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The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway on the Isle of Man runs along the seafront promenade for approximately 1.6 miles (2.6 km), from the southern terminus at the Victoria Pier, adjacent to the Sea Terminal, to Derby Castle, the southern terminus of the Manx Electric Railway, where the workshops and sheds are located. It is a distinctive tourist attraction. However works have been underway to relay the track all of 2019 and at present only a third (from the derby castle) is usable, with no published end date for the works.

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
Raad Yiarn Cabbyl Vaie Ghoolish
Douglas-IOM-horse-tram1.jpg
Roofed toastrack No. 35, Loch Promenade
LocaleDouglas, Isle of Man
TerminusDerby Castle / Victoria Pier
Commercial operations
NameDouglas Bay Horse Tramway
Built byThomas Lightfoot
Original gauge3 ft (914 mm)
Preserved operations
Owned byIsle of Man Government
Operated byIsle of Man Railways
StationsVarious (hail & ride)
Length1.6 miles (2.6 km)
7th August 1876"Official" opening
2 January 1900Takeover, Douglas Corporation
30 September 1927Winter service terminated
28 September 1939Closed for duration
1 May 1946Seasonal services resumed
Preservation history
9 August 195680th Anniversary
7 August 1976Centenary parade
7 August 2011135th Anniversary
HeadquartersBanks Circus
Website
www.rail.im

Contents

HistoryEdit

The tramway was built and initially operated by Thomas Lightfoot, a retired civil engineer from Sheffield. His service was introduced in 1876 between the bottom of what is now Summer Hill and the bottom of Broadway in the centre of today's promenade adjacent to the Villa Marina. In the earliest days the track was expanded, and passing loops and long crossovers added so that by 1891 the line ran double track the entire length of the promenade, much as it does today. From opening it has operated every year, except for a period during the Second World War.,[1]

In 1882, Lightfoot sold the line to Isle of Man Tramways Ltd, later the Isle of Man Tramways & Electric Power Co. Ltd, which also owned the Manx Electric Railway. The company went into liquidation in 1900 as a consequence of a banking collapse. The tramway was sold by the liquidator to Douglas Corporation in 1902. Since 1927 the tramway has run in summer only.[1]

In 2015 Douglas Corporation partnered with Isle of Man Transport to introduce the 'Ticketer' system as used across the Island's other public transport systems.[2] On board a Ticketer hand-held unit connects with the island-wide contactless Go Cards and individual tickets can also be purchased.

ClosureEdit

In January 2016, Douglas Corporation announced that the tramway had run for the last time the previous September and that they had closed it as it was not financially viable. The tramway had made a loss of £263,000 in 2015.[3]

ContinuanceEdit

After an online petition attracted more than 2,000 signatures, the House of Keys established a committee to look into ways of retaining the iconic horse trams.[4][5] The operation of the tramway was taken over by the Isle of Man Heritage Railways division of the Department of Infrastructure of the Isle of Man Government and has continued in the 2016, 2017[6] and 2018 summer seasons. However there are plans to reduce part of the route from double to single track as part of the redevelopment of Douglas Promenade.

DescriptionEdit

The tramway is 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge, double track throughout, running down the middle of the road. Service is provided by 23 tramcars and some 45 horses. There have been several types of tramcar, and at least one of each type has been retained. Most services are maintained by "closed toastracks", with winter saloons and open toastracks also in semi-regular service. In summer, trams are stabled outdoors overnight adjacent to the Terminus Tavern public house, and there is a purpose-built tramshed where they are stored in winter. In 2014 it was announced by the Isle of Man Government's Department of Infrastructure that during 2015 the horse trams would be temporarily suspended while resurfacing work on the promenade continued into its next phase, which runs from Regent Street to Strathallan. However, the plans were later revised, allowing regular horse tram operation to take place in 2015, 2016 and 2017.[7]

TramcarsEdit

FleetEdit

The remaining core of service trams represent a cross-section of various types of car used on the line over the years; notable exceptions from the current fleet are an umbrella car (one of which survives as a souvenir shop elsewhere) and a convertible car, although one of these survives in private ownership. This was the last of three cars from 1935 which were dubbed "tomato boxes" owing to their unconventional appearance. On 27 August 2016, after Douglas council took ownership, six trams were sold at auction, numbers 28, 33, 34, 37, 39 and 40.

