Until the late 1980s the status of the vacuum brake on the Isle of Man Railway was 'fitted but not used.' This occurred because the Isle of Man is not part of the UK, and had only incorporated the pre-1873 legislation into the domestic regulations concerning rail transport. The Vacuum brake was fitted in the late-1920s after a fatal accident when a train left Union Mills without the guard and brakes man due to a shunting mix up, and ran into the buffers at Douglas. The IMR was found behind the times in several respects, one of which was the lack of any sort of telephone in Douglas signal box, which meant messages had to be relayed through the stationmaster's office, which did not work on this occasion. Official concern was also expressed about the lack of continuous automatic brake, so the railway volunteered to fit it. However, the ejectors were supplied with the wrong cones, used too much steam, and no-one on the railway had enough experience with suck brakes to work out what was wrong - or perhaps they did, but couldn't be arsed to follow up. The traffic department could not accept any further limits on loading, so the vax fell into disuse. The penalty for having function vacuum brakes is one carriage. The previous load limit of seven bogies (roughly 100 tons loaded) was dropped to six (85 tons) once the vacuum brakes were brought back into use.
They did, however, install phones in the 'Box.
Peter in Va
Traffic Pattern? What pattern? Spuds out; grain in, but cattle, sheep and passengers are a lot less predictable.