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History

Snaefell Mountain Railway

The Snaefell Mountain Railway line was constructed in a remarkably short timescale of just seven months, including delays caused by the Great Snow of the year. Opened on 21 August 1895, it was recorded that some 900 people per day were carried during the first short season.

The task to which the line was constructed was aided by the steam locomotive Caledonia, which was dispatched by sea from Ramsey to Laxey Harbour and then moved on baulks and rollers through the village over to Laxey Station. Laxey is the starting point for the Snaefell Mountain Railway, which winds its way up to 2,036 feet to the top of Snaefell, the Island's only mountain.

The journey up the side of Laxey Glen is a slow and gradual one, with stunning views of the Lady Isabella - Laxey Wheel. The double line crosses the TT course at the Bungalow Station and starts on the long and final climb up the mountain.

At the summit in the early years, a wooden chalet style building was built including a waiting shelter and staff areas but the increased popularity with the Victorian holidaymakers ensured that a larger, brick built structure was built. The original structure was made of wood and only offered basic facilities to visitors; with the popularity still increasing this structure soon outlived its duties.

Early views of the station reveal that there were timber boarded walkways around the terminus and in recent times these have been retained but are now in concrete form with metal handrails.

All passengers are carried in the line's six wooden-bodied electric railcars, built in 1895 and numbered 1 to 6. Car 5 was burned out in an accident in 1970 and its body is a replacement built in 1971 to a similar design. The railcars were re-equipped in the late 1970s with new bogies to a design based on the original, using motors and traction equipment from withdrawn Aachen trams.

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