Stops along the Manx Electric Railway
Written by George Hobbs
A photographic survey illustrating every stop along the line from Douglas to Ramsey, showing the surroundings, the trams and giving background information about the stop itself.
“Mr Watson worked at the power station below the line between Dolland and Ballaglass. Watson’s Crossing marks the point where he crossed the line on his way to work every day, using the footpath down into the valley.”
Stops along the Manx Electric Railway, page 95
The Manx Electric Railway (MER) runs through some of the loveliest of the Manx countryside. Built to serve tourists and locals alike it still operates with its antique rolling stock. Yet most of the stops remain a mystery to most passengers.
Stopping places were arranged to meet local and tourist demand and some of them have no public access except by tramcar. To serve its customers new stops are still being added: the latest is on a new housing estate on the outskirts of Ramsey. This book shows them all.
Over the past two decades the author has spent many happy (and, in the rain, not so happy) hours with his camera by the lineside, or on the cars, amassing a collection of tramway photographs. As the book conducts the reader along the line, each of the stops is shown and described in extended captions. Unusual workings and special events feature prominently in the photographs plus a wide range of different tramcars (and almost as many liveries!).
However, the book is not only a collection of pictures of trams but also a potted social history of the line, including the reason for the stop and the choice of name.
An astonishing survivor of advanced Victorian technology the MER opened in stages from 1893 to connect Douglas with Ramsey along 18 miles of Manx coastline. The rugged nature of the terrain meant that steam power was rejected. New-fangled electricity was used instead: so new that the island's first power station was built to service the railway. Over one hundred and twenty years later it is still possible to catch a normal service with the world's oldest operating tramcar; Number 1 of 1893 is still earning its keep.
The book will appeal to transport enthusiasts, tourists and in fact anyone who wants to find out more about this fascinating railway.
From the Publisher
The subtitle of Stops along the Manx Electric Railway is a bit of a giveaway. 'What we did on our holidays' does exactly what it says on the tin. Before Loaghtan Books relocated to the island we spent quite a lot of our holidays here, travelling around on the superb vintage transport and hopping on and off at all the wayside halts.
There are few better ways of exploring the Manx countryside than sitting on an open trailer enjoying the fresh air, or, if it's raining, reclining in a service car watching the world go by. The MER line takes passengers to parts of the island without other public access; to visit them you must catch the tram. Much of the railway offers tantalising glimpses into hidden glens, paths beside waterfalls or down to beaches and coves. Alighting we often walked along greenways, lanes and footpaths before picking up the tram again at another remote lineside stop.
It occurred to us that few people seemed to use many of these stops or even know where they are, let alone have photographed the vintage trams calling at them. From that realisation arose this book.
Rail enthusiasts like to see photographs of their favourite lines, particularly showing unusual views and details, and the MER is unique in all sorts of ways. From nearly twenty years of photographing the line, the rolling stock and the Manx countryside we've managed to get some unique shots of our own. A selection of them are reproduced here; we hope you like them as much as we enjoyed taking them.
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