In Preview: Manx Electric Railway 125th Anniversary

Six weeks today will see the start of a packed week of events on the Isle of Man to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Manx Electric Railway. With events on each day between Saturday 1st and Saturday 8th September it is the perfect opportunity for enthusiasts to head over to the island, whether this be the first time, if you haven’t been for a while or even if you are a regular visitor. Highlights of the week look set to be the official launch of Ratchet Car 14 back into service, intensive timetables (including the recreation of the 1975 timetable) and behind the scenes tours. In other words there will be lots to keep you entertained!

This full preview of the week gives details of all events currently planned to take place but as always you are advised to check closer to the date if travelling for a specific event as we are talking about elderly vehicles which don’t always work as hoped!

Saturday 1st September

Timetable DG will be in operation.

Parallel Run

The oldest electric trams in the world still in regular operation on their original line – 1 and 2 – will perform a parallel run between Derby Castle and Groudle (the original 1893 terminus). Departs Derby Castle at 0900.

Limited availability. Normal fares apply but you can reserve your seat in advance by emailing mer125@gov.im.

Oldest and Newest trams on timetabled services

1 and 2 from 1893 and 32 and 33 from 1906 will be allocated to service running as follows:

1 departs Derby Castle at 1110 and 1340

2 departs Derby Castle at 1010, 1310 and 1440

32 departs Derby Castle at 0910, 1040, 1410 and 1540

33 departs Derby Castle at 0940 and 1240

Normal fares apply

Motorman Taster Lessons

Your chance to drive Winter Saloon 22 between Laxey and Lewaigue. Departs Laxey at 1050, 1250 and 1450.

Costs £25 and can be booked online or by phoning 01624 662 525.

Sunday 2nd September

Timetable D will be in operation.

125th Birthday Party

A special birthday party at Laxey Station between 1000 and 1600 including live entertainers, bands, singers and folk dancers alongside a Farmers Market in the village square. There will also be vintage vehicles on display and a Ferris wheel! And there will be cake as what birthday party is complete with cake!

Travelling Post Office

Commemorative covers will be carried in Mail Van 4 on the 0930 from Derby Castle arriving at Laxey for 1000. The Mail Van will then be stabled in Laxey Siding throughout the day alongside Mail Van 16.

Laxey Car Shed Tours

See behind the scenes at Laxey Car Shed with tours at 1015, 1115, 1215, 1415 and 1515.

Each tour is limited to 10 and should be booked in advance either online or be phoning 01624 662 525. Cost £6 per person.

The Three 1s at Laxey Station

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway 1 – complete with horse – will be visiting Laxey Station for the day and will be displayed alongside Manx Electric Railway 1 and Snaefell Mountain Railway 1 at times during the day between 1000 and 1500.

Illustrated Talk and Social Evening

Manx Electric Railway historian Andrew Scarffe will be giving an illustrated presentation on the history of the MER over the past 125 years.

Takes place at the Laxey Working Men’s Institute with doors opening at 1930 for a 2000 start. Admission is £5 including a MER 125 Pin Badge.

Monday 3rd September

Timetable D will be in operation

Launch of Restored Ratchet Car 14

After the extensive three year restoration 14 will be launched back into service by Director of Transport Services Ian Longworth at Derby Castle at 0900 following by a reserved return trip to Laxey for the volunteers and staff involved in the restoration.

Later in the day members of the public will be able to ride on the tram for the first time between Derby Castle and Groudle departing at 1325, 1425 and 1525.

Limited availability. Normal fares apply but you can reserve your seat in advance by emailing mer125@gov.im.

Tram and Two Wagons

Tunnel Car 6 will haul the two recently restored open wagons – 8 and 10 – to Ramsey and back re-enacting a typical MER Edwardian era goods service. Departs Derby Castle at 0920 and back at Derby Castle no later than 1215.

Limited availability. Normal fares apply but you can reserve your seat in advance by emailing mer125@gov.im.

Evening Parallel run with 1 and 2

A parallel run using 1 and 2 the full length of the MER from Ramsey. The pair will depart Ramsey at 1800 arriving at Derby Castle no later than 2000 with photo stops en route. In order to get the trams to Ramsey 1 will depart Derby Castle at 1625 and 2 at 1640.

Limited availability. Normal fares apply but you can reserve your seat in advance by emailing mer125@gov.im.

Tuesday 4th September

Timetable D will be in operation

Mail Tram Re-enactment

A typical 1970s era mail tram consisting of Winter Saloon, trailer and Mail Van 4 will re-enact a mail collection run between Ramsey and Douglas. This will be the first time since the mail service ended in 1975 that mail will be collected from the line side post boxes. A serving postman from IOM Post will accompany the tram, with MER staff in period uniform offering photographic opportunities.

The mail tram departs Ramsey at 1350.

Costs £12 and can be booked online or by phoning 01624 662 525.

Tram and Two Trailers

Car 33 will haul two trailers on a return trip between Derby Castle and Dhoon Quarry. Departs Derby Castle at 0900.

