'Thoughts of retirement have been shunted to one side for Ian Longworth who is back in charge of public transport.'
"The end of an era was prematurely declared in January last year when it was announced that Mr Longworth was stepping down from his role as director of public transport after 10 years.
While reducing his hours, he stayed on at the Department of Infrastructure to manage a number of its major capital projects - including a role, most notably, in the Promenade reconstruction scheme. The DoI said at the time that the move was part of a process that will lead up to Mr Longworth’s eventual retirement. His position was filled by Ian Bates on a limited term basis.
But on Monday this week, transport services staff were notified that their old boss was back.
Chief executive Nick Black told them: ’At the start of 2019 Ian Longworth moved into a part-time project management post on a 12 month limited term basis. That 12 month period is now at an end and Ian has chosen to return to his full-time post. Therefore, from January 2 Ian Longworth will return to his post of director of transport services.’
Mr Bates will similarly end his period of temporary promotion and will return to his post of head of operations, he said.
Interim head of operations Gradyn Thompson’s one-year contract with the department expires at the same time.
Mr Black added: ‘I would like to thank Ian Bates and Gradyn Thompson for all their help over the past 12 months.’
Mr Longworth stood down as director last year ahead of the historic horse tram tracks being removed as part of the £25m revamp of Douglas Promenades.
It’s a scheme that’s rarely been out of the headlines since, given the delays, technical problems and disruption to local businesses that have followed.
The priority placed on the horse tram corridor and getting the horse trams running has been controversial.
Some critics suggest the reconstruction scheme has become too focused on providing a future extension to the Manx Electric Railway.
The horse tramway received a ’highly commended’ award in the Global Light Rail’s ’Oscars’ last year when it was noted the project ’paves the way for potential extension to the island’s electric tramway service’.
It’s clear the heritage railways are in a much better shape than before Mr Longworth took over, with investment in rolling stock, track and infrastructure.
There has been a big increase, too, in passengers numbers and revenue, while costs are also down.”