'New Destination For Old Tramcar'

“It’s all change again for an old tramcar that has trundled off to a new destination. The tram has been craned out of the back garden of Grant Taylor’s cottage in Ballasalla ready to begin the next stage of its journey. He had converted the ex-Lisbon car into a comfy bar - complete with bar stools, beer mats and a replica Guinness pump.

But with his cottage soon to be demolished as part of the Ballasalla by-pass scheme, a new home had to be found for the old tram. Dublin businessman Dave Fitzpatrick read the story about it on our website, iomtoday, and contacted Grant. It will now join another former Lisbon tram in the Irish capital to become the second of David’s tram cafes.

Dave said: “We are going to turn it into another tram cafe. We are again in talks with Dublin City council for a location. These things move slowly, but I just wanted to save the old tram from destruction. Our original tram dates from 1902 and I believe this one is 1907. Just think of the millions of people who have been on these over the years. Sure you have a fabulous tram system over there. So much character. It will probably cost about â¬150K to restore and turn into a tram cafe, but it will be worth it.’

Grant said the crane operation went without a hitch. He said: “It’s going to be restored and I would never have spent that sort of money on it.It’s a happy ending! “

His old tram was built by Brill of Philadelphia in 1907 and worked in Lisbon until 1993. It was purchased by the Manx Electric Railway at a reported cost of £23,000 in 1996 but never saw any use here as it was found to be too wide to clear the tram poles at Port Jack. It was used for a time as a waiting shelter, minus its trucks, at Derby Castle before being moved into storage, first at Homefield bus garage and then at JCK’s yard in Balthane, Ballasalla. Then in 2013, railway enthusiast Grant was offered the chance to take it off JCK’s hands.

The tramcar it will join was built by Brill in 1902 by Brill and after a working life spent in the Portuguese capital somehow ended up in a field in Mullagh, Co. Cavan in the Irish Republic - which is where Dave spotted it and fell in love with it.

Now fully restored, the tram is based in historic Wolfe Tone Square in Dublin 1. The tram was completely refurbished off site over a period of almost three years. It was lifted into position on a Sunday, and opened for business on Monday.

Because of the unique sensitivity of site as a former graveyard, archaeologists were employed during the installation of services.

The Tram Cafe offers hot and cold dishes, desserts and juices prepared freshly each morning with a menu that changes daily.”

Isle of Man Newspapers


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