Its been a stop start year for operations on the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway and now it has been announced it is over to enable the Prom reconstruction works to continue throughout the remainder of the year and beyond.
With the Douglas Promenade reconstruction works having got underway last winter it was always known that 2019 was hardly going to be a classic year for the horse tramway and that has certainly turned out to be the case.
Starting public services on 24th May the tramway initially ran for a short 500 metre section between Derby Castle and adjacent to Kings B&B before further extensions followed later in the season to a point by the T-shirt shop at Switzerland Road. No timetable was operated and a flat fare of £1 was charged to take a ride with passenger numbers unsurprisingly seemingly adversely affected throughout the year. There were also a number of occasions when the nature of the redevelopment works meant no service could run with announcements usually made the day before by Isle of Man Transport.
One such day where no service was operating was on Wednesday 25th September but it was thought this was just another one day shutdown but then during that day Isle of Man Transport posted on Facebook to say that was it for 2019! In a statement they said: “Douglas Bay Horse Trams will cease operations for the remainder of 2019 to enable the continuing reconstruction of the Douglas promenades. he team, along with volunteers, will offer stable tours to all groups who were expecting horse tram rides as part of their package. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank all our customers who have supported the Horse Trams this season.”
In the same week the Minister for Tourism was also quoted as saying that he didn’t think the horse trams should run at all during 2020 to aid the redevelopment works. Whether this does happen is unknown as currently no information has been released on plans for next year but with work on the new depot at Strathallan making good progress hopefully there will be some sort of service offered. Watch this space as they say!