The title of this report is not an exaggeration, unfortunately. On the morning of Tuesday 7th July, a serious accident occured on the Manx Electric Railway when Winter Trailer 58 derailed during a shunting move near Laxey Station, resulting in it toppling over onto its side. As a result all tram services between Laxey and Ramsey have been suspended and are unlikely to resume until around midday the following day (Wednesday 8th).
The Isle of Man Government have already released a statement confirming that an incident occured after 1000 involving 58. The trailer was being manoeurvered during a routine shunting procedure when it left the rails, but amazingly it then tipped onto its side, between two road crossings near to Laxey Station. Fortunately the tram was empty at the time and nobody was hurt as a result of the incident. The extent of damage to the 1904-built enclosed saloon trailer is not yet clear, although a number of pictures which have already appeared on the Facebook page of the Manx Electric Railway Society and in the island’s press would appear to suggest that it has sustained surprisingly little damage considering the dramatic nature of what happened. The process of recovering 58 is likely to be a fairly lengthy one which will entail a road closure, expected later in the afternoon of July 7th.
The cause of the derailment is not yet known but of course this will be fully investigated. Unfortunately, critics of the MER are already out in force blaming various factors for the freak accident with little or no evidence to support their theories, and even suggesting a boycott of the railway in response.
Any new information relating to this dreadful incident will be provided here on British Trams Online. The last week has certainly been an eventful one for trams in the British Isles for all the wrong reasons, with a tram v car collision in Blackpool, a vandal attack and subsequent damage to two trams in Manchester and now this latest accident on the Isle of Man. Hopefully the old saying that misfortune comes in threes will be true and we can now look forward to a period of calm after all this bad news of late.