Take on the Isle of Man with 3 vintage-style train adventures


The Manx Electric Railway at the station in Douglas

There is often a sense of adventure when travelling by train. To follow the tracks to a new unknown destination …unless it’s your local commute to work of course. And when it comes to a train trip, the journey often seems to shine as bright as the destination. So is the case on the Isle of Man, where three different vintage-style trains lets you discover large parts of the island – while serving up some of its most stunning natural scenery. On top of this, the actual trains themselves are attractions too, and must-see’s for true enthusiasts.

Isle of Man Steam Railway

This is a unique chance to travel by steam on the Isle of Man, almost 25 kilometers (15,5 miles) between the capital of Douglas and southern seaside town of Port Erin. An attractive one hour journey as the train chug-chug-chugs through small towns and rural landscapes – occasionally blowing its whistle. I would definitely recommend to get off and explore the charm of Castletown, before reaching the station in Port Erin – and if you’re a true train-geek, you shouldn’t miss a visit to the little railway museum here, before heading back.

These tracks were opened in 1874 and were originally a part of a much larger railway-network on the island, but it’s really nice to see this piece kept alive by the government.

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The beautiful steam train stopping at Castletown

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Steaming through stunning scenery between Douglas and Port Erin

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The steam railway at the station in Port Erin

Manx Electric Railway

Normally you find trams being part of the transport-network in bigger cities, but the Manx Electric Railway is a tram that travels great distances between Douglas and the town of Ramsey, in the northern part of the island. A journey of more than 27 kilometers (17 miles) that takes you through suburbs, past towns and along the eastern coastline of the Isle of Man, offering some spectacular views along the way. Whether you have opted for the open carriage or the enclosed one with beautiful woodwork. Don’t forget to “jump off” in Laxey on your way back, to visit the world’s largest working waterweel, ‘Lady Isabella’, and to catch the Snaefell Mountain Railway.

The Manx Electric Railway opened in 1893 and if you’re interested in its history you should visit the small Manx Electric Railway Museum, which is found near the Douglas-station.

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The Manx Electric Railway at the station in Laxey

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Train tracks between Laxey and Ramsey

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A look inside the closed carriage of the Manx Electric Railway

Snaefell Mountain Railway

Set out from Laxey to “climb” Isle of Man’s only mountain – Snaefell. A peak of 621 meters (2037 feet) from where you’ll get the island’s best views across land and sea, while being surrounded by grazing sheep. In fact a local saying goes that you’ll be able to spot seven kingdoms from up here; The Isle of Man, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England – the ocean and heaven. The 8 kilometer (5 miles) journey up the mountain is worth it alone, as the beautiful vintage tram circles the mountainside through scenery similar to North Wales or Scotland, and the views from the top are spectacular on a clear day.

This journey opened for operation in 1895 and includes one station (Bungalow Station) between the top and the bottom, from where you can get off an walk to the top if preferred. The original vintage tramcars are absolutely beautiful.

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The Snaefell Mountain Railway at the station in Laxey

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On the way to the top of Snaefell

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The Snaefell Mountain Railway at the summit station


SEE ALSO: 7 reasons why you should visit Isle of Man


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By Brian Schæfer Dreyer