It may still only be March but that doesn’t mean it is too soon for details of what will be happening at the 2019 Manx Heritage Transport Festival to be announced. Traditionally one of the earliest events of the year to actually release full details the 2019 Festival takes place between Wednesday 24th and Sunday 28th July and although it isn’t such a significant year for the Manx Electric Railway that doesn’t mean it won’t be included!
Highlights on the Manx Electric Railway look set to include the return to service of not one, not two but three trailers! 37 and 49 will be back in use for the first time since 2009 whilst for 54 it will be the first passenger service since 1971! 54 has been enjoying an overhaul and restoration by a team of volunteers at Laxey Car Sheds ever since Ratchet 14 was returned to service last year and will be seen in the 1960s fleet livery. All three trailers will be in service on Wednesday 24th July where they will be joined by two further bulkhead type trailers, 51 and 60. Motors 2, 6, 16, 19 and 20 are also due to be in service on this day.
Elsewhere on the MER there will be a couple of parallel runs with Ratchet 14 and Crossbench 16 on Wednesday 24th and then 5 and 7 the following day. Speaking of current British Trams Online Tram of the Year this will also be used on Onchan Head and Groudle shuttles on Wednesday 24th July as well as service on Saturday 27th July.
Along with photography events, special tours, a chance to see behind the scenes at Derby Castle Sheds, unusual tram combinations and the usual intensive service on the final day of the vent the Manx Heritage Transport Festival 2019 looks set to be another excellent event on the Isle of Man!
Tram based highlights
Wednesday 24th July
MER Parallel Run: 14 and 16 will run in parallel between Derby Castle and Groudle Glen. Departs Derby Castle at 0910, returning by 0940.
Onchan Head & Groudle Shuttles: 14 will re-enact a typical 1950s shuttle service between 1100 and 2100.
Bulkhead Trailers Day: Five Bulkhead trailers will be in service including newly returned to service examples 37, 49 and 54. The trailers are due to operate with the following motors:
2+49: Departs Derby Castle 0840, 1140, 1510
16+54: Departs Derby Castle 0910, 1040, 1410
19+60: Departs Derby Castle 0940, 1240, 1610
20+37: Departs Derby Castle 1010, 1340
6+51: Departs Derby Castle 1110, 1440, 1740
Seven Kingdoms Dinner: Chance to eat dinner at the highest point in the island, travelling by the Snaefell Mountain Railway.
Meet the Trammers Evening: Tours at the Summerhill Stables at 1800 and 1900.
Thursday 25th July
MER Parallel Run: 5 and 7 will run in parallel between Derby Castle and Laxey. Depart Derby Castle at 0910.
MER Motorman Tasters: 7 will be used on trips between Laxey and Lewaigue, departing Laxey at 1050, 1250, 1450. Pre-booking required.
Unusual Tram and Trailer Combinations:
32+61: Departs Derby Castle 0840, 1140, 1510
5+59: Departs Derby Castle 0910, 1040, 1410
20+48: Departs Derby Castle 0940, 1240, 1610
22+56: Departs Derby Castle 1010, 1340
33+62: Departs Derby Castle 1110, 1440, 1740
Friday 26th July
Derby Castle Workshop Tours: A chance to visit the workshops including out of service stock on display. Tours at 1115, 1215, 1415, 1515. £6. Pre-booking recommended.
Stamps on the MER & Snaefell: Mail Van 4 will be out on the MER departing Derby Castle at 0840 for Ramsey where it departs at 1010 for Laxey where it will be displayed in the siding from 1055. A Railway Letter Service will operate from the Summit on the SMR to Laxey.
Lost Trams and unusual combinations: The ghosts of cars 3, 4, 8 and 24 return!
3+49: Departs Derby Castle 0840, 1140, 1510
4+60: Departs Derby Castle 0910, 1040, 1410
8+61: Departs Derby Castle 1010, 1340
24+59: Departs Derby Castle 1110, 1440, 1740
Also 22+54 will depart Derby Castle 0940, 1240, 1610
Tunnel Vision Photography Evening: 5, 6, 7 and 9 will be posed for photography between South Cape and Bulgham with parallel runs. First car leaves Derby Castle at 1750 with all cars back at Derby Castle before last service car.
Saturday 27th July
1970s winter combination photography tour: 20+57 will tour the MER on a photography special. Departs Derby Castle 1250, return by 1745. £12 fare. Pre-booking recommended.
Upper Douglas Cable Tramway Guided Walk: A guided walk along the former Upper Douglas Cable Tramway. Walk last approximately 90 minutes and leaves the Bottleneck Car Park, Loch Promenade at 0900.
Seven Kingdoms Dinner: Another chance to get dinner at the summit of Snaefell.
Ratchet 14 in service: Running a return trip between Derby Castle and Laxey departing Douglas at 1020 and returns by 1140.
Unusual Tram and Trailer Combinations:
9+37: Departs Derby Castle at 0840, 1140, 1510
32+42: Departs Derby Castle at 0910, 1040, 1410
22+60: Departs Derby Castle 0940, 1240, 1610
33+43: Departs Derby Castle 1010, 1340
2+59: Departs Derby Castle 1110, 1440, 1740
Sunday 28th July
MER Intensive service: Timetable will be available during festival.
Laxey 125: Celebrating the 125th anniversary since the arrival of the first tram into Laxey with Tunnel Cars 5, 6, 7 and 9 all in service with matching trailers. A special tram will mark the occasion at 1300 when it will parade through Laxey Station which will be decorated with commemorative flags and bunting.
* Full details of all events will be added in due course to our Events Diary and you can also view the Event leaflet which also has details of how to book. Booking will open online on 21st March.