Isle of Man Snaefell Mountain Railway 'out of control' tram probe

Image caption, Services on the Snaefell Mountain Railway operate at regular intervals between April and September, taking 30 minutes each way

An investigation has been launched after a vintage tram became "out of control" down a mountain.

The crew on a Snaefell Mountain Railway tram travelled about 180ft (54m) before switching from a modern braking system to an older one on Friday afternoon.

Passenger Nick Douglas said it was a "frightening experience" with the driver "wrestling to gain control".

Transport Chief Ian Longworth said it was "business as usual" for the crew. A health and safety probe is under way.

Image source, Manx National Heritage
Image caption, The Isle of Man's Snaefell Mountain Railway opened on 20 August 1895

Mr Longworth said the crew is trained to switch to the older, and original, Fell braking system if the modern one fails.

Mr Douglas, from Northern Ireland, said: "It was a colossally frightening experience for me, my wife, my son and my grandson who all travelled with me - we were certain that a grisly fate awaited us."

According to Mr Douglas, the tram crossed straight through the railway's intersection with a main road at a point known as The Bungalow.

"I was very aware of how serious it was while it was happening - you only had to look at the drivers' eyes".

No-one was hurt in the incident.

Mr Longworth said: "It might have seemed exciting for the passengers but for the crew involved it was just business as usual."

The spokesman for Isle of Man's Department of Infrastructure said: "The matter is being treated very seriously and the department would like to apologise to those passengers who were affected by the incident."

Last year a Snaefell Mountain Railway electric tram was destroyed after derailing and crashing in the same area, no-one was on board at the time.

Image source, Manx National Heritage
Image caption, Snaefell is the highest peak on the Isle of Man at 2,034 ft above sea level

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