Isle of Man Railways have confirmed plans for one of the surviving ‘Ratchet’ cars on the Manx Electric Railway to be returned to service during 2013. None of these trams has run in passenger service since 2002 meaning that this would be a huge acheivement for the MER and a big draw for enthusiasts.
Plans are already being formulated for transport events on the Isle of Man during 2013, including a five-day transport festival in July. In addition, the 120th anniversary of the MER is expected to be celebrated in style with an additional weekend of special tram events on 7th & 8th September 2013, as confirmed in the latest of TRAMS magazine. This occasion is expected to see the return of a Ratchet car, although it has not yet been revealed which of the survivors will be reactivated. Prime contenders are cars 18 and 31 which were the last of the type to run, although it is possible that another car could be rescued from long-term storage. 18 has not run since a serious motor defect occured in 2002, whilst 31 bowed out after a rare appearance in service that same year. Of the eight Ratchets it is claimed that there is little difference between them in terms of condition, apart from car 17 which has been heavily stripped. Whichever tram is chosen, this looks set to be another big highlight of 2013 for tram enthusiasts and should ensure that the island will be an attractive destination for many people next autumn.