Key: Service Fleet Undergoing Rebuild Rebuilt Awaiting Rebuild
No. Built Builder Layout Seats Livery Adverts Notes
No. 1 (ii) 1913 G.F. Milnes-Voss & Co., Ltd. Enclosed Saloon 30 Red & Cream ~ Replacement Vehicle
No. 12 1888 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 32 Blue & Gold ~ Ornamental Lamps "Heritage Fleet"
No. 18 1883 Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon Co., Ltd. Double Decker 42 Maroon & Gold Okells Brewery Converted Single-Deck (1904) Double-Deck (1989)
No. 21 1890 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 40 Burgundy & White ~ Ornamental Lamps, Rebuilt 2018-2019
No. 27 1892 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Enclosed Saloon 30 Prussian Blue & Cream ~ Rebuilt, July 2017 - October 2018 "Heritage Fleet"
No. 29 1892 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Enclosed Saloon 30 Red, Black & Cream ~ Rebuilt October 2017 - January 2019
No. 32 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Sunshade 32 Red & White Promenade Embroidery Undergoing Rebuild 2019 "Heritage Fleet"
No. 36 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 40 Red & White ~ Rebuilt 2017, Tram Of The Year
No. 38 1902 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 40 Red & White ~ For Rebuilt 2019-2020
No. 42 1905 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 40 Red & Varnish Bushy's Brewery Rebuilt 2017-2018 "Heritage Fleet"
No. 43 1907 United Electric Car Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 40 Red & White Conister Bank
No. 44 1907 United Electric Car Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 40 Red, White & Blue ~ Royal Tram (1964 & 1972)
No. 45 1908 United Electric Car Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 40 Red & White ~ Rebuilt, October 2017 - March 2018

Scrapped FleetEdit

The tramway amassed at total of 50 cars, the final three arriving as late as 1935. Over the years several of these became surplus to requirements and were scrapped; many were stored in the former cable car depot at York Road, Douglas prior to its demolition to make way for a residential complex in 1990, others were dismantled being surplus to requirements over the years. Nos. 48 and 50 were purchased for possible use as wayside shelters on the Manx Electric Railway and were stored for a time at Derby Castle; the plan however never came to fruition and both vehicles were scrapped in 1982 leaving No.49 as the sole remaining example of this type of tramcar. No.46 was relocated to Nobles Park in Douglas in 1988 where it saw use as a shelter (memorably it carried a black and neon colour scheme latterly, promoting the Palace Lido); it was removed from the island and fully restored for museum display though later scrapped despite having been heavily reconditioned.

No. Built Builder Layout Seats Scrap Notes
No. 1 (i) 1876 Starbuck Car & Wagon Co., Ltd. Double Decker 36 1901 Converted From Single Deck 1884, Later Replaced
No. 2 1876 Starbuck Car & Wagon Co., Ltd. Double Decker 36 1948 Not Used After World War II
No. 3 1876 Starbuck Car & Wagon Co., Ltd. Double Decker 36 1948 Not Used After World War II
No. 4 1882 Metropolitan Carriage Co., Ltd. Double Decker 34 1949 Not Used After World War II
No. 5 1883 Starbuck Car & Wagon Co., Ltd. Double Decker 34 1949 Not Used After World War II
No. 6 1883 Starbuck Car & Wagon Co., Ltd. Double Decker 34 1949 Not Used After World War II
No. 7 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon Co., Ltd. Double Decker 42 1924
No. 8 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon Co., Ltd. Double Decker 42 1949 Not Used After World War II
No. 9 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 32 1952
No. 10 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 40 1979 Spare Parts Retained
No. 14 1887 Metropolitan Carriage Co., Ltd. Double Decker 42 ~ Destroyed in 1908 following rockslide in depot.
No. 15 1887 Metropolitan Carriage Co., Ltd. Double Decker 42 1939 Second Hand Purchase, South Shields Tramways
No. 16 1887 Metropolitan Carriage Co., Ltd. Double Decker 42 1915 Second Hand Purchase South Shields Tramways
No. 17 1886 Metropolitan Carriage Co., Ltd. Double Decker 48 1914 Ex-South Shields Tramways Converted Single Deck 1903 withdrawn 1914
No. 19 1889 George F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 32 1949 Withdrawn & Stored 1940
No. 20 1889 George F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 32 1949 Withdrawn & Stored 1940
No. 23 1891 George F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Umbrella Car 33 1952 Retractable Canvas Roof 1908, Later Fixed Roof
No. 24 1891 George F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Umbrella Car 32 1952 Retractable Canvas Roof 1910, Later Fixed Roof
No. 25 1891 George F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 32 1952
No. 26 1891 George F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 32 1974
No. 30 1894 George F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 32 1950
No. 31 1894 George F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 32 1987 Advertising Car 1968-1975
No. 41 1905 George F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 40 1988 Spare Parts Retained
No. 46 1909 Milnes-Voss & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 40 1986 Sold Birkenhead Tramway Museum 1990
No. 48 1935 Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co. Convertible Saloon 27/34 1978 Sold Manx Electric Railway 1980
No. 50 1935 Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co. Convertible Saloon 27/34 1978 Sold Manx Electric Railway 1980

