Buses of the Isle of Man
For the first time ever, I have been to that bastion of ancient modes
of transport, the Isle of Man. One of the few places where the buses
take a bit of a back seat for me, nevertheless I noted 68 of the 85 buses
in the Isle of Man Transport fleet without really trying (ie no hanging
around termini and depots) in one week of September this year. With the
help of my "assistant" Steve Mitchell I managed to photograph many of them.
What follows is a record of what I saw of the Isle of Man Transport fleet,
as I managed to ignore the Protours fleet completely. I was struck by the
smart appearance and cleanliness of the buses, and was taken by the new seat
moquette, with the map and the three legs. The three legs of Man seem to be
everywhere, except on the outside of the buses! The usual waffle applies here:
images are about 900 by 650 pixels and were taken by me using my trusty old
Chinon SLR camera, except where indicated as being taken by Steve Mitchell,
using his super little 35mm camera, make unknown as it has since been stolen!
Larger images of each are available (up to 1909 x 1273 pixels) should anybody
want them. Please let me know, and please credit me or Steve if you use any
image. There is a section on the Manx Electric Railway and the Snaefell Mountain
Railway in the tramways section of the site. The
picture above is of Isle of Man Road Services 74, a 1949 all-Leyland PD2/1,
preserved by Isle of Man Transport and seen in Port Erin garage.
First bus to be photographed was no 10, a 2003 Daf DB250 with
East Lancs Myllennium bodywork, an annoying (for the photographer) destination
screen and a cherished registration. It is seen on 19th September at
Lord Street adjacent to the former bus station, on route 9A. Photograph
by Steve Mitchell.
Also seen on Lord Street is 31, a Dennis Dart SLF with Marshall
bodywork of 1997 vintage. This bus was originally numbered 17, and the
livery reminds me very much of my former haunt, Warrington. My observations
during the week did not reveal any specific single decker diagrams in the
Douglas area, although the vehicle diagrams in general remained a mystery
to me, as will be expanded upon further down the page. Photo by Steve Mitchell.
The oldest buses seen (other than the preserved vehicles) were
the few remaining 1988 Leyland bodied Olympians, which appeared to be
confined to school services, as seen here, with 85 on Lord Street.
Marginally newer (dating from 1989-1990) are Northern Counties
bodied Olympians 58-70. These buses look much more modern than the Leyland
bodied buses, presumably due to the bodywork styling. Although most
of the ones I saw were on school services, no 64 was seen near the Sea
Terminal on a Douglas local service on 19th September, crossing a disused
section of the horse tram track. Photo by Steve Mitchell.
Seen crossing the lifting bridge over Douglas Harbour on 19th
September is 42, one of three Optare bodied Daf DB250s in the Isle of
Man Transport fleet, working a Douglas Town Service. Photo by Steve Mitchell.
Also seen on the lifting bridge is the first (numerically)
of the NCME bodied Olympians, 58, working a local service. The road layout
in Douglas meant that the lifting bridge saw many buses on journeys inward
to Douglas and almost all journeys form the Depot.
Another of the 2003 DAF DB250s is no. 8, seen approaching the
Sea Terminal on Loch Promenade, on a service 3 journey from Ramsey. In
the background can be seen the ominous sky which spoiled the rest of the
day and led to a tram ride to Ramsey and back in an enclosed car, not a crossbench
Seen at Ramsey Bus Station, loading on route 17, is DAF SB250
no 9. Photography was very much curtailed in Ramsey due to the wet weather.
The only bus in the parking area at the rear of Ramsey Bus
Station was 57, a 2002 built East Lancs bodied DAF DB250. This batch
of buses (54-57) was remarkably elusive, this being the only photograph
obtained, hence its inclusion.
As every day's adventurings involved catching a bus into Douglas
before moving on, which is one reason why so many photos were taken on
Lord Street or thereabouts. 20th September yielded 78, a 2002 built East
Lancs bodied DAF DB250 on route 1 at Lord Street
Just for a change, a bus in portrait rather than landscape, for
no other reason than it makes a change! This one is 1990 Olympian/ NCME
68, about to depart for Laxey via the new Hospital and many other parts
of the island (although the destination screen is rather shy).Another Steve
Also on Lord Street was Optare bodied DAF 41, loading for the
route to Ramsey via Peel. I like this photo because of the way the sky
is a different colour when seen through the upper deck windows!
