Terminus Photographic Tour Review

Terminus Photography Tour – 26th July 2013

The evening of Friday 26th July saw the second 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 every principal terminus used by the line in its 120-year history.

After its initial opening between Douglas (Derby Castle) and Groudle in 1893, the Manx Electric Railway quickly expanded along the east coast of the Island, opening in various sections over the following six years before reaching its full extent by opening to Ramsey in 1899. None of this was immediate, and several temporary termini were used as the line was extended:

    • Groudle was the initial terminus of the line used from its opening in 1893.
    • Laxey was reached in 1894, although the current station is the third such in the village opening in 1898.
    • Ballure, on the outskirts of Ramsey, also opened in 1898 as the line’s temporary Northern terminus.
    • Ramsey, opened in 1899, was and remains the northern terminus of the Manx Electric Railway.
    • In 1967, the Manx Electric Railway was severed in two following a landslip at Bulgham (near Dhoon Glen). For several months, the line operated in two halves, with two temporary termini installed on either side of the landslip.

The itinerary included opportunities for photographs and a brief historical commentary at the above stations as well as two photographic stops at other locations. The rolling stock in use for the evening saw 1894-built Car No.7 partnered with ‘Umbrella’ Trailer No.51, both of which had recently returned to traffic. With both vehicles wearing their original liveries, a Victorian pairing was achieved.

An on-time departure from Derby Castle at 6:00pm saw the tours fifty-three passengers initially visit Groudle, before arriving at the original Laxey Terminus (located next to the current Car Sheds). Following a short walk between the 1894 and 1896 stations (located beyond the Laxey substations), No.7 disappeared out of view, returning with Wagon No.8, which had been stabled at the Car Shed. Although unadvertised, this addition was made known as a ‘surprise’ on the night to those on the tour, with fierce speculation taking place as to what would occur!

Following opportunities for photographs at the 1896 Terminus with the new addition, the trio continued through the third and current Laxey station non-stop before making additional stops for photographs at various locations on the northern section of the line. Early running enabled more stops than initially planned to take place at Bonner Corner, Bulgham Head, Ballaskeig, Dreemskerry and Windy Ridge, near Ballure.

The northern terminus of Ramsey was reached at 19:55, with a prompt turnaround taking place before a southbound departure at 20:10. A stop at the original Ballure terminus from 1898 saw an impromptu photo-call using the viaduct at Ballure, before the tour continued to the northern terminus of the ‘Bulgham Gap’ used in 1967. Here, participants were invited to walk between the North and South ‘Gap’ stations as many had done 45 years earlier, before a further staged scene at the south station, and continuing to Laxey.

A break at Laxey allowed for further photographs while No.7 was shunted to allow both service Cars past at 21:25. Following this, the tour departed for Derby Castle at 21:40, stopping briefly at Laxey Car Shed to return Wagon No.8 to its siding – none the worse for its rare journey on a passenger service! The tour arrived back into Derby Castle at 22:15, having visited all the termini on the railway.

With a warm sunny evening 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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