Railway Committee Meeting Report: 12/01/16

The second meeting of the recently formed “Railway Committee” took place on Tuesday 12th January, 2016. Various groups were again represented, from supporters groups, heritage trusts and women’s institutes. The Department of Infrastructure, which has responsibility for the Island’s heritage railways, were represented by Department Minister Hon Phil Gawne MHK, Department Chief Executive Nick Black and Director of Public Transport Ian Longworth.

In a report to the meeting Mr Longworth revealed that during 2015
• the Steam Railway carried 100,653 passengers, up by 1,232 passengers from 99,421 in 2014, an increase of 1.2%. The calculation was based on passengers boarding at Douglas and Port Erin on timetabled passenger trains only.
• the Manx Electric Railway carried 72,182 passengers, up by 5,832 passengers from 66,350 in 2014, an increase of 8.8%. The calculation was based on passengers boarding at Derby Castle and Ramsey on timetabled passenger trams only.
• the Snaefell Mountain Railway carried 52,055 passengers, up 8.4% on the 48,029 recorded in 2014.
The figures quoted are for timetabled services in 2015 and do not include passengers carried on the Dining Car Services, Special Events and private charters and passengers carried between intermediate stops.

Manx Electric Railway

The following were highlighted –
• Rebuilding of Car No.14 is continuing with volunteers –

A full briefing and gallery is available here.

• Track renewal at Fairy Cottage/Lambs Crossing commenced in October and is due for completion before the start of the season.
• The renewal of overhead wiring from Onchan Head to Howstrake
• Three level crossings – Port Jack, Harbour Road and Baldromma – to be rebuilt before the start of the season.
• Maintenance works to a number of structures on the MER including the parapet wall and handrail at Bulgham bay.

A full briefing and gallery is available here.

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• Ballure Viaduct. The £1.2 million pound project to rebuild the 50 metre structure was nominated in three categories of the 2015 Light Rail Awards and won the award for the Project of the Year under 50m Euro. –

A full review and gallery of the works undertaken is available here.

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• Ramsey Plaza. Plans for the interchange are being redrafted. If the scheme progresses satisfactorily, the M.E.R will operate from a new temporary terminus on the Laxey side of Parsonage Road level crossing.

Snaefell Mountain Railway

• Significant damage was caused by the December floods. The planned relay of the upline around the old power station at the Bungalow has been deferred pending the embankment slip repairs now necessary below that area.
• Both lines suffered significant damage between Laxey and Parson’s Farm crossing (the cattle pens at Canada). Plans are being progressed to bring one track back into use for the start of the 2016 season, with single line working between Laxey and the bungalow.
• As repair works continue, both tracks will be brought back into use through the season with temporary pointwork installed at the Lhergy as necessary.

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A gallery of the damage is available here.

• The points at the summit have been renewed replicating the original single blade turnout; the points have been moved slightly to the edge of the public access area.
• Alterations to the overhead poles have also been undertaken at the summit.
• The planned renewal of the points next to the Old Vicarage Wall (at the end of the single line section leading from Laxey station) and the entrance to the Snaefell sheds may be rescheduled owing to the damage to the lower section of the line.

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