Groudle Glen Railway

"Annie" and "Sea Lion" ready to depart from Sea Lion Rocks



Train Services for 2010 will operate on the following days: -

Calendar Codes:

GREEN - Trains operate 11am to 4:30pm

RED - Trains operate 7pm - 9pm

BLUE - SPECIAL EVENTS (See Groudle Glen Railway website for full details)

YELLOW - Festive Services - 11am to 3:30pm

PINK - Special Services by Booking Only- 7pm - 9pm (See Groudle Glen Railway website for full details)

ORANGE - Winter Volunteers Day

Fares for the 2010 season:

Return: Adult £4; Child £2
Single: Adult £2.50; Child £1.50
All Day Fare: Adult £6; Child £3
Dogs: 50pence
Please Note: Special fares apply on Special Event Days and Festive Services
(See Groudle Glen Railway website for full details)


The Groudle Glen Railway is operated by volunteers from the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters Association. Further details of the Association and Groudle Glen Railway can be found on the website

The line is situated a few miles north of Douglas, Isle of Man and can easily be reached by car or, from Douglas, Laxey and Ramsey, by Manx Electric Railway tram services.

The above dates and times of operation have been taken from the Groudle Glen Railway published timetable - any query regarding the services, or to check for up to the minute details of operations, should be directed to the Groudle Glen Railway at the above website.


It was the popularity of the Isle of Man as a Victorian tourist resort with vast numbers of visitors, largely thanks to better social conditions and transport links both within the United Kingdom and to and from the Island, that caused numerous attractions to be constructed, each in their own way catering for the addition to the Manx economy. One such project was sited at Groudle Glen, just north of Douglas and which soon proved popular enough to warrant the need for some form of system to transport the crowds through the glen.

In 1896 a steam-operated railway line was constructed linking the inner glen at Lhen Coan with the attractions on the coast at Sea Lion Rocks, a distance of approximately three quarters of one mile. Despite the relative short length of the new line, a vast array of different scenic vistas was offered to the passenger, ranging from charmed inland glen views, which became very wooded in appearance as foliage became more established, through to spectacular coastal scenery, much beloved during the Victorian era.

Two stations were provided, one at each end of the line - Lhen Coan and Sea Lion Rocks - whilst track was of 2' gauge comprising lightweight falt bottom rails. Single-line throughout, a passing loop was later installed on the headland, about two-thirds of the way along the line, which allowed the simultaneous operation of two trains. An initial 2-4-0 tank locomotive was purchased from the engineering works of WG Bagnell and was given the name SEA LION after one of the animal attractions found at the coastal end of the line. Patronage soon increased to the point that a second similarly constructed locomotive was added in 1905 and named POLAR BEAR. Aside from a short period during the early 1920's, when motive power was provided by two battery-electric locomotives, these two steam engines continued to operate peacetime services until the railway closed.

With the Manx tourist industry coming to an abrupt halt as a result of the Second World War services were suspended for the duration and when the railway reopened afterwards it was operating over a shortened section between Lhen Coan and the Headland. Throughout the 1950's both the Glen and railway, in line with the Manx tourist industry generally, fell prey to diminishing numbers of visitors and by the early 1960's it had become uneconomic, despite strenuous efforts by management and staff to see it continue. Attempts to repair POLAR BEAR, by then the sole operational engine, or find a suitable replacement for the 1963 season failed and the line effectively closed at the end of the 1962 summer season, after which it was largely dismantled.

Some twenty years after the line closed the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters Association were seeking an avenue to channel its energies and, after looking at a number of options, the decision was taken to try and restore the line at Groudle. From 1982 the former track bed was cleared and in October that year eight 4-wheel former RAF bomb wagons were acquired for various uses during the line's reconstruction. Track laying started in May 1983 over the Headland - Lhen Coan section and two second-hand Hudson-Hunslett diesel locomotives & other items of rolling stock were purchased from a closed line at Doddington House, with the first passenger train being operated between Lime Kiln Halt & Headland during December. Reconstruction continued over the next couple of years and had reached a point that regular operation between Lhen Coan and Headland could recommence on Sunday, May 25, 1986. The following year saw the return of the railway's original locomotive SEA LION, which had undergone a complete rebuild by BNFL, Sellafield. Continued efforts saw the line extended to its original length, with the Headland - Sea Lion Rocks section being re-opened in May 1992.

Improvements to the railway and its facilities are continually being undertaken and it has been host to a range of visiting locomotives, including former GGR engine POLAR BEAR, now resident at the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum. Santa & Mince Pie special trains are amongst the annual railway calendar, indeed this was the first line on the Island to offer the facility and trains normally operate on each Sunday, certain Saturdays and Wednesday evenings throughout the summer.

More details of the Groudle Glen Railway can be found at:

Details of the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters Association can be found at