“An MHK has questioned the government's commitment to the running
of the horse trams in Douglas.
Garff MHK Daphne Caine said it seemed like there had been ‘repeated sabotage against’ the trams during the Douglas Promenade refurbishment works.
Infrastructure minister Tim Crookall said reinstating the tram lines at Broadway had been further delayed by points issues and he had ‘no idea’ when the 2022 horse tram season would start. He added it could be as late as July.
Plans to put the tram lines back along the entire length of the promenade to the Sea Terminal were put on hold during the last administration to allow money earmarked for that section of the project to be spent elsewhere.
The minister previously said work on the reinstatement of the tramway to the Broadway area would be completed before the TT races in June.
Mr Crookall told the House of Keys a July start would be dependent on a safety inspection and training of the horses.
‘There will be a complete inspection... to make sure it's safe, and if the inspector's not happy, it will not happen,’ he said.
He said the completion of the tracks would cost an additional £1.5m on top of the £1.2m already budgeted for to take the tracks to the War Memorial.
He added that while he understood people's frustration, he was ‘not prepared’ to ask for the money ‘over the next year, or maybe two years.’
Criticising the department's handling of the project, Mrs Caine asked the minister: ‘Does his department want to complete the horse trams, or are they trying to sabotage them so that they never get reinstated?’
Mr Crookall said he would ‘absolutely at some stage, at the right time, like to see those tracks finished to the far end.’ “
PHOTO CAPTION: Rather than cutting it back, those behind the creation of the 1960s built 'Lemon Squeezer' Sea Terminal buildings believed the horse tramway to be of sufficient importance for the lines to be extended across the carriageway at the Jubilee Clock to continue along the Victoria Pier. Here the tramway terminated at a useful if rather functional looking 'tram station' of pre cast concrete construction. Trams weretherefore able to provide convenient transfers along the Promenades for the benefit ferry passengers.
Never really used to its fullest potential, the Victoria Pier extension saw little use in later years and the tracks were tarred over as recently as 2003. On a damp day in August 1972, convertible car No.48 in its enclosed wet weather mode, prepares to depart from the Victoria Pier with a seemingly full load of passengers.
It remains to be seen if the horse tramway will continue to serve
the Sea Terminal in years to come, thereby retaining a genuine
transport function in maintaining a highly useful link along the
Promenades as well as acting as a vital feeder for the Manx
(Photo: A. Spencer Collection)