Manx Electric Railway celebrates 125 years of operation in style


MANX Electric Railway’s (MER) 125th anniversary was celebrated over September 1-8 with a daily programme of events and photo opportunities featuring its fleet of power cars, trailers and non-passenger stock.

Highlights included the September 3 official launch into service of 1898-vintage MER ‘Ratchet Car’ No. 14 following a three-year restoration project.

Having last worked a passenger service in 1978, Manx Electric Railway ‘Ratchet Car’ No. 14 was officially launched back into service during the MER125 celebrations. The only example of its type in MER service, it is pictured leaving Laxey for Ramsey on the morning of September 7, being driven by Isle of Man transport director, Ian Longworth. CLIFF THOMAS

The big day was September 7 when MER’s September 7, 1893 opening was marked by a commemorative plaque, unveiled at Derby Castle terminus by Isle of Man Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney.

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This was followed by an afternoon cavalcade of MER’s entire operational fleet at Laxey – a spectacle not seen since the 1990s. The trams progressed into the station, accompanied by a commentary, in numerical order: Nos. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14, 16, 19, 20 21, 22, 32 and 33.

Preparations for the September 7 cavalcade produced the remarkable sight of MER trams lined up on the far side of the valley at Laxey ready to run down into the station in numerical order. Visible are No. 1 with trailer 51, No. 2 with ‘Royal Saloon’ trailer 59 newly repainted in 1895 livery, No. 5 with trailer No. 42 and an open wagon, and No. 6. In the foreground is the Laxey Mines Tramway yard. CLIFF THOMAS

Twelve of the 14 power cars pulled passenger trailers, with five of these combinations also featuring a third, non-passenger vehicle (two open wagons, two vans and a tower wagon) – 31 items of MER stock appearing in total.

A cavalcade of Douglas Bay Horse Trams along the promenade on September 8 featured seven trams, also in numerical order: Nos. 1, 12, 18, 36, 42, 44 and 45.

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