DCSIMG

Race to finish £1m revamp of Laxey station

Isle of Man Railways workers install new overhead wires on the Snaefell Mountain Railway at the revamped Laxey station in a race against time at the start of the 2014 season

Isle of Man Railways workers install new overhead wires on the Snaefell Mountain Railway at the revamped Laxey station in a race against time at the start of the 2014 season

  • by Dave Kneale
 

The race is on to complete major upgrades at Laxey station before the Snaefell Mountain Railway returns to service tomorrow (Friday).

A team of local contractors and overhead wiring specialists from the UK is putting the finishing touches to a four-month revamp to the station, which acts as the hub of both the Manx Electric Railway (MER) and the Snaefell Mountain Railway (SMR).

Tynwald granted funds in October 2013 following warnings that without essential maintenance the MER might have to close for good.

Over £1 million has been spent on the network in and around the Laxey area alone this winter.

Work began in November to re-lay nearly 800 metres of track and replace a kilometre’s worth of overhead wiring at the station.

The tarmac surface around the tracks has been replaced by gravel and two trees were felled to make room for an adjustment to the track layout.

Work on the MER was completed in time for its first day of operations last Friday, but the installation of power lines for the SMR has continued into this week.

The timescale for completing the work was tightened further by damage from the extreme winter weather, as a landslip at Ballaglass threatened to delay the start of this year’s operations.

The first trips to the summit of Snaefell on the SMR are scheduled to take place tomorrow (Friday).

Despite some finishing work that is still to be completed at Laxey, the Department of Infrastructure is confident that they will go ahead.

Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly said: ‘The amount of work planned for this winter was ambitious and the wet winter has not helped.

‘However, the railways are reopening as scheduled. It has been a great team effort involving our staff, local contractors and overhead specialists from the UK.’

 

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