Manx Electric Railway Cars
Power Cars
 
This isn't meant to be a history of the MER cars, just a collection of photographs that I have taken of each car from 1990 until the present day,
showing some of the changes to liveries over time. Pictures from the 1990s are scanned from prints or slides and I don't have exact dates.
Much of the historical information on the cars is from the excellent 'Manx Electric Railway Online' website.  Numbering of the trailer cars
can be confusing as some were re-numbered over the years and new vehicles took up old numbers.  I've tried to present them in chronological order.
 
 Back to Manx Railways
 1893
Three power cars and six trailers were delivered from G.F Milnes for the start of services from Douglas (Derby Castle) to Groudle.  It had been hoped that each power car could haul two trailers, but they had insufficient power for the gradients and worked with a single trailer car.   Originally hand braked and equipped with only one motor per truck, they were re-trucked with twin motors and equipped with air brakes in 1903. Bow type current collectors fitted until 1898.  Car No 3 was destroyed in the Laxey depot fire in 1930, although it has been known to 'reappear' from time to time recently!
 
Cars No 1 - 3
 
No 1
1990s
2000
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2011
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
 2018

No 2
1990s
2000
2002
2003
2004
2005
2007
2008
2011
2012
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018

No 3
Destroyed in Laxey Depot Fire - 1930
 
The ghost of Car No 3 has been know to make appearances from time to tome on the MER.  Fortunately I was out and about with my 'plate camera' and tripod to catch one of the last apparitions in 2018.
2018
2018
2018
2018
2018

 
Trailers No 49 - 54
(Originally numbered 11 - 16)
 
No 49
2003
2007
2008

No 50
2006
2006

No 51
2009
2013
2015
2016
2017
2018

No 52
For some years this car had been used without roof or seats as a rail carrier during the winters period, being re-fitted for the summer period. In the late 1940s it seems to have become a permanent works vehicle and now only has one end dash panel fitted. The trucks currently fitted to it are from motor car No 4, the body of which was destroyed in the Laxey Depot fire in 1930.  They were fitted in the late 1950s or early 1960s with the motors removed.  Its original roof had been stored and was apparently used on No 51 when it was rebuilt in 1987.
2001
2006
2009
2009
2016

No 53
2006
2006

No 54
2006
2017
 

 1894
Six new power cars delivered from G.F Milnes for the start of services to Laxey, together with six new trailers.  Two of the power cars and four of the trailers were lost in the Laxey depot fire in 1930. The trailers were most likely originally numbered from 17 - 22, being re-numbed in 1898.  Power cars had Bow type current collectors until 1898.
 
Cars No 4 - 9  The 'Tunnel Cars'
 
No. 4
Destroyed in Laxey Depot Fire - 1930, but trucks re-used later under trailer No 52.

No 5
1993
2000
2001
2002
2005
2007
2009
2010
2013
2015
2016
2017
2018

No 6
1990s
2000
2001
2002
2003
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
2013
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2017
2018

No 7
Was 'works car' for some years but restored in 2010.
1990s
2000
2004
2005
2006
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018

No 8
Destroyed in Laxey Depot Fire - 1930

No 9
Fitted with illuminations in 1993.
1990
1993
2001
2003
2004
2004
2004
2005
2006
2009
2011
2012
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
 
 
Trailers No 34 - 39
(Originally numbered 17 - 22)
No 34
Destroyed in Laxey Depot Fire - 1930

No 35
Destroyed in Laxey Depot Fire - 1930

No 36
2006
2017

No 37
Under restoration in 2019
2004
2019

No 38
Destroyed in Laxey Depot Fire - 1930

No 39
Destroyed in Laxey Depot Fire - 1930

 1895
Four power cars built by G. F. Milnes, plus the 'Director's Saloon. The power cars were to a similar design as the Snaefell cars delivered in the same year and also delivered with unglazed windows. Bow type current collectors until 1898.  They were not popular and taken out of passenger service in the early 1900s.  There was a suggestion that they could be re-gaugued, glazed and used as additional cars on the Snaefell Mountain Railway, but instead they were converted for freight use.
 
 
Cars No 10 - 13
 
No. 10  -  Freight Trailer No 26
Converted to unpowered freight car No 26, currently in storage.
1993
2006
2018

No. 11
Converted to a powered goods car in 1904, then to an unpowered goods trailer in 1911, being renumbered to No 21 in the goods fleet in 1918.  Around 1925/26 it donated it trucks to a new build flat vehicle also numbered No 21 and the body was scrapped.
 
Freight Trailer No 21
Not quite Car No 11, but this is the 'new' build trailer No 21 from 1926 that used the trucks from No 11.
2006
2009
2010

No. 12
Rebuilt in 1903 as a powered Cattle Car with a higher roof. In 1912 it had the motors removed and was used as an unpowered vehicle and renumbered to 22 in the goods fleet.  It was scrapped in 1927.