Other tramcarsEdit

In addition to those cars remaining in the operational fleet, a number have survived and remained at other locations on the island; No. 14 spent several years at the Clampham Transport Museum until its closure, returning to the island in time for the centenary of the tramway in 1976; it entered the Manx Museum in 1991 where it remains today. No. 22 was converted into a souvenir shop used at Strathallan Crescent, it now resides at a transport museum in the north of the island where it fulfils the same role.

Key: In Storage Auctioned Off Privately Owned On Display
No. Built Builder Layout Seats Location Notes
No. 11 1886 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 32 Jurby Transport Museum Withdrawn 1976
No. 14 1887 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 42 Manx Museum Houses Audio / Visual Display, Renumbered 1908 (Was No.13)
No. 22 1890 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Umbrella Car 32 Jurby Transport Museum Former Tram Shop (Last Of Kind, Sunshade Roof)
No. 28 1892 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Enclosed Saloon 30 Off-Island Privately Sold, August 2016 (£2,800)
No. 33 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Sunshade, Glazed Bulkheads 1974 32 On-Island Privately Sold, August 2016 (£1,200)
No. 34 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Sunshade, Glazed Bulkheads 1972 32 Jurby Transport Museum Sold, August 2016 (£1,300) Restored & Motorised 2018
No. 35 1896 G.F. Milnes-Voss & Co., Ltd. Sunshade, Glazed Bulkheads 1966 32 Bulrhenny On Display, Home Of Rest For Old Horses
No. 37 1896 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Sunshade, Glazed Bulkheads 1972 32 On-Island Privately Sold, August 2016 (£1,100)
No. 39 1902 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack, Lengthened 1934 40 Unknown, On-Island Sold, August 2016 (£1,800) Manx Electric Railway Society
No. 40 1902 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack, Lengthened 1939 40 On-Island Privately Sold, August 2016 (£1,000)
No. 47 1911 G.F. Milnes-Voss & Co., Ltd. Bulkhead 40 Jurby Transport Museum Withdrawn 1976
No. 49 1935 Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co. Convertible Saloon 27/34 Ramsey, Isle of Man Withdrawn 1978 (Last Of Kind) Privately Owned

FutureEdit

Despite being the world's last remaining 19th century original horse-drawn passenger tramway and the second-oldest operational rail system on the island, the future of the tramway has been brought into question in recent years.[8] Various plans were submitted by the island's Department of Infrastructure [9] to rebuild the Douglas Promenades. In one version, the tramway would move from its current location in the middle of the roadway to a new single line formation adjacent to the Promenade walkway. The new plans have come in for some criticism from a large group of local residents who object to the siting of the trams near to the walkway. This is all rather irrelevant now, as a fortune is being spent in 2019 relaying the tracks in the middle of the road as they always were.[10]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Isle of Man Guide - Transportation, Horse Drawn Trams". Maxima Systems. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  2. ^ "Douglas Borough Council - Just the ticket: Council updates horse tram ticket management system".
  3. ^ "Isle of Man horse tram service ends after 140 years". BBC News Online. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Isle of Man horse trams: More than 2,000 people sign petition to save service". BBC News Online. 23 January 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Isle of Man horse trams: Committee to explore closure alternatives". BBC News Online. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Horse Trams". Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Horse tram service back on track for 2015". Town of Douglas. 9 May 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Douglas regeneration: £21m plans submitted for Manx capital". BBC News.
  9. ^ "Prom revamp application set to be submitted". Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Opposition to horse trams on Douglas walkway". Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.

BibliographyEdit

  • Heavyside, Tom (2010). Douglas – Laxey – Ramsey: including the Groudle Glen Railway. Narrow Gauge Branch Lines series. Midhurst, West Sussex, UK: Middleton Press. ISBN 9781906008758.
  • Hendry, Robert (1993). Rails in the Isle of Man: A Colour Celebration, Midland Publishing Limited, ISBN 1-85780-009-5
  • Pearson, Keith (1999). Douglas Horse Tramway - A Millennium Year History, 1st Edition, Adam Gordon, ISBN 978-1-874422-25-9
  • Johnston, Norman. "Douglas Horse Trams in Colour." Omagh: Colourpoint Press, 1995. ISBN 9781898392101.

External linksEdit