Buses of the Isle of Man 2005

Isle of Man Road Services 74

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.

Isle of Man Transport 10 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.

Isle of Man Transport 31 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.

Isle of Man Transport 85 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.

Isle of Man Transport 64 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.

Isle of MAn Transport 42 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.

Isle of Man Transport 58 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.

Isle of Man Transport 8 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 trailer.

Isle of Man Transport 9 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.

Isle of Man Transport 57 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.

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Isle of Man Transport 78 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

Isle of Man Transport 68 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 Mitchell photograph.

Isle of MAn Transport 41 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!

Isle of Man Transport 36 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.

Isle of Man Transport 18 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/

Road Services 24 The walk approached Peel past the Manx Heritage Transport Museum which  includes this Leyland National, formerly 24 in the Road Services fleet.

Isle of Man Transport 4 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!


Isle of Man Transport 14 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.

Isle of Man Transport 66 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.

Isle of Man Transport 82 & 78 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.

Port Erin depot yard, 21st September 2005 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.

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Isle of Man Transport 98 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.

Isle of MMan Transport 44 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.

Isle of Man Transport 66 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 66.

Isle of Man Transport 90 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.

Isle of Man Transport 91 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.

Isle of Man Transport 35 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.

Isle of Man Transport 30 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.

Isle of Man Road Services 74 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 for service!

Isle of Man Transport 96 Seen turning into Bridson Street in Port Erin is DAF DB250 no 96, photographed by Steve Mitchell.

Isle of Man Transport 96 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.

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Isle of Man Transport 93 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.

Isle of Transport 93 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.

Isle of Man Transport 39 And here it is: Dart no 39, about to take up a journey on route 5 to Douglas.

Isle of Man Transport 40 Seen a bit later on Derby Road in Peel is Dart 40 departing on the village service to Patrick.

Isle of Man Transport 16 The next stage of our round the Island trip was to Ramsey on board Transbus Trident 16, with the usual East Lancs bodywork.

Isle of Man Transport 94 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 undergoing  demolition.

Isle of Man Transport 61 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.

Isle of Man 77 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 (however slowly).

Isle of Man Transport 67 A dash across the road was in order to get this picture, which had to be done, being Olympian 67 on school service 67!

Isle of Man Transport 39 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 photograph.

Isle of MAn Transport 64 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 school journey.

Isle of Man transport 94 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.

Isle of Man Transport 74 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?

Isle of Man Transport 15 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.

Isle of Man Transport 4 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.

Isle of Man Transport 68 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.

Isle of Man Transport 9 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.

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Page written and edited (however badly) by Caroline Mathews, and optimised for 1152x864 on Netscape Navigator 7.0
Photographs copyright Caroline Mathews and Steve Mitchell.