Douglas Horse Tramway stables to be sold off?

Councillors in Douglas have agreed to sell off the horse tram stables at Summerhill and progress with plans to develop the Strathallan depot to include room for not only the trams but also the horses. It is proposed that the work would be undertaken at the same time as the Promenade redevelopment works which would see the horse trams not running at all for one operating season.

There have been concerns for a number of years about the condition both of the depot building at Strathallan (which includes conference facilities above) and also the buildings in front of the stables and it is thought this would be the best course of action to secure the future of the tramway. There have also been worries about the horses having to cross a busy road junction when changeovers take place.

Design work will now take place – costing approximately £50,000 – to show how the site at Strathallan can be redeveloped to house both horses and trams. It is thought that the sale of the stable site will cover the costs of redevelopment. It is also likely that in the redevelopment a number of the withdrawn trams would be deemed surplus to requirements with some going to the Jurby Transport Museum with other possibly going off the island.

The Douglas Horse Tramway is currently operating daily between Strathallan and the Sea Terminal with journeys between 0900 and 1800.

* A post-mortem held on Albert, who tragically died whilst pulling a tram on 13th May, has revealed that he died for cardiac failure. The post mortem said the body “did not have signs of recent trauma” and that “Gross examination of the internal abdominal organs did not reveal any significant pathology.”

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8 Responses to Douglas Horse Tramway stables to be sold off?

  1. David Taylor says:

    I cannot understand why the horse trams would not run for a season as the tramway along the prom could be laid then the connection put in out of season. I think new track will have to be laid as the old track in the road must be well corroded by now.

    The horses should not have problems crossing the road as they negotiate the busy junctions now without a problem.

    If the line along the prom was extended back alongside the sea terminal as it used to be then the customers could wait in the warm and dry waiting area.

    • Colin Smith says:

      My understanding of the season long closure is that it is in connection with a revamp of Douglas promenade and the horse tram track is to be replaced as part of that work.

      The point about horses crossing a busy road junction is that they do that presently and the new stables will eliminate that situation.

      Must agree about the extension to the Sea Terminal. It can be a bit draughty outside at the current terminus.

      • David Taylor says:

        The point I was trying to make was that I did not see any reason for closing the tramway for a season. If the new track was laid along the promenade during the summer the tramway could continue along its present course until the work was finished. It would then take a few weeks (Manx months?) to cross the road and join the old track beside the MER line.

        • Colin Smith says:

          Yes, sorry David I was forgetting that the alignment is being changed. Perhaps the closure is because there is a perceived health and safety risk to the contractors laying the new track and carrying out the other alterations to the promenade. Obviously there will be an issue with loss of revenue. I wonder if Douglas Corporation may use that as an excuse for closure of the tramway? I don’t think not having this attraction for a year will have a significant impact on passenger numbers when it reopens. Most patronage is likely to be tourist traffic.

          • David Taylor says:

            You are not the first to suggest an excuse for closure. As the promenade is very wide I do not think it will be a H&S issue.

            At some stage the horses are going to have to cross the main road so possibly traffic lights will be installed.

            Passenger numbers are low and I do not know the answer to that but some of the complaints I have heard are about the infrequency of the service at every 30 mins and they often do not run or are late.

            Perhaps Ian Longworth should be asked as he has done wonders for the Railways on the Island. I am over in three weeks so I will poke around and possibly let you all know if this thread is still going.

      • Geoff, Isle of Man says:

        Both David (23/6) and Colin (24/6) suggest the re-extension of the line towards the Sea Terminal. The road junction has been totally rebuilt, and most of the original track removed or covered, making this an impossibility. The new layout can be clearly seen by looking at the view from this webcam:

        • Ken Walker says:

          I think the reason why the tramway stopped using the track into the sea terminal in the first place was because of the extension being on land belonging to the port authority. I think it was either that the corporation had to pay to use the extension, or the port authorities stopped them from using it if I remember correctly.

  2. Colin Smith says:

    Just a guess on my part David, based on how silly some H & S issues can seem. I have no first hand knowledge of either the width of the promenade. But on the couple of occasions that I have travelled on the horse trams the roadway, in which the tracks are laid seems fairly narrow when you take into account that the work will encroach upon this space and the fact that they will want to retain access for through motor traffic it sort of makes some sense to close the tramway. I agree that it is regrettable that it is for so long.