Manx Heritage Transport Festival 2014 – Review

2014’s annual Manx Heritage Transport Festival took place between the 30th of July and August 3rd, featuring a wide variety of enthusiast-based events on the Manx Electric Railway.

This years events incorporated intensive M.E.R. services on the Thursday and Sunday as well as several other special events and tours 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.

(Click the buttons below to view either the appropriate review page or gallery)


Tuesday 29rd July

Although this day was outside the Transport Festival period, a day-long M.E.R event took place organised by the Isle of Man 50 Group as part of their annual charter week. These featured two photographic tours on the line, with the near-original pairing Car No.7 with Trailer No.51 making a return trip to Ramsey, and the unusual combination of  Car No.2 and Trailer No.60 working to Ramsey in the evening as a ‘M.E.R Fires and Accidents’ tour, with an informative commentary given to participants at various sites along the line.

Another highlight of the day was the use of both Car No.2 and No.33 on the timetabled service, unusually working with normal 40-series Trailers, Nos. 46 and 47.


Wednesday 30th 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.

During the day, stored Car No.18 and Trailer No.49 were towed outside of their berths in Derby Castle Car Shed and given a heavy clean by volunteers in preparation for the next day’s Shed Tours. Car No.33/Trailer No.46 also remained in use on the timetabled service.

The Electrifying Evening was rostered to include two round trips to Dhoon Quarry with Car No.33 and Car No.1, with an additional trip to Laxey with Illuminated Car No.9, with cars swapping each trip at Derby Castle. The evening’s action kicked off with Car No.33/Trailer No.46 working the first trip to Dhoon Quarry and return, with a pause for photography at Bulgham Head. However, with Car No.9 suffering motor problems, a decision was taken to disguise Car No.1 once again as the ‘lost’ Car No.3, with the magnets being applied for a second trip to Dhoon Quarry (and thus still providing three different cars on the service!).  With the service becoming rather late due to delays earlier in the evening, the last run to Laxey was curtailed to Groudle only, with ‘Car No.3’ swapped back to Car No.1 by removing the magnets.

In addition, Car No.21 was in use on the timetabled evening service, working at points with Trailer No.44.


Thursday 31st July

The second 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 tours of the Derby Castle Car Shed and Workshops.

Newly delivered Wickham Railcar No.7442 was in use giving return passenger rides between Derby Castle and the Car Sheds from 11:00 to 13:00, it’s first use on the M.E.R for many years and it’s first post-overhaul.

A special intensive timetable was operated for most of the day, with Cars intended to be departing in numerical order.  The following Car sets were in use:

  • Car No.1/Trailer No.51
  • Car No.2/Trailer No.59
  • Car No.5/Van No.4/Wagon No.10
  • Car No.6/Trailer No.46
  • Car No.7/Trailer No.48
  • Car No.9/Trailer No.44
  • Car No.20/Trailer No.47
  • Car No.21/Trailer No.40

Van No.4 and Wagon No.10 spent the day on display at Laxey with Car No.5, with special covers having been on sale at Laxey throughout the day.

Tours of Derby Castle Car Sheds were ran by in association with Depot Supervisor Steve Hall, and a separate review of this event can be found HERE. In addition, the newly established Manx Electric Railway Museum in the Goods Shed was open to visitors, with curator Norman Dowd on hand to present the exhibition.


Friday 1st August

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

In addition, the unusual combination of Car No.20/Trailer No.59 was in use on the timetabled evening service, and making a very rare appearance on the timetabled service was Trailer No.51, coupled to Car No.1 which formed the Ramsey Starting diagram for the day. Car No.32 was brought down by the Overhead Line gang from Laxey Car Shed in preparation for a clean for it’s intended tour use on Saturday.


Saturday 2nd August

The Crossover Crossbench Charity Railtour was ran during the day by, and a separate review of this event can be found HERE.


Sunday 3rd August

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 following Car sets were in use:

  • Car No.1/Trailer No.51
  • Car No.2/Trailer No.60
  • Car No.5/Trailer No.44
  • Car No.6/Trailer No.40
  • Car No.7/Trailer No.48
  • Car No.9/Trailer No.41
  • Car No.16/Van No.4/Wagon No.10
  • Car No.19/Trailer No.47
  • Car No.20/Trailer No.59
  • Car No.22/Trailer No.57
  • Car No.32/Trailer No.58
  • Car No.33/Trailer No.46

Problems with Car No.32’s Ramsey end controller saw the cancellation of it’s journey to Ramsey at Laxey, and the car was repaired and sent back to Derby Castle to pick up the remainder of it’s diagram later in the afternoon. Car No.16, upon arrival at Ramsey at 11:10, then proceeded to operate a series of half-hourly motorman taster sessions between Ramsey and Lewaigue, from 11:30 – 16:00, which were well attended.

Sets arriving at Ramsey were stabled in a variety of locations, including the Car Shed, the usual station siding and the disused second siding (previously covered over with sleeper-built flowerbeds and not being in regular use sine the 1970s), which was used to also display Wagon No.10 and Van No.4.

After the completion of the motorman taster sessions, Car No.16 then returned southbound, operating the 16:40 service from Ramsey, however it suffered a bearing fault at Ballagorry, necessitating the halting of the car for repair, and subsequent delays to the remaining timetabled services. In the event, the car was stabled overnight at the location, with the defective bearing and motor removed for repair the following morning, No.16 returning with Wagon No.10 and Van No.4 under it’s own power, albeit on only two motors.

An electrical fault was also found on Car No.33 whilst heading to Derby Castle with Trailer No.46, with the car halted just south of Baldrine. After partial rectification, the set was later coasted down to Groudle Glen and moved onto the southbound line after the passage of the last northbound service (Car No.5/Trailer No.44). Car No.33 was later returned to Derby Castle Car Shed under it’s own power, Trailer No.46 being moved by Car No.22. During this period of line blockage, single-line working was in place between Scarffe’s Crossing and Garwick Crossovers.

Due to these delays, a special service was carried out: Car No.9, working behind Car No.16 with Trailer No.41, was held north of Cornaa. Car No.5, working the last journey to Ramsey of the day, dropped off Trailer No.44 in the Refreshment Siding at Laxey, worked up to Lewaigue Crossover and down to Cornaa. It then collected Trailer No.41 from Car No.9 (after reversing at Lewaigue Crossover) and proceeded north to Ramsey and terminated. Southbound passengers, who were held by the disruption, either returned from Ballagorry by bus or were transferred to Car No.9 working single-motor, with the event drawing to a close as a whole shortly after 8:30pm.

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