A Journey to the Isle of Man - Steam Railway


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I thought I'd share some pictures of my recent visit to the Isle of Man, more specifically the Isle of Man Railway. I might do a "Part 2" for the Electric Railway and the horse trams! Anyway, some background info:
The IoMR Co. was founded in 1870 and the first line, from the now-capital Douglas to the western town (well, city actually!) of Peel opened 3 years later. It, and all subsequent lines, were built to gauge of 3ft, rare in the UK but common in Ireland and the US. The second line, from Douglas to Port Erin, in the south of the island, opened the next year. Furthermore, a third line was built by the separate Manx Northern Railway from St. Johns to the northern town of Ramsey, which was absorbed by the IoMR in 1904. A further, much shorter line was built to Port Foxdale. At it's peak the railway operated 47 miles of track, somewhat of an achievement for an island that's only 33 miles long and 14 miles wide! Sadly and inevitably, traffic eventually declined during the 1960s as buses became quicker and more comfortable, and to make matters worse tourism to the island dropped severely in the wake of cheap foreign holidays. Operations ceased on the Peel and Ramsey lines in 1968. However, the Peel line could be re-opened in the future as the trackbed is protected by the Manx government until money is raised that would make re-opening viable.

Peel Station


Map (including closed lines and MER)

Anyway, time for some images from my visit. I spent three days travelling on the line (though I only managed to do the full length trip twice) and took many photos.

No.13 "Kissack" was out on all three visits. It is seen here about to pull out of Ballasalla. It is one of the 15 Beyer-Peacock 2-4-0Ts the line uses, all but two survive. (The unlucky victims being No.2 Derby and No.7 Tynwald)


Kissack again, seen on a somewhat misty morning at Douglas. This station retains a sense of grandeur but no longer has a canopy or goods yard, which were removed in the 1990s.


No.12 Hutchinson at Douglas. Weather is not the IoM's strong point unfortunately.


It brightened up however on the return from Castletown!


Which BTW is easily the line's prettiest and most atmospheric station.


Kissack pulling out of Castletown, heading for Douglas.


Hutchinson arriving at Castletown.
Also spotted was No. 10 "G. H. Wood", and the diesel locomotive "Ailsa". Pictures from Port Erin are on a different memory card, I shall post them later.
The IoMR is one the most unique and atmospheric lines I have ever visited. There is truly nothing else like it in the UK or indeed the whole of the British Isles. It would be joy to have in Trainz.
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Very nice photos. I sure would like to see the closed line reopened again as that would make a nice loop trip out along the coast to Ramsey from Douglas, then come around on the Peel line back to Douglas.

Lovely photos. Ive looked at that railway on google earth - or whats left of it, and have read a bit about it. A very interesting and historical little railway and great to see some quality photos of parts of it. Thanks for posting.
Some great photos Nathan. Have you created any routes in Trainz? The island is so picturesque.

Great pictures!

Nathan, your IoM pictures are great! It's nice to see they are actually in focus, as opposed to many in the photo section! ( not yours BTW ).
Mike :D
Some great photos Nathan. Have you created any routes in Trainz? The island is so picturesque.
If I could get a DEM, maybe. I also walked along a section of the Peel line, and have a book detailing all of the IoMR's routes and all of the closed stations, so I think I'd do that one and not the Port Erin line as it's a bit easier.
Anyway, I promised more pics...

"Kissack" getting a drink at Port Erin.


Arty photo of the coaches at Port Erin.


And the basic, if rather elegant interior. One thing I noticed about these carriages is that they all felt different- on one, the ride was a smooth as a luxury coach would be, but on the way back on a different carriage it was about as wobbly as you could possibly imagine!


At Port Erin there is a small but superb railway museum. Contained within it are two locomotives "Peveril" and "Mannin", and an assortment of wagons and carriages. Here we see "Mannin", the line's newest and most powerful locomotive. Note the subtle differences between this and the other locos- the more conventional cab, the bigger smokebox and the slightly different shade of red paint used. Not sure if it's evident in the photo, but in person the livery looked more brownish, kind of like the colour the County Donegal Railway painted their locos.


"Peveril". This loco was a regular on the Peel line before it closed.


There was free access to the cab. It is noticeably cramped, I'm not a big person and I struggled to get in!
Anyway, that rounds the photos off for the night. I will post some from the MER/Snaefell later, perhaps some from Groudle Glen too. It is a real transport enthusiast's paradise, as well as being extremely pretty, if you ever get the chance to go...go!
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A lovely Part 2 Nathan, great shots and gives some great insight to this unique railway. Thanks for posting. Oddly enough, we have a old loco (1873 ish I think) over here that carries the name Peveril, I have often wondered what it meant as it is an odd name. Its the first time Ive ever heard it elsewhere and even more surprising, the name of another loco.
Sorry that the reply is such a long time coming but the locomotive is named after the Walter Scott novel Peveril of the Peak, which partly takes place on the Isle of Man. Many locomotives seem to be named after Walter Scott novels- Kenilworth, Waverly, Rob Roy and Guy Mannering were all LNER Pacifics.
Interesting looking railway there. I think I will put that on my places to visit UK list. whats the best way to get from the mainland to this island?
They are several ways to get to the IoM from Great Britain. The cheapest is the car ferry from Heysham to Douglas, about 3 1/2 hours each way. The other, slightly pricier option is the high speed catamaran from Liverpool (Well worth visiting in its own right), which takes about 2 hours. The third, most expensive option is a flight from either Blackpool or Liverpool airport. Flights are also available from London and other major cities, but they are expensive. Don't go during the TT bike races, getting a ticket will be nearly impossible.
Oh, and just a note to potential travellers- the Isle of Man is an independent nation and issues it's own currency (Manx pound). Although they are worth the same as GBP, they cannot be spent in the UK. You can spend ordinary UK banknotes on the IoM though.
Oh, and just a note to potential travellers- the Isle of Man is an independent nation and issues it's own currency (Manx pound). Although they are worth the same as GBP, they cannot be spent in the UK. You can spend ordinary UK banknotes on the IoM though.

I was very disapointed on my visit to the IoM that I never saw a £1 note, only ever British coins...
I saw one £1 note, but they are apparently quite a novelty now. I don't know if they still print them, but all shops still take them.