Manx Heritage Transport Festival 2013 – Review

2013’s annual Manx Heritage Transport Festival took place between the 24th and 28th July 2013, featuring a wide variety of enthusiast-based events on the Manx Electric Railway.

This years events incorporated a repeat performance of 2012’s intensive M.E.R. services on the Friday and Sunday as well as several other events recorded below. A gallery of photos featuring the M.E.R. over the Transport Festival period is available by clicking the thumbnails, 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.


Tuesday 23rd July

Although this day was outside the Transport Festival period, a ‘Triple Tram Tuesday’ event took place organised by the Isle of Man 50 Group as part of their annual charter week. These featured three photographic tours on the line, with Car No.16 with Trailer No.59 making a return trip to Groudle, Car No.32 and No.59 working to Laxey, and Car No.2 with Trailer No.60 working to Ramsey. Car No.32 suffered a compressor failure on the second trip, and was thus driven back on the ‘Ratchet’ handbrake to Derby Castle.

Another highlight of the day was No.16 working with recently overhauled Trailer No.51 as the 16:10 to Ramsey, meaning that this unusual combination would be the Ramsey service Car on Wednesday morning.


Wednesday 24th July

The first day of the festival featured just one official event on the line however further items of interest took place to add to the days proceedings. The release of limited edition Transport Festival stamp covers, which were stamped in the morning both at the top of Snaefell and at Laxey station, saw a special ‘Post Service’ operating.

The unusual use of a Crossbench Car as the allocated Ramsey Service saw No.16 and Trailer No.51 work the Ramsey diagram all day. Another appearence saw 1893-built Car No.2 work the third Douglas diagram starting with the 11:10 to Laxey. On this working it was paired with Van No.4, to allow the mail van to be used later in the day. No.2 then worked back to  Derby Castle, collecting Trailer No.48, and working the 13:40 to Ramsey and 15:10 return. On arrival at Laxey, Van No.4 was collected, allowing a ‘Car, Trailer & Van’ combination to proceed to Derby Castle, as part of the ‘Stamps on Snaefell and M.E.R’ event with special covers having been on sale at Laxey throughout the day. Finally, No.2 returned to Laxey with Trailer No.48 to become the Laxey allocated car for the following day.

The ex-Ramsey Pier Tramway Planet Locomotive and Trailer arrived at Ramsey at lunchtime and were placed on display at Ramsey station for the duration of the festival.

Other sets in use were  Car No.9/Trailer No.44, Car No.20/Trailer No.46 and Car No. 6/Trailer No.47. The days timetabled evening services also saw the unusual combination of Winter Saloon Car No.20 and 1893 Trailer No.51 in service.


Thursday 25th July

No events were scheduled on the M.E.R. on this day, with activities concentrated on the steam railway, however No.2 and Trailer No.48 were used on the scheduled Laxey diagram all day. Other services saw Car No.20/Trailer No.56, Car No.7/Trailer No.51, Car No.6/Trailer No.47, and 9/44 in use, with Car No.5 working a special to Laxey at 10:00am with Trailer No.46, returning at 14:40. Other activity saw Car No.1 return from its duties as temporary Overhead Line Car at Laxey, following Car No.2 to Derby Castle from Laxey, and No.21 on a test run to Laxey following workshop attention.


Friday 26th July

The third day of the Transport Festival saw a wider variety of events take place on the line, with an intensive service between Derby Castle and Laxey in use as well as two enthusiast tours.

A 10-minute frequency service was operated for most of the day, the timetable for which is available HERE. The following Car sets were allocated to the following diagrams.

  • D1 – Car No.5 / Trailer No.46
  • D2 – Car No.32 / Trailer No.58
  • L1 – Car No.6 / Trailer No.47
  • R1 – Car No.20 / Trailer No.40
  • S1 – Car No.9 / Trailer No.44
  • S2 – Car No.16 / Trailer No.60
  • S3 – Car No.7 / Trailer No.51
  • S4 – Car No.1 / Trailer No.41
  • S5 – Car No.22 / Trailer No.56
  • S6 – Car No.19 / Trailer No.59
  • S7 – Car No.21 / Trailer No.57

Notable points were Trailers No.51 and No.60 making their first enthusiast event appearances since 2010 and 2009 respectively, as well as Car No.22 returning to service for the first time since July 2012. No.22 was however plagued with controller issues at Ballameanagh late in the morning, causing the diagrams to change and putting single line working in place between Scarffes Crossing and Garwick for a short period, however most of the diagrams were restored by mid-afternoon.

In addition to the above, vintage vehicles were on display at Derby Castle including two heritage buses, and a steam-roller. Both the old and new Laxey Substations were open for inspection between 11:00 and 15:00.

Tours of Derby Castle Car Sheds were ran by in association with Isle of Man Railways, and a separate review of this event can be found HERE.

The ‘Terminus Tour’ was also ran during the evening, by in association with Isle of Man Railways, and a separate review of this event can be found HERE.


Saturday 27th July

The penultimate day of Transport Festival Events saw a morning private hire for ‘Inside Track’, with Cars No.1 and No.2 operating in parallel between Derby Castle and Groudle (Car No.2 with Trailer No.59), departing at 09:10. Car No.2 returned back to Derby Castle Car Sheds for controller rectification, with the party continuing to Ramsey with Car No.1 and Trailer No.59, returning to Derby Castle in the evening after a afternoon stop in Laxey.

The day’s main highlight was the use of Car No.32 and Trailer No.58 on the Laxey-based diagram, operating for the entirety of the day. Other sets in service included Car No.20/Trailer No.41, Car No.19/Trailer No.40, Car No.6/Trailer No.47 and Car No.5/Trailer No.46.


Sunday 28th July

The final day of the Transport Festival saw an intensive service between Derby Castle and Ramsey, and a car in use for motorman lessons.

A 15-minute frequency service was operated for most of the day, the timetable for which is available HERE. The following Car sets were allocated to the following diagrams.

  • D1 – Car No.9 / Trailer No.44
  • D2 – Car No.7 / Trailer No.48
  • D3 – Car No.32
  • D4 – Car No.2 / Trailer No.59
  • D5 – Car No.16 / Trailer No.60
  • D6 – Car No.5 / Trailer No.46
  • D7 – Car No.22 / Trailer No.40
  • D8 – Car No.1 / Trailer No.51
  • D9 – Car No.19 / Trailer No.57
  • L1 – Car No.6 / Trailer No.47
  • R1 – Car No.20 / Trailer No.41

Car No.32 also collected Van No.4 from Derby Castle Car Sheds at the start of it’s diagram, depositing it in the Blacksmiths Siding, for later use as part of a second ‘Stamps on Snaefell and the M.E.R’ Event. The Van was later returned to Derby Castle on the rear of the 15:25 Ramsey-Derby Castle service at 15:55, ironically with the same combination as last year’s event, Car No.5 and Trailer No.46!

A problem was encountered with Car No.7’s coupling bar, necessitating the stabling of Trailer No.48 in the station headshunt of Ramsey. The Car went to Derby Castle and returned single-motor (with an on-board replacement), picking up the Trailer for the next journey.

Car No.32, upon arrival at Ramsey at 11:10, then proceeded to operate a series of half-hourly motorman sessions between Ramsey and Lewaigue, from 11:30 – 16:00, which were extremely popular. It then returned to Derby Castle, operating the 16:55 service from Ramsey.

A ‘Food for Thought’ dinner was held at the Laxey Pavilion during the evening, by the Manx Electric Railway Society. Participants were conveyed to and from the venue by heritage bus from Derby Castle.


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