Delay to the MER Laxey-Ramsey Service?


During bad weather around two months ago a landslip occurred in the vicinity of Ballaglass power station affecting the Manx Electric track bed, and stopping tram use over that area. With no passenger service this winter, there was no immediate operating impact, although it should have been obvious that an early assessment and repair of the area was desirable to allow advertised summer services to commence as planned on April 4 .

Yet with just over five weeks to go, the area is still waiting to be assessed, before any repairs can start, putting at risk much needed revenue streams not only for the tramway but also business who rely on trade from the MER both along the route and at the Island's Chief Minister's constituency of Ramsey. Given the remaining short time before the start of the summer season, it is entirely possible that, yet again, tram services to Ramsey may be cancelled – remember the fiasco during 2008.

Railways throughout the UK have suffered from this winter's storms, the severe slip on the main line at Dawlish making national news, but also several smaller undertakings including the Seaton Tramway have also suffered. In both the Dawlish & Seaton cases, assessments were carried out within a matter of days – Seaton planning extra lengths to open as near to their planned start date as possible over a section of unaffected line, the slip having occurred just days prior to the start of their season, no doubt aware of the financial implications any delay would cause. Efforts too are being made to get the damaged area repaired as quickly as possible to restore a normal service.

It is not entirely clear why such a lengthy delay has occurred at the Manx Electric Railway. Is governmental emergency funding not designed for such a situation? The urgency should now be to get the area repaired, the Manx Electric fully reopened to the north and later sort out why there has been a delay, or who is responsible.

In just over three months the Island will again stage the world famous Tourist Trophy motorcycle festival, the busiest time for the tramway, when it plays a vital role in moving crowds to events held in the Island's north.



On March 18, 2014 Isle of Man Railways issued a press release with an update of the current situation. Details of this press release can be found at the Isle of Man Public Transport website at the following link