Limited availability. Normal fares apply but you can reserve your seat in advance by emailing mer125@gov.im.

Crossbench Photography Evening

Four Crossbench Cars – 14, 16, 32 and 33 will be posed for photography at Laxey Station with parallel runs towards Minorca and South Cape using different combinations of trams.

Trams will leave Derby Castle between 1620 and 1650. (In event of poor weather enclosed trams may be substituted).

Normal fares apply.

Wednesday 5th September

Timetable DE will be in operation

Groudle Day

Re-enactment of the 1893 tram service between Derby Castle and Groudle using cars 1 and 2 with a special appearance by long lost 3! The Station Master will be in Victorian costume and the original Groudle ticket office reopened for the day.

Groudle shuttle service departs Derby Castle between 0925 and 1625.

Normal fares apply.

Tunnel Vision

The 1894 Tunnel Cars – 5, 6, 7 and 9 – will be operating on the timetabled service throughout the day.

5 departs Derby Castle at 0910, 1040, 1410 and 1540

6 departs Derby Castle at 0940, 1240 and 1610

7 departs Derby Castle at 1010, 1310, 1440 and 1740

9 departs Derby Castle at 1110, 1340, 1640, 1840, 2045 and 2155

Normal fares apply.

Tram and Three Wagons

Crossbench 32 will haul the two recently restored open wagons 8 and 10 and mail van 16 to Ramsey and return.

Departs Derby Castle at 1255 returning no later than 1615.

Limited availability. Normal fares apply but you can reserve your seat in advance by emailing mer125@gov.im.

Crossbench Evening Special

Crossbench Cars 14 and 16 will operate an evening special to Ramsey and return. They will run in parallel from Ramsey to Laxey including photo stops en route.

14 departs Derby Castle at 1710, 16 departs Derby Castle at 1725. Parallel run departs Ramsey at 1900.

Limited availability. Normal fares apply but you can reserve your seat in advance by emailing mer125@gov.im.

Thursday 6th September

Special timetable in operation

1975 Timetable Day

Services will operate to the summer 1975 timetable – the last year of operation of the traditional MER timetable.

The first leaves Derby Castle at 0700 with additional specials or extras throughout the day to give a 10/15 minute frequency from Derby Castle. A 1975 timetable leaflet will be available at stations.

Normal fares apply.

Goods Wagons in service

Open wagons 8 and 10 and mail vans 4 and 16 in service throughout the day on timetabled services.

Normal fares apply.

Friday 7th September

Special timetable in operation throughout the day giving a frequent service of all available trams.

Cavalcade of Trams at Laxey

A cavalcade using all operational trams with trailers and a selection of engineering stock will commence at 1400. A full commentary will be provided.

Trams will process through Laxey Station towards Douglas in numerical order before returning in service to either Derby Castle or Ramsey. Period vehicles on display in the station.

Plaque unveiling at Derby Castle

Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney will unveil a plaque to mark the 125th Anniversary of the MER at Derby Castle from 1000. At 1030 a special tram for invited guests leaves Derby Castle to Groudle Glen where Charles Guard will give a short speech.

Illuminated Tram and Trailer

Evening service using illuminated Car 9 and newly illuminated trailer 58. Departs Derby Castle at 1910.

Limited availability. Normal fares apply but you can reserve your seat in advance by emailing mer125@gov.im.

Saturday 8th September

Timetable DG in operation

Good Trams Photography Tour

Using Car 19, open wagon 10 and mail van 4 replicating pre First World War goods workings. Departs Derby Castle 0920 and should be back by 1215.

Limited availability. Normal fares apply but you can reserve your seat in advance by emailing mer125@gov.im.

Unusual Combinations

Car 5 and trailer 57 depart Derby Castle at 0840, 1140 and 1510

Car 6 and trailer 60 depart Derby Castle at 0940 and 1240

Car 2 and trailer 42 depart Derby Castle at 1110 and 1340

Car 22 and trailer 61 depart Derby Castle at 1010, 1310 and 1440

Normal fares apply.

Colourful Combination Photography Tour

Using green liveried Winter Saloon 21 and umbrella trailer 51, recently repainted in pre First World War livery. Departs Derby Castle at 1320, returning to Derby Castle by 1715.

Limited availability. Normal fares apply but you can reserve your seat in advance by emailing mer125@gov.im.

Horse Tram Evening Run and Cavalcade

Will start after the last trams arrive into Derby Castle at 1830.

Normal fares apply.

Full details of all the above events – including the special timetables in operation on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th September – can be found in the official leaflet of the event.

The above information has been given in good faith but is subject to change for operational, weather and availability reasons. Please keep an eye on the Isle of Man Transport Facebook page or the Manx Electric Online Facebook page. We will also try and keep you update on these pages if possible.

British Trams Online should be providing evening updates during the second part of the week on Facebook (starting from the Tuesday evening at the earliest).

 

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