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Isle of Man

September 12, 2017 03:48PM
Had a week to kill between meetings in the UK and meetings in France, so I figured I'd fly out to the Isle of Man and check out the narrow gauge on the island. For such a tiny island, this place is full of railways of all shapes and sizes.

    [*] Manx Electric - 3' double track tram system from Douglas to Ramsey, 550VDC overhead
    [*] Snaefell Mountain Railway - 3'6" 550VDC overhead double track tram line, Laxey to Snaefell summit using the Fell Mountain Railway System third rail (for braking)
    [*] Isle of Man Railway - 3' steam railway, 16 of the original 46 miles remaining and operated
    [*] Douglas Horse Tramway - 3', double track, horse-drawn tramway along the Douglas promenade
    [*] Groudle Glen Railway - 2' steam railway from Groudle to the coastal cliffs
    [*] Great Laxey Mine Railway - 19" steam railway from Laxey to near the Laxey Mine

There's also the Douglas Southern Electric Tramway, which was standard gauge, but nothing of it (that I can find) remains.

Power output? About 1 hp...

The Groudle Glen, originally built in 1896 and rebuilt by volunteers in the 1980s, runs from a station called Lhen Coan (seen here) out another called Sea Lion Rocks on the coast. The line is quite short - maybe a mile or so. Sea Lion, seen here, is the line's original 2-4-0 built in 1896 and beautifully restored.


The Groudle's coastal terminal is Sea Lion Rocks, named after the cove just beyond that had been converted into a small Victorian-era zoo. The zoo survived until WWII, and the line ran sporatically after that, but ceased original operations in 1962.


The line has no turnings facilities, so the engine runs boiler first out to the coast, runs around, and runs backwards back to Lhen Coan. Unlike the locomotive, the coaches are replicas. The railway seem to operate on Sundays during the summer and an all-you-want-to-ride pass is 4 pounds. There's a nice little railway book shop at Lhen Coan as well.


The cliffs on the opposite side from the station house show the foundations that remain of the zoo. It was reached by an iron bridge high above the cove that's long gone - likely rusted out and fell into the sea, based on the rusted stubs still visible.
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ND Holmes September 12, 2017 03:48PM

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