No. 13
Withdrawn from use in 1903 and stored until 1918 when it was converted to a freight trailer and re-numbered to 23 in the goods fleet.  It was again re-numbered to 22 in 1927 after the vehicle above was scrapped.  From 1936 onwards it was used as a staff mess hut at The Dhoon until officially withdrawn from use in 1944.  The remains lingered on at The Dhoon until broken up in 1957.

 
Trailer No 59
(Originally No 26, then 32)
 Originally delivered as a 4 wheeled 'Director's Saloon', taking up its present number of 59 in the 1903 renumbering. It was fitted with bogie trucks in 1900 as it apparently was prone to derailments in its original form.  On the 25th August 1902 it became a 'Royal Saloon' when it conveyed King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra from Derby Castle.  It has been used as a Tourist Office at the Sea Terminal and a waiting room at Derby Castle in the 1970s before becoming a museum exhibit.  Overhauled in 2005 it saw some use before being withdrawn in 2015 after a derailment. Further work was carried out and it emerged again in  2018 restored to its original blue livery, just in time for the MER 125th celebrations.
1990s
2011
2013
2014
2018
2018
 
 1896
Just one extra trailer delivered, built by G.F. Milnes.
 
Trailer No 60 
(Originally No 27, re-numbered in the early 1900s)
 A lucky survivor of the 1930 Laxey Depot fire, being pulled out of the burning building and repaired.
2014
2015
2015
2016
2017
2017
2018
 
 

 1898
 Nine new vehicles were delivered, built by G.F. Milnes.  Five were open crossbench motor cars and numbered from 14 - 18. Delivered from new with trolley type current collectors.  They were not fitted with air brakes and have become known as 'Ratchet Cars', from the hand operated braking system.  In 1899 No 16 exchanged trucks and equipment with Car No 4 which resulted in a change to its appearance with 'paddle boxes' on the running boards to clear the larger trucks and making it the only car in this series to be equipped with air brakes.  The other four vehicles were delivered as trailers and originally numbered 19 - 22, but re-numbered to 40 - 43 on the arrival of the 'Winter Saloons' that took their original numbers. These four cars were motorized and equipped with air brakes in 1903 and renumbered yet again to become numbers 24 -27.
 
Cars No 14 - 18 
 
No 14
Out of use for many years, but restored to service in 2018. Retains 'Ratchet Car' configuration.
2006
2017
2018
2018

No 15
1993
2006

No 16
'Paddle Box' appearance due to new trucks fitted in the early 1900s.
2001
2002
2004
2005
2011
2014
2015
2016
2017
2017
 
 
2018

No 17
1993
2018

No 18
1993
2016
 
 
Trailers No 19 - 22
Renumbered to 40 - 43 in 1899 then rebuilt as power cars No 24 -27 in 1903
No 40
Converted to power Car No 24

No 41
Converted to power Car No 25

No 42
Converted to power Car No 26

No 43
Converted to power Car No 27

1899
Four new fully glazed saloon power cars built by G. F. Milnes together with five new trailers for the opening of the line all the way to Ramsey.  Delivered with ratchet brakes they were re-equipped during 1904 with the air brake equipment and trucks from Cars 28 - 31.  All of these power cars are currently in service and form the backbone of the operational fleet.  One of the trailers (No 44) was lost in the Laxey depot fire but was replaced by a new trailer that carried the same number.
 
Cars No 19 - 22  The 'Winter Saloons'
 
No 19
1990s
2001
2002
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018

No 20
1990s
2000
2001
2002
2005
2006
2007
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018

No 21
1990s
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2017
2017
2018

No 22
Car No 22 has a slightly different history from the other 'Winter Saloons'.  Originally delivered in 1899, in 1990 the body was destroyed in a fire at Derby Castle Depot.  Only the underframe and trucks survived but a new body was constructed locally and No 22 returned to service in 1992.
1990s
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2011
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
 
 
Trailers No 44 - 48
No 44
Destroyed in the Laxey depot fire in 1930

No 45
No 45 was a standard trailer until 2004 when it was converted into a flat for the works department and has served as such ever since.  However, the parts required to convert it back for passenger use apparently still exist at Derby Castle.  It lost the end dash panel in 2018 or 2019.
2006
2009
2010
2011
2019

No 46
2005
2007
2010
2011
2012
2013
2015
2015
2019

No 47
2003
2005
2014
2015
2017
2018
 
2018
 

No 48
2002
2005
2011
2015
2016
2017
 
2018
 

1900
A locomotive was constructed by the Isle of Man Tramways & Electric Power Co 1900, to a steeple cab design, for handling freight traffic on the MER.  It didn't have its own trucks but 'borrowed' them from Car No 17, having to give them back during busy summer months!  It was involved in an accident in 1914 and was withdrawn from traffic.  It was rebuilt and emerged again in 1926 with a new longer underframe incorporating two wagon bodies.  It still didn't have its own trucks, this time borrowing the much more powerful ones from Car No 33 and operating as such until withdrawn in 1944.  It was restored as an museum exhibit in 1978 and made operational from 1983 to 1984 before returning to being a static exhibit.  It was again restored to service for 1993, using the trucks from Car No 17, but was back in storage the following year and has remained stored minus trucks at several locations since.
 
