In one of the most serious incidents on any tramway in the British Isles in recent years Snaefell Mountain Railway no. 3 has been destroyed after running away from the Summit and derailing at Bungalow. Fortunately no staff or passengers were on board the tram as it ran away.
The exact circumstances of what happened are not yet known but what is known is that 3 was stabled just short of the Summit terminus when it ran away back down the mountain. It travelled a fair distance to Bungalow – fortunately before the road crossing – before leaving the tracks and it was then completely destroyed as it came to a rest on the side of the mountain. Officials from Isle of Man Railways attended the scene and covered the remnants of the tram with plastic sheeting. An official investigation will now start to find out what caused the tram to run away from the Summit and derail in such spectacular fashion.
Services on the Snaefell Mountain Railway were immediately suspended until further notice which left 30 passengers (and staff) stranded at the Summit restaurant with alternative arrangements being made to transport them back down the mountain.
The 2016 season on the Snaefell Mountain Railway had only started on 18th March and after winter flooding caused damage to the trackbed the line had been using single line operation.
No. 3 dates from 1895 and had only recently returned to service after an overhaul in the workshops following a minor fire experienced in 2014. This time however it won’t be a quick fix for the tram to return to service as it is now just a pile wood and metal.
* Photos of the aftermath of the incident can be seen at http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/pictures-runaway-mountain-tram-crash-drama-1-7824668 (including one taken before the sheeting was added which shows the severity of the damage).