No sooner had Tynwald approved the plans (and funding) for the reconstruction of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway’s depot at Strathallan than the bulldozers had moved in to start demolishing the current life expired building. Work started on Monday 26th November and will see the current building demolished ahead of construction work on a new structure starting in 2019.
In preparation for the demolition of the depot some historic fixtures and fittings were removed for safe storage. This included art deco style glass from the windows and some of the doors which will be used in the new look building. Of course, other important items also had to be moved – the trams! All of the trams remaining at the depot were moved for winter storage either at Derby Castle MER depot or at other locations on the island.
Construction of the new depot will begin in 2019 and it is aimed that it will be completed by February 2020 for use during the 2020 season. At the current time that means the trams have no home for the 2019 season (which despite the Promenade reconstruction works should see limited operation of the horse trams) but it can be remembered that there is still a current planning application for a temporary building on the Summerland site which may be able to be utilised for 2019?
And the trams which were residing at Strathallan during 2018 aren’t the only horse cars which have been on the move as Saloon 29 is also back on tracks once more. It was returned to the MER’s Derby Castle sheds during mid-November after enjoying bodywork attention at an island joinery firm (similar to that undertaken on 27). Work will now continue on the trams rebuild and overhaul ahead of it being cleared for a return to service.