THE first motor char-a-bancs in the Island were operated by the Manx Electric Railway Co., which used them on a service between Snaefell Bungalow and Tholt-y-Will from 1907. In July of the same year Douglas Corporation obtained powers to run omnibuses within the Borough, but the services were provided by contractors using horse-buses.

In May 1914 the Corporation bought a Straker-Squire and the first of many Tilling-Stevens motor buses. The fleet slowly grew through the 1920s, the fleet consisting of Tilling-Stevens petrol-electric single deckers, with only two exceptions. One of these chassis was later preserved at the British Transport Museum and is currently displayed (though not in DCTD livery) at the Covent Garden Transport Museum. As new routes were added to the growing town, the first of many AEC vehicles arrived in 1933; the products of Southall were to continue to find favour until 1968. The fleet maximum of nearly fifty vehicles was reached just after World War II, and included three wartime utility Daimler CWA6 buses. Post-war additions and replacements included Guy Otters, Leyland Comets, Bedford VAS1 and YRQ types, as well as a batch of ex-Lancashire United Leyland Tiger Cubs. Douglas buses needed no Road Fund Licence to operate within the Borough, and a specially licensed group of vehicles was kept to run those routes that terminated beyond the boundary. At the time of its enforced destruction in 1976, the Douglas fleet consisted of 38 buses.

The onset of motor bus services to other parts of the Island began with a series of independent operators in the late 1920s; the most significant was Manxland Bus Service Ltd., a subsidiary of Cumberland Motor Services of Whitehaven, which started up in 1927. This posed a serious threat to the Isle of Man Railway's business and to fight the interloper, the Railway Company joined forces with the Douglas Car & Motor Hiring Association (headed by Eric W Faragher) to form Manx Motors Ltd. The union of interests was short-lived, for in June 1928 the Railway Company formed "Isle of Man Road Services" as one of its departments, and which ran in outright competition to Manx Motors, Manxland and everyone else. Two years later, in 1930 the Road Services was formally incorporated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the IMR Co. parent. In due course this concern established a virtual monopoly of Island services outside Douglas.

Apart from those vehicles acquired by takeover, the Road Services fleet consisted mainly of Thornycrofts and Leylands, and a high proportion of postwar additions consisted of Leyland PS1, PD1 and PD2 chassis. For many years buses operating outside Douglas were not permitted to seat more than 34 passengers, so as to contain the size of the vehicle; repeated attempts to get the antiquated law changed were made, with no success, until a 56-seat Leyland double-decker arrived in 1946, and which operated for some time with all but eight seats upstairs roped off, until the law was duly amended. After 1965 a series of second-hand acquisitions arrived, notably a batch of Dennis Falcons from Aldershot & District, some Leyland PD3s from Stratford Blue and some Leyland PD3As from Bournemouth Corporation. From 1974, Leyland Nationals joined the fleet.

Tynwald's 1966 Transport Commission suggested the amalgamation of both the Douglas Corporation and IoM Road Service fleets, largely on the basis of imaginary-benefits and savings. In October 1976, Isle of Man National Transport Ltd. was formed as a Government-owned concern, and carried this scheme into effect, and further Leyland National saloons were acquired. In 1980 the government decided to amalgamate IoM National transport with the MER Board, with the Board's then 'chief executive' superimposed upon the professional management. The dark era that ensued saw the purchase of nearly 100 vehicles of nine different types in under seven years to maintain a quotient of sixty vehicles; these ranged from a 12-seat Ford minibus (which never entered service), a solitary ex-Manchester Seddon midibus to ex-Tyne & Wear, Merseyside and Manchester Atlanteans, ex-South Yorks Nationals and ex-Preston Panthers. In some cases the buses were scrapped before shipping; in others, immediately after arrival. One Panther achieved three months' service before being withdrawn for use as a semi-mobile advertising hoarding. It was later either lost or sold in Ireland. This nadir abruptly ended in 1987 with the arrival of Mr.Robert Smith, as Transport Executive, and who immediately initiated a proper programme of rolling stock renewal.

