It is now little over a month until the annual Manx Heritage Transport Festival takes place on the Isle of Man which seems an opportune moment for a quick round-up of just what is due to happen and when between 29th July and 2nd August. Once again in 2015 there are plenty of events to keep visiting enthusiasts entertained with the Manx Electric Railway featuring heavily alongside the Isle of Man Steam Railway.
Day 1: Wednesday 29th July – Welcome
An original welcome – Manx Electric Railway
Using cars 1 and 2 a parallel run will take place between Derby Castle and Groudle. Departing Derby Castle at 0900 and featuring a photostop at Lag Birragh the pair will return from Groudle at 0920 before arriving back in Douglas at 0933. Car 1 will then be available between 1000 and 1600 as an information booth providing information on the events of the week and staged Driver photography opportunities.
A Victorian Evening – Manx Electric Railway
Nos. 1 and 2 will be in use on an evening service. Departing Derby Castle at 1700 (as far as Dhoon Quarry), 1935 (to Laxey) and 2115 (Laxey).
Guided walk from St Johns to Kirk Michael
Ramsey line walk using normal service bus connections. Starts at 1030.
Snaefell Sunset Dinner – Snaefell Mountain Railway
The chance to enjoy a dinner at the highest point of the Isle of Man for £30 (including tram travel). Trams leave Derby Castle at 1740, 1840 arriving at Laxey 30 minutes later where connections can be made with the Snaefell Mountain Railway. Return trips from Laxey are at 2125, 2225.
Day 2: Thursday 30th July – Steam Railway
The Dhoon Quarryman – Manx Electric Railway
Photography tour using no. 32 and wagons 8 and 10. Departs Derby Castle at 1000 to Lewaigue via Dhoon and Ballajora Quarries with photo opportunities. Back at Douglas by 1500. Cost £10.
Goods Train between Douglas and Port Erin – Isle of Man Steam Railway
No. 4 Loch will haul three goods wagons to Port Erin and back (departs Douglas at 1120, returning at 1305).
Vehicle displays at stations – Isle of Man Steam Railway
A selection of visiting vehicles will be on display at Castletown and members of the Cambridge Oxford Owners Club will display cars from 1953 to the 1980s at Douglas.
Travelling Post Office – Isle of Man Steam Railway
The 0950 from Douglas and 1135 from Port Erin will include a Travelling Post Office transporting special commemorative stamp covers.
Pie and Mash Supper – Isle of Man Steam Railway
Departing Douglas at 1900 and arriving at Port Erin at 2015 with return at 2215 back into Douglas at 2230. Two course meal available for £25 (including train fare).
Night at the museum, Port Erin – Isle of Man Steam Railway
Open between 1830 and 2100 with an informative evening including video and audio presentations.
Castletown coastal cruise aboard the M.V. Karina
Leaving Douglas the cruise heads south past the Marine Drive, Port Soderick, Santon Head, Fort Island and Langness Lighthouse before entering Castletown Bay and mooring at Castletown Harbour. Costs £10 single led and £15 for return trip.
Day 3: Friday 31st July – Manx Electric Railway
Diesel Delivery at Laxey – Manx Electric Railway/ Snaefell Mountain Railway
A special Derby Castle to Laxey service will operate leaving at 0855 and arriving at Laxey at 0940. A return trip will be made from Laxey at 1630 with arrival back at Derby Castle at 1715 (this was originally due to be locomotive no. 34 but due to a brake failure this will now just be on display at Laxey – a replacement car will now operate this service).
Between 1030 and 1500 regular shuttles will operate between Laxey car shed and Dumbells Row with the MER’s Simplex and locomotive LM344 Pig. (£3 per trip)
The MER Wickham and Trailer and MER Simplex will also feature.
Snaefell Mountain Railway railcars will also be on display in Laxey Station for photo opportunities.
Tours around Laxey Car Shed and both the old and new substations will be available.
Stamps on the MER – Manx Electric Railway/Snaefell Mountain Railway
A special postal service operates between Derby Castle, Laxey and Ramsey. The first service tram from Derby Castle will include Mail Van 16. A special Railway Letter Service will also operate from the Summit on the Snaefell Mountain Railway to Laxey.
