Some Isle-Of-Man Transports
The Isle of Man railway system was originally built for 'serious' use and although much of the network was eventually closed some lines still remain. These include the two electric railways and one non-electrified line which uses steam trains. Steam trains are also used on the Groudle Glenn Railway which was reopened in the 1980's, plus there is also a horse tramway which plies along the seafront in Douglas, the island's capital.
With modern buses providing the backbone of the island's public transport network all the transports shown here are now tourist-orientated and only operate in the summer months. Neither the steam trains nor the modern buses are shown here.
The Manx Electric Railway
This line opened in 1893, being the first overhead wire powered electric railway 'anywhere' globally. At 17¾ miles (28.5km) in length it is still Britain's longest narrow gauge (3' - about 91cm) vintage railway. Most of the route is along the coastline, twisting around tight curves and climbing steep gradients as mile upon mile of beautiful scenery drift by. This pioneer inter-urban railway still uses its original rolling stock which dates from the Victorian and Edwardian eras with the original two tramcars now being included in the Guinness Book of Records as being the world's oldest regularly operating tramcars.
A northbound service awaits departure time at the Douglas terminus.
Note the railway name in Gaelic.
A southbound service from Ramsey approaches Laxey.
This view shows the train's 'other' side where the railway name is in English.
The same train as above showing a three-quarter view of the trailing vehicle, which features toastrack seating and reversible backs.
The very comfortable interior of one of the motor carriages.
Internally the trailer vehicles are considerably less salubrious. Rolled up along the carriage sides are drop-down blinds for use when the weather is less pleasant.
Tramcar No 1
More information and photographs of the Manx Electric Railway can be found by following these links:
The Snaefell Mountain Railway
Opening in 1895 this narrow gauge (3' 6" - 106cm) line also uses its original tramcars. Because of the steep gradients (as steep as 1 in 12) the line was equipped with the centre "Fell" rail to provide braking assistance. This is the only electric mountain railway in the British Isles.
The Snaefell Mountain is the highest point on the Isle of Man, from where (weather permitting) it is possible to enjoy very pleasant mountain scenery. The dark patches on the ground are shaded areas from passing clouds as they gently float by.
This view was taken near to the summit, and in addition to showing a passing train it is possible to see the lower sections of the line, roughly half way up the right-hand side of the valley - this being the thin line which also passes through the top of the right-hand bow collector. The overhead wire is also there - albeit virtually invisible.
A train at the mountain top terminus. The 'floating' rail which determines which track the train will use on its return to laxey is a novel arrangement - it seems that arriving trains "set" this rail to suit them - and since there can only be one train in the terminal stub so the train will always return downhill on the same track that it used to ascend.
This view also more clearly shows the bow (power) collector and the overhead wire.
Having just left Laxey (which is the lower terminus and where the line meets the Manx Electric Railway) a Snaefell Mountain Railway train begins the ascent towards the summit.
A close up of the fell rail, as seen from the same vantage point as the view above.
Laying over at Laxey, showing how the Snaefell Mountain Railway also has its name in Gaelic on one side of its trains.
Inside one of the Snaefell Mountain Railway trains.
More information and photographs of the Snaefell Mountain Railway can be found by following these links:
Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
Running for nearly 2 miles (3.2km) along Douglas Promenade linking the Sea Terminal with the Manx Electric Railway terminus at Derby Castle this is the oldest surviving horse tramway anywhere globally. It opened in 1876 since when it has operated continuously (apart from war-time breaks). In all there are 42 horses which pull 23 tramcars (one at a time!) which are fitted with roller bearings to ease the load. The tramcars are of various designs including open & fully enclosed which are used acording to the prevailing weather.
The horses are bred specifically for the service and on reaching retirement they end their days at a Home of Rest for Old Horses (which welcomes human visitors) in the nearby countryside. http://www.iom-horseshome.com/ .
Riding a horse tram - a passengers' view - as two pass!
The horses are they are very well looked after - being given a drink of water after having arrived at the Derby Castle terminus
In traffic along the seafront.
On warm summery days passengers travel in these fully open carriages.
On the promenade. the man standing on the running board is the conductor who takes the fares, checks tickets, etc.
A fully enclosed carriage for use in inclement weather.
More information and photographs of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway can be found by following these links:
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This page last updated 1st May 2017 (update changed web links).