Major doubts that horse trams will run on Isle of Man in 2022

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?

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4 Responses to Major doubts that horse trams will run on Isle of Man in 2022

  1. nostalgicyetprogressive says:

    It seems possible that the idea is that when the horse trams finally run again, everyone will be so relieved and grateful for this alone that the extension to the Sea Terminal will decline in importance and become merely a dream for the distant future, with little prospect of realisation in most if not all people’s lifetimes. No doubt one should be thankful if any horse tram service is able to operate, as there always seemed to be a desire among certain groups to do away with the line altogether. Let’s hope the next cutback doesn’t involve the MER terminating at Laxey – a situation that did temporarily exist in the 1970s. Who can tell what troubled waters lie ahead for the Isle of Mann’s historic transport?

  2. Steve Hyde says:

    It rather sounds as though somebody has been a bit naive if that set of points was only ordered in January this year and they expected delivery and installation in time for operations to commence for the summer season. The normal lead time for these sort of items is at least 6 months even if they are to a standard design. Deviation from standard specification will extend the delivery lead time.

    • Geoff, IoM says:

      Naivety is the least of the sins that can be laid at the door of the Department of Incompetence/Infrastructure, Steve. You can add, lack of basic commonsense; lack of awareness of obtaining value for money for the taxpayer; arrogance. The list goes on: sometimes, I’m ashamed to admit that I live here!

  3. Geoff Currie says:

    Tynwald operates like Fred Karno’s. They pay for brand new track, brand new depot, the horses to be kept and maintained with no service, and yet are loath to get the job finished to the satisfaction of everyone concerned, including the increasing number of Tourists returning to the Island, and the vast amounts of money spent by some hotels to encourage the return of Tourism. They really are an absolute disgrace!!! They have even pedestrianised North Quay to encourage more tourists into the area,- Oh but they have to walk or try and get a bus there instead of taking a tram!!!

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