Manx Heritage Transport Festival 2012 – Review

2012’s annual Manx Heritage Transport Event took place between the 25th and 29th of July featuring several M.E.R. based events.

Although the initial events on the Electric Railway were few, the announcement of an intensive twelve car service over the weekend became arguably the highlight of this year’s festival.

A gallery of photos featuring the M.E.R. over the Transport Festival period is available by clicking the thumbnails below, and features work by the website team alongside several guest photographers. If you would like your photo included, please contact the web team via the Contacts page or our facebook page.

Wednesday, Derby Castle
Saturday, Ramsey Sunday, Bulgham

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Sunday 22nd July – Tuesday 24th July

Although before the Transport Festival period, other noticable events took place within this period worthy of mention.

Sunday saw Car No.2 displayed outside Derby Castle Top Shed as background for a production of BBC’s ‘Antique Road Trip’. The day also saw the failure of Car No.7 in service, the Tunnel Car suffering motor issues at Minorca however being able to return to Derby Castle under its own power.
Tuesday saw the M.E.R. day of the annual Isle of Man 50 Group tours, utilising Car No.1 and Trailer No.59 (with Trailer No.58 required elsewhere) including photo stops at Onchan Head, Groudle and Dhoon Quarry along with No.1 making a trip solo from Ramsey to Ballajora and return.

Wednesday 25th July

Wednesday’s main M.E.R. event was the release of limited edition Transport Festival stamp covers which had been stamped earlier in the morning both at the top of Snaefell and at Laxey station, with a special ‘Post Service’ operating. The M.E.Rs Van No.4 was paired with Car No.5 and Trailer No.46 for the 15:40 Derby Castle to Laxey service and 16:25 return. This once-familar combination allowed the chance to see a ‘full’ M.E.R. service of Motor, Trailer and Van, now a very rare occurrence usually saved for special events. The combination also appeared earlier in the day on the 09:55 service from Laxey, after which Van No.4 was stored in the Groudle Siding until its later journey.

Following resistor problems with Car No.22, The day also saw the unusual combination of Car No.33 and Trailer No.40 in use, with Car No.5/Trailer No.46 and Car No.20/Trailer No.58 handling the timetabled evening services. Other Cars in use were Nos. 6 and 9, with Car No.19 on test after workshop attention, and Car No.21 working an Ultimate Driver Experience course, appearing with Van No.4 as far as Laxey, then continuing solo for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, Derby Castle
Wednesday, Laxey
Wednesday, Derby Castle

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Thursday 26th July

Thursday saw no planned events on the M.E.R., with all activity concentrated on the steam railway. This, in line with the days wet weather, saw little of of interest with five standard sets in operation with Car Nos. 5, 6, 9, 20 and 21 in use.

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Friday 27th July

Friday was marketed as a ‘Douglas station’ day with events again focusing on the Steam Railway. On the M.E.R., Car No.19 returned to service after minor repairs, joining Car Nos. 5, 6, 20 and 21 on the timetabled service. The full Ramsey evening timetable was in operation with Car No.9/Trailer No.58, Car No.20/Trailer No.40 and Car No.21/Trailer No.44 in use.

Also taking place on the Friday evening was a private charter by the Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust utilising pioneer Car No.1 along with Trailer No.59 and Van No.4 on a full line trip to Ramsey. The tour departed Derby Castle at 18:50 and included photo stops at Dhoon Quarry and opposite Ballaglass Power Station, with a further photo stop at Bulgham on the return, arriving back at Derby Castle by 22:45.

Friday, Derby Castle
Friday, Dhoon Quarry
Friday, Car No.1, Bulgham

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Saturday 28th July

Saturday saw the first of two days of an intensive M.E.R. service, with an augmented timetable requiring twelve Cars planned to be in operation. Saturday’s timetable offered a ten-minute frequency between Derby Castle and Laxey in the morning, and a fifteen minute frequency in the afternoon. However, with the failure of Car No.7 the previous Sunday, and No.22 on Wednesday 25th along with compressor issues on Car 16, only nine Cars were available for service. Although a small quantity of journeys were cancelled, this allowed the more ‘sought after’ Car Nos. 1, 32 and 33 to work to Ramsey twice, thrice and once respectively alongside the more regular members of the fleet. The sets in operation, in order of appearence, are as follows.

  • Car No.20/Trailer No.40
  • Car No.33/Trailer No.57
  • Car No.32/Trailer No.58
  • Car No.9/Trailer No.48
  • Car No.1/Trailer No.59
  • Car No.5/Trailer No.47
  • Car No.6/Trailer No.41
  • Car No.21/Trailer No.44 (Ramsey Car)
  • Car No.19/Trailer No.46 (Laxey Car)

With all the active Cars being used in service, the proposed display of rolling stock at Derby Castle did not take place, although Car No.7 was posed outside Derby Castle Top Shed during the day.

Events at Laxey featured a Classic Car display next to the station, including a DeLorean and a 1937 Austin 12/6. Visits to the Laxey Substation were also available.

Saturday, Laxey
Saturday, Laxey

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Sunday 29th July

Sunday saw the second day of the Manx Electric’s frequent service, with Sunday’s timetable offering a 15-minute frequency to Ramsey in the morning, and a 15 minute frequency back to Derby Castle in the afternoon. As per the previous day, a small number of services were cancelled however, with the return of Car No.16 after fitment of a new compressor, ten sets were available and the lack of some journeys caused no concern to most passengers and enthusiasts. The unusual allocation of Car No.32 as the stabled car at Ramsey for the first service being one of the rarer events of the weekend!

Car sets in order of appearance on Sunday were

  • Car No.6/Trailer No.46
  • Car No.20/Trailer No.44
  • Car No.19/Trailer No.48
  • Car No.21/Trailer No.41
  • Car No.16/Trailer No.59
  • Car No.1/Trailer No.40
  • Car No.5/Trailer No.47 (Laxey Car)
  • Car No.33/Trailer No.57
  • Car No.32/Trailer No.58 (Ramsey Car)
  • Car No.9/Trailer No.43

Car No.9 suffered minor mechanical issues in the morning, with the Tunnel Car making its debut on the 15:10 to Ramsey. Car No.32 failed with compressor issues upon arrival at Derby Castle at 15:25 and therefore did not work any further journeys.

An extra journey at 12:25 was the ‘Quarry Explorer’ trip from Ramsey to Dhoon Quarry. Operated by Car No.16, the tour stopped briefly at Ballajora Quarry, arriving at Dhoon Quarry at 13:10. Here, an informative tour of the former quarry sidings and Dhoon Quarry itself was given by local historian Andrew Scarffe, allowing the rare opportunity to explore the once-busy Dhoon Quarry complex now owned by the IoM Highway Board. The tour left Dhoon Quarry at 14:20 and, with a photo-stop at Bulgham, arrived at Laxey at 14:50, with Car No.16 working back to Ramsey to collect Trailer No.59 and return to Derby Castle.

As per last year, all Cars stopped for two minutes at Bulgham in the southbound direction for photograph opportunities, allowing the capture of the unusual combinations in use on the day ( Car No.1/Trailer No.40 being a highlight!).

Sunday, Ramsey Sunday, Dhoon Quarry
Sunday, Bulgham Head

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