Day 14 – Irish Sea

The Calm Voyager crew takes a trip aboard a 100-year-old steam train


Position 54° 08.84 N 004° 28.94 W Douglas Inner Harbour, Isle of Man

Our third morning in Douglas dawned bright and sunny, so it was with boyish enthusiasm that we planned a trip aboard the island’s steam train for a trip down to Port Erin on the southern tip of the island.

The trains that run on the line (the longest narrow gauge steam line in the British Isles) are over 100 years old, and are maintained by local craftsmen and engineers. Nowadays they’re little more than a tourist attraction, but in past years, they were an integral part of the transport network of the Isle of Man.

The steam network was once 50 miles long, and ran from Ramsey in the north to Port Erin in the south and from Peel in the west to Douglas in the east. But competing forms of transport meant that in the 50s and 60s the steam railway became obsolete.

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But one section remains, that from Douglas to Port Erin. The 15-mile journey takes about 45 minutes from town to town and passes some stunning coastal scenery and little hamlets of five or six houses along the way.

Port Erin has a holiday feel to it, and like Douglas, is fronted by old Victorian hotels. It was pretty warm when we arrived, despite how it looks in the picture, and families were playing on the beach and a school of dinghy sailors were out in the bay.

Back on Douglas later on, Neale hosted a briefing aboard Calm Voyager, and informed crews that Sunday is looking like the day we’ll be making for Conwy. But if the forecast changes tomorrow morning, there is a secondary plan to make for North Wales tomorrow afternoon to arrive back in Conwy at around 9pm. But again, with the forecast shifting every time we look at the weather, this is all liable to change.


Douglas steam train station
One of the 100-year-old trains
Port Erin


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