Puneet Varma (Editor)

Ballabeg station

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Opened  23 July 1877
Rebuilt  1944
Ballabeg station
Location  Colby Road, Malew, Isle of Man, IM9 2FW.
Coordinates  Ordnance Survey National Grid 54°05′28″N 4°40′26″W
Owned by  Isle of Man Government Department of Infrastructure
Line(s)  Port Erin (South) Line Between Douglas & Port Erin
Platforms  One, Raised Half-Height
Tracks  One Running Lines No Loop / Sidings
Owners  Isle of Man Government, Department of Infrastructure
Similar  Colby railway station, Castletown railway station, Santon railway station, Bradda Hill, South Barrule

Ballabeg Station is a diminutive request stop near the village of Ballabeg in the south of the Isle of Man, on the island's steam railway, the sole remaining section of the former network which covered 46 miles across the island. There is another station with the same name, but serving a different village, on the Manx Electric Railway to the north.

Contents

Origins

The station (or halt) consists of only a small wooden hut which is a shelter for waiting passengers. There was originally a track works permanent way hut, which remains locked, but a small lean-to canopy was added in 1982. The station is served seasonally by the Isle of Man Railway; other nearby stations are Castletown to the southeast and Colby to the west. The original station building here, installed in 1877, was a more elaborate affair: it was similar in appearance to third class timber buildings at other stations along the line although smaller in size but still with a station master and other platform staff. The date this building was removed is unknown, but the replacement hut has been on the site for many years; the earliest evidence of the current structure is in a 1946 photograph.

Location

The station is located on the A28 road about half a mile (0.8 km) south of the village of Ballabeg in the parish of Arbory. This road is part of the Billown Racing Circuit where the Southern 100 races take place each July; the circuit is also used for the Pre-T.T. Classic races in May. The station ceased to be manned many years ago. Ballabeg has remained on the timetable for many years, but only as a request stop. The station is used for spectators to access these races and is also a popular drop-off point for the annual Laa Columb Killey (St Columba's Day) festival which takes place in a nearby field each summer.

Buildings

The original station building here was a more complex affair, and the station was for some time manned in the early years of the line despite its location some distance from the village it serves. The extant station building is a platelayers hut which has never been opened to provide passenger shelter. In the winter of 1987 a verandah was added to the front of the station and a concrete platform area created and the station became one of the most popular for lineside photographers. The site was further improved in 2001 or 2002 when a pumping station for the all-island sewer network was installed at the rear of the station: vehicular access was improved and a platform to fit three coaches was added, in the form of a wall of sleepers which has been back-filled to provide a half-height platform for alighting and boarding passengers.

Upkeep

In more recent times, the station was tended to by local supporters who added flower baskets, old-fashioned advertising signs and the like, making it one of the most pictureque yet tranquil stations on the line. A blackboard was put in place and cheerful notes regularly updated on it for the passing traveller to observe but this practice has latterly stopped. The station carries bilingual station nameboards in keeping with policy, and these were installed in 2008; it remains a request stop only: passengers wishing to board trains here must give a clear hand signal to the driver and those wishing to alight must inform the guard prior to departure from the previous station. There remains in situ however an "Isle of Man Ferry Express" container which was cosmetically restored by local enthusiasts. This was used on the railway in the 1960s in an unsuccessful attempt to introduce freight traffic to the line.

References

Ballabeg station Wikipedia


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