No sooner do we report on the Rush Hour on the Railway events then Isle of Man Transport release the details the Manx Heritage Transport Festival taking place between 29th July and 2 August! Alongside many of the usually popular events the undoubted highlight looks set to be the return of steam to the Manx Electric Railway!
Caledonia will be the steam locomotive which will be on foreign territory with it being posed at Laxey Station throughout the day on Thursday 30th July. With 2020 marking the 125th anniversary of the Snaefell Mountain Railway and with Caledonia being used back in 1895 by contractors during the construction it seems appropriate that the former Manx Northern Railway locomotive will head back to Laxey for this very special event. It will be in steam throughout the day and into the evening with many photographic opportunities on offer.
It won’t just be steam which is being celebrated at Laxey either as on Saturday 1st August it will all be about diesel! Car 34 “Maria” – recently seen on the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway as well, Wickham Railcar 22 and trailer, Former Bord na Mona Diesel and trailer and MEC4 and trailer will all be on display at the station whilst up at the Snaefell Laxey shed NATS 3 and NATS4 will be viewable. Many of these vehicles are rarely seen by the public giving some more unusual photo opportunities.
The five days will also see tours of not one, not two but three depots! Derby Castle will be open for tours on Friday 31st July with the two sheds in Laxey (MER and Snaefell) being open on Thursday 30th July. In both cases pre-booking is required to see behind the scenes but once you do you can see some trams not normally accessible.
Other highlights of the event will be a photography evening at Snaefell Summit on Friday 31st July. This will see four SMR cars posed for photos from 2000 and will also include a parallel run down the mountain.
Also on offer during the event will be many of the usual and incredibly popular events including parallel runs, photography tours, motorman taster lessons, unusual motor and trailer combinations, mail vans in action and as normal the final day will see an intensive service on the Manx Electric Railway.
It is going to be a packed five days on the Isle of Man and the above only gives a small taste of what to expect! For the full programme of events please download the leaflet.