Manx Electric Railway

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere
MER Car No.20 crosses the road into Baldrine station

The Manx Electric Railway is an electric interurban tramway connecting the towns of Douglas, Laxey and Ramsey on the Isle of Man. It connects with the Douglas Horse Tram at its southern terminus at Derby Castle in Douglas, and with the Snaefell Mountain Railway at Laxey station. The route of the tramway is one of scenic beauty and, for that reason, among others, many holiday visitors to the Isle of Man take an excursion on one of the trams.


The line is built to 3 ft (914 mm) gauge and is 17 miles (27.4 km) long. It is largely segregated from road traffic, running on roadside reservation or private right-of-way, and is electrified using overhead line at 500 volts direct current.

The line provides service throughout the year although the winter service is much less frequent than the summer service.

Originally the service was provided by about two dozen electric tramcars and the same number of trailers, the earliest of which date from 1893 and almost all of which predate 1910. Two of the original three cars that opened the line in 1893 are still in use, and are the oldest electric tramcars still at work on their original line anywhere in the world. The design of Manx tramcars predates any consensus on tramcar design, and as a consequence they have quite distinctive boxy bodies. Most services are operated by a motor car towing a single trailer.

Trams used in passenger service during 2006 were: Motors: 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 32 and 33. Trailers: 37, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 56, 57, 59, 61 and 62.

The Manx Electric Railway is owned and operated by Isle of Man Transport, a department of the Isle of Man government.


A train waits at Laxey station

The first section of the line, from Douglas to Groudle Glen, opened in 1893, the line reaching Laxey in 1894 and Ramsey in 1899. The first section of the line was built by the Douglas Bay Estates Ltd., and by 1894 the tramway had been acquired by the Douglas & Laxey Electric Tramway Co. Ltd. which changed its name to the Isle of Man Tramways & Electric Power Co. Ltd. (IoMT&EP) in the same year.

The IoMT&EP went into liquidation in 1900 as a consequence of a banking collapse. The Manx Electric Railway was sold by the liquidator to the newly formed Manx Electric Railway Co. Ltd., which took over the services in 1902. By the late 1950s the Manx Electric Railway Co. Ltd. was itself in financial difficulties, and the company and its assets were acquired by the Isle of Man government in 1957.


Major tram stops include

See also

External links


  • Goodwyn, A.M. (1976) Is This Any Way To Run A Railway ? - The Story of the Manx Electric Railway Since 1956., Manx Electric Railway Society (24 November 2006)
  • Goodwyn, M., (1993) Manx Electric, 1st Edition, Platform 5 Publishing, ISBN 978-1-872524-52-8
  • Hendry, R., (1993), Rails in the Isle of Man: A Colour Celebration, Midland Publishing Limited, ISBN 1-85780-009-5

Flag of the Isle of Man.svg Heritage railways in the Isle of Man

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway - Great Laxey Mine Railway - Groudle Glen Railway
Isle of Man Railway - Manx Electric Railway - Port Erin Railway Museum - Snaefell Mountain Railway
Heritage Railways: England - Scotland - Wales - Northern Ireland - Isle of Man - Channel Islands