Coaches
Coach operations on the Island have seen incredible changes over the last thirty years, largely mirroring the trends in the Island's tourist trade. In the mid-1960s there were many operators scattered around the main towns and villages, ranging from the owner/driver with one coach to other operators with reasonably sized fleets. As the tourist arrivals dwindled, many of these sold out or simply disappeared.

Gone are the cherished red and white Bedfords of Victoria Coaches, lined up by the War Memorial in Douglas on summer mornings. Gone are the exotic "Chinese-six" Bedford VALs including the "Flying Banana" of Amy Carefree Tours. No-longer do the quaintly titled Squirrel coaches operate the Laxey Wheel specials or the premium "Airport" services. Clybane, Darnills and Harrisons are other more recent casualties. By the 1970s, Tours (Isle of Man) Ltd became the largest fleet both within Douglas and on the Island.


Bedford OB Farewell Tour Report

The Manx Electric Railway Society organised a farewell tour for the two OB Bedford coaches operated by Tours Isle of Man on Thursday 23rd July 2015. MER Society member, Dean Shaw has kindly provided the following account. Having forgotten about this trip I rushed out to Hill Street on the evening o…

Bus Vannin Fleetlist - November 2014

Wright Eclipse Gemini 2 Volvo B9TL 177 displaying 'Bus Ends Here' destination, Victoria Street, Douglas in June 2014.  2 (Isle of Man Road Services) Chassis: Leyland Titan PD2/1 built 1949 Chassis number 490611 Body: Leyland H56R Ex UK based preservationists, mid 1990's Notes: New to Isle of Man Ro…

Isle of Man Department of Tourism & Leisure Bus Photo Page

Below is a selection of vehicles, past and present, operated by the Isle of Man Department of Tourism & Leisure, (All photographs Richard Dodge) DAF 8 sits outside Peel Town Hall Dennis Trident 14 at Port Erin depot Dennis Trident 17, working an Onchan Circular route, on Queens Promenade, Douglas D…

Isle of Man Transport 1-10 Photo Gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): DAF DB250LF DE02PSOH built 2003 Chassis numbers 010908-12/010680-84 Body: East Lancs Myllennium Lowlander H74F New to Isle of Man Transport Notes: DAF 10 delivered carrying registration GMN 617E but never licensed with this plate, and is the second bus to carry T10 MAN;…

Isle of Man Transport 11-16 Photo Gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): Transbus Trident 2 148BR64GX built 2004 Chassis Numbers 33437/33467/33448/33449/33438/33468 Body: East Lancs Myllennium Lolyne H74F New to Isle of Man Transport Notes: Trident 16 was the 50th low-floor double deck bus delivered to IOM Transport and carried a chip for thi…

Isle of Man Transport 121-126 Photo Gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): Wrightbus Streetlite WF built 2011 Chassis numbers SA9DSRXXX10141065-70 Body: Wrightbus B37F New to Isle of Man Isle of Man Department of Culture, Community & Leisure. Notes: Delivered carrying registrations KMN 702/704-707/703G but not licensed as such 121- KMN 121H 123…

Isle of Man Transport 17-24 Photo Gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): Alexander Dennis Trident 2 148BR65GX (19-24 are 148BR66GX) built 2005/2006 Chassis numbers: 33608/33609/33933-35/37-39 Body: East Lancs Myllenium Lolyne H72F (17/18), H74F (19-24) New to Isle of Man Transport 17 - HMN 220A 19 - HMN 244J 21 - HMN 246J 23 - HMN 248J 18 - H…

Isle of Man Transport 41-43 Photo Gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): DAF DB250LF DE02RS built 2000 Chassis numbers 008545/44/49 Body: Optare H74F (43 is H73F) New to Isle of Man Transport Withdrawn and sold 2011 41 - MAN 41H 42 - MAN 42H 43 - MAN 43H Optare 41 - Douglas Harbour Optare 42 - Parade Street, Douglas …

