Heritage tramways on Isle of Man continue to be popular

2018 was another successful year for the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway, Manx Electric Railway and Snaefell Mountain Railway with increased passenger numbers recorded throughout the year on all lines. Indeed, of those lines operated by Isle of Man Railways the only one to see a reduction in passenger numbers was surprisingly the Isle of Man Steam Railway which has helped to mean the overall increase is only at 0.4%.

The biggest increase was seen on the Snaefell Mountain Railway – which considering 2017 had seen a reduced season on account of the suspension of the service following the runaway tram incident isn’t exactly a surprise – with over 13,000 extra single journeys recorded bringing the total amount to 76,434.

In its 125th anniversary year the Manx Electric Railway was up to 244,863 journeys (a 7% increase from 2017’s figure of 227,826) whilst the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway continued its upward trend since Isle of Man Railway’s took on the operation with 80,606 journeys – up by 6,652.

Although not in the remit of this website the Isle of Man Steam Railway saw a 7% reduction from 121,422 to 113,197.

In total there were 515,100 single journeys recorded on the island’s heritage railways and tramways. This was 2,253 higher than 2017’s figure of 512,847.

As we arrive in 2019 it will be interesting to see whether these improved passenger loadings continue especially considering that the Horse Tramway will see limited operation – both length of season and length of journey – as a result of the Promenade redevelopment. Also 2018 was a special year for the Manx Electric Railway and it remains to be seen whether visitor numbers are maintained for the next year.

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One Response to Heritage tramways on Isle of Man continue to be popular

  1. David M says:

    Some great results there, reflecting the hard work of both the employees, and in the case of the MER, volunteers in producing some great events for 2018. Both the Heritage Transport week and MER 125 being phenomenal. Much appreciation for some of the best tram events ever.

    Sadly, the steam railway results are a reflection on a very poor season. Relying on two and a half locomotives to cover the busy summer season was never going to end well. The ‘half’ being No.8 Fenella, in poor health and failing before and in service more than once. A summer of cancellations, last minute timetable changes and bus replacement could only result in low patronage. The return of Caledonia and hopefully No.11 Maitland in 2019 should mean better times ahead.

    Although the MER is by far the jewel in the crown of the Island’s transport delights – its other many and varied transport systems all add up to a wonderful destination for the transport enthusiast, and one I can heartily recommend!

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