All services have been suspended on the Snaefell Mountain Railway with immediate effect as investigations and rectification work in light of the runaway tram incident earlier this year continue. The runaway incident took place at the start of August and although there was a previous suspension of the line services had resumed but in order to concentrate all efforts in ensuring that the system is as safe as it can be the decision has been taken not to run any further journeys until further notice.
The major runaway incident had taken place on Friday 4th August and services did continue to run in the immediate aftermath before the Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate on the Isle of Man ordered a cessation of services as an extra speed limit imposed was not being adhered to. Once they were happy that the new regulations were being respected on the Snaefell Mountain Railway services were back up and running on Friday 11th August. Since this date services have continued to run although there have been times when a reduced timetable has been in operation and in recent days no service at all has been offered.
Now an official statement released by Isle of Man Transport has confirmed that no services will run on the Snaefell Mountain Railway until further notice. According to the statement “Investigations carried out following the incident…have highlighted the challenges of operating heritage railway systems in a modern safety management environment”.
A comprehensive review is being undertaken by the Department of Infrastructure – working closely with the Health and Safety Work Inspectorate – and this is identifying a number of improvements. The work which has been carried out to date – no details of what this work is has been released – is said to have provided “much reassurance” however all of the “issues associated with operating heritage rolling stock has proved difficult”.
As a result of this the Department has decided to “commit the skills and expertise of its Isle of Man Railways engineering staff to dealing with these matters, rather than to supporting day-to-day activities.”
No date has been given for when this work may be concluded but with the end of the 2017 season rapidly approaching it would seem likely that no further services will run for this year at least. As the scale of the work which has been deemed to be necessary to ensure the line is safe to operate with modern standards has not been released it is impossible to say just how long it may take to complete.