As part of the April 2015 Rush Hour Event, shed tours of the Derby Castle Car Sheds were undertaken on the 3rd of April. Volunteer stewards from the ManxElectricRailway.co.uk team worked alongside Isle of Man Railways and the Derby Castle Shed Staff to enable a comprehensive tour of the facilities to be given.
Four 50-minute tours were operated during the afternoon. On the majority of the tours, tour participants were taken up to the car sheds using the service car by Wickham Railcar No.7442, alighting at the car sheds, with the fourth operated by Car No.1. On arrival, groups were taken into the top yard area and given a brief commentary on the history of the site and its evolution, as well as an opportunity to photograph rolling stock outside of the shed. Although a lot of the running fleet was present on this day, the opportunity was taken to place ‘Illuminated’ Car No.9 on the fan for display, alongside Car No.32 and recently restored Wagon No.8.
The tours then continued to the Bottom Sheds, initially visiting the Joiners Shop and then through to the machine shop, where participants were given a history of the buildings varied use (previously being the Boiler house providing power for the line) as well as viewing the various items of machining equipment, the old and new Derby Castle substations. Tour participants were also able to climb the stairs up and view the old substation equipment up close for the first time. Participants were also taken to the rear of the hospital road to view newly arrived Ratchet Car No.14, awaiting the beginning of its restoration.
The tours concluded inside the Manx Electric Railway Museum, located in the Derby Castle Goods Shed. On display were number boards from the past, advertising materials and hoardings from the 1930s onwards, historical pictures and interpretation boards for the M.E.R throughout it’s history. In addition, volunteer curator Norman Dowd was on hand to talk about the museum and it’s activities.
All tours were well loaded and The ManxElectricRailway.co.uk team would like to take the opportunity to thank all those involved with the operation of the tours and all the photographers and enthusiasts who took part.