The Isle of Man Railway between Douglas and Ramsey via St. John's closed to passengers after the 1965 season but enjoyed an unexpected (albeit brief) revival when the Marquess of Ailsa obtained a lease and re-opened it in 1967 – only for it to close again at the end of the 1968 season. A bit of freight traffic originating from Peel kept part of the line open until mid 1969, but when that failed also it really was the 'end of the line'. Fortunately for the modern explorer of old railways, the Manx government has re-used virtually all of the island's abandoned railways as walks. In June 2014, members Neil and Lisa Hebborn went out to investigate. They enjoyed, if that is the word, not quite the best possible weather for late June ...

Above: Ballaugh goods shed (grid reference SC 347935) was opened officially on 11th May 2014 after restoration as a heritage centre following decades of use by Ballaugh Commissioners as a store. Both it and the former station were ideally situated in the centre of the village, which is on the A3 St. John's–Ramsey road and forms part of the famous TT course. The former railway ran across the front of the picture, from left to right. 25th June 2014. (Neil Hebborn)

Above: A close up of the plaque that tells the tale of the goods shed's restoration. The piece of metalwork to its right suggests that something else was attached to the wall here when the railway was still running. 25th June 2014. (Neil Hebborn)
Above: A typical view of the railway path between Ballaugh and Kirk Michael, but without the rain that dulled and darkened the scene at Ballaugh. 25th June 2014. (Neil Hebborn)
Above: This crossing keeper's cottage has clearly had a couple of extensions added to the left and right of the main building: that on the left, with its nearly flat roof and ill-matched window, has '1960s' written all over it. (The window on the right hand extension is ill-matched too, but at least that extension has a pitched roof!) Despite this, the 'country cottage' style of the building with its attractive hipped gable ends still shines through. The public footpath sign in the foreground points the way along the railway path. 25th June 2014. (Neil Hebborn)
Above: This is one of many underbridges on the old railway which has received some attention since closure. Generally, the steel beams remain in place below, but a narrow replacement timber deck has been installed above for pedestrian use. 25th June 2014. (Neil Hebborn)
Above: This is a typical overbridge on the route, and its diminutive proportions reflect the Isle of Man Railway's 3 ft. gauge. The photograph below provides a close-up, which reveals much about the bridge's construction. 25th June 2014. (Neil Hebborn)
Above: This detailed shot of the bridge above reveals that it is constructed from no less than four different building materials. We presume that the brown stone used on the corners of the arch and abutment is stronger than the grey. Note also that the red brick parapet is topped off with blue coping bricks: these are fired at a much higher temperature than red bricks, and are stronger as a result. It is obvious that the abutments were built first and the arch added later. 25th June 2014. (Neil Hebborn)
Above: A trackbed view along the replacement deck of the bridge on the north side of Kirk Michael which spans the lane from the A3 down to the sea; this will be found at grid reference SC 317910. 25th June 2014. (Neil Hebborn)
Above: The view from below the bridge shows clearly the steel span beneath the deck. On the right hand side, just behind the black and white traffic bollard, are two curved buttresses which span a culvert built in front of the abutment wall. The light (as opposed to the street lamp) under the bridge suggests a hint of sunshine ... 25th June 2014. (Neil Hebborn)