The Manx Electric Railway Society – a group with the express purpose of protecting and promoting the retention and development of not only the MER but also other tramways on the island at a reasonable cost – have called on members of the Isle of Man’s parliament, Tynwald, to honour the previous decision to build the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway all the way to the Sea Terminal again. As we’ve seen the line is set to reopen at some point in 2022 but only from Derby Castle to the War Memorial with the remaining section not only being unavailable for this year but also for many years to come – if ever again.
As we reported a few weeks ago, the new Minister of Infrastructure, Tim Crookall admitted recently that although he would eventually bring a vote back to Tynwald to release funds for laying the lines through to the Sea Terminal (something which has been voted on and approved previously of course) this would not be for some time. Local press reports are now suggesting this would be at least one to two years, by which time many fear that it will have become the norm to have the tramway ending halfway along the Promenade and so it will not be approved.
In a statement the Manx Electric Railway Society have called upon MHKs to get behind the scheme: “The Manx Electric Railway Society calls upon the MHKs to honour their democratic decision to save the line and to set a clear course for the completion of this wonderful asset. It is simply not good enough for the Minister Mr Crookall to declare that he is not prepared to ask for funds for this scheme for the next year or so and our democratic guardians should be encouraged to turn on the pressure to execute their decision to re-build the line for the full length of the route.”
The story of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is far from over in Tynwald as well with an MHK having recently asked how committed the government are to the tramway. Daphne Caine, MHK for Garff, asked: “Does his department want to complete the horse trams, or are they trying to sabotage them so that they never get reinstated?”
Mr Crookall responded by saying he would like to see the line completed but said it had to be done “at the right time”. Although when the right time is remains to be seen, or indeed if there ever is a right time.
As for the 2022 season – there is no date for a resumption of services with Mr Crookall having now gone on record as saying he didn’t know when trams would start running with it subject to safety inspections and horse training. It’s a story which continues to run and run, its just a shame the horse trams aren’t!