Winter Photography on the Manx Electric Railway – 2nd November 2013
Saturday November 2nd saw the second Winter Photography day on the M.E.R. Organised and operated by Isle of Man Railways and the ManxElectricRailway.co.uk team, the tour combined a parallel run, staged photography on the line of various M.E.R. cars, trailers and wagons, and a tour of the M.E.R Laxey Car Shed. However, as is with M.E.R. tradition, the original plan was augmented by various impromptu events. Although the original intention was to run Tower Wagon No.1 with Car No.2 at the event, height problems with the overhead wire occurred during tests in the week, and thus it was not permitted outside of Laxey Station Limits, the intention being to use both No.1 and Van No.12 for posed photography in the station instead.
On the day, two of the three timetabled services were operated with ‘unusual combinations’, with Car No.21 running with Trailer No.60 on D1 and Car No.9 operating with Trailer No.51 on D2.
The tour began at 09:45 at Derby Castle with two car sets available for participants to travel in: Car No.1, running single-motor, and Car No.2/Trailer No.59 waiting in the Groudle Siding. However, Car No.2 was sporting the number of it’s long-lost classmate, Car No.3! A parallel run to Groudle Glen then ensued, with Car No.1 on the seaside, and ‘Car No.3’/Trailer No.59 on the landside. A short photo-stop was held at Lag Birragh, with the pair arriving at Groudle Glen at 10:05.
As the crew of Car No.1 were required to operate the D2 timetabled service, it left Groudle back to Derby Castle at 10:10. ‘Car No.3’ and Trailer No.59 were however booked to continue forward as a ‘Directors Special’ to Ramsey. Photostops on the outbound (in addition to those advertised) were very much dictated by the weather, which varied from heavy shower to overcast cloud! These included: Scarffe’s Crossing, Garwick Glen, Laxey 1896 Station, Laxey 1898 Station, Minorca, Bonner Corner and Ballaragh.
With the D2 service catching up behind the tour (and the high winds and rain on Ballaragh cliffs), the decision was taken to recess the train in the Dhoon Quarry Siding instead, with participants of the tour being able to ride the unusual combination of Car No.9/Trailer No.51 from Ballaragh to Dhoon Quarry. Departing from Dhoon Quarry at 11:30, the tour continued to Ramsey, with further photo opportunities held at Murray’s Road, Ballaskeig and Dreemskerry. The opportunity was taken at Ballaskeig to show participants the old M.E.R shelter, hidden in the undergrowth near to the stop. The tour waited at Lewaigue for Car No.9/Trailer No.51 to return from Ramsey, and proceeded onto the single-line section (the seaside line was off-limits due to required stablisation work at Ballure), arriving at Ramsey for 12:25.
After a quick run-round, the tour left Ramsey at 12:40, passing Car No.6/Trailer No.46 at Lewaigue. Further photostops were held at Ballagorry Bridge and Bulgham Head, where Car No.21/Trailer No.60 passed the tour during the pause. Arrival in Laxey was at 13:15, with tour passengers disembarking from the set for a series of photographic combinations featuring Wagons in the Laxey Area.
Car No.2 took Trailer No.59 for stabling outside Laxey Car Shed, returning with Wagon No.8 from the Car Shed headshunt. This was then placed inside the Blacksmiths Siding, with No.2 shuttling over to the Goods Shed to pick up Tower Wagon No.1 and Tower Van No.12 for a run into the station. The combination paused here to allow photography of the two tower wagons, with both being returned to Laxey Goods Shed 15 minutes later. Car No.2 then shunted over to collect Wagon No.8 from the Blacksmiths Siding, but as a bonus the newly-restored Wagon No.10 was attached to the rear for a shunt into the station, allowing participants a very rare ‘Car/Wagon/Wagon’ combination photograph, and a chance to see Wagon No.10 in action, albeit for only a short distance.
After 15 minutes of photography, Wagon No.10 was returned to the Blacksmiths Siding, and participants loaded onto Car No.2 for a trip over to Laxey Car Shed, with a full tour of the insides being given, allowing rare photographs of the stored rolling stock located within. During this tour, Wagon No.8 was once again returned to the Car Shed headshunt and Trailer No.59 was collected and placed on the back of Car No.2, the pair departing for Derby Castle shortly after. An unadvertised photo-stop was held at Garwick Glen, with an attempt at recreating one of the few photographs taken of Car No.3. The tour arrived back at Derby Castle for 17:00, the conclusion to the day’s events.
Or was it? After depositing Trailer No.59 back at Derby Castle Car Sheds, the opportunity was taken to run a trip to Lag Birragh Crossover (due to be removed during the Winter 2013/14 period) using Car No.2 single-motor. After a brief-photocall, Car No.2 returned to Derby Castle and thence to the car sheds.
Even though the weather was very varied, many happy photographers and enthusiasts took part, making the second Winter Photography tour a success. The ManxElectricRailway.co.uk 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.