“A review into the island’s railways has considered reducing or closing entirely the Laxey to Ramsey section of the Manx Electric Railway.

Engineering and transport consultants SYSTRA were contracted undertake a review of the Isle of Man’s heritage railways earlier this year.

While the report has yet to be published, an FoI from Gef has revealed that discussions have been had around cutting or severely reducing the service on the section from Laxey from Ramsey.

In an email from October 19 of this year, an unnamed person at the DoI wrote to SYSTRA, under the heading ‘Laxey Ramsey section’ to comment on some of the as yet unpublished report and said that the DoI would ‘have a statutory obligation to maintain fences and drains if we abandon any section of line’.

They added that this is set down in the IoM Passenger Transport Act and means that the DoI would still be legally required to maintain bridges, level crossings, fences, drains and ‘other works constructed and maintained for the use, accommodation or protection of the public generally or of any members of the public or the owners or occupiers of particular lands’.

In short, they can’t just abandon it.

That email also discussed the costs of switching to single line working which they said would ‘have a further impact in addition to the items you identified in that we would need an extra station master to ensure staff and ticket operation functioned which would attract another large salary cost’.

It added: ‘The alternative would be to cut the service significantly so that we only had one tram in the northern section at a time. This would impact a lot of the early services, lunch breaks, and any additional services we operate at busy times e.g. private hire charters, TT services, UDEs, etc, which would have an additional negative impact on income.

‘There would also be significant increased safety risk operating on the twin tracks.’


The Freedom of Information request and its subsequent response from the DOI can be viewed HERE


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