It may be a new year but unfortunately its still the same old Douglas Bay Horse Tramway saga and the “will it, won’t it” run all the way to the Sea Terminal. And the latest seems to be rather inevitably in the negative category as the new Infrastructure Minister has said that there has been enough disruption for businesses in Douglas and that the plan to “extend” the line will not be considered for some time.
Let’s have a bit of background in case you’ve forgotten what has been going on! As part of the major redevelopment of Douglas Prom there has been much debate over the future of the horse tramway. Would it still have double track? Would it still be in the centre of the road? Would it run all the way between the Sea Terminal and Derby Castle? After a lot (and we mean a lot!) of discussion it seemed there was agreement that yes trams would run all the way but that for the last section along Hariss and Loch Promenades it would move from the traditional centre of road location to the side on a new tram corridor which this part being single track only with a passing loop.
So far, so good. But then delays in the project and the goalposts moved and so that section – being described as an extension in the media but is it truly an extension when it used to run along that bit anyway?! – was put on a backburner and despite the fact it has already been approved by Tynwald (with funding made available in the past) it was said last year that it would have to go back to the Manx Parliament for another approval. Seemingly with the idea of if you keep asking the same question you will eventually get the answer you want.
Also last year it was confirmed that they would press ahead with the construction of the tramway from Derby Castle to Broadway but not go any further for now. It was presumed that was a temporary measure awaiting the vote which would have gone to Tynwald this year but now that is unlikely and it hasn’t been said when it may be presented for a vote again.
Tim Crookall, Infrastructure Minister, is quoted by the BBC News website as saying that there would definitely be a vote but that it would happen “a lot later” as his focus was on completing the current scheme. There have been more delays in this phase with a new set of points for the tramway being delayed in the UK and it is now said the works will be finished in February. Although February is given a date for that its almost mentioned that they hope all work will be completed in time for the TT in late May – which seems quite a wide window for all the work to be done!
As it stands now, we will definitely have a horse tramway from Derby Castle to Central Promeande opposite Castle Mona Avenue and this will mainly run in the centre of the road, save for the new terminus which is at the side of the road. As to whether the last bit to the Sea Terminal ever follows remains to be seen (although we imagine many will have some idea on that one).