Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man horse tram service: Buy-out plan revealed

Douglas Horse Trams courtesy Manxscenes.com Image copyright Manxscenes.com
Image caption The 140-year-old Douglas Bay Horse Tramway runs along Douglas promenade for 1.6 miles (2.6 km)

Plans to save the Isle of Man's historic horse tram service are set to go before Tynwald later this month.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne will propose a government buy-out, after Douglas council announced the service was no longer "financially viable".

In its final year, the council said the service ran at a loss of £263,000.

The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway was terminated in January after ferrying tourists along the town's promenade for more than 140 years.

Mr Gawne said: "I am passionate about preserving our culture and heritage and believe the horse trams should remain an integral part of Douglas Promenade."

The report, which will go to the Manx parliament on 19 July, proposes that the government buys the tram depot, trams and horses for a "nominal amount".

The next step, which would cost about £5.5m, would be to create a tram line between Derby Castle and the War Memorial.

Image copyright Manxscenes.com
Image caption The department of infrastructure is proposing to buy the horse tram depot, the horses and the trams from Douglas council for a "nominal amount"

The report also suggests that a charity could be established to help fund the service into the future.

"An independent report in 2012 revealed that heritage railways contributed £11 million to the local economy," continued Mr Gawne.

"The department is confident it can further capitalise on the success of the transport-related travel market".

The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway, which was built and originally operated by Thomas Lightfoot from Sheffield, runs along Douglas promenade for 1.6 miles (2.6 km) from the Strathallan terminal to the Sea Terminal.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Isle of Man horse-drawn trams have been ferrying tourists along the promenade for more 140 years

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