Railway restoration to be completed ahead of April

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Restoration work on the Snaefell Mountain Railway is expected to be completed in time for the new tourist season in April, according to the government.

The project to replace more than 50% of the railway tracks will cost about £3m.

It also involves replacing sleepers, drainage work and improvements to the ground under the rails.

The restoration work, which began in 2010, will affect more than five miles of the heritage railway.

Tim Crookall, minister for community, culture and leisure, said: "Significant investment in our heritage railways is required to preserve them for future generations to enjoy.

"This major scheme is essential to ensure the safety of our passengers and to bring the condition of the line up to scratch."

Government figures show railway passenger numbers to have increased by 11% in 2011 to 49,000.

The Isle of Man's Mountain Railway service began in 1895 and ran for four miles from the village of Laxey to the top of the island's highest mountain, Snaefell.

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