Isle of Man Transport 44-46 Photo gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): VDL DB250LF DE02PSOH built 2005 Chassis numbers 012514-012516 Body: East Lancs Myllennium Lowlander H71F New to Isle of Man Transport 44 - HMN 288A 45 - HMN 289A 46 - HMN 290A VDL 44 - Queens Promenade, Douglas

Isle of Man Transport 48-53 Photo Gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): Dennis Trident II 121BR1YGX2 built 2000 Chassis numbers 1045/46/55/66/68/67 Body: East Lancs Lolyne H72F New to Isle of Man Transport Sold to Blackpool Transport 2011/2012 48 - EMN 48Y 50 - EMN 50Y 52 - EMN 52Y 49 - EMN 49Y 51 - EMN 51Y …

Isle of Man Transport 54-57 Photo Gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): DAF DB250LF DE02PSOH built 2002 Chassis numbers: 009431/616-7/49 Body: East Lancs Myllennium Lowlander H74F New to Isle of Man Transport Sold to Blackpool Transport 2012/2013 54 - FMN 181P 55 - FMN 497T 56 - FMN 498T 57 - FMN 499T DAF 54 - Queens Promenade, Douglas …

Isle of Man Transport 71-75 Photo Gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): Dennis Trident II 121BR1YGX3 built 2001 Chassis numbers 31303/299/304/7/8 Body: East Lancs Lolyne H72F New to Isle of Man Transport Notes: 71 is the second bus to carry registration mark MAN 93F, whilst 75 was previously registered FMN 539E and T10 MAN[i] Sold to Blackpo…

Isle of Man Transport 76-81 Photo Gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): DAF DB250LF DE02PSOH built 2002 Chassis numbers 009650/831/651/52/829/30 Body: East Lancs Myllennium Lowlander H74F New to Isle of Man Transport Notes: 77 delivered carrying fleet number 82 in error Sold 2012/2013, all but DAF 80 to Blackpool Transport 76 - FMN 500T 78 -…

Isle of Man Transport 82 Photo Gallery

Chassis (low-floor layout): Alexander Dennis Dart SLF 3FACR45GWA built 2005 Chassis number: 8262 Body: East Lancs B39F New to Isle of Man Transport. 82 - MN 1082 Dart 82 - Athol Street, Port St. Mary

Isle of Man Transport 89-98 Photo Gallery

Chassis numbers 009259/60/58/63/61/64/66/62/67/65 Body: East Lancs Myllennium Lowlander H72F New to Isle of Man Transport Sold to Blackpool Transport 2012 89 - FMN 299J 92 - FMN 619J 95 - FMN 622J 97 - FMN 835J 90 - FMN 503J 93 - FMN 621J …

Isle of Man Transport Archive Photographs

Below are a selection of views of buses that have left the Isle of Man Transport fleet, or were previously on the bus photo gallery page Isle of Man Transport 3 (EMN 203U) one of a batch of ECW bodied Leyland Olympians acquired from Stagecoach Selkent, via Ensign (dealer), Purfleet, but new to Lond…

New bus stop signs

Bus vannin is updating its 850 bus stop signs across the Isle of Man. All the old maroon signs that date from 2009 will be replaced with new flags featuring the current silver and black branding during 2016/17. The new bus stop signs include the current web address – www.bus.im – where passengers c…

Protours (Isle of Man) coaches

Towards the latter part of 2003 the operations of Tours (Isle of Man) passed to Protours (Isle of Man), who introduced the Protours fleetname and an attractive livery of white with yellow and green flashes and embarked upon a vehicle upgrading policy. Initially this included three Turksih built BMC…

Protours (Isle of Man) fleetlist May 2011

Protours (IoM) Bova Integral 68 (MAN 1110), in schools vehicle yellow livery, waits at the TT Grandstand during June 2010 1-2 Chassis: Scania L94IB built 1999 Body: Irizar InterCentury 12.32 C53F (1); Irizar Century 12.35 C49Ft (2) Last Operator & Previous registration numbers: (1) Selwyns, Runcorn…

