Stops Along the Manx Electric Railway
by George Hobbs
Loaghtan Books, 2014 (£18.95)
(ISBN 978 1908 060 099)
A4, light card covers, 140pp, colour covers, one or two colour photos per page, brief introduction and two appendices. Published 2014 by Loaghtan Books, Caardee, Dreemskerry Hill, Maughold, Isle of Man IM7 1BE, www.loaghtanbooks.com. Price £18.95, free delivery from publishers; also available in the Museum shop.
Virtually all the pictures are by the author, who had the idea of travelling along the MER (not up Snaefell) and photographing all the stops. Some smaller ones get a single photo on half a page – e.g. Ballamoar Bottom and Top – but most get at least a page and, in some cases – e.g. Laxey – considerably more.
All the pictures are modern, so there are no vintage scenes. Despite this, there are some interesting variant, such as 22 taken in 2002 in IOM transport bus livery. Other liveries seen are car 7 in blue and white and 16 in green (the so-called ‘nationalised’ scheme). Motor 19 appears in historic brown and cream livery lettered for the ‘Douglas, Laxey & Ramsey Electric Tramway’. There are a couple of evocative shots of illuminated cars too.
Rarely spotted by the enthusiast will be wire trailer 52 and diesel-electric loco 34 (the much-rebuilt Snaefell coal tram Maria), both mainly in ‘engineering’ yellow.
Some facts unlikely to be known to the irregular visitor are also revealed, such as that some stops were designed to serve only the farms through which the line ran and thus have no public access; Skinscor is one example. One could, it must be admitted, have done without some of the pictures of green corrugated iron passenger shelters! But that is a quibble beside a book containing uniformly excellent photographs over the entire length of the railway.
There is a brief two-page historical introduction and an appendix listing the passenger facilities available at those stops which have them. There is also a bibliography. The obvious omission is a fleet list. One could possibly be compiled from the detailed captions, but a list which assisted the reader in getting the most from the pictures and text would have been welcome. Thoroughly recommended, however, especially perhaps for those who have not visited the island in a long while.
Review by RJB