Although the Manx Electric Railway had started official operations for 2013 at the beginning of March at weekends only the Easter period marks the first intensive service of the year with nine return journeys due to be run each day under timetable C with four sets in service each day. David Mee was on the Isle of Man for a period over Easter and what follows is a diary of what happened between Thursday 28th March and Tuesday 2nd April..
Thursday 28th March
The start of the period under review didn’t exactly get off to the best start as the overhead was hit at Baldrine by a hi-ab lorry after the 9.40am departure from Derby Castle had reached Laxey (car 5) and the 9.55am from Laxey had reached Derby Castle (car 20). Car 9 on the D2 diagram reached Eskadale on the return trip but was stranded for the majority of the remainder of the day and was noted there with pole tied down. No further services were able to run south of Laxey for the remainder of the day with cars 5 and 6 maintaining a service north of Laxey although the 12.10 departure from Laxey and 16.10 from Ramsey did not run. Single line working was also in operation from Ramsey on land side track to Lewaigue due to stabilisation work just south of Ballure Viaduct resulting in some late running. As a result of the disruption a replacement bus service was put in place to Laxey.
Friday 29th March
A loose chain was caught under car 19 which disabled it totally when operating on diagram D1. Then car 9 tripped circuit breakers and limped back to Derby Castle in ‘series only’ mode – this was the last time the tram was seen all weekend. As a result of these problems car 2 was used in service but the planned timetable badly affected all day.
Sunday 31st March
6+59 started off the day on the Laxey diagram, but 6 suffered with the trolley pole coming off the wire constantly so was swapped for 33 which operated the diagram for the rest of day.
Because of snow preventing the opening of the Snaefell Mountain Railway the planned family event was moved from the summit to Laxey. This saw the Easter Bunny distributing eggs to children and car 19 was decorated with a soft toy bunny at one end and a soft toy duck at the other!
Monday 1st April
5+59 on the D2 diagram, got as far as Ballagorry when the air system failed which meant that the following service comprising 19+47 was delayed at Garey. The latter set picked up the passengers off the failed set and then set back across crossover and ran wrong line to Ballaskeig. 5 managed to limp back to Derby Castle and was replaced by 33 for rest of day. As a result of these difficulties the 11.40 service from Ramsey did not run and other services ran up to twenty minutes late all day.
Tuesday 2nd April
Services ran well all day with the highlight being the transfer of 32 from Laxey Shed to Derby Castle at 13.00, to be replaced by 33 as the designated works car.
* You can find photos from the weekend in Gallery 358.
Report by David Mee.