Work on the Laxey station remodelling commenced after the winter break in early January, with the first long panels of track being inserted on both the Manx Electric and Snaefell sections in the station area. New traction poles had appeared in the station area by the end of the month, as well as the pointwork for the new sidings on the site of the original refreshment rooms (destroyed by fire in 1917) and sleepers for both the M.E.R. and the S.M.R were placed in situ to the north of the station opposite the Mines Tavern.
Elsewhere on the network,the track replacement programme was completed between Howstrake and Lag Birragh early in January, as well as a short stretch on the landside line at Baldromma.
Winter Saloon No.20 was moved into the paintshop at Derby Castle in mid January to be rubbed down for a full repaint.
Storms, high tides and heavy rain battered the Isle of Man on the first few days of the month, resulting in minor damage across the network. High waves at Derby Castle dislodged ballast and shingle across the running line and depot area, and damage to the overhead line occured at various points on the network, although both issues were resolved quickly.
Work at Laxey station continued making progress, with the Refreshment Sidings completed in mid-February, and track on both the Snaefell and Manx Electric lines having been laid and ballasted as far as the Mines Tavern by the end of the month. The installation of traction poles in the station area was also completed during the month, with work turning to the installation of a new crossover and siding at Dumbells Row, north of the Laxey station complex.
Poor weather continued throughout February resulting in a landslip at Dolland, near Ballaglass, towards the end of the month. Although the landslip is only minor, underlying water has caused further issues on this section of line that are currently being investigated and repaired.
Trackworks at Laxey continued into March. At the time of writing (12.03) work was focused on the completion of the crossover and loading siding at Dumbells Row, as well as gauging trials using rolling stock in the Laxey station area following ballasting.
Wagon No.10 was moved to Derby Castle Car Sheds by road on the 12th of March for examination prior to use on the Manx Electric Railway. The 1898 built Wagon, cosmetically restored by the Laxey & Lonan Heritage Trust, has been on display in the Laxey Blacksmiths siding since summer 2011 following a three year restoration however, apart from a minor role in 2013’s Winter Photography event, the vehicle has seen no use on the M.E.R. since its use as a Tower Wagon in 2000. Following inspection by M.E.R. shed staff it is planned for the Wagon to debut at the 2014 Heritage Transport Festival in July.
For a full gallery of the Winter 2014 News Update, please click any of the images below.