Evening MER Tour – Delivering the Goods
The Manx Electric Railway.co.uk and MER historian Andrew Scarffe join forces for a third Friday evening themed photography tour. The tour uses car no. 33, trailer no. 44 and van no. 16 – the latter of which is being launched back into service after 40 years following restoration – to provide a historical insight into the role of the line in moving freight. This is the MER’s newest tram, trailer and van on one service. Departs Derby Castle at 1800 and will return by 2225. Tickets cost £10.
Vintage bus tour of closed lines
A Leyland PD3 will be provided for a tour of the Isle of Man Steam Railway’s closed lines. Will include informative talks and photostops and the chance to meet artist Michael Starkey at Ballaugh. Option to return from Ramsey by tram.
Day 4: Saturday 1st August – Southern Line becomes Northern Line
The Green Wrong Road – Manx Electric Railway
A special charity tour featuring all of the MER’s green rolling stock. The tour is due to depart Derby Castle at 0830 using no. 16 for a trip to Ramsey and return with the tram using the seaside line northbound from Douglas. On return at Derby Castle sheds there will be a photoshoot and shed visit. The second trip of the day will see trailer no. 60 join in for a trip to Fairy Cottage and back and then trip number three sees no. 16 accompanied by Van no. 16 on the way to Laxey and back. The tour will pause at Laxey car sheds for a brief visit and the possible use of Permanent Way and Overhead Line trailers no. 45 and no. 52 for shunts on the headshunt. The final journey of the day will be no. 16 working solo from Derby Castle to Ramsey and return. The return trip will travel wrong line from Ramsey and will be back by 1840 at Derby Castle. Very limited availability remaining email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. Tickets cost £15 with proceeds going towards the Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust Appeal.
A one day only recreation of the Northern Line with photo opportunities – Isle of Man Steam Railway
Steam locomotives will be renamed and renumbered as the Manx Northern Railway – which closed in 1968 – is recreated for one day only with many unique photo opportunities. The day will also feature Fenella No. 8 (the locomotive used most regularly on the Manx Northern Railway) and the Manx Northern Railway Freight G Van. Stations will also be renamed for the day!
Food for Thought
An update with Chief Engineer Peter Maddocks and Director of Public Transport Ian Longworth at the Port Erin museum. Depart Douglas at 1900 arriving at Port Erin at 2015.
Special One Day Manx Northern Line Stamp Covers
The 0950 from Douglas and 1135 from Port Erin will include a Travelling Post Office transporting one-day special commemorative stamp covers.
Day 5: Sunday 2nd August – A Rare Day on the MER
Enhanced Sunday services – Manx Electric Railway
Intensive 5 car service using 1, 2, 16 and 32
All American at Laxey – Manx Electric Railway
The trucks and equipment on 19-22, 32 and 33 are of American design and origin and on this day there will be full explanations as to the American equipment fitted to MER vehicles and a brief history of Brill.
Drive the American Tram with driver experiences using no. 22
A selection of American cars from the Cunningham collection will also be on display
Isle of Man Railway Museum & Carriage Shed Tours, Port Erin
Steam celebrations of the birthdays of GH Wood and Peveril. Tours start at the Port Erin Museum at 1000, 1030, 1100, 1130, 1200, 1230, 1300, 1330 and 1400.
Manxman Sunday lunch on the Dining Car – Isle of Man Steam Railway
3 course Manxman lunch cost £35 per adult with the service leaving Douglas at 1230 arriving at Port Erin at 1400.
Fourteen Railways coastal cruise aboard the M.V. Karina
Departs Douglas Bay at 1800 and heads south to Port Soderick and then north to Groudle Bay. On board commentary points out 14 existing and former railways on the island. Tickets £10 per person single leg or £15 return.
The majority of events are included in the price of Explorer tickets which can be purchased from the Welcome Centre at the Sea Terminal. You have to purchase a Go Card (£2 activation fee) before you can buy an Explorer ticket which cost. For an adult Explorer tickets cost between £16 (1 day adult) and £47 (7 day adult). Further details are available from Isle of Man Transport – http://www.gov.im/categories/travel-traffic-and-motoring/bus-and-rail/go-cards/go-explore/.
Want to know more?
The leaflet of the Manx Heritage Transport Festival can be downloaded at http://www.gov.im/media/1347311/iomrail_2015_transportfestival_dl_web.pdf.
And if you are attending the Festival why not send some photos/article through to British Trams Online after the event?! We always gratefully receive any contributions!