Tragedy strikes as Douglas Horse Tramway re-opens

Albert, a 17 year old horse, has died after collapsing whilst pulling a tram on the Douglas Horse Tramway. The tragic incident happened on Tuesday 13th May, just the second day of the 2014 season, and it is believed that Albert suffered a stroke.

Despite the swift actions of the tram crew on duty and senior tramway staff who quickly moved Albert back to the Strathallan stables nothing could be done for him and after attendance from the vet, Albert was pronounced dead. Albert becomes the first horse to die whilst in active service for over 40 years (Superintendent Michael Crellin told the BBC Albert was the first death on duty during the 41 years he has worked there).

In a statement Douglas Council said: “Tramways Superintendent Michael Crellin and Operations Supervisor Peter Cannon, and all the Tram Service staff, dealt with the emergency efficiently and professionally and were expertly supported by their colleagues in the Parks and Garage sections. A post mortem will be carried out, the findings from which will be made public in due course.”

All of the horses used on the Douglas Horse Tramway receive regular health checks and only run up to two round trips before returning to the stables.

This incident was in stark contrast to the previous day – Monday 12 May – when the outgoing Mayor of Douglas, Cllr Carol Malarkey JP, launched the service for 2014 in a photo call involving “Royal Tram” 44 and horse “Douglas”.

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3 Responses to Tragedy strikes as Douglas Horse Tramway re-opens

  1. Ken Walker says:

    A truly sad event which I am sure will have upset the staff who care for these horses. But these things can happen occasionally both to animals and human beings, no matter how many precautions are taken. I do hope this incident doesn’t give rise to the sort of rants that we have heard from time to time in the past about pulling trams being cruel to the horses . It has been adequately proved that an empty tram can be moved with one hand, and horses are sufficiently stronger than human beings to more than cope with the extra weight of passengers.

    • David Y Dredge says:

      Indeed Ken: the Douglas Horse Tramway looks after its horses well and they enjoy a healthy retirement well before in years gone by they would have done.

  2. KARL BULLOCK says:

    My wife & I visited the Isle of man on holiday a few weeks ago, where we had the privilege of visiting the stables and meeting some of the staff. The care the horses receive is second to none, and it was, a pleasure to see them so very well cared for.

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