Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Five Days on the Isle of Man

(All 4.9-8.9.2016 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

I've just returned from a wonderful 6 day trip to the Isle of Man. I'd previously visited in 2003 with my son, this time I was with my wife and mother-in-law, but still managed to catch plenty of rail action! Not a lot has changed, although if anything there's more rail activity on the island now than back then.

My favourite line is of course the Manx Electric Railway - a true vision of the future for rural transport on the mainland, an accountant's dream with all stock depreciated away to nothing thanks to its average age of over 100! With roadside running, cliffside running and stunning views, plus open coaches, there's really nothing much to compare in Europe! The horse trams were right outside the hotel and we used them for transport, the novelty quickly wearing off, and another little glimpse into the future particularly for link tramways from smaller towns and villages to the nearest main railway station. Got to see and photograph the Laxey Mines Railway which wasn't quite open last time I was there (or indeed this time, but only because it wasn't a Sunday!) I also 'climbed' down Groudle Glen and got some pics of the delightful station at Lhen Coan on the Groudle Glen Railway, again a line I was fated not to travel on this time because of the limited opening just out of season, though I did get to travel on it in 2003. We travelled (the only passengers) up to Snaefell with a fantastic driver who gave us a running commentary, hitting the mist half way up and ending up somewhere high with no views (it had been the same in 2003). We found out later that the fog had caused terrible problems for the planes with 48 hours of delays. And finally the Isle of Man Steam Railway. Our initial plan was to travel on the 11.50 on Tuesday, but it was cancelled (replaced by a bus of all things!) so we turned this round and booked for the Dining Train on Thursday evening, which was a fantastic experience in the dark and rain  and I got a glimpse of yet another Manx line - the Crogga Valley Railway. So there are several reasons to go back ...

A lot more to come over the coming days.

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