Isle of Man
The tramway that carried ore from the mine to the washing floors has been restored
tramway was built in 1823 to carry the ore from the Great Laxey Mines to the washing
floors. Wagons were originally pushed by hand but as output increased,
horses were used.
As the mine expanded, ponies were finding it increasingly difficult to pull all the wagons of ore. In 1877, the company bought two small steam locomotives, Ant and Bee, which could run on the 19” track and were capable of pulling six or seven fully loaded wagons of ore. The crew consisted of a driver and lad whose duties included shunting, coupling and uncoupling the wagons and tipping.
When the mines finally closed in 1928, the two engines were cut up and sold for scrap.
In 1999, the Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust planned a replica engine shed with wagons and information boards. A generous donation left in a will enabled two replica engines to be built and the line restored from the washing floors to near the main adit.
The Great Laxey Mines Railway reopened in 2004 with two replica steam engines which carry visitors under the A2 (described as the only railway tunnel on the island) up the valley to a small halt near the Great Laxey Mines adit. Two specially designed carriages carry passengers along the short stretch of track.
The railway also own a small battery operated industrial engine built in 1973, which worked in a mine in Cornwall. It is appropriately named Wasp.
A four wheel tipping truck forms part of the static display at Valley Gardens Station, along with other pieces of old equipment.
The railway is entirely run by volunteers and runs every Saturday from the end of March to the end of September. There is a small shop at the station.
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