Snaefell Car No.4 (1895)

Snaefell No.4 arrives into Laxey, July 2021 © Alex Fairlie

In Service In Service S.M.R Green/White/Teak


Built in 1895 as the fourth of a batch of 6 cars, Car No.4 arrived in the Spring of that year. Power for the Car was by Bow Collectors with Mather and Platt electrical equipment, trucks and controllers, and Braking using the Fell Rail system. As new, the cars were delivered without glazed windows and clerestories. Both were fitted in Spring 1896 (following complaints of wind, as the original canvas roller blinds did not offer much protection), and in 1897 (after the window fitment, they became too warm in the summer!). In the 1900s the cars were fitted with distinctive roof advertising boards, which were used to promote the trip to the summit.

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).

Car No.4 was one of two Snaefell Cars (Car No.2 the other) to carry the Nationalised Green livery, applied from 1958. No.4 became the last car/trailer in the M.E.R/S.M.R fleets to carry the scheme, it being moved to Derby Castle Car Sheds for repaint and overhaul during September 1963. 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. After moving to the M.E.R during September 1978, No.4 was then re-equipped at Derby Castle Car Sheds with the brand new London Transport fabricated trucks during the 1978/79 Winter alongside Car No.6, moving back to Laxey shortly after completion. These improvements allowed for the fell-braking method to be phased out completely by the newly fitted rheostatic method, with the fell brake now only used in emergencies. It’s last trip on the Manx Electric for overhaul was during Winter 1993, moving back by Spring 1995.

Recently Car No.4 underwent a full overhaul in the Snaefell Car Shed at Laxey during 2017, appearing the next year in a Green, White and Teak version of the SMR livery, to commemorate 50 years of Nationalisation.


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