The Manx Electric Railway is an electric interurban tramway connecting the towns of Douglas, Laxey and Ramsey on the Isle of Man. It connects with the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway at its southern terminus at Derby Castle Station at the northerly end of the promenade in Douglas, and with the Snaefell Mountain Railway at Laxey Station. The tramway's route is one of scenic beauty and, for that reason, among others, many holiday visitors to the Isle of Man take an excursion on one of the trams.
The line is built to Template:Convert/LoffAonDbSoff gauge and is 17 miles (27.4 km) long. It is largely segregated from road traffic, running over two tracks on roadside reservation or private right-of-way, and is electrified using overhead line at 500 volts direct current. The line provides service throughout the year although the winter service is much less frequent than the summer service. Originally the service was provided by about two dozen electric tramcars and the same number of trailers, the earliest of which date from 1893 and almost all of which predate 1910. Two of the original three cars that opened the line in 1893 are still in use, and are the oldest electric tramcars still at work on their original line anywhere in the world. The design of Manx tramcars predates any consensus on tramcar design, and as a consequence they have quite distinctive boxy bodies. Most services are operated by a motor car towing a single trailer.
The first section of the line, from Douglas to Groudle Glen, opened in 1893, the line reaching Laxey in 1894 and Ramsey in 1899. The first section of thwas itself in financial difficulties, and the company and its assets were acquired by the Isle of Man government in 1957.
Laxey-Ramsey Closure 2008Edit
The section between Laxey and the northern terminus at Ramsey was to be closed during the summer of 2008 after a consultancy report commissioned by the Manx government exposed critical failings in the permanent way, deeming it unsuitable for carrying a service in the near future . But the island's bicmaeral legislature, the Tynwald, agreed to spend nearly £5m for track replacement during July-September, allowing trains to run on one track, according to a news report. Manx authorities were considering the use of vintage buses as a replacement during the closure, reports previously stated.
The resignation of the Tourism and Leisure Minister Adrian Earnshaw was called for by enthusiasts and Chief Minister Tony Brown ordered an urgent review of the decision and also an independent inquiry into how the track had been allowed to get into such a state that it posed a risk to safety.
Stations & stopping placesEdit
Whilst there are several established stations along the line, usually providing with a basic waiting shelter, there are a number of "unofficial" stopping points along the line and these sometimes carrry "request stop" notices but are not given station nameboards or any other passenger facilities. Several have been dubbed with titles such as Groudle Lane for the stop adjacent to the holiday village in the area, but none have every carried their names. Some lesser-known stopping points are also known by their nearest pole number, with the overhead lines being carried by a succession of these, numbered 1-903 from Derby Castle to Ramsey. For the main article, see Manx Electric Railway stations.
The line is in many ways unique, not least because it still operates entirely with its original rolling stock with the exception of winter saloon 22 which was completely rebuilt following a fire in 1992 after which the coachwork was no longer usable. A considerable amount of stock was lost in a disasterous fire at Laxey in 1930 but other than this all the original stock remains. In recent times the storage of excess stock has become something of a political "hot potato" with several historic vehicles stored off-site. The line and its stock are in the custody of the government and as such do not see the requirement to retain unused stock, which has no potential use or long-term storage place on the railway. See Manx Electric Railway rolling stock
Rolling stock todayEdit
Of the stock listed on the Manx Electric Railway Rolling Stock page, the following trams are in use on passenger services during the 2007 season were trams 1-2, 5-6, 9, 19-22, 26 and 32-33; in addition to these the following trailers have seen use 37, 40,-49, 51, 56-59 and 61-62. The remaining items of rolling stock are in store both of and on site, apart from those items that were lost in the 1930 fire at Laxey. The Manx Electric Railway is owned and operated by Isle of Man Transport, a division of the Department of Tourism and Leisure of the Isle of Man Government.
- British narrow gauge railways
- Heritage railways in the Isle of Man
- List of light-rail/tram systems
- Maley & Taunton
- Transport on the Isle of Man
- Goodwyn, A.M. (1976) Is This Any Way To Run A Railway ? - The story of the Manx Electric Railway since 1956., Manx Electric Railway Society website, accessed 24 November 2006
- Goodwyn, M., (1993) Manx Electric, Platform 5 Publishing, ISBN 1-872524-52-4
- Hendry, R., (1993), Rails in the Isle of Man: A colour celebration, Midland Publishing Limited, ISBN 1-85780-009-5
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