Great Laxey Mine Railway
|Locale||Isle of Man|
|Dates of operation||1870s–Present|
|Track gauge||19 in (483 mm)|
|Length||1⁄4 mi (0.4 km)|
The Great Laxey Mine Railway was originally constructed to serve the Isle of Man's Great Laxey Mine, a lead mine located in Laxey. The 19 in (483 mm) gauge railway runs from the old mine entrance to the washing floors along a right of way that passes through the Isle of Man's only remaining (The other being the now disused Dhoon West Quarry) railway tunnel under the 3 ft (914 mm) gauge Victorian Manx Electric Railway and the main A2 Douglas to Ramsey coast road.
Although the railway began with pony haulage, a pair of steam locomotives were delivered from Stephen Lewin of Poole in 1877. Ant and Bee were 0-4-0 tank locomotives made unusually narrow, in order to fit within the adit shaft. They were 4 ft 9in high and only 3 ft wide. Their two 4×6in inside cylinders had Bagnall-Price valve gear and a geared drive to the rear axle, but coupling rods between the axles. The arrangement of the water tanks was particularly unusual, being a front tank ahead of the smokebox, in order to reduce width. The boilers were launch-type, as were commonly used for small locomotives with insufficient space between the frames for a conventional firebox.
Around 1905, a replacement locomotive was considered and W G Bagnall were asked for a design. This was similar to the Lewins design, but more conventional. A saddle tank was used and conventional cylinders with connecting rods to the axle. The power cylinders were however mounted inside the frames and the Bagnall-Price valvgear and slide valves mounted outside. This new locomotive was never constructed, although Bagnalls did instead build two new boilers for the existing locomotives. Both survived the closure of the mine, but were scrapped in 1935, some years afterwards. also there is a Diesel locomotive called wasp which worked in a mine in cornwall
Abandoned in 1929 when the mine closed, the 1⁄4 mi (0.4 km) Great Laxey Mine Railway re-opened in September 2004. Now the Ant and Bee, replicas of the Lewin steam locomotives with the same names originally built in 1877, carry passengers along a restored route once traversed by cars loaded with lead ore pulled by mules.
Laxey Browside Tramway
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