Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

St John's and Kirk Michael railway line could become cycle route

Gate on former steam railway line at Kirk Michael Image copyright Google
Image caption Trains stopped running on the line more than 50 years ago

A former railway line in the west of the Isle of Man could be turned into a safe walking and cycling route, the infrastructure minister has said.

Ray Harmer told the House of Keys a "draft business case" to upgrade the line between St John's and Kirk Michael had been "submitted to treasury".

He said work on the old track between Douglas and Peel was already under way.

The additional works would be "the start of linking Douglas and Peel with Ramsey," he added.

Alex Allinson MHK said using the former steam railway track was "an intrinsic part" of the government's Active Travel Strategy, which aims to encourage travellers to use transport other than motor vehicles to get to work.

The steam railway routes between Douglas and Peel, and St John's and Ramsey were closed in 1968.

During the same debate, Mr Harmer dismissed a suggestion by Bill Shimmins MHK to run the Manx Electric Railway (MER) on a single track between Douglas and Ramsey to accommodate walkers and cyclists.

Mr Shimmins had claimed it would create a "safer walking and cycle route" on the eastern side of the island, but the infrastructure minister said the cost of converting the track would be "absolutely immense" and create "very deep safety concerns".

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