Rail transport in the Isle of Man

See also Transport in the Isle of Man.

Map of main railways in the Isle of Man
Railways and tramways of the Isle of Man
 Principal stations and interchanges only 
Orchid Line
not shown
Snaefell Summit
Kirk Michael
Sea Lion Rocks
Lhen Coan
St. John's
St. John's
Derby Castle
Sea Terminal
(DBHT) ferry/water interchange
Douglas Head
Port Soderick
Port Erin

The Isle of Man has a rich transport heritage and boasts the largest narrow-gauge railway network in the British Isles[1] with several historic railways and tramways still in operation. These operate largely to what is known as "Manx Standard Gauge" (3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge)[2] and together they comprise about 65 miles (105 km) of Victorian railways and tramways. The Isle of Man Railway Museum in Port Erin allows people to find out more about the history of the Manx railways, and was until 1998 accompanied by a similar museum in Ramsey, which was dedicated to the history of the electric line, but this was closed and converted into a youth club. The steam railway to the south of the island, electric to the north and mountain line to the summit of Snaefell, the island's only mountain, are all government-owned, and operated under the title Isle of Man Railways, as a division of the island's Department of Infrastructure. The lines at Groudle Glen and Curraghs Wildlife Park are both privately owned but open to the public.[3]


The lines listed in the table are or have been open to the general public. Most lines have "Manx Standard Gauge" of 3 ft (914 mm).

Name Start End Gauge Notes
Isle of Man Railway 1873 3 ft (914 mm) Peel line closed 1969
Manx Northern Railway 1879 1905 3 ft (914 mm) Taken over by the Isle of Man Railway in 1905. Last tracks used 1969.
Foxdale Railway 1886 1905 3 ft (914 mm) Taken over by the Isle of Man Railway in 1905.
Snaefell Mountain Railway 1895 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)
Groudle Glen Railway 1896 2 ft (610 mm) No service 1962 to 1983
Manx Electric Railway 1893 3 ft (914 mm)
Douglas Bay Horse Tramway 1876 3 ft (914 mm)
Great Laxey Mine Railway 1877
19 in (483 mm) Former mine railway, reopened in 2004 as a tourist heritage railway
Upper Douglas Cable Tramway 1896 1929 3 ft (914 mm)
Douglas Southern Electric Tramway or Marine Drive railway 1896 1939 4 ft 8 in (1,422 mm)
Douglas Head Funicular Railway or Douglas Head Inclined Railway[4][5][6] 1900 1954 4 ft (1,219 mm) Passenger incline railway
Port Soderick Cliff Lift [5][7][6] 1896 1939 4 ft (1,219 mm) First Falcon Cliff Lift sold to Port Soderick and re-erected there in 1896
Laxey Browside Tramway[6] 1890 1906 5 ft (1,524 mm)
Queen's Pier Tramway, Ramsey 1882 1971 3 ft (914 mm) Restoration works under way[when?]
The Orchid Line, Wildlife Park, Ballaugh 1992 Various Miniature railway

There have been various other railways on the Isle of Man that have never been open for public transport, such as in the various mines around the island. Among these are/were:

About fifty other minor tramways, in the various mines, quarries and sand pits, or on RAF gunnery lines, existed on the island.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Herring, Peter (2004). Yesterday's Railways. David & Charles. pp. 270–272. ISBN 978-0-7153-1733-4.
  2. ^ Railways in the United Kingdom
  3. ^ The Manx Steam & Model Engineering Club Archived 16 March 2011 at Archive.today
  4. ^ The Isle of Man Railways: The Douglas Head Railway
  5. ^ a b c Marine Drive
  6. ^ a b c d Isle of Man Cliff Railways
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h The Industrial Archaeology of the Isle of Man Archived 21 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ The Isle of Man Railways: The Glenfaba Brickworks Tramway
  9. ^ Falcon Cliff