Port Erin railway station
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|The Isle of Man Railway Co., Ltd.|
The Replacement 1903 Station Building
|Location||Station Road, Port Erin,
Isle of Man, IM8 2WE.
|Coordinates||Ordnance Survey National Grid
|Owned by||Isle of Man Government
Department of Infrastructure
|Line(s)||Port Erin (South) Line
Between Douglas & Port Erin
|Tracks||One Running Line
|Structure type||Station Building, Goods Shed
Loco Shed, Carriage Shed
|Opened||1 August 1874|
|Closed||Seasonally Since 1967|
|Rebuilt||1894 / 1903 / 1975 / 2016|
|Passenger Only (Since 1969, Goods Previously)|
|Patrons' Toilets, Waiting Room, Booking Facilities, Coffee Shop, Historical Displays, Dedicated Museum, Railwayana Dioramas
Port Erin Railway Station is the western terminus of the Isle of Man Railway in the village of Port Erin on the Isle of Man; it is the sole remaining outer terminus of the railway. Until 1968 there were termini at both Peel and Ramsey in the west and north of the island respectively.
This station was the second established terminus of the Isle of Man Railway: the first opened at Peel in 1873. The railway initially considered building its southern route only as far as Castletown, 7 km (about 4.4 miles) to the east of Port Erin, but due to increasing tourism on the island, especially at the seaside resorts of Port Erin and the nearby Port St Mary, the line was extended all the way from Douglas to Port Erin, a distance of 25 km (just under 16 miles). The station soon established itself and became a focal point in the village, and it maintains this status today. Facilities were considerably expanded between 1902 and 1909, the site expanding to its greatest extent before the start of the First World War.
Following extensive refurbishment, the station won an Ian Allan Heritage Railway award in 1990, but since then only remedial work has been carried out to the station's intricate and distinctively carved wooden fascia boards and other paintwork. In 1999 the traditional "picket" style wooden fencing was removed from the platform area and replaced with tall metal security fencing (to protect the bus yard in the former platform area) which detracted from the picturesque setting.
The station has historically carried a bilingual station nameboard reading "Purt Çhiarn/Port Erin" attached to the side of the locomotive shed; in 2008 following new policy, the other nameboards are also bilingual but these have been painted maroon and cream. This contrasts with the green and cream livery applied to the station area, but is consistent with the rest of the line. There are plans to change the station colour scheme to maroon as part of a corporate makeover of the whole railway.
The station is unique in having a public right of way bisecting the long platform and, in bygone days, longer trains (rarely seen today) would have to uncouple whilst loading prior to departure to ensure the right of way to the nearby Athol Park was not blocked. At the eastern end of the station is a level crossing (one of only two crossings still manned on the railway) across Droghadfayle Road. Until the yard trackwork was relaid in 2000 the locomotive crew had to open and close the gates whilst "running round" to couple onto the train for departure, but this can now be done without disturbing traffic.
The 1874 Station
On opening, the Port Erin terminus consisted of the mainline, a run-round loop, departure siding, and two further sidings one serving the original locomotive shed and the other for goods. The original station building was almost identical to the one that survives at Castletown, but was constructed of slate rubble. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the station facilities were all to the west of the pedestrian level crossing that bisects the later Edwardian station. The rather limited facilities reflected both the comparative newness of Port Erin as a seaside resort in the early 1870s, and also the financial difficulties faced by the Isle of Man Railway in completing the South Line. However, after the opening of the railway, Port Erin developed rapidly, overwhelming the original facilities which were systematically replaced from 1902 to 1905, with further extensions in 1912 and 1914.
The 1909 Station
The main station building is constructed of Ruabon brick and was constructed in 1909 in the centre of the village, replacing a similar original version that was slightly smaller and made of local stone. This building is something of a focal point in the village and houses a booking office, a waiting room which was once a ladies only facility and a café in the former porters' office. This building was extended in the mid 20th century: the extension is now the mess room for locomotive crews, though it was built as a ticket office for Isle of Man Road Services, a subsidiary of the railway company. This extension, which also provides part of the station toilets, has in the past been home to the local Royal National Lifeboat Institution charity shop among others. It is proposed to remove the former bus office, install a new entrance to the station toilets from the street side of the building, and install a new canopy along the street side of the building. This will allow bus services to be moved from the present shelter on Bridson Road.
