Photo By D J Norton

Isle of Man Railways

In June/July of 1960, my parents went on a holiday to the Isle of Man.  With all the interesting railways on the island, I do wonder if this was my father's idea...  Researching this page has revealed that much of what my father saw is still in place and operating today, so much so that I think a visit to the island is something I'll have to try and talk my wife into!

Chris got in touch to say that he has some modern views of the line from Douglas to Peel so please check them out.

MER Train, Laxey - 28/6/60

MER train, Laxey
The first of the interesting railways that attracted the attention of my father was the Manx Electric Railway.  The company website shows that the railway is very much still in operation while Wikipedia provides some history.

Jct from Douglas Box - 4/7/60

Junction from Douglas Box
Having an interest in narrow gauge railways, the Isle of Man railway must have been a 'must see' for my father.  This picture shows the junction as the railway leaves Douglas Station.  It was taken from the signal box seen in the picture below.

Douglas Stn - 4/7/60

Douglas Station
Now looking towards the station, also from the signal box, this picture shows what an extensive site it was back in 1960.  Compare this with a similar view of the much reduced modern station.  A car park and bus parking appears to have replaced almost everything to the right of the steaming engine on the left!

St John's Stn - 5/7/60

St Johns Station
This will be of interest to many as St John's is one of the stations that is no longer open.  I believe it closed in 1968.

Peter got in touch and provided the following information:-
"Yes, St. John's station did close towards the end of 1968. Lord Ailsa, who had reopened the whole steam railway network (with the exception of St. John's to Foxdale) in 1967 found that the Douglas - Peel and St. John's - Ramsey lines were not showing sufficient return, so he withdrew the services and concentrated on running the Douglas - Port Erin line. The site of St. John's station has been cleared and is now used as a car park."

Inner Homes, St John's - 5/7/60

Site of bridge over River Blythe on Whitacre branch
A nice view from a moving train showing the signal box and what my father referred to as inner homes on the approach to St John's.  Peter said, "Regarding the signal at St. John's, this is the home signal, not the inner home. Only Douglas had inner home signals.".

Peel Stn from Level Crossing - 5/7/60

Peel Station from level crossing
Peel Station is another that has been closed since my father visited the island.  Again, 1968 appears to be the date that saw its demise.

Peter provided some additional notes:-
"The buildings of Peel station survive, incorporated into the heritage attraction 'The House of Mannannan'. At the Douglas end of the old station site there is a small transport museum by the site of the old Mill Road level crossing, and a few railway artefacts are preserved here."

Gantry nr Douglas Stn - 5/7/60

Gantry near Douglas Station
Here we are heading back to Douglas Station after a day trip across the island.  Peter corrected my father's caption with the following note:-
"The signal described as a 'gantry' on the approach to Douglas is, in fact, the Douglas inner homes, and is a bracket signal, not a gantry. A 'gantry' signal is supported on two main posts whereas a bracket signal is supported on one main post (or other structure, as in the Douglas example)."

Nr Laxey - 7/7/60

Near Laxey
This picture had some additional caption information - 'Snaefell Mountain Rly on left, MER on right'.

The Snaefell Mountain Railway is yet another historic system (dating back to 1895) that is still running!  Once again, Wikipedia is the source of a great deal of interesting information.

The observant amongst you may notice the Laxey Wheel at the very centre of this picture.  Dating back to 1854, it no longer pumps water from the mines but does continue to turn.

Peter commented, "The picture captioned as 'near Laxey' is actually in Laxey itself. The MER station is behind the photographer and off to the right, below the level of the road, is the site of the now-resurrected Great Laxey Mines Railway.".

W End of Douglas Stn - 8/7/60

West end of Douglas Station
A final visit to Douglas Station on a dull and overcast day.  This picture provides a nice view of the signal box and associated signalling.

End of Douglas Stn and Shed - 8/7/60

End of Douglas Station and shed
The final picture shows a wider view than the one above so more can be seen of the engine shed to the right.