Snaefell Car No.3 (1895)

Snaefell No.3’s underframe at Derby Castle Car Sheds, July 2016 © Alex Fairlie

~ 2016 ~


Car No.3 was delivered to the Snaefell Mountain Railway in Spring 1895, the third of six identical vehicles built by G.F. Milnes of Birkenhead. In common with the rest of the fleet, the Car was delivered unglazed however this had been fitted by 1896, and a roof clerestory the following year to increase the levels of comfort for passengers. Mather & Platt electrical gear and control systems were used, and the Car had gained a roof-mounted advertising board by the early 1900s.

The Summit-end Control equipment was changed in 1903/04 from the original Mather and Platt example to use a General Electric K11 Controller, and later a K12 Controller in 1954. The original Laxey-end Controller remained in use, as it was only ever used for short amounts of time (shunting and starting the car down the gradient). After the disastrous fire to Car No.5 in August 1970, all of the distinctive roof-boards from the cars were removed, as it was believed that they may have acted as a ‘sail’ in the high winds that rocked the car and allowed the fire to spread.

In 1976 the original Mather and Platt traction motors of the Snaefell cars were becoming worn out, and the decision was made to re-quip the entire 6 car-fleet as a whole with materials and control equipment from German Aachen Tramcars. No.3 was moved to Derby Castle Car Sheds on the M.E.R. in September 1977 for refitting with Aachen Equipment fabricated inside replica 1895-style trucks built by London Transport. This had been completed by early 1978, and the Car was returned to the Snaefell Mountain Railway with modernised electric equipment and regenerative braking.

No.3 last received an overhaul at Derby Castle Car Sheds in 1995, with all overhauls since taking place at the new Snaefell Car shed opened the same year. Car No.3 entered the works for a full overhaul to the bodywork and frame in Summer 2014, following a minor fire at Dumbells Row, returning to traffic for the start of the 2016 Season.

In March 2016, the car was destroyed above the Bungalow following a runaway incident at Snaefell Summit, while the car was stabled awaiting passengers, with the remains of the underframe later moved to Derby Castle Car Shed and dismantled during 2017. A new steel body and underframe was ordered as a replacement to allow reconstruction of the car, which was delivered in February 2020.


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