Isle of Man, any useful gen/tips anyone?

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Techniquest

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Hi all,

I'm about to do some research into it, including my most suitable airport to/from the Isle of Man, but whilst I get thinking about it again (after seeing it mentioned in the current copy of The Railway Magazine somewhere), I was wondering if anyone here had any useful gen to share on their own trips to the Isle of Man, and if they'd have any tips to share.

One question that comes to mind is this: How many days would be recommended to cover each line there? Looks like two would be recommended, but one if pushing it.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Eire Sprinter

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Two days would be better. Would say that at the very minimum an overnight stay is needed eg arrive last thing one evening and set out first thing next day travelling and return late that evening. But with just a day time may run out and may not allow a chance to browse the shops for the likes of any transport or railway stuff. A nice start if arriving by air may be to catch the steam train at Ronaldsway halt to Port Erin. Alternatively it's possible to get a sail and rail ticket any station in Britain to Douglas which could also allow an opportunity to take in some mainland operations on the way to Heysham Port or Liverpool. The tourist office at the Sea Terminal in Douglas is good. All in travel tickets for the island also available. iombusandrail.info website or it is possible to request the timetable book. It can be handy to use a bus when there are gaps between the trains or to get to a vantage point. Snaefell mountain railway is well worth doing.

Horse trams will be running again from 14th May.
 

Techniquest

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Excellent, many thanks for your useful post and sorry for my slow reply. I've been looking at many, many, many different flight combinations, flight price comparison sites and as many different routes as possible it seems to get there. Came close to booking with Easyjet for the end of this month from Liverpool, however the £67.10 fare to Liverpool South Parkway didn't appeal. Liverpool is a required airport however, but then so is nearly every airport in the land for me!

Surprised how late trains start and how early they finish on the various dates I was looking at. Clearly not much in the way of usefulness in my eyes. Starting with the steam railway after arriving on the isle does seem a good idea, since I'm close by when I arrive. Current plan is to fly in at a fairly reasonable hour and get the steam railway done first, then stay in Douglas (assuming flights and steam railway operating times work out) for the night. Then up to the Snaefall Mountain Railway and Manx Electric Railway before flying back. The Groundle Glen Railway, well I'd hope to have time for it but if not it would mean another trip. Careful planning required, but if all else fails I'll stay for two nights. The reason I want to do it in one day is to avoid having to book time off work.

We'll see what I get booked soon enough, for now I've given up and ended up discovering a bmibaby sale and booking flights to/from Belfast to conquer the last bits of Northern Ireland that I still need. Spent enough money in the last 12 hours, think I'm going to have to start being a bit thrifty for the next 23 days!
 

Ascot

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Getting the train from Ronaldsway airport is an experience on its own and something I'd recommend. Have you thought about the ferry from the Isle of Man to Dublin/Belfast? If you get the catamaran then it's a good trip.


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theblackwatch

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Surprised how late trains start and how early they finish on the various dates I was looking at.
Rememeber this is largely a tourist service - if you're going to the IOM expecting to be mega-desperate, starting off before breakfast and out till midnight then you're going to be rather disappointed. I've been twice before (1993 and 1998, so rather overdue a visit) and found things kicked off after breakfast and finish around teatime or early evening. Suited me fine - nice leisurely breakfast at 08.30, and time for a wander round Douglas for a few drinks and something to eat in the evening (although I hope there are more pubs and restaurants that do food now than there were back then - the choice seemed very limited). Think of it as a short relaxing holiday rather than a nedding trip and you'll be fine.

We took 3 days to do all 5 railways, although I reckon you could do it in 2, but that depends if you want to scratch in all the locos/trams/horses (yes, there was a fleetlist available!) that are out.
 

Techniquest

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I didn't know how busy to expect it to be really before looking, glad I didn't just go on impulse!

In a way, I'd want to get as many new lines in the book as possible, but I'm not sure yet. Going to try and settle on dates later in the week.

As for popping over from Dublin/Belfast, I was looking at that possible option after looking at the weather forecast map.
 

Oscar

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Have you looked at all-inclusive sail-rail tickets to the Isle of Man?
From Seat 61:
London to the Isle of Man from £98.50 return...
Manchester to the Isle of Man from £59.50 return...
Isle of Man to York from £65 return...
Little Kimble to the Isle of Man from £98.50 return...

Little where??? Exactly! Any station in Britain to Douglas. Even Little Kimble...
(http://www.seat61.com/Isle-of-Man.htm)
It sounds like a pretty good deal.
 

Techniquest

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That is a good deal, I need to look further into that option. Which I'll do as soon as I've finished this post, gonna be a lot cheaper than flying!

EDIT: Interesting, £79 isn't bad. What I don't get is how come there's no ticket availabilty going out via Heysham but there is coming back. It sure wouldn't let me select it on RailEasy (the first option that came up on Google), which seemed peculiar. The option of going via Liverpool is an interesting one for sure, and 2130 isn't too late for me to get there but may well be for the place I choose to stay at (which I haven't a clue on yet), after all B+Bs seem to expect you to be there by 1900!
 
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