Douglas Head Marine Drive No. 1

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Douglas 1

Photo: Jim Dignan

Douglas Head Marine Drive 1 is the only Manx tramcar in the museum’s collection and also the oldest electric tramcar to be equipped with a trolley pole.  Indeed, it is the oldest surviving UK electric tramcar still in its original condition since it was never significantly modified by its original operator.

The tram was originally commissioned for Douglas Southern Electric Tramway, which ran along the very dramatic Douglas Marine Drive that was excavated along a ledge on the sheer cliff face between Douglas Head and Port Soderick, a distance of 3.5 miles. The tramway was single track with passing places and at each end of the route short inclined railways carried passengers to and from the termini.

The tramcar was built by Brush in 1896 to an unusual design, being a double deck ‘toast-rack’, an open top car with short canopies. Although the body was English, it was placed on a ‘Lord Baltimore’ truck that was imported from the United States.

The use of cross-bench seating in the open-sided lower saloon together with transverse garden seats on the open upper deck provided an unusually high seating capacity of 75. This was very suitable for the seasonal tourist service that the tram provided but may also reflect an era in which many passengers would have been less amply proportioned than some of their present day contemporaries.

Specification

Type of tram
Electric double deck toast-rack tram
Livery
Crimson and cream, the crimson panels outlined in gold
Seating capacity
75
Date built
1896
Date entered service
1896
Manufacturer of body
Brush (Loughborough) for the New General Traction Co.
Manufacturer of truck
Lord Baltimore
Gauge
4’ 8½” (the only such gauge on the island)
Motor
Westinghouse (Pittsburgh) 12A 2 x 25 hp
Controller
Westinghouse (Pittsburgh) 28A
Current collector
Trolley (outside spring)
Withdrawn from service

Moth-balled in 1939 at the outbreak of war

Subsequent history

Rescued in June 1951

Restoration history

Transferred to Museum of British Transport in 1956 and restored.

Current status
Conserved in working order; on display
Total mileage covered at Crich
Approximately 20
Current location
Exhibition Hall
Future plans

Conserved for display purposes only

Timeline
  • 1896 – 1914Fully operational
  • 1914 – 1918Moth-balled
  • 1918 – 1939Fully operational
  • 1939 – 1951Moth-balled
  • 1951 – 1956In storage
  • 1956 –On display