Car No.18 (1898)

Derby Castle Car Sheds, 2014

Car No.18 outside Derby Castle Car Sheds, July 2014 © Alex Fairlie

Stored, Derby Castle Car Sheds 2000 M.E.R Red/White


Car No.18 was delivered in 1898 as the last of the first batch of Open Motor Cars built by G.F Milnes. The car was delivered with four E.C.C 20hp traction motors and Milnes trucks which it retains to this day. No.18 has undergone surprisingly few changes since it’s construction. The Car was fitted with roller shutters and extended footboards in the early 20th century, and K12 controllers in 1945, but otherwise remains as built, having never been fitted with air brakes.

No.18s lack of air brakes unfortunately began to limit her use when traffic began to decline in the 1960s, but the Car saw a very brief return to regular ‘front line’ operation in 1977 with the reopening of the Ramsey section (closed in 1975) and subsequent shortage of serviceable cars. Unfortunately No.18 fell out of favour soon after this period and was placed into store in the mid-1980s.

It was repainted for a return to traffic during 1987/88, but in the event was not used. No.18 however returned to operational use 6 years later, alongside Car No.31 in time for the 1993 Centenary Celebrations.  In early 1994, it was rostered to replace Locomotive No.23’s enthusiast operations for the year, but suffered from motor defects and was replaced by Car No.2, but was later returned to operational condition and took part in the July events of the same year. It ran on short journeys in 1995, appearing during the Laxey Cavalcade and on photo-charters at Howstrake. No.18 was stored inside Laxey Car Shed during the Winter of 1996/97 whilst Derby Castle Top Sheds were rebuilt, remaining there for further storage.

Unfortunately No.18’s several electrical issues resurfaced (reported to be only be able to move on ‘series’ notches) and the car made limited appearances following this, notably during the 1999 ‘Ramsey Centenary Day’ event, running on shuttles from Ramsey to Walpole Drive. It suffered a serious electrical fire at Laxey during a Photography Evening in August 2000, and remained inside Laxey Car Shed for storage, moving back to Derby Castle Car Sheds during the clearing of Laxey Car Shed in April 2002. No.18 (alongside Car No.31) was officially withdrawn from the service fleet in late 2002 following the decision to discontinue ‘Ratchet’-only Car maintenance, and since this time the Car has been in store, currently in Derby Castle Top Shed awaiting it’s next chance to shine….




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