The annual Manx Transport Festival is now well underway with many transport enthusiasts flocking to the Isle of Man in order to sample the very best that the railways and tramways of this island paradise have to offer. Unfortunately, plans to operate an intensive twelve-tram service on the Manx Electric Railway over the weekend of 28th & 29th July have been thwarted as a number of trams are currently out of service, although an interesting output is still expected.
The MER Facebook website has confirmed that cars 7, 19 and 22 are presently unavailable for service and unlikely to be fit in time for the weekend events. Whilst there is a small chance that cars 19 and 22 may be repaired in time, tunnel car 7 has definitely been ruled out of the events due to electrical faults. As for the others; 19 requires further testing following traction motor repairs before it is approved for passenger service, whilst 22 is suffering from resistor problems. The absence of up to three trams which were due to be in service mean that there will not be enough vehicles to operate the proposed timetable, but a more frequent than usual service will still be offered and hopefully all available cars will appear in service over the weekend of 28th/29th July.
Whilst this will obviously be a disapointment to many visitors to the island, Saturday and Sunday should still witness a strong turnout on the Manx Electric Railway with some of the more elusive trams in the fleet, such as 1893-built car 1 due to run in service. In addition, it is hoped to have another tram on static display at Derby Castle at some point, and car 2 is understood to be pencilled in for this role, subject to final confirmation. Hopefully those who do attend will be pleased with the amount of effort which is obviously being poured into the transport festival, and the enhanced service on the MER will be well supported enough to justify repeat events in future years.