Services will resume tomorrow on the Snaefell Mountain Railway.

Today was supposed to be the start of the season.

But a sign at Laxey station said there would be no services and apologised for any inconvenience.

The Snaefell line has been under a health and safety prohibition notice since October. Services were suspended in September following an incident on August 4 when a tram lost power as it left the summit station.

It careered out of control down the mountain and crossed the road at Bungalow before the motorman was finally able to bring it to a halt using the manual fell brake.

A Health and Safety at Work Inspectorate investigation is close to completion.

In a statement, the government announced the line will reopen on Good Friday.

It said changes to the braking systems have been completed and the test data reviewed by the HSWI and a brake specialist.

There have also been improvements to control systems’ procedures and training materials.

Bernard Warden, head of the HSWI, said: ‘We have reviewed a report completed by a railways braking specialist which endorses the re-engineering of the fell brake system, together with improvements to other control systems recommended in a report commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure.

’We have also been provided with procedures and training materials introduced following the incident.

‘Additional control measures have been put in place to improve the safety of the Snaefell Mountain Railway and these will be enhanced, as soon as possible, by the installation of more modern fail to safe braking and control systems.

‘Having received advice from industry specialists we are now ready to support the commencement of passenger services and will be closely monitoring progress on the introduction of fail to safe systems.’

As iomtoday has previously reported, there has been a complete refurbishment and performance testing of the fell brake system and driver training has been enhanced so crews are fully aware what they should do in the event of any situations that may develop in operation.

The air pressure systems which control the electrical braking systems have been altered to make them simpler and more reliable in operation. This has also included a new low pressure alarm and revised indicators. Safety rules have been amended to prevent further operation if the pressure alarm activates during operation.

Longer-term, there are plans to install an electrically-operated electromagnetic backup braking system and a more modern mechanically assisted wheel brake. These will be installed on trial trams and rigorously tested prior to rolling them out onto the rest of the fleet.

Isle of Man Newspapers


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