Isle of Man Transport have now released full details of the plans for their first major special event of 2014: Rush Hour on the Railways. In previous years this event has been concentrated on the Isle of Man Steam Railway but in a welcome development for 2014 the Manx Electric Railway is also playing a major role with both Easter Sunday and Easter Monday featuring events on the MER which will celebrate its 121st birthday this year.
Rush Hour on the Railways takes place between Good Friday 18th April and Easter Monday 21st April and for most of the events standard tickets will be valid including the excellent value Explorer tickets (a five day version which would cover all four days of Rush Hour cost £39 for adults and £19.50 for children).
On Good Friday 18th April most of the action will be concentrated on the Isle of Man Steam Railway with the workshops, running shed and signal box at Douglas open for tours (extra cost of £5 per person) whilst a normal service will run on the railway. Elsewhere local artist Michael Starkey will be at Derby Castle sheds on the MER where he will be showing off the 10 posters he designed last year depicting the Heydays of Holidays to mark the 120th anniversary of the line. Jurby Transport Museum and Port Erin Railway Museum will also be open and the evening will see a film show at Port Erin Station.
An intensive service on the Steam Railway will be the main feature of Easter Saturday 19th April whilst there will also be vintage vehicles on display at Castletown station.
The Manx Electric Railway comes into its own on Easter Sunday 20th April when an intensive service will be provided from Derby Castle. There will be 22 departures from Derby Castle throughout the day starting off at 0940 with a service through to Ramsey, there will then be departures at 0950 (Laxey), 1000 (Laxey), 1010 (Ramsey), 1020 (Laxey), 1040 (Ramsey), 1100 (Laxey), 1120 (Laxey), 1140 (Ramsey), 1200 (Laxey), 1220 (Laxey), 1240 (Ramsey), 1300 (Laxey), 1320 (Laxey), 1340 (Ramsey), 1400 (Laxey), 1420 (Laxey), 1440 (Ramsey), 1510 (Ramsey), 1540 (Laxey), 1610 (Ramsey) and 1640 (Laxey). 21 journeys will make the return from Laxey and Ramsey with the first service from Laxey at 0955, first from Ramsey at 1010 and the last of the day at 1640 from Ramsey. Full details of the timetable can be found on the leaflet which is on the Isle of Man Transport website: http://www.gov.im/lib/docs/publictransport//finalrushhourleaflet250314.pdf.
Easter Sunday will also feature the oldest and newest trams of the MER fleet – 1 from 1893 and 33 (which will run with Mail Van 4) from 1906 – running in unison between Derby Castle and Groudle. The pair will depart Douglas at 0900 and the trip will include photo stops on route. Derby Castle Yard will be open for tours as well with six planned for the day with tickets available for just £5 to see some of the trams not currently in the operational fleet (these tickets can be booked in advance by calling 01624 697 457 or from Derby Castle booking office).
The final day of the event – Easter Monday 21st April – will be a more low key affair although there will be more action for the MER with taster driving lessons available between Laxey and Bulgham. The lessons will start from Laxey Station and will cost £20 (again available in advance with limited numbers available) with trips starting at 1015, 1100, 1145, 1245, 1340, 1430, 1525 and 1625. This day will also see the return of Leyland Titan PD3/6 (don’t ask me what it is it’s a bus!) as it is handed back to the Isle of Man Transport Chief Engineer.
Full details of the event – including timetables for the intensive running on both the Steam Railway and the MER – can be downloaded at http://www.gov.im/lib/docs/publictransport//finalrushhourleaflet250314.pdf.