Winter Photography 2012 Event Review

Winter Photography on the Manx Electric Railway – 3rd November 2012

Saturday November 3rd saw the first Winter Photography day on the M.E.R. Organised and operated by Isle of Man Railways and the team, the tour combined staged photography on the line of various M.E.R. cars and trailers, and a guided photography tour of M.E.R. sites in Laxey. However, as is with M.E.R. tradition, the original plan was augmented by various impromptu events.

On Friday 2nd, a tree falling onto the line at Ballagorry resulted in the cancelling of services north of Laxey, however sterling work by railway staff saw a single line in use between The Garey and Ballaskeig so that normal services as well as the Photography tours could take place.

On the day, the timetabled services were operated by three ‘unusual combinations’, with Car No.5 running with Trailer No.58, Car No.6 operating with Trailer No.59, and Car No.9 paired with Trailer No.57.

The tour began at 10:30 at Derby Castle with the arrival of Crossbench Car No.32 from Laxey. After a brief photo opportunity in the glorious sunshine, the tours 60 (!) participants boarded No.32 for a non-stop run to Laxey. An unadvertised lineup of Cars and Trailers outside Derby Castle Car Shed had been put into place however a slightly delayed departure unforunately didn’t allow time for this opportunity to be taken up.

After arrival at Laxey, the tour group was split into two, with Group A proceeding to board Car No.32 hauling Works Trailer No.52. This is the current M.E.R. ‘works train’ which handles most of the lines maintenence duties and therefore Trailer No.52 was making an exceptional appearence as part of a passenger service. After departure at 11:55, ‘Tour A’ ran to Ballaskeig with photography stops at Bonner Corner and Dhoon Quarry in bright winter sunshine. Following the reversal and another photo opportunity, the Car and Trailer returned to Laxey with further stops at Browns Crossing and Bulgham Head.

Meanwhile, Group B was taken on the Laxey Guided tour taking in visits to the 1934-built substation, 2009-built Car Shed and Laxey station site including photography and historical discussion in these locations as well as of passing timetabled services in the Laxey area.

Both groups returned to Laxey station by 13:45 for a dinner break, with tea and soup from Laxey cafe being on offer. During the lunch break, the offer of a ride on Car No.32 to the Car Sheds and return over various crossovers was taken up by some of the tour passengers. With Laxey’s trackwork set to change over the next few years, this offered one of the last opportunities to ride over these lines.

After lunch, the two groups reversed, with Group A sampling the Laxey walking tour as described previous, and Group B joining Car No.32 and Trailer No.52 for another trip to Ballaskeig, with photostops at Bonner Corner, Dhoon Quarry, Ballaskeig, Browns Crossing, and Ballaragh.

Both groups returned to Laxey by 16:20, and Car No.32 returned to Laxey Car Shed to deposit Works Trailer No.52 in its usual home. In the meantime, it had been arranged to obtain Trailer No.59 from the timetabled service for use on the return journey, as the cold November weather had begun to catch up with some of the tour participants! Car No.32 collected No.59 before reversing into the Blacksmith Siding at Laxey where the Car and Trailer loaded up for a rare departure from this location at 16:50. Unfortunately No.32 suffered minor controller issues on the return journey to Derby Castle however the tour arrived by 1730, allowing a last photo of No.32 in the dark before it returned to Laxey.

With glorious early winter weather and many happy photographers and enthusiasts taking part, the first Winter Photography tour was a success. The team would like to take the opportunity to thank all those involved with the operation of the tour and all the photographers and enthusiasts who took part.

A full gallery of images from the day is available by clicking HERE.

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