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Great Laxey Mine Rail

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THE GREAT LAXEY MINE RAILWAY: Circa 1780 and the Great Laxey Mine started extraction of lead and zinc, by the 1870's the mine was one of the most successful in Britain. Yields from the mine required transport from the mine site deep underground, under the A2 road from Douglas to Ramsey to the 'washing and dressing' areas in Laxey. Ponies were used to haul the minerals from 1827 but they were replaced by two miniature Steam Locomotives named 'Ant' and 'Bee' in 1877.

The locomotives were built by Stephen Lewin of Poole in Dorset, England for a total of 1,500.00. The mine railway was a narrow gauge type of 19", each train was manned by a driver and mate, their duties included shunting, tipping, maintenance of rolling stock and track. The mine closed in 1929, 'Ant' and 'Bee' were unceremoniously locked in their engine shed and in 1930 they were cut up for scrap.

In 1999 the 'Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust' decided to develop a static display at the railway site, including a replica engine shed, wagons and information signage. A donation allowed development of a fully operational railway and in 2004 full working replicas of 'Ant' and 'Bee' were manufactured by Great Northern Steam Limited, Darlington, England. Six replica wagons and a small passenger carriage were also manufactured. On the 25th September 2004 the Great Laxey Mine Railway was officially reopened as a tourist attraction, coinciding with the 150th anniversary of the Great Laxey Wheel.

REPLICA 'BEE': The replica 0-2-0 'Bee' performs regular trips through the tunnel under the A2 road and terminates near the Great Laxey Wheel carpark, once the site of the long forgotten Laxey Browside Tramway.

'BEE' PREPARING FOR WORK

LUBRICATION

THE BOILER

'BEE' WAITING FOR MORE PASSENGERS

'BEE' 0-2-0 CONFIGURATION

'BEE' NAMEPLATE

'BEE' AND 'WASP' TOGETHER

WASP: This 0-2-0 battery powered locomotive was built in 1973 by Clayton UK and it was used for many years by a Construction Company in the UK. It was purchased with funding from the Manx Heritage Foundation, refurbished, repainted to match 'Ant' and 'Bee', the gauge changed to 19" and rebadged 'Wasp'.

The 'Wasp' is used as a back up for 'Ant' and 'Bee' to haul tourists through the tunnel under the A2 road.

WASP, BATTERY POWERED LOCOMOTIVE

TRACKSIDE: Trackside there are few items to indicate the extent of manual labour, lead and zinc deposits etc. that must have been everywhere when the mine was in full operation. Some idea of the scope of underground mining is depicted on the 'section to show underground workings' and images of original rolling stock and the topside plant layout are shown on the 'washing floors' picture.

UNDERGROUND WORKINGS

ORIGINAL ROLLING STOCK AND PLANT LAYOUT

LOCO WHEELS AND PULLEY

MANUAL POINT

19" GAUGE TRACK

ENVIRON: The Great Laxey Mine Railway 'station' is located adjacent the 'Lady Evelyn' Water Wheel and the remains of the 'washing floors' area used to prepare extracted ore for sale. The journey from the 'station', through the tunnel under the A2 road ends within easy walking distance of the Great Laxey Wheel carpark. The 'Lady Isabella', the largest water wheel in the world, is easily reached from the carpark.

THE 'LADY EVELYN' WATER WHEEL AND THE REMNANTS OF THE 'WASHING FLOORS' AREA, NOW GRASSED PARKLAND

THE 'LADY ISABELLA' WATER WHEEL

MORE ISLE OF MAN RAILWAYS: Please continue my 'Isle of Man Railways' coverage by selecting from the following pages...

Up Groudle Glen Railway Electric Railways Great Laxey Mine Rail Horse Drawn Trams

MORE RAILWAYS COVERAGE: Please continue my 'Railways coverage' by selecting from the following pages...

Galveston Rail Museum Temple Rail Museum Palestine Rusk Railway Texas Transport Mus Nevada State Museum Nevada North Museum Didcot Rail Centre UK Rail Museum York UK German Railways Isle of Man Railways NSWGR Museum Bellarine Victoria Puffing Billy Victoria Sydney Tram Museum

 

I LOVE NEW TECHNOLOGY, TABLETS, LAPTOPS, DIGITAL CAMERAS, MOBILE PHONES/WIRELESS BROADBAND, GPS, ETC.  ALL SO COOL AND 'PORTABLE'......


Copyright 2013   Derek J. Hanbidge,  (aka Deejay51),  all rights reserved.
Revised: August 25, 2013.

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