Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Groudle Glen Railway - The beginnings of an 09 project
In 1982, the Isle of Man Supporters Association launched a plan to restore the line and work began clearing twenty years worth of undergrowth that had reclaimed the trackbed. In time for December 1983 a short section from the old lime kiln to the headland had been re-built and the railway commenced its operation. Gradually the line was relaid to the glen terminus of Lhen Coan and a station was created at the headland with run-round facilities. The railway was officially re-opened on 23 May 1986 by Carolyn Rawson as part of the Manx Heritage Year. The most significant event at this time was the return of the original steam locomotive "Sea Lion" in September 1987. By 1991 the decision had been made to excavate the final section of the line from the headland loop to the former terminus at Sea Lion Rocks and the run-round loop was lifted at the end of the 1991 season when the major earthworks began to relay the original section to the outer terminus.
The extension, recreating the line to its original three quarter-mile length was duly opened on 23 July 1992, and this was followed in 1993 with the opening of the distinctive Swiss-style station canopy at Lhen Coan. It was during this year that "Polar Bear" also returned to the glen for a visit. It was a time of great change for the line, with many improvements being introduced by the volunteers. Visiting locomotives were a feature in 1995 (Chaloner andRishra) and in 1998 as part of the Steam 125 event marking the anniversary of the island's main railway. Planning permission was granted in 1999 for the volunteers to erect a replacement station building at Sea Lion Rocks and by the summer of 2000 work was well in hand. The station building opened the following year but it was in 2003 that the interior of the station was completed and since this time it has proved to be the major draw to the railway, aside from the unique steam locomotives. The station and surrounding area have since received much attention as ongoing projects and the development of the site has also revived interest in the amazing zoo that once drew in the crowds, the remains of which are still viewable from the station site.
A selection of photographs taken in August 2010