An investigation has been launched after a tram on the Snaefell Mountain Railway suffered a fault with its normal braking system which led to it overrunning the stop at Bungalow – and across the road – on a downward trip. The fault occurred at approximately 1445 on Friday 4th August with no passengers suffering injuries as a result.
The tram involved – details of which car it was have not been reported – was forming a service from the Summit to Laxey when the normal electric braking system failed as it approached Bungalow. As per normal procedures in circumstances such as this the crew applied the original fell brake but because of the road crossing there is no fell rail in this area. As soon as the car had travelled beyond the road the fell brake did operate and the tram was brought to a halt. At this point passengers were de-trammed and later were able to complete their journey on board another tram.
Ian Longworth, Director of Transport at Isle of Man Transport, is quoted on the Isle of Man Today website explaining the incident: “Around 1445 a car descending Snaefell suffered a loss of rheostatic braking. The rheostatic brakes depend on a continuous air and electricity supply. It does from time to time cut out such as when the bow collected loses contact with the overhead wire. This caused the crew to use the original 1895 fell brake and approaching the Bungalow there is no fell rail due to the road crossing. Once across the fell brake was reapplied and the car was stopped. The passengers, driver and brakeman were OK and transferred to another car to complete the journey. Our engineers will check through the tram to make sure all systems are correctly operating. I am also grateful that the crew followed the correct procedures in stopping the tram using the 1895 original Fell brake system.”