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Images from 'The really big surprise
  “Rose was right. She couldn’t be the Big Surprise if everyone knew about her visit.
“Perhaps Douglas is the surprise,” he thought. Sven didn’t speak Horse very well,
but he had a go…. ”
The Really Big Surprise Page 15
blank top
  Photo of Sven looking up pole from The Really Big Surprise  
How do we choose which trams
to write about?

  The trams of the MER can be divided
into roughly three groups.
(Knowledgeable enthusiasts should
look away at this point!)
  The ‘winter saloons’ do the most
work and are like decorated boxes on
wheels. Despite their name they are
used whenever the railway is
operating as they can carry the most
passengers and are enclosed so don’t
let the rain in. Twain, Number 22
and the star of the first of our tram
tales, Something on the Line,
is a winter saloon.
  Then there are the ‘open motors’,
which have seats and tops but no
sides, where passengers sit almost in
the open air. They are great fun, but
the Manx weather doesn’t encourage
their frequent use. (The island does
get quite a lot of wind and rain.)
For obvious reasons open motors
are sometimes called ‘toast racks’,
and look a little like trailers but have
their own motive power. Pam,
Number 16, is an open motor and
starred in Stick to Safety.
  The third group is what is known
as ‘tunnel cars’. They’re called that
because, originally, their seats ran
the length of the tram on either side,
so their passengers faced inwards.
Two still have their original seats,
while the seats of the other two,
Sven the Number 7 among them,
have been changed so that the
passengers face forward. Also
enclosed, tunnel cars are slightly
narrower than the winter saloons
and so can’t carry as many
passengers. We chose tunnel car Sven
to star in this our third Tram Tale as
he is the only MER tram currently
painted blue.
  Each of the groups can be subdivided
further, and tramcars 1 and 2
(Derby and Joan to us) are different
again, but we hope that our books
introduce reader to the main types
of MER tram).
  The Really Big Surprise; Tram Tales of the Manx Electric Railway #3
The third book about the adventures
of the trams of the Manx Electric Railway (MER).

The railway is 125 years old on 7 September 2018,
and still operates with its original rolling stock.
Of course the trams are looking forward to their
birthday party. There’s going to be a Really Big
Surprise, but no-one knows what it is.

page 15 from the really big surprise

Sven is the Number Seven, a tunnel car, and the
MER’s only blue tram at the moment. He is just
as excited as all his friends by the thought of
a surprise, and tries to find out what it is.

He meets Rose, from the Douglas Bay Tramway,
who is visiting the MER with her horse, Douglas,
but they can’t be the really big surprise because
everyone knows about them.

He tries asking his crew, but they won’t tell him
and none of the other trams know either.
page 14 from the really big surprise

Eventually they all have to wait until the birthday
arrives and the surprise is unveiled…

Most of the events described in the book actually
happened. Tram Number 1 from the Douglas Bay
Tramway did visit the MER’s rails as a special event
during the birthday celebrations. It was the first
time any tram had been pulled by horse along the
electric line.

And the Really Big Surprise? Read the book
and find out!

page 19 from the really big surprise

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