Event Review: Horse Trams join in the celebrations

After a week of celebrations the Manx Electric Railway 125th Anniversary came to an end with a further day of events, including the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway getting in the act with a seven tram Cavalcade. But the MER was still celebrating with two further photography tours alongside the normal service.

After the fine weather experienced since the Monday, Saturday 8th September dawned to wet weather although it did clear up slightly as the day went on which meant everything operated as it should. The first major event of the day saw a Good Trams Photography Tour depart Derby Castle at 0920 heading to Ramsey with several photo stops on the way. Winter Saloon 19 was used on this tour and was partnered with Mail Van 4 and Wagon 10 to recreate a goods working as seen on the MER before the First World War. Eight stops were included on the tour which despite the poor weather was well patronised and was once again something a bit different.

A second photography tour then ran in the early afternoon with a change to the advertised combination. Originally due to be Winter Saloon 21 and trailer 51 these were replaced by Tunnel Car 7 and matching blue liveried trailer 59 which had of course only returned to service the previous day.

Elsewhere on the MER the standard timetable D was in operation with a few unusual combinations diagrammed. This saw Tunnel Car 5 and trailer 57, Tunnel Car 6 and trailer 60, original car 2 and trailer 42 and Winter Saloon 22 and trailer 61 all in action (the fifth combination was 20 and 43 initially before the trailer was left behind with fairly low passengers not requiring the extra capacity). 9 was also out on a Private Hire between Derby Castle and Laxey.

It may have been a celebration of the Manx Electric Railway but the main event on this last day actually came on the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway (a bit like the child who has to join with all the celebrations of their siblings birthday really!) Although originally due to run at 1830 this had been brought forward to 1630 and would see seven trams parade along the entirety of the tramway between Derby Castle and the Sea Terminal and then return. Led by 1 and Kewin the Cavalcade left Derby Castle shortly after 1630 with a good number of passengers enjoying the spectacle. On the return journey the seven trams were remarshalled at Villa Marina allowing for yet more photo opportunities. Once the seven were back at Derby Castle there was time for one final passenger trip to the Sea Terminal and this was to see 18 used along with Amby.

The following trams and horses were used in the Cavalcade:

1 and Kewin

12 and William

18 and Torrin

36 and Rocky

42 and Philip

44 and Amby

45 and Robin

With the poor weather in the morning there was a little more interest on the Horse Tramway as well with enclosed saloon 1 used in passenger service until lunchtime alongside 45 before the weather cleared enough allowing 36 to be used up until the Cavalcade.

MER Tram Allocations:

D1 – 5+57

D2 – 20+43

D3 – 6+60

D4 – 22+61

D5 – 2+42

Goods Tram Photography Tour – 19+Mail Van 4+Wagon 10

Colourful Combination Photography Tour – 7+59

Private Hire – 9

So, after eight days the celebrations were over – and let’s be honest what an eight days it was for the assembled enthusiasts. Although your writer only arrived towards the end of the fourth day it was straight into action with the incredible spectacle of the four Crossbench Cars – including the second day of Ratchet 14 in use after its official launch the day before – running to Laxey and then several parallel runs. And the sight of the MER Cavalcade on the Friday – and also the Horse Tram Cavalcade the following day – is one which will probably not be forgotten for some time. The whole event seemed to be well organised and showcased the best of the Manx Electric Railway – 125 years old and still seemingly going strong for the next 125 years (with any luck!) Now, its only 25 years until the 150th anniversary!

* Photos from Saturday 8th September can be viewed in Gallery 762.


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