Article and Text by Ian Mylroi
September 7th 2013 was a relatively low key celebration: no particular operational events on the route, just a very intensive 12 tram service offering a 15 minute frequency for pretty well the whole day. 6+47 kicked the day off at 09:10, followed by 5+40 at 09:25 (going only as far as Dhoon and returning from there at 09:55) and 19+41 at 09:40. Unfortunately, that pair didn’t make Port Jack before failing with power circuit problems and they returned wrong line to the car sheds, where the passengers were promptly transferred to the following service, 33+57 on the 09:55 departure. With a crack crew and some fast running, much of the delay had been recouped by the time Laxey was reached.
Other combinations out during the day were (in order of departure from Douglas) 7+48, 32+58, 9+41, 21+46 (the Laxey pair at start of service), 16+60, 5+40, 20+44 (the Ramsey pair at the start of service), 1+51, 6+47 (starting their second trip), 22+ mail van 4 and finally 2+59 picking up the 12:40 ex Derby Castle which ought to have been 19+41’s second trip. Van 4 was left at Ramsey during the day, with car 22 doing a round trip single motor before collecting the van again at 16:40.
Despite a poor weather forecast, the morning was reasonably bright and the passenger numbers were good – something a little over 500 reportedly being carried over the course of the day. Unfortunately, the rain arrived in the form of very heavy, and frequent, showers in the afternoon, and passenger numbers gradually dwindled as the day went on. Nevertheless, the 15 minute frequency ran pretty much to plan all day and as always the MER staff rose to the challenges which did get thrown their way, such as:
• A minor overhead wire issue at Onchan Head, which was swiftly attended to by the wire team with their cherry picker;
• The failure of a lifeguard on trailer 48 in the Groudle area, which was limped back to Derby Castle and resulted in 7 running single motor on its late afternoon trip to Ramsey; and
• A wire problem at Ballaglass which car 1 was first to discover on the 16:25 ex Ramsey, resulting in service cars proceeding cautiously for the rest of the day.
With 48 out of action, car 7 was arriving at Ramsey single motor at the end of the day, so it was arranged for car 2 to leave trailer 59 to join 7 as the pair for the start of Sunday’s service. This meant that car 2 ran single motor on the 17:10 ex Ramsey, fittingly the last car out on the system 120 years to the day since she started services to Groudle – quite an achievement!
Thanks to all for news and information!