After another winter of uncertainty the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway resumed operation on Saturday 8th April for another season – the earliest start for the tramway in a number of years but that didn’t matter to the public with capacity loads seen for much of the day. Despite the historic Summerhill stables having been up for sale over the winter and Strathallan Depot being cordoned off for safety reasons normal operations resumed on this day with the approved temporary horse and tram accommodation at Derby Castle not yet having been built.
The first day saw the standard two tram service in operation with regular trams 44 (the “Royal Tram”) and fellow Bulkhead 45 providing the passenger accommodation and the usual rotation of horses throughout the day. William formed the first service of day with the Royal Tram in tow and as in recent years each horse is only scheduled to run two complete circuits before taking a break. 45 retains its adverts for Athol with 44 still advertless carrying its special Red and Blue royal livery.
Currently also stabled outside the Terminus Tavern – where traditionally trams used regularly in service are to be found – is Bulkhead 43 which has received a new set of adverts for 2017. The advertising for Sure mobile was removed earlier in April and having spent several days stabled sans adverts and in plain red it has now received a set of purple adverts for Conister Bank. This sponsor have had adverts on the horse trams for a number of years with 36 carrying ads last year.
Speaking of 36, it is now back in Douglas following a period away where it has undergone some refurbishment work. However the work has yet to be completed and rather than going back to Strathallan Depot it was unloaded at the Manx Electric Railway Derby Castle facility. It was moved inside here where further work will take place ahead of 36 being returned to Douglas Bay Horse Tramway tracks and a return to service later in 2017.
Meanwhile one of the sold trams has also been in the news recently. Enclosed Saloon 28 was one of the more controversial members of the fleet sold last year and was in fact the last of the trams to leave Strathallan for its new life. It has now been confirmed that 28 remains on the Isle of Man – there had been rumours that it had headed to the UK mainland – and although details of where it is located have not been released it is reported that it is to be restored.
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