For just over three years Ratchet Car 14 has been enjoying a major restoration jointly done by paid staff from Isle of Man Railways and volunteers and now the culmination of the project is rapidly approaching with the tram making its first tentative moves onto the mainline ahead of the commencement of the testing and commissioning period.
Having last run in service back in 1982, 14 had been towed from Laxey sheds to Derby Castle back in March 2015 for the start of the project to return a Ratchet car to service (for the first since the early part of this century) and since then incredible progress has been made on this project showing how well volunteers and paid staff can work together to bring a tram back to the rails.
A few jobs remain to be completed on 14 ahead of its full commissioning/testing programme – including completing the paintwork – but the tram is certainly a stunning sight and a testament to the high quality work which has gone into getting it back on the rails.
The first test run saw 14 run to Onchan Head and back on Thursday 12th July. It will now undergo attention for a few minor issues before full testing commences. It is planned that it will be launched into service during the 125th Anniversary events between 1st and 8th September (Monday 3rd September is the date set for the official launch).