When announcements were made in July about the Manx Electric Railway and Isle of Man Steam Railway resuming operation in time for the school holidays it was confirmed at the same time that both the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway and Snaefell Mountain Railway would not be running in 2020. For the Snaefell line this would mean that it would completely miss its 125th anniversary (21st August) year. But now the Manx Electric Railway Society have offered £9,000 to allow its operation for 3 weeks around this anniversary.
The initial announcement of no operation for the Snaefell Mountain Railway mentioned both operational and financial reasons for the decision but in a recent radio interview, the Minister for the Department of Infrastructure gave the financial side of the argument as the main reason for no trams.
In response to this news, the Manx Electric Railway Society committee agreed unanimously to offer £9,000 to Isle of Man Railway to allow for the operation of the Snaefell Mountain Railway for three weeks.
In a statement the Society said: “We believe that £9000 will be more than enough cover the costs of 4 weeks operation starting on the 125 Anniversary. It would be 15 days operation for 4 men if the forecast is bad and 6 men if the forecast is good. With 6 staff in every day that’s just 50 passengers to break even, a tram full. The weather is improving and there is good reason to believe that this will work. The £9000 will be a backstop. If the trams run and do not cost the Government money then it can be used to restore a tramcar which is presently out of use and accordingly the gift will be consistent with our objectives as a charity.”
In response the Department of Infrastructure said: “The Department of Infrastructure is aware of a news release issued last night by the Manx Electric Railway Society, and that it contains an offer of £9,000 towards the cost of running the Snaefell Mountain Railway over the period of its 125th anniversary. The offer is noted with interest, and will be considered. However, costs are likely to bemuch higher than the MERS is aware of, and work is required to assess the full financial impact to the Department.”
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