Tours (Isle of Man) archive photographs

A selection of photographs showing some vehicles in the Tours (Isle of Man) fleet shortly before the operation passed into Protours ownership in late 2003. At the start of 2012 Protours sold the operation, the new owners being Island based again, with the fleetname reverting to Tours Isle of Man. 2…

Tours Isle of Man - The Island's coach operator

Ballasalla Airport Garage, Ballasalla, Isle of Man, IM9 2AN Tel 01624 822611, Fax 01624 822389 Website: www.toursisleofman.co.uk E-mail [email protected] During the boom years of mass tourism the Island enjoyed many dozens of coach operators, ranging from sizable fleets including Corkills, Downwards…

Salisbury Street

Sited alongside Isle of Man Road Services Homefield depot building in Douglas was an area of open land upon which buses were frequently parked. A ramp was also installed for use on occasions when pit spaces were occupied, etc. On this day in 1979 a trio of then 'modern day' Manx buses were to be fo…

Tours (Isle of Man) MCW Metroliner

For a short period at the end of the 1980's the Island's then major, and now only, coach company, Tours (Isle of Man), operated three modern double-deck coaches largely on Island tours and private hire work. One was a Neoplan, another a Van Hool whilst the third was this MCW Metroliner automatic, s…

Atlantean 48

The largest batch of similar buses to date acquired second-hand by the Island's nationalised bus undertaking came from the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive during the 1982-1985 period when no less than thirty-five 1971/1972 Alexander bodied Leyland Atlantean PDR2/1's were purchased, all but…

Isle of Man Transport former Dublin Leyland Olympians 16-20 Photo Gallery

Chassis: Leyland Olympian ON2R50C13Z4 built 1990 Chassis number ON11692/40/11254/11658/11688 Body: Alexander (Belfast) H78F Ex-Dublin Bus RH36/24/18/26/27 (90-D-1036, etc.) via Ensign (dealer), Purfleet in February 2003 (18), May 2003 (16/17) and June 2003 (19/20) Notes: These are the second buses…

Isle of Man Transport Leyland bodied Olympians 83-88 Photo Gallery

Chassis: Leyland Olympian ONCL10/1RZ built in 1988 Chassis numbers ON10735/2/92/84/812/734 Body: Leyland H78F (88 is H72F) New to Isle of Man Transport Notes: 88 was the third bus to carry the registration mark BMN 88G 83 - BMN 83G 85 - BMN 85G 87 - BMN 87G 84 - BMN 84G 86 - BMN 86G …

Horse Tramway: What the Politicians said...

July 2016: Tynwald votes to retain the Horse Tramway along the full length of the Promenade. Septem…

The Society

Originally formed in 1973, the MANX ELECTRIC RAILWAY SOCIETY is charged with the express purpose of…

Manx Electric Railway

THE pioneer electric tramway between Derby Castle, Douglas and Groudle Glen opened on September 7,…

Snaefell Mountain Railway

The only vehicles that can reach the summit of the island’s highest peak and only mountain are the…

Douglas Tramways

The Douglas Bay Horse & Upper Douglas Cable Tramways.

DHMD Tramway

THE only Standard (4'-8½" 1435mm) tramway in the Island extended for four spectacular miles along t…

Isle of Man Railway

THE present 15.37-mile steam railway line from Douglas to Port Erin is the last remaining part of t…

Buses and Coaches

THE first motor char-a-bancs in the Island were operated by the Manx Electric Railway Co., which us…

Shipping

The shipping scene in and around the Isle of Man

Aviation

Air services to and from the Isle of Man

Other Manx Transport

Other Tramways, Railways and Transport Oddities

Contributors' Pages

A page designed for photographic contributions sent to the Manx Electric Railway Society website.

All About The Isle of Man

For quick though superficial reference to many of the aspects of the Island's history generally cov…

Year of Railways 1993

The success of the year in general and many of the events in particular will be no surprise to read…

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