Steam engine is returning to internee camp

Wednesday 4th March 2020 6:23 am
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Caledonia, pictured during celebrations in 2019 to mark the 140th anniversary of the opening of the Manx Northern Railway from St John's to Ramsey

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The steam engine Caledonia will return to the site of the Knockaloe internment camp after a century away.

The engine was used by the British government to transport food and raw materials to the camp from 1915 to 1920.

Caledonia will go on static display at the site of the former camp in a weekend visit organised by The Knockaloe Charitable Trust as part of the Manx Heritage Transport Festival.

Caledonia will be at Knockaloe on August 1 and 2 and there will be a ticketed event on Friday, July 31, details of which will be confirmed closer to the time.

Director and trustee Alison Jones said: ’The KCT is absolutely delighted to be bringing the wonderful original Knockaloe engine, Caledonia, not in steam this time but on display at the former Knockaloe Internment Camp where she worked so hard helping to feed and fuel the camp just over 100 years ago. With a special First World War guard also joining us, this really is a one-off spectacle for 2020 which will offer a wealth of photographic opportunities.’

The 1.2-mile branch line linked with the Isle of Man Railways line near Glenfaba Mills. It climbed steeply south for about 0.7 miles to Patrick village.

The line then turned west along the access road into the internment camp.

It was operational from September 1, 1915 until October 14, 1920.

At the camp’s peak, Caledonia would make the return trip up to 18 times a day.

The camp held 23,000 internees and 2,000 guards at any one time during the First World War.

A visitors centre which opened last year tells its history.

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