The future of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway should be secure for now after Tynwald approved funding for the £20.73 million reconstruction of Douglas Promenade which will include tracks for the horse trams all the way between Derby Castle and the Sea Terminal. The decision comes after several years of debate and the constant changing of plans and was almost approved unanimously at the July sitting of Tynwald.
Although the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is just a small part of the project it is obviously where our main interest lies. We have reported on countless occasions just what was proposed for the tramway and this will be double tram tracks in their current location of the centre of the road between Derby Castle and Castle Mona Avenue. This is where a change to the traditional formation will come as a single track on the seaward side of the road will then be constructed between there and Peveril Square, near to the Sea Terminal. This will include a passing loop on Harris Promenade.
The Department of Infrastructure will now progress the plans further to the detailed design stage and a full planning application will then follow. It is planned that construction will start in September 2018 with the work due to take around three years to complete. At the moment it isn’t known what will happen to the tramway during the construction – although it would be a fair bet to suggest there will inevitably be some disruption – but the Department of Infrastructure are said to be looking at ways of minimising disruption for all concerned (both tramway users and normal road users).
At Tynwald there was only member who voted against the proposal with MLC Tim Crookall stating that he opposed plans for the double track along the northern section.
We all know that the plans have been controversial and there are some who still think it is an outrage that a single track will be constructed on the southern section. However the current plans seems to be a good compromise for both private road users and the tramway and means that the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway will be able to continue operating for many years to come.