Stamps & Coins
Shop by Collection
Shop by Product

Snaefell Mountain Railway - 125th Anniversary

Collection Issue Date: 25th June 2020

A collection marking the 125th anniversary of the Snaefell Mountain Railway.

The Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to present a set of six stamps in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Snaefell Mountain Railway; the first mountain railway in the British Isles.

Created in 1895 during the Victorian era, the route is the only electric mountain railway in the British Isle’s. Crucially, the railway and route continues to run today, maintained and operated by Isle of Man Transport. 

The tram departs from the historic mining village of Laxey, following a picturesque route as it begins the ascent up to Snaefell, the Island’s highest point. After a scenic trip, passengers are 2,036 feet above sea level, greeted by spectacular views where one can see the Seven Kingdoms of England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland; Snaefell being the only place in the UK where all four nations are visible at any one time.

Issue Information

The Snaefell Mountain Railway climbs from Laxey to the summit of Snaefell, the Isle of Man’s only mountain, 2036 feet above sea level. Built by pioneering Victorian engineers, its trams were powered by electricity, a technology then very much in its infancy. Very few British cities or towns had electric trams at this time; an electric tramway climbing a mountain was without doubt state of the art technology. Perhaps even more remarkable, the railway is still in active operation today and is little changed from those Victorian times.

Andrew Scarffe writes…

The Snaefell Mountain Railway climbs from Laxey to the summit of Snaefell, the Isle of Man’s only mountain, 2036 feet above sea level. Built by pioneering Victorian engineers, its trams were powered by electricity, a technology then very much in its infancy. Very few British cities or towns had electric trams at this time; an electric tramway climbing a mountain was without doubt state of the art technology. Perhaps even more remarkable, the railway is still in active operation today and is little changed from those Victorian times.

The success of the Douglas to Laxey Electric Tramway, which opened in 1894, prompted its promoters to turn their attention to Snaefell and the prospect of a tourist railway to the summit.

Construction began in January 1895, and the first trams ran in public service on 21st August after only eight months work!

The railway is nearly five miles long and at the time of its construction it wasn’t known if electric trams could climb the gradients of 1 in 12. It was decided to use a raised centre rail, named the Fell Rail after its inventor John Barraclough Fell, which would be gripped on the ascent by motorised horizontal wheels mounted beneath the tram, to give additional adhesion. In the event they weren’t needed but the Fell Rail was retained and used for braking on the descent. It is now the only railway in the world to use the Fell system.

Six trams were built by G F Milnes and Company of Birkenhead, of which four survive today. Each tram was originally equipped with four 25HP motors manufactured by Mather and Platt of Salford. They were the most powerful trams in Britain at the time.

The railway was an immediate success and an average of 1000 people were carried to the summit each day during the summer months. Hotels were built at the summit and at the Bungalow, next to the Mountain Road.

In 1902 the mountain railway and the electric tramway between Douglas and Ramsey were purchased by the newly formed Manx Electric Railway Company, known as the MER. The Isle of Man was by now a very popular holiday destination visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. In 1907, a charabanc service was introduced between the Bungalow and Tholt-y-Will glen where another hotel and tea room was built. During the 1920s and 1930s trams left Douglas for Laxey every few minutes at peak times; and at Laxey queues for Snaefell circled the station.

From 1950 tourism began to decline and in 1957 the MER Company, with no funds for desperately-needed maintenance, sold both railways to the Isle of Man Government which still operates them today. The original 1895 motors were replaced by second hand equipment from Germany in 1977 and, more recently, government has made considerable investment in the Manx heritage railways which are now recognised as one of the Island’s leading tourist attractions.

Andrew Scarffe

Andrew has been a volunteer on the Great Laxey Mine Railway since it was opened in 2004 and took on the role of fundraiser for the restoration of the former Snaefell waterwheel, which was restored in 2006. He has been a committee member of the Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust for 15 years and was recently elected chairman. He regularly gives illustrated talks about the railways and mine.

He now works for the engineering department of Isle of Man Railways and can often be seen driving the electric trams of the Manx Electric Railway during the summer months. 

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Isle of Man Transport for their assistance in the preparation of this stamp issue.

Technical Information

Text Andrew Scarffe
Design EJC Design
Printer Lowe Martin
Process Offset Lithography
Colours 4
Paper 110 gms PVA gummed
Perforations 14 per 2cms
Stamp Size  40 x 40mm
No of Stamps 6
Format 12 stamps per sheet
Date of Issue 25th June 2020

Collection Products

 Snaefell Mountain Railway 125th Anniversary Cover
Snaefell Mountain Railway 125th Anniversary Cover

Product Code: YI96
Product Issue Date: 25th August 2020

A unique opportunity to own a piece of Snaefell Mountain Railway postal history, with this official Isle of Man Post Office cover.
A strictly limited edition of only 125 available worldwide.

Limited Edition


Price: £22.50

Quantity:


Snaefell - A Mountain and a Railway:  Signed First Day Cover and Book Collection
Snaefell - A Mountain and a Railway: Signed First Day Cover and Book Collection

Product Code: YI97
Product Issue Date: 29th June 2020

This newly released book beautifully tells the story of the Snaefell Mountain Railway and also of the mountain itself. Also included is a first day cover signed by author and issue text writer Andrew Scarffe, making this the perfect gift for any railway enthusiast.

Free Shipping

This item is currently out of stock.
Snaefell Mountain Railway - 125th Anniversary Set and Sheet Set
Snaefell Mountain Railway - 125th Anniversary Set and Sheet Set

Product Code: YI31
Product Issue Date: 25th June 2020

This set of six delightful stamps have been designed to represent the 125th anniversary of the Snaefell Mountain Railway, a picturesque and historic transport route that ascends the highest peak of our Island, Snaefell.


Please Select:

Quantity:


Snaefell Mountain Railway - 125th Anniversary Presentation Pack
Snaefell Mountain Railway - 125th Anniversary Presentation Pack

Product Code: YI41
Product Issue Date: 25th June 2020

The cover of this four page glossy folder beatifully depicts the Snaefell Mountain Railway throughout its 125 years, starting with an image of Tram Number 2 standing at the original station shortly after opening in 1895.

Free Shipping


Price: £8.80

Quantity:


Snaefell Mountain Railway - 125th Anniversary First Day Cover
Snaefell Mountain Railway - 125th Anniversary First Day Cover

Product Code: YI91
Product Issue Date: 25th June 2020

This charming first day cover displays a full set of the Snaefell Mountain Railway - 125th Anniversary stamps, cancelled with a special first day of issue postmark.

Free Shipping


Price: £8.75

Quantity:



×

Your Interests: