21st August 1895 saw the first public runs of a new railway on the Isle of Man – the Snaefell Mountain Railway. Now 119 years and 364 days later the Railway will be celebrating its 120th anniversary with a series of events taking place on Thursday 20th August 2015.
The events will kick off at 1320 with a special celebration tour leaving Laxey Station with onboard commentary from highly acclaimed local historian and author Andrew Scarffe. This trip will also include several photo stops as the car makes its way up to the summit and there will be a chance to see behind the scenes at the Snaefell car shed. There will also be additional trams running up the Mountain throughout the Thursday afternoon. Later on in the day there will be a rare parallel run from the summit with two cars leaving the highest point of the island together at 1700. During the evening there will also be a reenactment of the official opening in 1895.
Away from the Railway itself during the afternoon railway pioneer Alexander Bruce will welcome passengers to the Summit Café and John Dog Callister will provide guided walks to enable all ages to discover the flora and fauna at Snaefell summit. There will also be a photographic exhibition at the summit along with art work inspired by the anniversary by local sculptor Anna Smart and artist Michael Starkey on display.
Manx Radio will be broadcasting live from the summit from 1500 and this will include the first performance of a specially commissioned 40 minute chamber ensemble piece. Composed by Ramsey based Tim Price “7 Chambers” will be played at the Summit Restaurant and played over loudspeakers from Snaefell Mountain to the hills beyond.
All events are open to all but advanced booking is recommended for celebration tram tour and the trams to the Summit for the evening celebrations (which will leave Laxey at 1915 and 1925 – with MER connections from Derby Castle departing at 1840). You can make your booking by calling 01624 697 457.
On the exact 120th anniversary – Friday 21st August – there will be a Snaefell Sunset Dinner in the restaurant with the commemorative artworks and Victorian photographic displays still on display. Booking for this dinner should be made in advance by calling 01624 673 631.