No 23
 
1993
1993
1993
2006
2011

 1903
Four vehicles that were delivered from G. F. Milnes as trailer cars in 1898, were converted to crossbench motor cars.  Called the 'Paddleboxes' after the steps in the running boards needed to clear the new Brush trucks fitted.  Four brand new trailers were delivered in the same year to replace these cars, re-using the same numbers, 40 - 43.
 
Cars No 24 - 27
(Previously trailers No 40 - 43)
 
No 24
Destroyed in Laxey Depot Fire - 1930

No 25
Sorry, I don't seem to have a picture of Car No 25.  In storage at Laxey, trucks are used under locomotive No 34.

No 26
2003
2006
2007
2008
2011

N. 27
Used as the works car for many years and had a makeshift cab fitted.
1990s
1993
2001
2011
 
 
Trailers No 40  -  43
No 40
Destroyed in Laxey Depot Fire - 1930

No 41
Destroyed in Laxey Depot Fire - 1930

No 42
2005
2006
2018

No 43
2006
2007
2009
2012
2016
 

 1904
Four new power cars and two trailers were built by the Electric Railway & Tramway Carriage Works in 1904 to help with increasing passenger numbers.  Crossbench open cars, the power cars trucks and air brake equipment were moved to the 'Winter Saloons' Nos. 19 -22 in the early 1900s. All of the power cars are in storage and have not worked for many years.  A separate order of the same year delivered the two saloon trailers, No 57 & 58.  These were intended to alter the previous practice of using saloon power cars as trailers during the winter months and run with Cars No 19 - 22.
 
Cars No. 28 - 31
 
No 28
2006
2011

No 29
2006

No 30
2007

No 31
2011
 
 
 
Trailers No 55 & 56
 
No 55
No 55 last worked in 1997 and has been in storage at various locations since then.
2007

 No 56
Delivered as a fairly standard crossbench open trailer, No 56 remained as such until 1991 when conversion started to turn it into a saloon that would be accessible to disabled persons, emerging as such in 1995.
2004
2005
2006
2016
2018

 
Trailers No 57 & 58
 
The two 1904 saloon trailers were used together in 1993 for the 'Steam on the Electric' special trains and I was lucky enough to photograph them with IOMR No 4 'Loch' on the trial run from Laxey to The Dhoon early in the year.
1993
1993
1993
1993
1993

No 57
2012
2015
2017
2018
2018

No 58
2001
2014
2016
2016
2018

 1906
 Two new power cars and two trailers were delivered from the United Electric Car Company.  The power cars were the last to be delivered to the MER and are the most powerful ones on the railway.  All four vehicles are still in service.
 
Cars No 32 - 33
 
No 32
1990s
2005
2008
2009
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2017
2018

No 33
1990s
2001
2002
2004
2006
2011
2011
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2017
2018
 
 
 
Trailers No 61 & 62
 
 No 61
2005
2017
2018

No 62
2006
2008
2017
2017
2018

 1930
 On the 5th of April 1930 a major fire consumed the MER depot at Laxey.  Apart from the building, four motor cars and seven trailers were destroyed in the blaze, only two trailers, Nos. 50 & 60 were saved..  Funds and the insurance settlement were insufficient to rebuild the depot and replace the cars, so in the end only three new bodies were ordered from the English Electric Company and delivered in the same year.  They were to the same design as the ones delivered in 1904 and took numbers and salvaged trucks from three of the cars destroyed in the fire.
 
Trailers No 40, 41 & 44 (II)
 
No 40
2005
2008
2013
2015
2017

No 41
2003
2005
2015
2017

No 44
2006
2007
2011
2011
2018

 2004
 In 1994 work was started at Derby Castle on constructing a replica of the Snaefell Mountain Railway's locomotive No 7 'Maria'.  This was completed in 1996 and made a few appearances but was stored in 1998.  In 2003 work started on rebuilding it as a self propelled diesel electric works car for the Manx Electric Railway and it was finished in 2004.  It employs the trucks from Car No 25 and has been used intermittently since then, also appearing at various enthusiast events on the MER and also the Steam Railway.
 
No 34
 
2004
2005
2009
2009
2010
2010
2010
2011
2011
 
 
Island Images