Brake failure scare for Snaefell passengers

SNAEFELL Mountain Railway (SMR) tram No. 2 ran a significant distance downhill, apparently out of control, following a brake failure, on the afternoon of August 4, writes Cliff Thomas.

The tram failed to stop at Bungalow, the intermediate station, and crossed the Mountain Road before application of the manually operated Fell brake brought it to a standstill on the Laxey side of the level crossing.

Snaefell tram car No. 2 at the Summit station, prior to the incident on August 4. NICK DOUGLAS

Passengers were said to be shocked by the experience but there were no significant injuries, despite some people being thrown around the vehicle.

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The incident comes less than 18 months after Snaefell car No. 3 ran away from the Summit in different circumstances. Then the car had no crew or passengers aboard, the vehicle gathering speed until derailing shortly before the Bungalow crossing and rolling down the mountainside, destroying the body.

Snaefell trams have a brake on the bogie wheels, which is principally a parking brake. The primary control of descent speed uses the former Aachen rheostatic braking system, which works via the tram’s electric motors.

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