Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Historic Douglas Bay Horse Tramway future secured

Olympic torch, Isle of Man Photo: Mark Edwards Image copyright Mark Edwards
Image caption The Douglas Horse Trams have been in existence since 1876 in the Isle of Man

The future of one of the world's oldest horse drawn tramways has been secured after the Isle of Man's parliament pledged to continue funding the service indefinitely.

Politicians voted to approve a £1.5m financial package for a new horse tram depot in Douglas.

The government took over the running of the service in 2016 and had committed to paying for it until 2018.

The service had previously been operated by Douglas Borough Council.

Image copyright Manxscenes.com
Image caption The Manx government bought the horse tram depot from the council for a "nominal amount"

The Department of Infrastructure's (DOI) plans for a new depot at Strathallan will see the existing structure demolished.

It will be replaced with a modern building which will recreate the original 1896 facade of the first floor.

Two thirds of the ground floor will house 13 historic horse tram cars.

Office accommodation and staff facilities to replace the existing temporary Manx Electric Railway depot at Derby Castle will also be added, at an additional cost of £483,108.

The DOI said the extra funds would be found from its own budget.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Isle of Man horse-drawn trams have been ferrying tourists since the Victorian era

Built and originally operated by Thomas Lightfoot from Sheffield, the tramway runs along Douglas promenade for 1.6 miles (2.6 km) from the Strathallan terminal to the Sea Terminal.

The heritage horse trams have been in operation for more than 140 years.

The 2019 horse tram season will run on a restricted timetable as work to refurbish Douglas promenade takes place.

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