Garff MHK Supports Resumption Of Services On The Mountain.
“An offer by a heritage society to cover the costs of running the Snaefell Mountain Railway for its 125th anniversary is being considered by transport bosses.
But Garff MHK Daphne Caine said the Department of Infrastructure should be obliged to operate the route.
The Manx Electric Railway Society has offered £9,000 to allow the SMR to run later this month on August 20 to mark the anniversary.
Unlike the island’s other heritage lines, the DoI deciding against running the SMR this year, citing a variety of reasons including cost.
The MERS committee then voted unanimously to ’transfer £9000 to the Railways to permit them to operate the SMR for three weeks for the 125th anniversary celebrations’.
A spokesman for the department said: ’The DoI is aware of a news release issued last night by the Manx Electric Railway Society, and that it contains on offer of £9,000 towards the cost of running the Snaefell Mountain Railway over the period of its 125th anniversary. The offer is noted with interest, and will be considered. However, costs are likely to be much higher than the MERS is aware of, and work is required to assess the full financial impact to the department.’
The MERS said the money could be used to restore a tramcar if the money wasn’t needed to meet losses for the anniversary.
Garff MHK Daphne Caine added: ’It’s a fantastic and generous offer from the MER Society but it shouldn’t be necessary. Taxpayers have invested millions in the railways’ infrastructure over recent years and the DoI should be obliged to operate some services on Snaefell this summer for the many thousands of staycationing residents.It would be a crying shame if there were no services to commemorate the 125th anniversary on August 20 but also no reason in my view why they couldn’t continue operating Snaefell trams longer than three weeks if passenger numbers cover much of the operating costs.’ “
Since the publication of the above article, the MERS has received the following comments via social media:
Rob McCaffery - She's entirely right. Looks like the message is hitting home.
If you're going to commit to maintaining historic transport you have to mark its historic anniversaries even if the only visitors are from Guernsey. To not mark the 125th tells the transport world that the Manx don't care enough and can create a similar feeling in the enthusiast world. As someone who is 'across' when you try to tell enthusiasts about the island's riches many simply refuse to believe it. More simply won't come because it's 'too difficult' to reach, or not exotic enough. There is a constant battle to get through to people the joys of the island, and that also applies to non-transport sectors. The spending on a short season to respect the 125th has short term costs but long term benefits. To be honest I doubt whether many Manx realise the transport gems they have. It is so easy to be blase. I used to work near the Tower of London and saw tourists taking photos. My feeling was "So what, why bother, it's just the Tower of London?" I think that was when I needed to get out. The message needs to be reinforced constantly "This is special!".
Dun Roamin - Rob McCaffery Well said. Like the words from the Joni Mitchell song goes, "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. They paved paradise, put up a parking lot".
Cashtalmann - Well said Daphne you are spot on. This is a
classic demonstration by the Minister and his Department, but
ultimately by the Minister because it is his responsibility and
only his, that he knows 'the cost of everything and the value of
nothing'! It is appalling that there is even any doubt what
should be done. The same Department is spending money on matters
that are not as important as this. It is a special year for the
Tramway and THIS government is just going to ignore it. A
Disgrace. Is it correct that the new DOI Minister does NOT
support our heritage railways?
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