“Businesses need a break from construction on Douglas promenade before the horse tramway is extended, the infrastructure minister has said.

Tracks have been laid from the Strathallan terminal to the War Memorial as part of the £26m project to regenerate the capital's seafront.

Plans to continue the line to the Sea Terminal were put on hold in 2021 and now need Tynwald approval to progress.

Tim Crookall said that would not be brought forward for some time.

He confirmed he would give Tynwald members the option of voting to finish the tramway as originally intended, but said that would happen ‘a lot later’.

Mr Crookall said his immediate focus was on completing the existing scheme, as the businesses in the area wanted ‘to be able to get on to the promenade and use it without any construction going on’.

Although approved in the original scheme, which was backed by the Manx parliament in 2017, the extension from the War Memorial to the Sea Terminal was temporarily shelved last year.

The £1.2m needed for the single-track extension was taken out of the main scheme by the then Infrastructure Minister Tim Baker, who said it would be delivered separately.

Mr Crookall said he could not see any reason why it would not be brought forward for approval at a later stage.

Existing work to finish the current phase of the tramway would continue into February, following delays in the arrival of new rail points from the UK, he said.

There was ‘very little left to do’ before the entire project was completed and the department anticipated all work would be completed before the TT in late May, he added.”

BBC News

Since this story was published on the MERS website and Facebook page, the following comments have been received.

David Archer “Looking at this disgrace that this fiasco of a construction project has been so far, you now have to have serious doubts and concerns that the tram tracks will ever reach the sea terminal again. The new layout of the tracks terminating at the war memorial appears to illustrate that is as far as its intended to go. A very sad reflection on the island’s infrastructure department that this situation has come to be, the only positive move with this shambles has been the rebuilding of the tram sheds at Derby Castle for the horse trams, a very sad and unnecessary situation.”

Ed More David Archer If only it made it as far South as the War Memorial, Dave. But it will start in no-man's land opposite Castle Mona Avenue, another 300 metres away from the new Culture Area / Villa Gaiety. Out of sight of the majority of visitors and completely useless as a feeder for the MER.”

David Archer “That says it all Ed doesn’t it, set up to fail.”

Dave Chesters “Makes no sense to me, spent all that time refurbing prom, either make traffic flow and parking better to help business in town or just pedestrianize it like every other town/city across to suit the greenies, horse tram would come into its own then. They seem to be doing neither.”

Graham Ward “Man up admit it was never going to go passed the Sefton.”

Les Turner “As regular holiday visitors l despair at the short sightedness Remember how the steam railway suffered when it only ran from Castletown to Port Erin and the MER when it terminated at Laxey Should be looking as reopening infrastructure of the past as with Queens pier not ripping up existing history for that’s what it is”

Sam Killey “1: Are they not wanting people to use the shops? 2: Tynwald already voted on the trams running the whole length of the prom in 2017! The track has already been bought.”

Ian Edwards “Sadly my visit to the Isle of Man’s railways planned for 2022, my first since Covid, is once again postponed indefinitely. One of the delights of staying in Douglas, has always been a fantastic Manx breakfast in the ‘Devonian’, then boarding a horse tram on the Prom for Derby Castle or the Sea Terminal, to join the Electric or Steam Railways. But without this unique incentive, Douglas becomes just another seaside town like any other. The Isle of Man railways are fantastic, but so too are many others, notably in Wales, which are far easier and cheaper to get to. Regrettably it appears they will be winning my tourist pounds for another couple of years yet ”

Also, the majority of caller’s to this afternoon’s Mannin Line programme on Manx Radio have been in favour of restoring the horse tramway link to the Sea Terminal.

Isle of Man Television's Paul Moulton questioned DOI Minister Tim Crookall as regards the prospect of Horse Trams serving the Sea Terminal once again, the video clip can be viewed HERE.


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