Details confirmed for Manx Heritage Winter Transport Festival

As announced during the Mini Manx Heritage Transport Festival at the end of July/start of August, this October will see a new event on the Isle of Man – the Manx Heritage Winter Transport Festival. Taking place from 27th to 31st October this will be the chance to see the island’s heritage railways at the end of the season with a number of special events taking place including on the Manx Electric Railway and Douglas Bay Horse Tramway.

For the MER there will be a lot of the old favourites of this type of event with behind the scenes tours of Laxey Car Sheds and Derby Castle Shed, parallel runs, motorman tasters, evening services, photography trips and an intensive service to round things up.

Whilst the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway isn’t going to be in action its not going to be left out of the events as there will be another chance to see round the new Strathallan Tram Depot where all of the operational trams are now housed.

Away from the trams and the Isle of Man Steam Railway will also be included with various special events taking place over the five days of the event and there will also be historical talks and tours looking back to how things once were on the island.

This new event for 2021 is sure to be popular and after 18 months of pandemic related disruption will be a good way at the end of the season to see the heritage transport on the Isle of Man at its best.

Details of planned events are:

Day 1: Wednesday 27th October 2021

Manx Electric Railway

  • MER Parallel run – using Winter Saloons 20 and 21 between Derby Castle and Groudle departing at 0850
  • MER Winter Saloons – Traditional winter service using Winter Saloons 19, 20, 21 and 22. Trailers 56, 57 and 59 will also be in action.
  • MER Motorman Tasters – Chance to drive Tunnel Car 9 between Laxey and Lewaigue. Departs Laxey at 1050, 1250 and 1450. Pre-booking recommended, cost £30.

Isle of Man Steam Railway

  • Hop-Tu-Naa Spooky Lunch Train – train trip with fancy dress recommended along with a 2 course meal.
  • Evening Steam – Photography bus leaves Douglas Station at 1600 and follows No. 4 Loch, Coach and Goods Van to Santon Station. Various photography opportunities will be available and you then take the train back to Douglas where there will be more chances for photos including twilight photos.

Day 2: Thursday 28th October 2021

Isle of Man Steam Railway

  • 13, The Royal Engine – Celebrating the 110th+1 birthday of No. 13 Kissack with the loco hauling the 0950 Douglas departure.
  • Hop-Tu-Naa Spooky Lunch Train – train trip with fancy dress recommended along with a 2 course meal.
  • Pie and Mash Train – £30 including a train ride and 2 course meal.
  • A Night at the Museum – Port Erin Museum open 1930 to 2100 including floodlit exhibits.

Day 3: Friday 29th October 2021

Manx Electric Railway

  • Laxey Car Shed Tours – Tours at 1100, 1300 and 1500 to see behind the scenes at Laxey Car Sheds home to withdrawn vehicles such as Locomotive 23, Freight Trailer 26 and current restoration project Trailer 36. Tours cost £6 and pre-booking is recommended.
  • Laxey’s Five Tram Stations! – Tramway historian Andrew Scarffe leads a tour of historic station sites and MER infrastructure in Laxey. Tours at 1000 and 1400, cost £6. Includes a tour of the Snaefell Mountain Railway tram shed and the former good shed and yard in Mines Road.
  • Stamps on the MER and Snaefell – One of the MER’s Mail Vans will be at Laxey Station Siding used for sorting mail from 1000. A Railway Letter Service will operate from the Summit to Laxey.
  • MER Evening service CG – Running all day including Illuminated Car 9 on the last evening departure of the season from Ramsey at 2225.
  • Lights, Camera, Action – Photography evening at Derby Castle Yard 1800-2100

Isle of Man Steam Railway

  • Steam Legendary Drivers – Kissack will be on the 0950 Douglas departure and Loch on the 1150 Douglas departure both carrying headboards with the names of two of the former drivers, John Elkin and Jeff Kelly.
  • Hop-Tu-Naa Spooky Lunch Train – train trip with fancy dress recommended along with a 2 course meal.
  • Dia De Los Muertos – Mexican food at Douglas Station – £30 for 3 course meal

Day 4 – Saturday 30th October 2021

Manx Electric Railway

  • MER Derby Castle Workshop & Yard Tours – tours at 1115, 1215, 1415 and 1515 costing £6. The chance to see behind the scenes at Derby Castle including a brief history of the yard and withdrawn items of rolling stock on display.
  • MER Car 2 Winter Photography Trip – Subject to weather newly repainted pair 2+42 will travel to various scenic parts of the MER for photos. Departs Derby Castle at 1050, returning by 1645. Costs £25.

Isle of Man Steam Railway

  • Douglas Workshop, Running Shed and Signal Box Tours – Tours at 0900, 1000, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400 and 1500 costing £6. See behind the scenes to see how the unique railway is maintained.
  • Travelling Post Office – 0950 from Douglas and 1200 from Port Erin will include a Travelling Post Office with coach F49 transporting special commemorative stamp covers.
  • Murder Mystery on the Steam Railway – Whodunit evening of mysteries and drama. Tickets cost £49 including 3 course meal.

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway

  • Strathallan Depot Tours – Tours throughout the day between 1000 and 1500, admission free. Tours include a brief history of the Depot, a look at different types of trams, how they work and are maintained.

The Great Laxey Mine Railway will also be running its famous Hop-Tu-Naa Spooky trains.

Day 5: Sunday 31st October 2021

Manx Electric Railway

  • Intensive MER service – Timetables will be made available closer to the event

Isle of Man Steam Railway

  • Steam headboards – selection of headboards will be displayed during the day on service trains.
  • Closed Lines bus tour – Bus leaves Douglas Station at 1000 and visits many of the closed railways on the island. Pay on the day – £5 including drink.

The Jurby Transport Museum will also have a Hop-Tu-Naa running day including heritage bus rides.

And if this isn’t enough to whet your appetite how about some dates for 2022?! Rush Hour on the Railways returns from 15th to 18th April and the Manx Heritage Transport Festival is 27th to 31st July 2022.

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