“A review of the Isle of Man’s heritage rail network has found that it is well run, has received effective investment and makes a significant contribution to the local economy.

Compiled by independent consultants Systra, the report also recommends that the railways should remain in public ownership but that a Board of Directors is formed, providing the basis to operate as an arm’s length company. Describing the Department of Infrastructure as ‘essentially an asset management organisation’, the report points out that is ‘less well placed to manage and develop a visitor attraction’.

Heritage Railways Independent Review has today been published on the Isle of Man Government website where it is available to read and download.

Commissioned by the Department of Infrastructure in May 2023, a draft version of the report was first delivered in mid-October. Since then, the Department has been working with the consultants to finalise the report and establish rigour around its findings.

Its aim was to produce an accurate analysis of the true value of the railway to the economy and wider society, and consider whether the railways are being operated optimally and with a suitable governance structure.

In response to the agreed terms of reference, Systra has produced a series of 13 recommendations — published last week — covering topics including strategy development, stakeholder engagement, pricing, investment, structure and the role of volunteers.

The Department of Infrastructure is now in the process of giving the report and its recommendations full consideration alongside colleagues from across the Isle of Man Government.

Infrastructure Minister Tim Crookall MHK said: ‘I’m very grateful to Systra for producing this report and providing the Department with an extremely valuable analysis of our heritage rail network. Our job now is to examine the recommendations, consider each in turn and establish next steps. How they may be progressed will depend on a range of different factors, and time will be required to establish the best way forward.’ “

The full Report can be downloaded HERE

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