Union Mills Station

Station Name:

Date Opened:

Date(s) Closed:

Lines Served:


From Douglas:

Current Status:

Union Mills

1st July 1873

4th September 1968

Peel / Ramsey

54.169°N 4.520°W 

2 Miles, 40 Chains

Closed & Lifted

Above: the structure at Union Mills dated from the earliest days and was a unique design with sloped roof, station masters office, shelter and storage space.  There was a station clock mounte centrally above the office window and a large flagpole affixed to the western elevation.

(Photo: I.o.M.S.R.S.A.)

Union Mills Station was established as the first official stopping place for trains when the Peel Line opened in 1873 as the village at that time was important to commerce on the island.  It was initially not fitted with a passing loop or any structures and it was not until 1906 that it was fitted with a long full-height platform on the westbound side.

The first structure to appear on the site was a small timber sentry box for the pointsman at the eastern end, and in 1907 a long passing loop was laid, together with a siding and spur for goods trains and a  cattle pen.  On the arrival of the railway much planting was carried out here and the area is still notable today for its rhododendrons. 

The gardens were renowned locally for their colourful prize-winning displays tended by the station master.  The station was often awarded the prize for best-kept station on the network and featured in many hand-tinted postcards.  The timber building here was unique on the railway and was established in 1892 at the western end of the yard, below the entrance.

It had an unusual sloped roof and integral recessed passenger shelter between a ticket office and store room.  It remained in periodic use until the closure of the railway though it was far more common for trains to pass at the next station down the line at Crosby Station after the second world war.  

There was also a small sentry box to the eastern side of the elevation, this was similar to that which remains at Mill Road on the south line today.  All structures were demolished in 1977 by inmates from the island's prison in Victoria Road in Douglas.  The tracks were removed two years previously leaving little track of the railway save for the flowerbeds and platform.

The station was the site of a 1925 incident when an eastbound train failed to collect the brakesman upon setting off which resulted in the train, headed by No.3 Pender, having insufficient brakes on arrival at Douglas Station; it therefore collided with the buffer stops and overshot them, killing the fireman and injuring the drive. 

In 1947 a further fatality occurred here when long-serving stationmaster, 82-year-old George Hogg, was killed when he fell between two carriages as a train moved off.  In 1967 it was the site of a head-on collision between two trains, largely put down to the inexperience of the new operator of the railway, Lord Ailsa.

No.10 G.H. Wood and No.5 Mona were damaged by the incident with No.10 receiving buckled main frames, these were only rectified as part of a major overhaul in 2022.  The rails were lifted here and station building demolished in 1975 leaving only the statio name picked out in spar stone along the up platform and triskelion on the approach path remaining.

Passing Loop | Goods Sidings | Road Bridge | Booking Office | Sentry Box | Store Room

The unusual and unique building here shown to good effect; it featured in the 1946 film I See A Dark Stranger starring Deborah Kerr.

Installed in 1992 as part of the Heritage Trail, breakdown Crane No.2 has been a feature at the station site for several years.

View from a passing train in 1968 showing the long passing loop which was seldom used by this time, the long platform remains today.

The replica running in board installed at the station as part of the SupportersAssociation fortieth anniversary in 2016.

An early view showing the bridge carrying the main Douglas to Peel road with the structure just visible on the right.

No.5 Mona light engine at the station during a Sunday Servicve working to Braddan Station in the final season of 1968.

An early view of the station staff posed underneath the main Douglas to Peel road bridge, note the pointwork.

After closure and nature reclaims the site, the building was demolished in 1975 at the same time as the tracks were lifted.

Reopening and a train passes through the station which was a request stop by this time, and not manned after 1959.

No.8 Fenella arriving at the station in the spring of 1967 shortly after the reopening by Lord Ailsa; note the overgrown track.

After closure and the unusual station building stands forlorn, it was demolished in 1975 when the rails were lifted.

No.8 Fenella arriving at the station in the spring of 1967 shortly after the reopening by Lord Ailsa; note the overgrown track.