The Douglas Horse Tramway could be set for a major change if plans due to be submitted to Douglas Council next month are approved. These plans are part of a major reconstruction of the promenade in Douglas which would see the tramway become single track with passing loops rather than the current double track.
The tram tracks would be moved from the middle of the road, which has been considered to be both a nuisance to other traffic but also a safety issue, to the seaward side. As mentioned above the double track of the tramway would also disappear as it is planned that it will become just single track with passing loops at strategic points.
It is expected that the complete reconstruction of the Promenade, which would also include redoing the roads and footpaths, would cost £17.5 million. Once Douglas Council approve the project it then has to go to Tynwald to get further approval – this is likely to happen early in 2013. If approved the work will be done in phases and would be completed within nine years although officials are hopeful it wouldn’t take quite this long.
Richard Pearson, Department of Infrastructure Director of Highways, said: “The double tracks take up quite a lot of space, which can be used for other things. At the moment passengers for the horse trams get on and off in the middle of the road which is not ideal in modern health and safety terms.”
Mr Pearson also suggested that the movement of the tracks to the side of the road could also enable the Manx Electric Railway to run as far as Villa Marina although this would likely be a long term aspiration rather than something which could happen overnight.