There aren’t many tramways in the British Isles who end their season after their most intensive period of action in the year – but then the Manx Electric Railway isn’t like any other system! Sunday 31st October was the last day of the season with the five days leading up to this date being the Winter Manx Heritage Transport Festival including behind the scenes tours, photography tours and an intensive service to round things off.
The festival started off on Wednesday 27th October with the traditional parallel run between Derby Castle and Groudle. This time the two trams used for this were Winter Saloons 22 and 20. The rest of the day saw the timetabled services in the wheels of Winter Saloons and enclosed trailers – a traditional winter-style service. Included in trams running were 19, 20, 21 and 22 with trailers 56, 57 and 59 also allocated to service.
After a day off from MER special events, the highlight of Friday 29th October saw tours of Laxey Car Shed allowing the chance to see behind the scenes of the long withdrawn cars which are currently located there. The evening also saw a special photography evening at Derby Castle Car Sheds with 1, 5, 7, 22 and 32 all posed in front of the main depot building for photos.
There were more tours of the car sheds on Saturday 30th October with Derby Castle the location this time around with the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway also getting in on the act with their Strathallan Depot open too. The day’s activities were concluded with a special winter photography tour using 2 and 42 posing at various locations along the line between Douglas and Ramsey.
The final day of not only the event but also the 2021 operating season (Sunday 31st October) saw a seven tram intensive service operate on the line. This used 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 20 and 22 with 2 and trailer 42 running the very last working of the main 2021 season – 1640 Ramsey to Derby Castle.
In total during 2021 13 motors and 13 trailers ran in service:
Motors: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14, 16, 19, 20, 21, 22, 32
Trailers: 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 51, 56, 57, 59, 60
That may be the end of the main 2021 season but it won’t be the last trams running on the MER this year as there will be some Santa Special in December (more details to follow). And then we can look forward to 2022 with the MER resuming services on 16th March and the Snaefell Mountain Railway on 19th March. There will also be the return of Rush Hour on the Railways between Good Friday and Easter Monday and the main Manx Heritage Transport Festival from 27th July to 31st July. And all that will be here before you know it!
- Full coverage of everything MER related can be found on the Manx Electric Railway Online Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/manxelectricrailway.