Despite a year that might be described as difficult especially in respect of the Snaefell Mountain Railway, Isle of Man Transport have announced that 2017 saw record passenger numbers carried across the four railways and tramways they operate. The Isle of Man Steam Railway, Manx Electric Railway, Snaefell Mountain Railway and Douglas Bay Horse Tramway saw a combined 13% increase in passengers.
A total of 512, 847 passenger journeys were recorded throughout 2017 which was 65,949 more than were seen in 2016. All systems saw increases with surprisingly the Snaefell Mountain Railway out in front with a 27% increase (16,770 extra return journeys taken bringing up to 63,175 in 2017). It was a 6% increase for the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway as 73,954 single journeys were recorded (up by 4,252) whilst on the Manx Electric Railway 12,572 more single journeys were taken bringing it up to 227,826 total journeys and cementing its position as the most popular of the island’s railways/tramways (this was a 5% increase from 2016). For completeness sake on the Steam Railway 147,892 single passenger journeys were taken (up by 32,355/22%).
Ian Longworth, Director of Transport Services, said: “I am delighted with the figures, which are a true testament to the hard work put in by the staff and volunteers. Even with some scheduling restrictions on the services, we have managed to outperform previous years. We are now planning for the 2018 season, with a particular focus on some spectacular events such as the 125 year celebration of the Manx Electric Railway.”
A big part of why increased passenger numbers were seen is down to the increase in the group travel market with both coach trips and cruises brining large number of visitors all eager for a ride on the island’s historic railways.