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Post Office helps Trust to rebuild history 26 November 2012

Laxey & Lonan

A project to help bring back to life mail vans that traditionally transported mail between Douglas and Ramsey on the Manx Electric Railway (MER) is well underway, thanks to funding from the Isle of Man Post Office Sponsorship Committee.

For some seventy years, until 1975, the MER carried bagged mail between Douglas and Ramsey in special four wheeled rail vans. A unique feature of the service was that the MER conductors were also enrolled as postmen to collect mail from post boxes, located at a number of the small stations and halts along the line.

The Laxey & Lonan Heritage Trust have reached agreement with Isle of Man Transport to restore two of the mail vans which are no longer used by the MER and are now undertaking a three-year project to revamp the railway yard, located next to the Laxey Manx Electric Railway Station. For the past 20 years, the yard has been used to display a number of the Trust’s agricultural items but will now be refurbished with an exhibition commemorating the MER’s mail service.

Andrew Scarffe, of the Laxey & Lonan Heritage Trust said:

“We are very pleased indeed that Isle of Man Post Office has agreed to be the main sponsor of this project. The Post Office had close connections with the Manx Electric Railway shortly after the line was opened and it is very fitting indeed that this connection has once again been made. Their sponsorship has given us the confidence that the restoration project can now be completed within the next three years, as we had originally hoped.”

Other work will include the construction of a replica line side post box, the restoration of a typical line side shelter and an exhibition of associated items in the area of the adjacent goods shed, which is currently under the control of the Trust.

Geoff Corkish MBE MHK, Chairman of Isle of Man Post Office said:

“We are pleased to be involved with this project which is very much linked to the history of the Post Office. This is a superb restoration and once the overall project is completed it will create a fabulous open-air style museum for residents and visitors of the village where the history of the MER’s involvement with postal services in years gone by will be illustrated.”

The Laxey and Lonan Heritage are seeking suitable illustrations of the MER mail service and any other artefacts to use at the exhibition. The Trust would particularly like to hear from anyone who may have any photographs of MER conductors emptying the line side mail boxes. Please contact Andrew Scarffe on 307563 or thescarffes@manx.net

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