Power Trip Review – 01/08/2014

The evening of Friday 1st August saw the fourth photographic tour operated by ManxElectricRailway.co.uk (in association with Isle of Man Railways). The tour combined staged photography at scenic locations along the line as well as visits to nearly all of the prominent items related with how the line has generated it’s power its 121-year history.

From the initial opening of the railway to the present day, the Manx Electric Railway has generated and provided electricity in a number of ways, ranging from generating it’s own power through coal fed Power Stations to Substations converting and taking from the public supply. The tour visited these sites of electrical interest from and along the Manx Electric Railway:

  • The old Power Stations at Laxey and Ballaglass
  • The substations at Ballagorry and Belle Vue
  • The sites of the South Cape Water Tower and Minorca Test House

The itinerary included opportunities for photographs and historical commentary at the above places as well as photographic stops at other locations. (Unfortunately photographs at the Laxey Substations were curtailed due to late running).  The rolling stock in use for the evening saw the matching green pair of 1898-built Car No.16 partnered with 1896-built Trailer No.60. Although not an unusual one in the current age, the pair are arguably the rarest operational motor and trailer to be chosen for normal service on the Manx Electric, especially so in the evening!

Departure from Derby Castle at 6:00pm saw the tours passengers initially visit Groudle station, where a briefing on the electrical systems of the M.E.R was given by local historian and M.E.R Motorman Andrew Scarffe to the participants. Afterwards, participants were walked forward to view the Groudle Substation, and the car was drawn forward to allow for further photography.

The tour then continued onwards to the newly cleared site of the South Cape Water Tower, and into Laxey where a short refreshment break was taken. Further photostops were held at the site of the Minorca Test House, Ballaglass Power Station, Ballagorry Substation and Belle Vue Substation, with further historical commentary given at each. An additional scenic photo-stop was also held at Bulgham Head.

Ramsey was reached at 20:00, with a prompt turnaround taking place before a southbound departure at 20:15. After a brief pause at the Bulgham Platform for photography, the tour arrived back into Derby Castle at 22:20.

With a better than forecasted weather aiding photography and many happy photographers and enthusiasts taking part, 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.

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