There is also a substantial locomotive shed constructed from local stone adjoining an old bus garage which is home to the railway museum; this shed was constructed at the turn of the century and houses an inspection pit and one set of rails with access at both ends. Between 1982 and 1998 it served as the goods shed and housed two disused locomotives, No. 8 Fenella and No. 9 Douglas, both of which were privately owned but could be viewed from the exhibition hall of the main museum. Throughout this time the goods shed was used for servicing and housing of service locomotives.
The goods shed was constructed at the turn of century in a similar style to the locomotive shed and also featured one road with doors at either end. Between 1982 and 1998 it was used as the locomotive shed, being fitted with an internal water tank and inspection pit for that reason. At this time is also lost its stone walling at the station end which was spar-dashed.. When the railway museum received a major overhaul beginning in 1998 the shed was converted into the entrance hall and souvenir shop for the museum, regaining a stone gable with the addition of an entrance porch in a similar sympathetic style.
A small timber-built sentry box also guards the entrance to the station where it crosses the public highway at Droghadfayle Road and today this is used only for storage by the gatekeeper until the crossing was automated in the winter of 2012/3. This structure replaced a much older version in 1998. A large spar-dashed building in the middle of the site is the southern bus depot of Bus Vannin, erected in 1975 when the entire site was redeveloped, buses having previously been housed in what is now the railway museum. This structure was erected at the same time as the bay platform and sidings were lifted to create further bus storage. The station has a two-road carriage shed, also constructed in 1999, ensuring for the first time in the line's history that coaching stock stored overnight could be kept under cover; until this time the carriages were stored outdoors overnight on the platform, and latterly remained there in closed season attracting vandals. A water tank serves the locomotive shed today; this was built in 1998 replacing a much older version which had been removed in 1986 and not replaced. The stone-built tower is in a similar style to the original, being of local stone, and houses the station's oil store beneath the tank. It stands on the same site as the original.
Housed in a former bus garage, the museum was opened in 1975 and has a number of exhibits charting the whole history of the railway; before it opened, the goods shed (which today houses the associated souvenir shop and entrance hall) had acted as locomotive shed for several years, whilst two out-of-service locomotives (Nos. 8 Fenella and 9 Douglas were stored in the original locomotive shed. The museum was originally accessed via a purpose-built porch on the adjoining Station Road, but this changed when the whole site was refurbished in 1999. Today the museum houses the railway's last locomotive, No. 16 Mannin supplied in 1926 as well as No. 6 Peveril of 1875 and two carriages as well as a number of framed displays including tickets, memorabilia and historical documentation. Rail access to the building is via the locomotive shed to the rear. The building was built to house the buses of Isle of Man Road Services, a subsidiary of the railway company. When the museum opened an alternative bus garage was built on the site of the former bay platforms. In the past the line's original locomotive No. 1 Sutherland has been housed here together with Manx Northern Railway locomotive No. 4 Caledonia and an unusual six-wheeled coach dating from 1879, which is privately owned and currently in storage elsewhere. An original four-wheeled freight van, Gr.12, was also housed here until 1998 and this has since been restored and sees limited use in annual transport festivals.
|Preceding station||Isle of Man Railway||Following station|
|Terminus||Port Erin Line||Port St Mary|
- "Port Erin Station Re-Paint (1970)". Onchan, Isle of Man: Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters Association. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
- James I.C. Boyd Isle Of Man Railway, Volume 3, The Routes & Rolling Stock (1996) ISBN 0-85361-479-2
- Norman Jones Scenes from the Past: Isle of Man Railway (1994) ISBN 1-870119-22-3
- Robert Hendry Rails in the Isle of Man: A Colour Celebration (1993) ISBN 1-85780-009-5
- A.M Goodwyn Manx Transport Kaleidoscope, 2nd Edition (1995)