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Crovan's Gate is a town near a narrow gap in the hills that is the only practicable route into the centre of Sodor from the east. The town's station is the terminus of the Skarloey Railway and the location of the Works, where the engines go to be repaired. The town's motto is "Ave amicos cave hostes", which, translated, means "Welcome, friends; beware, enemies".


The town is so named because of the narrow pass (Once much narrower than at present, since road and railway builders have enlarged it). This pass has for centuries been the only practicable route from the east into the centre. King Godred Crovan with 300 men held some 4000 Normans at bay here for a day until reinforcements under Jarl Sigmund and Thorkell of Norwich could arrive and occupy the surrounding heights. Then feigning retreat, Crovan lured the Normans through the gap which Sigmund then closed. The Normans were thus pinned down in a narrow space where they had no room to use their superior horsemanship except in trying to escape from what had become a virtual massacre.

Apart from its military importance, Crovan's Gate has been an agricultural market town until in the 18th Century the Crovan's Gate Mining Company made it the headquarters for their copper operations at Ward Fell and in the Skarloey Valley. By 1865, the terminus, sheds and yards for the Skarloey Railway were built here as well as a single platform station.

Nowadays, Skarloey Railway trains use a bay with a run-round loop on the north face of the North Western Railway's eastbound platform. At the platform end the line forks - left to sheds and workshops, right to the Main Line. Mr. Roger Sam lived here in a cottage owned by the Railway; the original Manager's House of 1865 having been demolished during "the Lean Years".

In 1915 the NWR established repair shops here. Since 1925 these shops have been expanded as required until the decline of steam on the Mainland. The Works are now equipped with machinery and craftsmen able to tackle any type of steam locomotive overhaul or rebuilding that may be needed. Sir Topham Hatt has been looking into the possibility of manufacturing parts for engines on heritage railways. The Works Diesel later came from here to help James.

Sodor & Mainland Railway