Just when you thought the ongoing saga of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway had taken as many twists and turns as is possible then another comes along. It now looks as if 2022 will be another year without any service after the Minister in charge of the Department of Infrastructure told Tynwald he was not hopeful of them running this year – and that’s just on the shortened line which had been expected to see operation in time for the main summer season.
The reason/excuse this time is that contractors have been struggling to find the required materials needed to finish the tramway. A set of points required at the town end of the line – which were ordered in January – have still not been supplied and there is currently no delivery timescale. Tim Crookall, Infrastructure Minister, did say he hoped to know more by the end of this week but that he was not hopeful they would be delivered in time to be installed to allow services to resume in 2022.
It was 2019 the last time that the horse trams ran any form of service and at the time it was hoped that it wouldn’t be too long before they could start running again. Granted we have had a major global pandemic in that time which has caused even more delays to the redevelopment project but even taking that into consideration it seems that the idea of horse trams running again is far from all officials involved minds.
And this is even before we start to consider whether the final section from Broadway to the Sea Terminal will ever be constructed. Despite having been approved by Tynwald on more than one occasion and even funded in the past there is now no money from the original budget for this to happen so it will have to go to Tynwald once more for another approval. In the Tynwald debate on what was going on Mr Crookall revealed he would be asking Tynwald in June for approval of funding to cover the overspend on the rest of the project and at the same time he would be seeking unofficial approval from members on the extension. If that is not forthcoming then he confirmed he would not be talking to the Treasury about possible funding for the extension at any point in the future.
When will the saga ever end?