Heritage Railway magazine deputy editor Gareth Evans enjoyed a visit to the Isle of Man on April 8-10, 2019.
In issue No. 254
[BUY NOW], Gareth’s six-page feature provided an overview of what the Isle of Man can offer railway enthusiasts and he also learned about the latest developments on the system, including the story behind the turnaround of the system’s fortunes in recent years – plus the return to steam of 2-4-0T No. 16 . Mannin
Here is a selection of photos from Gareth’s trip which we didn’t have space for in the printed article but we thought you might be interested in.
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Gallery: Great Laxey Mines Railway
The water tank on 0-4-0 Bee is unusually mounted in front of the smokebox. A rear three-quarter view of 0-4-0 Bee. Note the driver’s red seat at the rear. The diminutive size of the rolling stock serves as a reminder of the narrow tunnel the line passes through. The line terminates near the Laxey Wheel, world’s largest working waterwheel. This view was captured from the Snaefell Mountain Railway, which runs along the opposite side of the valley. Waterwheels can be found at both ends of the line – Lady Evelyn is pictured here, located in the old Snaefell mine workings at Laxey Valley Gardens. A side-on view of 0-4-0 Bee, one of two replicas of the line’s original steam locomotives – the other being named Ant.
Gallery: Groudle Glen Railway
Visitors to the Groudle Glen can enjoy a nice walk through the woods. One of the railway’s restored set of four original 4-wheeled toastrack coaches, which are used for special services. The remains of the zoo at Sea Lion Rocks station. Battery Electric Locomotive Polar Bear, a replica of the locomotives which operated the railway in the 1920s, is seen at Sea Lion Rocks station. Scenic ride: The delightful line offers sea views from the cliff top. Note the section of original track partly buried in the ground on the right. Visitors can soak up the sea air and views while enjoying refreshments at Sea Lion Rocks station. The brick basis near the fence are occupied by tables during the main operating season. Lhen Coan station is home to a distinctive Swiss-style station canopy. The Groudle Glen Railway is run by a friendly team of dedicated volunteers. Gallery: Manx Electric Railway
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Victorian charm: Cars 58 and 22 head to Ramsey from Douglas, having travelled over the level crossing at Laxey on April 9, 2019. Cars 22 & 58 await departure from the line’s Douglas terminus on April 9, 2019. A look inside car 22. Toastrack car 47 is seen at Laxey. Inside Derby Castle depot. A range of repairs can be carried out at Derby Castel depot. The 3ft gauge Manx Electric Railway (left) meets the 3ft 6in gauge Snaefell Mountain Railway (right) at Laxey. As seen here on April 9, 2019, passengers can interchange between the two lines with ease.
Gallery: Port Erin Museum
Port Erin Railway Museum is conveniently located next to the station. The station, which has been restored as part a regeneration project, is home to a delightful tea room. Visitors can access the footplate of 1875-built No. 6 Peveril . The 2-4-0T last worked in 1960. Inside F. 75 The Governor’s Saloon. An experience with a difference is the driving simulator for diesel locomotive No. 21, which can be enjoyed for an additional fee. Inside Port Erin Railway Museum: In addition to the full-size rolling stock, exhibits include a host of relics, models, photographs and a mock-up station master’s office. No. 16 Mannin is set to return to action in time for the line’s 150th anniversary in 2023. The powerful Beyer Peacock-built 2-4-0T is expected to be extracted from the museum in winter 2019/20. Inside F.36 The Queen’s Coach . The Royal Train carriage carried The Queen and Queen Mother in 1963 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1972.
Gallery: Isle of Man
No. 12 Hutchinson runs round at Douglas station as the friendly fireman looks on. A railway with a charm of its own: Trains are timetabled to cross at Castletown. As a member of the public looks on, No. 8 Fenella arrives with a train from Port Erin on April 10, while No. 12 Hutchinson waits for the road to Port Erin. Friendly staff who enjoy their work: The crew of No. 8 Fenella exchange the staff (token) with the driver of No. 12 Hutchinson at Castletown. No. 1 Sutherland was undergoing cosmetic restoration in the line’s Douglas workshops on April 10, 2019, in readiness for it to be displayed at Port Erin Railway Museum, taking the place of No. 16 Mannin. Gareth was quick to praise the scrumptious cooked breakfast at Douglas station – which can either be enjoyed on a traditional plate or a ‘quirky’ shovel. Inside Douglas signalbox. Normally out of bounds, members of the public can access the structure as part of a ‘behind the scenes’ tour, which run on selected dates in the main season. Inside the restored Douglas station, as seen from the ground floor restaurant seating area. Additional seating is located on the mezzanine floor (pictured above the green doors). The shop can be found through the glazed partition. Ex-County Donegal Railway railcar No. 20’s cab paired with No. 19’s coach body inside Douglas works showing the extent of restoration. Inside Douglas carriage shed. A rear three-quarter view of ex-County Donegal Railway railcar No. 19’s coach body paired with No. 20’s cab inside Douglas works. To help meet the line’s rising passenger numbers, additional carriages are being returned to traffic.
Our thanks go to Isle of Man Events Services for making all travel and accommodation arrangements. They come recommended for anyone considering visiting the island.
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