place to identify, track and resolve security issues.
“The infrastructure, as we call it, consisting of the track – called “permanent track” professionally – overhead line and DC power switchgear is examined and maintained every winter during our period of closing and more frequently if necessary, and the winter of 2021-2022 was no different, with hundreds of man-hours completed on the airline alone.
“This year, recognizing that there are certain areas where we need external professional assistance, we have engaged an accredited external company to undertake a professional assessment – this must be the report mentioned. A number of issues have been identified for correction in this report in 2022 and beyond, but we have been cleared to operate.
“The company involved has visited the site several times to assess and plan the investment and to design the schedule to solve the problems in the weeks and months to come. During a scheduled visit to the Office of Railways and Roads (ORR) – our regulator – this report was obviously brought up.
“We have a duty to resolve the issues that have been identified by ORR as a matter of urgency. We do not disagree with them. We weren’t required to close, but the areas of concern are in sensitive, high-traffic areas, so we’ve chosen, for simplicity, to temporarily close the entire site while we focus on resolution of critical issues.