Some pleasing news to report from the Isle of Man is a major increase in passenger numbers recorded on the various heritage lines on the island – including for both the Manx Electric Railway and the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway.
The figures released have shown that on the Manx Electric Railway 158,000 passengers travelled on the line – this equates to a 20% increase from the previous year.
On the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway the figure was 45,000. This was the first full year of operation since the pandemic for the horses. Although, of course, it was also the first full season of the shortened line only running as far as Villa Marina with the section beyond there to the Sea Terminal not having been reconstructed.
As well as those two lines, the Isle of Man Steam Railway recorded 128,000 passenger journeys.
All told the combined figures across the lines operated by Isle of Man Transport saw an increase of 12% from the previous year. This can be partly explained by the “Year of the Railways” events to celebrate the Steam Railway’s 150th anniversary and the MER’s 130th birthday, an increase in visitors as we get further away from the pandemic as well as a major rise in cruise ship visits to the Isle of Man.
The heritage railways are currently subject to a major review. A report had originally been expected in September but at the time of writing has yet to be made public.