History – Difficulties and Closure? – 1960s-1978

The new timetable introduced in June 1958 with 11 round trips to Ramsey between 10am and 6pm was met with immediate disapproval, so much that nearly the entire Board resigned. After the appointment of a new Board in July 1959, a service of 20 round trips with a winter service was the agreed replacement, allowing the mail contract to continue.

By 1965 the relaying of the Derby Castle to Laxey section and rewiring was near enough complete. Tynwald’s commitment to the M.E.R was tested in January 1967 where a short section of the wall at Bulgham collapsed, meaning temporary termini had to be set up north and south of the accident site. Reconstruction of the embankment started in May, and was finished in mid-July.

The Laxey-Ramsey section was closed after a few years of speculation in September 1975, causing the railway to lose the mail contract. Following Government debate it was decided to keep the Ramsey section closed for 1976, the railway as a result becoming the high topic at the year’s General Election!

Support for the M.E.R meant that the Laxey-Ramsey section was reopened for the 1977 season, with the amalgamation of the Steam Railway and M.E.R  under the title of Isle of Man Railways coming shortly after during 1978 (though the name of the M.E.R Board was not changed) Both railways were to be marketed jointly and timetables coordinated, working in turn with the amalgamated bus network. The M.E.R looked to be safe, with the Centenary of Electric Traction Celebrations coming to the fore in 1979…

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