One of the first high-profile special events to be cancelled as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak was the Isle of Man’s Rush Hour on the Railways which was due to take place over the four days of the long Easter weekend. With many in the British Isles now self-isolating or just practicing social distancing and looking for things to do within their own homes it has now been announced that the event is back on – but with a twist as it will be probably the very first online tram and railway special event! Yes, that’s right Rush Hour on the Railways is going online!
Manx Electric Railway Online and the Isle of Man Steam Heritage Railways Volunteers – Steam Railway have joined together to bring a varied programme of events across the four days of the Easter weekend (Friday 10th to Monday 13th April) and to try and cure some of that boredom which may just be creeping in during these unprecedented and uncertain times!
With photos, films and presentations this will be a unique opportunity to enjoy the sights and sounds of Isle of Man Railway’s – and you don’t have to go anywhere to take part, just sit down at your computer, login to Facebook and visit the Manx Electric Railway Online and Isle of Man Heritage Railway Volunteers Facebook pages where the events will be taking place.
Events planned to take place are as follows (colour coded by where you can find them – those in red are MER events at Manx Electri Railway Online and those in green are Isle of Man Steam Railway events at Isle of Man Heritage Railway Volunteers)
Friday 10th April 2020
1000 onwards: Meet the fleet. A photo showcase of every item of MER rolling stock, past and present throughout the day.
1000-1630: “Train-spotting”. Photos from past Rush Hour, Festival and Photography Events
1200: Unveiling of two specially commissioned Official Headboards
1900: Film and Photo Night – Modern History. A live Facebook watch party showcasing some of the highlights of the MER from the last ten years, including the ground-breaking MER 125 event.
Saturday 11th April 2020
1000 onwards: The Spring Thing. Enjoy the sights of the Manx Electric Railway in spring, with a photo showcase taking place throughout the day.
1000-1630: Trains Trains Trains. Wall to wall videos from the archives and YouTube links.
1900: Best of Both Worlds – Steam on the MER presentation. Learn the whole story of steam locomotives on the island’s electric railways from 1897 to 2020. A live presentation presented by MER volunteers and you’ll be able to interact via the chat function too!
Sunday 12th April 2020
1000 onwards: All the Stations. Make a point of stopping at every MER station, virtually, with a photo showcase travelling along the line from 1000 onwards.
1000-1600: The Works. A virtual workshop, Signal Box and Douglas Station tour.
1900: Film Night – historic footage TBC
Monday 13th April 2020
1000 onwards: The First 15 Years. A photo showcase of Victorian and Edwardian views from the archives, many previously unshared on the Manx Electric Railway Online page.
1000-1630: Closed lines Magic Bus Tour. Past and present views of the closed stations and lines on a virtual journey.
1000-1630: Rush Hour in Miniature from the Little Angel Garden Railway courtesy of Andy Taylor
1000-1630: A journey on Train Sim along the long closed Foxdale line with Ian Astill
1900: Back from the brink, the story so far. A live presentation by MER staff and volunteers on the story of the MERs completed restoration projects and those still to come, including Ratchet Car 14, Trailers 36 and 54, Wagons 8, 10, 11, 16 and Open Car 29.
This looks set to be an excellent innovation and will hopefully help to cure some of the self-isolating boredom you may already be suffering from. Don’t forget it will be on all four days of the long Easter weekend – if you can tell the difference between days by then! – so you can have a break between eating lots and lots of chocolate!