Also seen at Lord Street was Dart SLF 36 (formarly 26), wearing
a different version of the livery. This photo was taken a bit later, on
wotsit Street, the bus operating a Douglas local. Photo by Steve Mitchell
(as are most of the photos taken away form busy areas, where an autofocussing
camera is a distinct advantage). ALthough this image is not as sharp as
the one taken at Lord Street, it is included for the sake of variety.
The day's activity was a walk form Douglas to Peel via the old
railway line. At Quarter Bridge, on the outskirts of Douglas, no 18 was
photographed, this being one of the two most recently delivered Dennis
Tridents with the seemingly standard East Lancs bodywork. This was the
only photograph obtained of these buses. Photo by Steve Mitchell/
The walk approached Peel past the Manx Heritage Transport Museum
which includes this Leyland National, formerly 24 in the Road Services
Peel has a very small depot, which used to double as a Bus Station.
The buses now depart form Derby Road, just round the corner, but
the depot is still used, and was housing DAF DB250 no 4 and some interesting
greenery on 20th September. The cramped nature of the site was highlighted
by traffic congestion caused by one bus having to wait on the road for another
to leave the depot, prior to reversing in!
Whilst waiting for a bus to Douglas at Baldrine on Wednesday 21st
September noe came the other way, and was captured on film by Steve Mitchell.
It is 14, a 2004 Dennis Trident with East Lancs Myllennium bodywork, on
a journey to Ramsey. The prrevious two days this service had been passed
whilst on the bus to Douglas.
Seen from the top deck of Trident 18 on Glencrutchery Road at
the TT grandstand is NCME bodied Olympian 66, dating from 1990. No 18
is one of the 2005 East Lancs bodied Tridents which largely eluded our
cameras all week! Photo by Steve Mitchell.
Wednesday's excursion was a steam train trip to Port Erin, followed
by a walk around the coast to Port St Mary. Whilst on the train new Dennis
Dart SLF/ East Lancs 82 was seen at a level crossing. I was delighted
to see it in the depot yard at Port Erin when the train arrived, and phhotographed
it in the company of DAF DB250 no 78.
I was so pleased to see 82 that the rest of the buses in the depot
were photographed, namely 82, 78, 11, 71 and 72, the last three being Dennis
Tridents which had worked school services that morning.
At the end of the walk was a bus journey back to Port Erin prior
to the last train back to Douglas. The bus which appeared was 98, a 2001
DAF DB250 with the usual East Lancs body, seen at Port St Mary bus terminus.
Photo by Steve Mitchell.
Back in Douglas, seen on Lord Street was one of the 2005 VDL DB250s
was photographed loading on a Douglas local service. The three buses of
this batch were quite shy all week.
The weather forecast for Thursday 22nd was not great, so a round
island tour was planned, taking in the steam and electric railways and
several buses. First port of call was the entrance to Douglas Depot, whilst
waiting for the first steam train of the day from the adjacent Station. This
was thwe only deliberate bus watching of the week, and then only for about
15 miniutes. Seen arriving at the depot from a local service is Olympian
Closely followed by 2001 built DAF DB250 no 90, also after operating
a local, and observing the usual rule of the road. Photo by Steve Mitchell.
Several services, including many of the Douglas locals, start at
the stop just outside the depot, as demonstrated here by DAF DB250 91 on
a local service to Onchan.. Behind is new VDL DB250 no 46, which unfortunately
didn't yield an acceptable photo. This photo by Steve Mitchell.
Demonstrating an alternative rule of the road (pace no 90 above)
is Dennis Dart 35, arriving at the Depot after operating another local service.
This bus was simultaneously photographed (from different angles) by both
myself and my "assistant". This is the one taken by Steve Mitchell.
Another bus which was photographed twice was Dennis Dart 30. I took
a snap of it parked up in the depot yard from the front entrance, not expecting
it to come out on service, which it promptly did, on the roundabout service
13 to Laxey via the new Hospital, to be photographed by Steve Mitchell.
