Saturday, January 23, 2016

Manx horse trams - RIP

View from a horse tram

The good people who run Douglas Council on the Isle of Man have decided to scrap the horse tram service along the front.

IOM Today - Historic horse tram service to be axed

From my initial reading, the problem seems to be that, "The decision follows a proposal by the council to amalgamate the Tramway Terrace stables site with the tramway hub at the Strathallan site, a scheme estimated, as of December 2015, to cost in the region of £2.9million."

Basically, they had a scheme. It was going to cost a lot of money. The money can't be found so the whole tramway is to be scrapped rather than just leaving it as it was.

Now, I realise that the tramway lost money in crude financial terms. Sadly, you can't put a price on the number of tourists it helped to bring in and that's what accountants do. They will happily destroy every attraction and then wonder why all the tourist based businesses have closed.

This is a more general problem for the IOM. While the Manx people are lovely and friendly, they appoint representatives who hate any tourism not based around the TT races, something I've heard expressed by more than one hotel owner.

The TT is great but it only provides 2-3 weeks of business. After that, you're left with an expensive to reach island which ought to provide a great heritage location. Trouble is, when you scrap the interesting heritage, it's a pretty place but Ireland is cheaper and more varied.

One problem with the horse trams, and possibly part of the reason they have to go, is that they run down one of the busiest streets in Douglas holding up the traffic. There was a plan to re-locate them to the promenade as part of a renovation scheme - this made perfect sense but I believe there are "issues" with this scheme too with all sorts of arguments about it in parliament.

So, the horse tram service will not run in 2016, or ever after. The horses will be retired and the rolling stock sold to museums or scrapped. The valuable buildings on the front will be sold off. The people of Douglas will be able to drive very slightly faster along the seafront, although on such a small island, I doubt that will really make much difference.

There is a petition to save the horse trams here. 


Nick Brad said...

When I commented on your video jokingly, I had no idea they were actually scrapping it.
I think you covered it pretty well why it makes no real sense to lose it so I shalln't copy what you've already said, but i shall go sign that petition and hope it's successful.

Duncan Young said...

So sad and a warning that nothing is sacred