Isle of Man Railways is to launch its new Drive the Diesel simulator experience this weekend (23 July 2016).

Located in the Railway Museum shop next door to Port Erin Railway Station, the simulator was developed for Isle of Man Railways by specialist rail simulator company Ian Rowe Associates of Milton Keynes.

The project has taken around 12 months to complete and involved the developer taking hundreds of photographs of every section of the Port Erin line to ensure an accurate representation of the sections used in the driver training.

Bookings can be made direct to the museum shop by phoning 836855. The simulator is available from 10am to 4pmon days the steam railway operates.

Driver training level 1 is a 15-minute session and costs £5 per person. The experience includes moving carriages from Port St Mary and Port Erin plus shunting carriages at Douglas Station.

Level 2 is aimed more at the enthusiast and includes all level 1 tasks plus driving a train from Douglas to Port Soderick and back. It lasts around 30 minutes.

Drivers must observe all speed limits and the rules of the railway to obtain a good mark and are given one of 10 ranks ranging from learner to perfectionist.

Kate Beecroft MHK, Political Member responsible for Public Transport, believes the Drive the Diesel simulator experience will be a good addition to Isle of Man Railways’ activities.

She said: ‘The simulator is suitable for all ages and promises to be a great attraction to draw people into the Railway Museum and gift shop at Port Erin. It is likely to help drive up income from secondary spend and we are grateful to Ian Rowe Associates for undertaking this project.’

Ian Rowe, company director, commented: 'Developing the Isle of Man Railways' simulator was a bit of a departure from our normal application, which is to train drivers on rail vehicle driving. This was a labour of love for us using the same technology but it is purely for leisure rather than providing actual train driver training.

‘I am delighted that it got off the ground last year when it proved to be the perfect fit for an intern we had working with us for the summer. We had people in the Isle of Man for four days, walking the track and taking thousands of photographs that have gone into ensuring it is as close to the actual steam railway line as possible and with realistic representations of the stations. We are very happy with the end result.’


The introduction of the Train Simulator has not been universally welcomed as can be seen from some of the comments left in response to an article on the Isle of Man Newspapers website


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