Stops Along the Manx Electric Railway
by George Hobbs
Loaghtan Books, 2014 (£18.95)
(ISBN 978 1908 060 099)
This full colour book is very different from the usual historical look at tramway systems and presents the Manx Electric Railway in a refres…hingly new way by focussing, not on the history of the line or the rolling stock but looking instead at the tramway through its many obscure stops. Every single passenger stop between Douglas and Ramsey is given its own page, with even the most little used and forgotten halts included. The text is an interesting mix; examining the semantics of the unusual names often given to the various halts and looking at the key attractions or natural features that can be seen at each stop.
The book consists of 140 full colour pages, printed to a very high standard with the photographs in particular standing out as uniformly excellent. The trams are captured at every point on the line, showing them running through the spectacular scenery which characterises the route. Both close ups of the trams and panoramic views in which they are more incidental are included, with detailed captions adding to the information provided in the main text.
Each stop is describe in detail. Most are little more than basic shelters or even just stopping flags on poles. There are larger stations too though and due to the age of the line, no two stops are the same with a variety of buildings built to shelter the traveller from the changable Manx weather.
The vast majority of the photos are recent images, taken in the last few years with no historical images included and this is perhaps the book’s only failing. Due to the relative lack of variety in the running fleet as various trams have become disused, the majority of shots feature either Winter Saloons or Tunnel Cars which can become a little monotonous. The Trailer fleet are occasionally featured but, although some shots of unusual trailers such as 51 are included, it is generally the regular 40s series cars that are seen. Occasional photos of Paddlebox 16, original cars 1 and 2 or Crossbench 32 and 33 creep in to slightly break up the monotony but, in most cases, it is repeated images of the same eight trams that dominate.
However, as this is a publication designed to appeal to casual readers as well as enthusiasts, this failing will probably not be noticed too much by the bulk of people attracted to the book and it definitely does not detract too much from its enjoyment. Crammed with fascinating facts and excellent images, this is definitely a publication that can be highly recommended and, considering the high standard of presentation, also represents excellent value for money.
Ramsey, as the northern terminus of the Manx Electric Railway, also concluded the book on its stops. Winter Saloon 19 and Trailer 46, both of which feature prominently within its pages, are seen shunting in the station ready for their southbound run to Douglas.