Douglas Station

Station Name:

Date Opened:

Date Closed:

Lines Served:


Postal Address:

From Douglas:



Current Status:


1st July 1873


All Lines


Banks Circus

Not Applicable

Two Island

Via Signal Box

Open Seasonally

Douglas Station was established as the main terminus of the railway with the opening of the Peel Line in 1873 on a site known as The Lake at the inner end of the town’s harbour on reclaimed land nearby to the river from which the town takes its name.  The original structure provided was a timber affair on approximately the site of the booking hall building extant today, with an island platform also provided in time for the first trains.  A locomotive shed and workshops were also provided at this time.  The site was expanded for the opening of the south line the following year and quickly became a very busy terminus, its close proximity to the harbour and arriving ships being very useful.

As the railway established itself the facilities were expanded, beginning with the administration block, on which work commenced in 1888; this was followed by the booking hall and forecourt area, all of which survive today, though the administration block is now home to the island’s Customs & Excise division.  The signal box was erected by Dutton & Co., in 1892 with the workshops also being redeveloped and expanded at this time resulting in the complex you see today.  A large carriage shed capable of housing the majority of passenger rolling stock followed in 1893 and the goods yard was also provided at this time, seeing the station reach its maximum extent.

The platforms established upon the opening of the south line were heightened along with the extant Peel Line platform at the turn of the century, and these were fitted with overall glazed canopies in 1909 giving the station its iconic look and the reputation as “a narrow gauge station second to none”.  The addition of a toilet block and stables with the iconic clock tower featuring gilt turrets completed the station.  The site remained largely in this condition for many years, the first significant loss being upon nationalisation in 1978 when part of the yard was lifted.  With the liquidation of the Railway Company in 1980 the administration block was given over to Customs & Excise.

The interior of the booking hall building was altered in 1980 to create office accommodation for the Manx Electric Railway Board who initially had responsibility for running the railway; at this time the south line platforms were also lost and the canopies removed owing to allegedly being in a parlous state; those who witnessed their removal would disagree with this statement.  The goods yard and former south platform area was given over to bus parking at this time, and the much reduced station became a shadow of its former self.  In 1991 the booking hall interior was fitted with a mezzanine floor to give further seating to Greens, the vegetarian restaurant that occupied the area.  Restoration work followed in 1991 which saw period lamp standards fitted on the remaining platform, restoration of the clock tower, new traditional picket fencing on the site and reintroduction of period tinplate advertisements.

In 1998 it was announced that the carriage shed of 1893 was to be demolished to make way for new transport headquarters of Isle of Man Transport, to be known as Banks Circus.  To allow this development to take place, the signal box, out of commission since 1980, was relocated to a site nearer the running lines where it remains today.  The facility opened in 1999, by which time a replacement smaller carriage shed had been erected on the site of the former coal yard beyond the workshops.  It is largely in this format that the station remains today, the south line platform area being covered with macadam as part of the development to form car parking, at which time Road Five was lost, to be replaced with a new siding now known as Road Zero running alongside the platforms.

In 2017 work began on a major reconstruction of the booking hall building, now home to The Tickethall, it being found that a major sewer beneath the structure was causing severe subsidence.  The work involved removing the 1991 mezzanine floor and replacing it with a more open-plan mezzanine as well as establishing a new retail area, removing the now disused offices, and replacing them with a new catering kitchen, lift, disabled toilet and cafe area.  In this form the booking hall remains, complete with a new glazed canopy on its rear, reserved for diners rather than passengers, meaning there still remains no covered waiting area for railway patrons.  The kitchen also serves the dining train, which is commonly found parked up on Road Three where it is serviced by the caterers.

Booking Hall / Administrative Building / Signal Box / Workshops / Running Shed / Toilets & Stables / Goods Yard / Carriage Sheds

The south line platforms at some point before 1909 when the canopies were added; the administration block is to the right.

A busy scene in front of the booking hall building in August 1955 as passengers pour into the building to purchase tickets.

Booking Hall in 1983 with the glass panels removed from the canopy and a certain air of decay about the once proud station.

Booking Hall viewed from the entrance steps in 2015; for generations of passengers this has been their first view of the railway.

Looking up the yard from the end of the south line platform showing the array of semaphore signals and the workshop complex.

Believed to date from 1875, this is one of very few images showing the original timber station building, similar to that at Peel Station.

The Royal Train headed by No.13 Kissack arriving on 2nd August 1972 at the south line arrival platform.

The station at its full extent with a train arriving passing the signal box and the workshops complex to the rear.

The signal box and an empty yard in July 1975 when the station was not used during the short line workings of the time.

The booking hall in July 1977 with little change over several decades, the Victorian lady painted on the roof of the tower.

The former Administrative Building in August 2002 which now serves as Customs House; the entrance is still in use by the railway.

No.10 G.H. Wood with a mixed demonstration train posed in front of the signal box during the 2014 Rush Hour weekend.

Booking Hall in 1983 with the glass panels removed from the canopy and a certain air of decay about the once proud station.

Booking Hall in 1983 with the glass panels removed from the canopy and a certain air of decay about the once proud station.

The relocated signal box on a misty evening in August 2021 witht the Banks Circus office block in the background.

Built in 1892 and supplied by Dutton & Co., of Worcester, the signal box, now relocated, remains very much a part of the scene.

The imposing booking hall building and forecourt c.1900 prior to the addition of the glazed canopy which remains today.

The original carriage shed with a variety of rollings stock in  June 1966 when the railway was closed, its future uncertain.

Booking Hall  and forecourt c.1900 with a plethora of advertising signage around the walls, before the glazed canopy was added.

 An overview of the station in 1971 when it was still at its maximum extent, described as a narrow gauge terminus second to none.

Shortly before redevelopment of the former booking hall building commenced in 2016 and the addition of another canopy.

Display locomotives being shunted from the carriage shed in 1972 for showing in the former goods yard, carriage shed to the left.

A busy scene viewed from Railway Terrace in 1938 with much activity and showing the vast size of the original carriage shed.

The carriage shed viewed from the southern extent of the yard with the impressive signal gantry on the side of the tank house.