The second annual ‘Winter Photography’ event on the Manx Electric Railway is set to take place on Saturday 2nd November, with an exciting package of events designed to encourage many tram enthusiasts to visit the Isle of Man as the tramway’s main operating season draws to a close. Despite its title, the event offers a wide range of activities that should hopefully appeal to anyone interested in historic trams, whether they are photographers or not.
Following the disappointing events held last month to commemorate the MER’s 120th anniversary, it is pleasing to see that the photography event will also mark this milestone in a much more appropriate fashion. The two oldest trams in the fleet will therefore take centre stage on this day, with the first event being a parallel run featuring 1893-built cars 1 and 2, between Derby Castle and Groudle, commencing at 9:45am. As neither car is often used in normal service this will be a rare opportunity to see them both together and numerous photo stops are planned to capitalise on this novelty. Further excitement will come later in the day, when car 2 is temporarily renumbered 3 to recreate its sister which was sadly destroyed by a severe fire way back in 1930, and this should be another popular attraction for visiting photographers.
Two tram tours have also been arranged during the course of the day. First up is the ‘Directors Special’ utilising enclosed saloon trailer 59 being hauled by an unconfirmed trailer, whilst the second will see car 2 in action once again. This time, 2 will pull a tower wagon, just as it did during a stint with the works department many years ago, re-creating yet another long lost scene. Both of these excursions will feature a number of specially staged photo opportunities. Finally, the day will also offer a rare chance to view various long-forgotten items of rolling stock, with Laxey Depot’s doors being opened up providing the chance to view the many vehicles inside which have not operated for many years. These include the elusive Electric Locomotive 23, and a number of stored ‘Ratchet’ cars; one of which was supposed to be restored to service for the 120th anniversary, although sadly this never actually materialised.
What is perhaps most remarkable of all, is that these activities are being organised entirely by local volunteers, though obviously with the Manx Electric Railway’s full backing. Their efforts to celebrate a milestone in the island’s transport history, and provide extra interest at a time of year when most tram-related activity is slowing down, are to be applauded and they certainly deserve to be rewarded with a healthy attendance.
Tickets for the above events are now on sale from the Isle of Man ‘Welcome Centre’, with online booking expected to be available shortly. Despite the wealth of events on offer, the price for the full events package is a modest £10, which should hopefully encourage many tram fans to flock to the island on November 2nd. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural Winter Photography Event, the second attempt looks set to be even better and will hopefully pave the way for even more events of this calibre on the MER in future years.