Isle of Man Railways have revealed the timetable for the Douglas Horse Tramway in 2016 with services running between Saturday 30th April and Sunday 30th October although not every day with only three weeks during the season seeing a seven day operation. The timetable also confirms that services will run between Derby Castle (with the Strathallan names seemingly consigned to history but considering this terminus is slap bang next to the MER terminus this will hopefully avoid any confusion for visitors) and the Sea Terminal and that there will be enhanced services for three days during the Manx Heritage Transport Festival in July and for the 140th anniversary on 7th August.
Two main timetables will run throughout the season – Timetable N and Timetable P. Timetable N will mainly see the standard 20 minute interval run between 0900 and 1800 with a few longer gaps around lunchtime and a half hour gap at the very end of the day. This service will presumably still require two trams in use and will run in April, May, late June, early July and early September until the end of the season.
As for Timetable P this will see trams running between 0900 and 1830 and will be in use on 28th and 29th May, during the TT period in June and the school summer holidays between 19th July and 4th September. This timetable will see 30 return journeys during the day with a 20 minute frequency at the start of the day, every 15 minutes from 1100 until 1700 (except for the lunch period where there are 30 minute gaps) and then every 30 minutes until the end of service. With the length of the journey from end to end being 15 minutes this means the increased frequency looks set to require three trams in service – the most trams needed for a normal service at one time for a number of years.
As announced when it was revealed Isle of Man Railways would be taking on responsibility for running the service this year the horse trams are not running every day during the season. The main pattern sees trams not running on Mondays (with the exception of Bank Holidays and during the TT period) with most Fridays in May (except 27th May) and October (except 18th October) also seeing no service. Most Tuesdays in May (except 10th May), June (except 7th June) and September (except 6th September) also see no service along with the first two Tuesdays in July and all Tuesdays and Thursdays in October (except for 27th October).
The first official confirmation since the takeover that there will be a celebration of the 140th anniversary of the tramway has also been provided in the timetable leaflet with an enhanced timetable running for a special event on Sunday 7th August. For the first time in many years the Douglas Horse Tramway is also set to play a full role in the Manx Heritage Transport Festival with an enhanced service running on Friday 29th, Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July.
So now we know when the horse trams will be running all we need to do is support the service to persuade those with the power that there is an appetite for a full service in the future. Use it or lose it!
The timetable can be downloaded at https://www.gov.im/media/1351184/douglashorsetramway-timetable-2016-6pp-dl-web.pdf (which will make it a lot clearer to you as to when the tramway is running than the text above!).
* Meanwhile this week has seen the submission of the revised planning application for the first stage of the Douglas Promenade redevelopment works and disappointingly as previously announced this does not include any provision for the horse trams between the Villa Marina and Sea Terminal.