Horse tram service from the end of July?

Can it be true? Are we actually going to see horse trams running on the Isle of Man again? If all goes according to plan a service on the remaining section of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway between Derby Castle and Broadway should start from the end of July for a brief season until September – but there does remain some work to be completed before this can be fully confirmed.

We saw just a few days ago that the recently installed track – including pointwork – at the new (and maybe temporary) terminus had been encased in tarmac and now the Department of Infrastructure have confirmed that “the track and points at Castle Mona Avenue have been installed, commissioned and inspected successfully, and the full length of installed rail track has been checked for correct alignment, and tested”.

The testing of the new alignment was undertaken without horses but a tramcar was used to make sure that the curves were not too severe (a fear of some of those who saw the track being installed). This appears to have been a success and now the project to return trams moves on a step.

Work still to be completed includes the installation of proper signage and commissioning of traffic controls, rail preparation and grinding and the training of the horses.

It is planned that all this will take place by the end of July but in a statement the DoI have said: “This is, however, a tight time scale and dependent on suitable weather, the performance of the horse team and the availability of staff and plant.”

Nonetheless, this is the first time an actual timetable of what needs to be done for services to resume has been unveiled and looks like it is a positive step to their return – for the first time since 2019.

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2 Responses to Horse tram service from the end of July?

  1. Geoff Currie says:

    Just come back off holiday, otherwise would have commented before. The DOI is a Department not fit for purpose, they are an absolute shower. So they think that a Tramway ending ( or starting) in the middle of nowhere is acceptable. After spending the money on a new depot, and tramlines that should have been laid in Liverpool that they got at a bargain price, there should have been enough money left from that to Complete what was agreed by The House of Keys! That is line completed to Sea Terminal!

    • David Holt says:

      “to make sure that the curves were not too severe” – it would be interesting to know why the return curve at Castle Mona Avenue has been made so short and sharp, instead of making it at least the same radius as the points. Pidgin Practitioner syndrome? (“trams can go round sharp corners, so we must make them do so at every opportunity” or “trams go ever so slowly, so we can make the curves really sharp”).

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