Car No.5 (1894)


Car No.5 at Groudle, May 2021 © Andrew Scarffe

In Service In Service M.E.R Red/White/Teak


Car No.5 is the second of six ‘Tunnel Car’s (named such after their long and sleek interiors) ordered for the Laxey extension of the M.E.R in 1894. The car was built by G.F Milnes and delivered with Milnes Series 3 trucks, fitted with Mather and Platt electrical gear along with longitudinal seats with a capacity for 36 passengers. In 1903, many Cars were refurbished with new equipment, and Car No.5, in line with four other ‘Tunnel Cars’, gained Brush ‘D’ trucks and air brake equipment.

It became unique from the rest of it’s series in 1932 when it lost it’s longitudinal seating for 2+1 transverse seating (similar to that used in the ‘Winter Saloons’), gained a partition in the passenger area, and lost it’s cab end iron gates, being replaced by full size glazed doors. Although the rest of it’s series followed suit with the gate replacement and partitions, the only other ‘Tunnel Car’ to lose it’s longitudinal seating is No.7 during it’s recent overhaul. It also received a set of K12 Controllers from ‘Ratchet’ Car No.14 in 1963, replacing the previous K11 units.

No.5 then saw regular use with few changes until Winter 1969 when it’s original twin-piece cab windows were replaced with a sole central window. The Car also curiously gained a second, higher, headlight in 1972, and by Spring 1978, had been re-liveried into the corporate ‘Isle of Man Railways’ livery. Fortunately a more historical livery appeared on No.5 by Summer 1981 and the lower headlight was removed, leaving the higher placed headlight in-situ.

The Car was used extensively throughout it’s centenary period and was withdrawn for overhaul in Summer 1997. A return to service was made in Summer 2000 with the Car regaining the traditional lower headlights and retaining it’s 1930s-style livery. However the Car again became unique by carrying the ‘Manx Electric Railway’ lettering in Manx Gaelic, translated as ‘Raad-Yiarn Lectragh Vannin’.

A further ten years of intensive use on timetabled services took it’s toll on No.5’s appearance, and it was withdrawn at the end of the 2010 season for cosmetic and mechanical attention, spending 2011 inside the Paint Shop at Derby Castle Bottom Sheds, whilst undergoing repaint and an overhaul to it’s trucks. No.5 re-entered traffic during March 2012, and remains in service.

No.5 has recently undergone a repaint into its early-1970s condition.




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