Well, they do say a week is a long time in politics! Only a week after Tim Crookall, Infrastructure Minister on the Isle of Man Government, said that he was doubtful that the horse trams would run in any form this year he has now changed his tune and has said he is more confident of it happening!
Quite what has led to his change of opinion is unclear (maybe he found a set of points in his back garden after all?!) but in a more recent interview he said: “I’m more confident that the horse trams will run later this summer, and will provide a further update when we get closer to TT. We’ll be aiming for the end of July and for the season to last around 10 to 12 weeks. This is still not definite and depends on a range of issues – including the smooth installation of the points and training for the horses – but the prospect of seeing the horse trams in action this year is looking a lot more promising.”
If – and it does still remain a big if as let’s be honest the story could have changed again next week – the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway does run in 2022 it will only be the shortened route from Derby Castle to Broadway which operates but at least its something (which is possibly what they’re hoping we all think!).
This latest delay in reopening – horse tram last ran in 2019 – is a set of points needed at the Broadway end of the route. After inspections the originally installed infrastructure was not cleared for operation and so a new set had to be ordered from the UK. This didn’t happen until January and despite hopes they would be quickly delivered this hasn’t been possible and so it has been a waiting game. But now, presumably, there is a more positive delivery schedule which could see a limited service run later this year.
Although this would be the first public service trams of the year, there has already been a horse tram run for a short distance during later April. 36 was used for a filming assignment on behalf of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow and in doing so was the first horse tram to run since 2019, not only on the Isle of Man but the whole of the British Isles!