Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Narrow gauge Wickhams on the Isle of Man

If I can't fit a standard gauge chassis under the Wickham, then I need a narrow gauge prototype. On this blog, when we say narrow gauge, thoughts turn to the Isle of Man.

Luckily, the island is stuffed full of Wickhams and my first idea was to use the 3ft gauge Ramsey Pier railway as a prototype. As you can see above, they had a Wickham for taking people back and forth along the 2241 foot length. Originally man powered (pushed by staff), in the 1937, a Planet loco joined the fleet.

1950 saw the Wickham added along with a spur of track so both trains could operate. The design is quite a bit different from my model with four rows of front (the backs flipped over for the return trip so you always face front as you can see here) facing seats. Interesting, but not much use to me unless I scratchbuild. One for another day.

The Manx Electric Railway also has at least one Wickham and this photo shows it to me much closer to the design I have on the workbench. It also has wasp stripes on the front, and these are about as fun to paint as being stung by the aforementioned insect is.

However, stock moved around the island. What would happen if the pier trolley broke down and they borrowed the MER one for a length of time? Assuming we are looking at the late 60s, then the number of passengers using the service from ships would be tiny. The main market would be people just enjoying a jaunt up and down the pier. People like me.

Then the lower capacity wouldn't be a problem, but they would probably paint the trolley in the pier livery, waving goodbye to those wasp stripes.

So, a 3ft gauge railcar it is. 

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