Something on the Line
Tram Tales of the Manx Electric Railway 1
Written by Sara Goodwins
What the trams did when a dinosaur strayed onto their line. For children aged 5-8 (and all tram enthusiasts).
“Usually Twain found these sleepovers exciting. Twain was Number 22 and one of the youngest trams. He liked talking to the other trams and trailers who lived in Laxey shed. Some of them were quite old and told funny stories. But not today. Today was different. Today they had a Dinosaur on the line.”
Something on the Line, page 5
Why should all the good children's books be about steam trains? The trams of the Manx Electric Railway (MER) celebrated their 125th birthday in 2018. There are no other trams in the world who have regularly done the job they were built to do over three centuries. And they are still doing it. The MER trams have been trundling up and down their line for such a long time, they have loads of stories.
Something on the Line tells how there were rumours of a dinosaur straying onto the MER line, and how the trams had to work together to sort things out. Twain, number 22 and the youngest tram, had to be particularly brave when he ventured into dinosaur country.
We’ve seen so many children really enjoying their day out on the MER that we thought they’d probably enjoy reading something about the trams’ adventures. The book is the first in the series ‘Tram Tales of the MER’. If they’re popular we hope to do many more...
From the Publisher
Although aimed at children, and with anthropomorphised vehicles, we still wanted the illustrations to be as accurate as possible. We hadn't realised what a challenge that could be.
The Manx Electric Railway is made up of a fleet of Victorian and Edwardian trams and trailers. Some of the vehicles have always been different. Tram numbers 1 and 2 (Derby and Joan in our tales) differ from all the other trams in the fleet. The winter saloons differ from the tunnel cars, and the open toastrack trams are different again.
Yet over the years, as the old vehicles have been maintained and repainted, and as management has come and gone, other differences have crept in. Some are obvious - tunnel car 7 is the only tram (at the moment) which is blue. Some differences are far more subtle, however.
For example, Twain (number 22) has his number positioned directly above his light. Timothy Twenty’s number is also above his light but off-set slightly to be in the middle of the dash panel. Pam the Paddlebox, on the other hand, has her number (16) directly below her light, while Sven (number 7) has his number to the right of his light.
Getting it right was sometimes a nightmare, but important we thought. After all, the differences are all part of the individual tram’s personality.
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