Saturday November 1st saw the third Winter Photography day on the M.E.R. Organised and operated by Isle of Man Railways and the Manx Electric Railway Online team, the tour combined a parallel run, staged photography on the line of the M.E.R’s fleet of Tunnel Cars, trailers and wagons. However, as is with M.E.R. tradition, the original plan was augmented by various impromptu events.
The tour began at 09:00 at Derby Castle with two cars available for participants to travel in: Car No.5 and Car No.7, both cars sporting different liveries: Car No.5 in the traditional Red, White and Teak, and Car No.7 in the ‘original’ colours of Blue and White. A short parallel run to Onchan Head then ensued, with Car No.5 on the seaside, and Car No.7 on the landside. Photo-stops on the return were undertaken at Onchan Head, the Scania House Curve, and outside Port Jack, with the cars arriving back at Derby Castle for 09:40.
At Derby Castle, the two cars were coupled together and secured with additional brake chains, re-creating the practise that was in place between 1900 and 1904, when a pair of Tunnel Cars were in use as enclosed trailers during the Winter period. The pair, with Car No.5 leading, departed at 09:50 with photo-stops at Lag Birragh, Groudle Viaduct, Scarffe’s Crossing and Bulgham Head, arriving at Dhoon Quarry at 11:10. The pair then reversed (a very unusual move which saw the trolley poles merely swapped and reversed!), with Car No.7 leading Car No.5. After a photostop at Ballaragh, an intermittent fault with No.7 saw the combination reversed again at Laxey, with the pair arriving back at Derby Castle Car Sheds for 12:30.
A staged photoshoot of the four tunnel cars was held on the fanwork, with participants also able to visit the M.E.R Goods Shed Museum, and view the 1894-vintage Trailer No.36, also celebrating it’s 120th birthday. The second round trip of the day was formed of Car No.6, Trailer No.59 and Van No.4 (No.59 replacing No.58, which was dropped as its use was required for a private party in Ramsey during the day), however, Car No.6 sported the ‘No.10’ board at the Ramsey-end (carried during the 1996 events week, where it was bizarrely used to recreate the real Car No.10, which is a different class altogether!). A photo-stop was held between Ballameanagh and Baldrine, with the ensemble arriving at Laxey Car Shed for 15:20.
Participants were then invited to view the newly arranged Laxey Car Shed, which has seen the shuffling of the contents in preparation for the movement of cars from the soon to be demolished Ramsey Car Shed, while the Car, Trailer and Van shunted, with the ensemble arriving back at Derby Castle for 15:45. Sadly the sunny skies of the morning were replaced by heavy rain, with the final combination of the day, ‘Illuminated’ Car No.9 and Trailer No.59, running to Laxey and return with participants electing to stay in the dry rather than take photographs! The tour arrived back at Derby Castle for 17:35, the conclusion to the day’s events.
Even though the weather took a turn for the worse in the afternoon, many happy photographers and enthusiasts took part. The Manx Electric Railway Online 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 attended.
A full gallery of images from the day is available by clicking HERE.