'Horse Trams set to run for just 500 metres'
They are 'absolutely' of economic value says minister
The infrastructure minister has defended his department's decision to operate the Horse Trams, even though a single ride will last for just 500 metres.
Following delays to track laying, Ray Harmer has confirmed the heritage tramway will now run from Strathallan to Switzerland Road 'as was always anticipated'.
According to Transport Isle of Man, the service was meant to begin its season on 25 April.
However the revised schedule says it will be running later this month, subject to the promenade works.
Mr Harmer told Manx Radio that despite the initial short section, 'it's important to keep the horse trams running'.
Click HERE to listen to the audio clip.
This is how Isle of Man Newspapers have since reported the story:
Horse Trams Will Run During The TT - But Only Over Short Distance
“The horse trams will be operating for the TT, Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer has pledged, but only for a small stretch.
Mr Harmer told the House of Keys that the track will be operational from Strathallan to Switzerland Road during the TT. He also said the TT funfair would be on the promenade, as usual.
He pledged: ’For TT, the prom is open.’
With businesses being hit by disruption as the multi-million pound redevelopment of Douglas promenade takes place, the news that a small section of track is to open up for horse trams during the TT is likely to receive a mixed response.
Originally, transport chiefs had hoped to have a section of track operating before the end of April, but that was delayed.
The minister said work on the northern end, Queen’s Promenade, continued with the laying of the horse tram tracks towards Broadway.
’The tram tracks will be installed and will be in use for the TT, to Switzerland Road,’ he said in response to a request for an update from.
Rob Callister (Onchan) asked whether the DoI would consider suspending the horse trams ’when other key roads across the island are closed due to serious incidents during the TT, in order to ensure the traffic flow on the promenade is taken into consideration’.
Mr Harmer said the department would keep a ’flexible’ approach but the service was ’relatively short’ and he did not anticipate any particular impact on traffic.
Outlining other work taking place, Mr Harmer said excavations were taking place in the Harris Promenade area.
Work at the southern end of the promenade, to reconstruct the land-side footway from Victoria Street to Regent Street, was progressing, including the installation of various utility services.
’This phase of the work is to be temporarily completed by the beginning of TT fortnight.’
He admitted: ’The project has encountered a number of uncharted services and low-ground obstructions, which have impeded progress and required regular changes to the services and the scope of works.
’The contractor and the project team are working collaboratively to minimise any impact as a result of these issues. These early delays have been swiftly addressed through temporary traffic lights and evening working.’
He accepted the disruption was not welcome but added: ’I would rather address small delays promptly, than see the whole scheme run behind.’
Mr Callister asked when parking would be available at the Summerland site. The minister said he hoped it would be available ’if not this weekend then some time early next week’. “