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Tramway Review
 
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by George Hobbs
Loaghtan Books, 2014 (18.95)

(ISBN 978 1908 060 099)



Loaghtan Books is a new publishing house established by husband and wife team of photographer and tramway enthusiast George Hobbs and writer Sara Goodwins.

Its title is derived from the Loaghtan sheep, said to be the Manx equivalent of a prehistoric breed. With headquarters at Dreemskerry, within sight and sound of the Manx Electric Railway, it was perhaps inevitable that a tramway book would appear in its list of publications. The author has taken as his theme the illustration of every stop on the 18-mile line between Douglas and Ramey, identification assisted where necessary by noting the appropriate traction pole numbers - there are 903 poles in total.

The photography, as would be expected, is of a high standard. All pictures are reproduced in colour on art paper. An introductory section gives a potted history of the tramway, after which the reader is taken on a pictorial journey northwards from the Derby Castle terminus in Douglas through every one of the sixty-or-so stops along the line to Ramsey.

At each stopping point, the author gives background information about the area and, where appropriate, the tramcar illustrated. Not all the pictures include a tram, and there are some interesting diversions to cover associated features, such as buildings, wayside shelters, unusual track arrangements, liveries, and even the inside of the Mines Tavern at Laxey.

All the illustrations are of relatively recent origin, i.e. post-1996, the majority being 21st century. This does not lessom their interest, but readers hoping for early historic shots or pictures of cars in store or withdrawn from service will not find them here. Inevitably, the tramcars illustrated are those currently in use. This does not spoil the enjoyment of the book, and readers will be pleased that the original 1893 cars (numbers 1 and 2) are featured, as are crossbench cars 16,26,32, and 33. all sporting a variety of liveries.

It is surprising that a map showing their locations is not included; but nevertheless, the book is recommended for its superb photographic coverage. EG

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