At the far side of the depot and not photographable (is this a word?) was
99, the ex Dublin Bus Alexander bodied Olympian, which was not seen in service
at all during my week on the island.
And so to Port Erin by narrow gauge steam train on some splendid
newly relaid track. Residing in Port Erin shed was 1949 built Isle of Man
Road Services all Leyland PD2/1 number 74. This bus is PSV licensed and available
Seen turning into Bridson Street in Port Erin is DAF DB250 no 96,
photographed by Steve Mitchell.
And here it is photographed by me standing just up the road at Port
Erin bus terminus awaiting departure time on route 8 to Peel.
Seen on Derby Road in Peel en route for Ramsey is DB250 no 93, photographed
by Steve Mitchell, and about to execute an interesting acute angled turn
into Atholl Place.
As seen here, photographed by me. The bus behind has just emerged
from the depot on Atholl Street, and is heading for the Derby Road stop.
There seems to be quite a lot of this going round in circles feeling in
the towns due to the road layouts.
And here it is: Dart no 39, about to take up a journey on route 5
Seen a bit later on Derby Road in Peel is Dart 40 departing on the
village service to Patrick.
The next stage of our round the Island trip was to Ramsey on board
Transbus Trident 16, with the usual East Lancs bodywork.
Ramsey yielded nothing of photographic merit, largely due to a lack
of time, and the journey back to Douglas was on the Manx Electric Railway.
Whilst my Assistant was videoing the run-round manoeuvre of the tram and
trailer at Derby Castle terminus, I photographed several buses returning to
Douglas following school journeys. First of all was another of the 2001 DAFs,
94, with two nice lamp-posts sticking out of it's roof! The ugly concrete
lump at the rear of the view is the remains of the Summerland complex, currently
Not too far behind was Olympian 61, also with added lamp-posts. By
now the light was bad and my photos were becoming grainy due to the need
for a fast shutter speed to combat the speed of the buses coming down the
hill. Manual focus is not always the best system, as evidenced by the number
of shots on this page taken by Steve Mitchell's automatic focussing camera,
ideal for the snatched shot.
The next stage of the journey was on the Douglas horse tram back
to the Sea Terminal. En route I snapped 2002 built DAF DB250 no. 77 parked
up on the Promenade, perhaps a bit hemmed in, but not bad from a moving vehicle
A dash across the road was in order to get this picture, which had
to be done, being Olympian 67 on school service 67!
Waiting for departure time on infrequent service 29 (2 or 3 journeys
per day) is Dart 39, seen (and photographed) earlier in Peel. A Steve Mitchell
Friday dawned overcast and damp, but a short walk was planned, after
a brief stop in Onchan. Seen on Main Road in Onchan is Olympian 64 on a
Turning from Avondale Road into Main Road at the side of the Manx Arms
is DAF 94, which took us to Douglas. Another Steve Mitchell photograph.
On Lord Street I photographed 2001 built Dennis Trident 74 about to
depart on route 1 all the way to the bottom of the island. Is it going to
make a bovine noise?
The day's walk was quite short, and included walking the trackbed of
the former Foxdale branceh of the steam railway. 2004 Trident no. 15 is
seen leaving Foxdale Village for Douglas on route 4, between Foxdale's clock
tower and a sign advertising a (fictional) alternative mode of transport.
This picture was taken more for the Clock Tower with a bus passing it rather
than a picture of the bus, but I like it.
The walk finished at St Johns, which is where no 4 was photoographed,
apparently on route 10 to Kirkmichael (according to the destination screen),
although it appeared to be heading to Peel.
After a perusal of Tynwald hill, and a decision to visit the Arboretum
next itme we visit, the wait for a bus back to Douglas was enlivened by
two school services and a crush-loaded route 4 (which ruled out a return
to Douglas via Foxdale). One of the school buses was no 68, seen passing
the entrance to the arboretum, with a silhuoette of my assistant standing
by the bus stop.
Having got off the bus one stop before our usual one, in order to photograph
a Manx Electric car, snapping no 9 climbing the hill out of Baldrine en
route for Douglas was a nice bonus.
Page written and edited (however badly) by Caroline Mathews, and optimised
for 1152x864 on Netscape Navigator 7.0
Photographs copyright Caroline
and Steve Mitchell