As the fallout from the decision last night of Douglas Borough Council to axe the horse tram service with immediate effect continues one hope of enthusiasts has been dashed with the Manx Government confirming they currently have no plans to take control of operating the line along the Promenade. Indeed the Department of Infrastructure have even confirmed that they will be pressing ahead with their plans for the reconstruction of the Promenade – just leaving out the installation of tram tracks.
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement by Douglas Borough Council some enthusiasts had mentioned that the possibility existed of the Horse Tramway to come under the auspices of Isle of Man Transport who already successfully run the Manx Electric Railway, Snaefell Mountain Railway and Isle of Man Steam Railway but the Press Release from the Department of Infrastructure – which was very swiftly released after the closure announcement was made – suggests this is a no-goer as well.
Phil Gawne MHK, Infrastructure Minister, said: “The department has a close and positive relationship with Douglas Borough Council and we have been working together on the promenade plans to deliver the best option for the capital and for the Isle of Man in general. Government and local authorities are experiencing severe financial pressures and the council has obviously decided that it cannot ask ratepayers to continue funding the loss-making horse tram service. There are no plans at this stage for the government to take over the running of the horse trams, although I have called a meeting of relevant government departments and agencies to consider the implications of this loss and what, if any, response Government should make.”
Douglas Borough Council have also said that the door is not shut on discussions to retain the tramway with volunteers but they don’t see this as viable either due to the large losses being experienced in recent years.