Douglas Bay Horse Tramway

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Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
Raad Yiarn Cabbyl Vaie Ghoolish
Douglas-IOM-horse-tram1.jpg
Roofed Toastrack No. 35, Loch Promenade
Locale Douglas, Isle of Man
Terminus Derby Castle / Victoria Pier
Commercial operations
Name Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
Built by Thomas Lightfoot
Original gauge 3 ft (914 mm)
Preserved operations
Owned by Douglas Town Council
Operated by Douglas Corporation Transport
Stations Various (Hail & Ride)
Length 1.6 miles (2.6 km)
1 May 1876 "Official" Opening
2 January 1900 Takeover, Douglas Corporation
30 September 1927 Winter Service Terminated
28 September 1939 Closed For Duration
1 May 1946 Seasonal Services Resumed
Preservation history
9 August 1956 80th Anniversary
7 August 1976 Centenary Parade
7 August 2011 135th Anniversary
September 2015 Final trams ran
Headquarters Strathallan Crescent
Website
http://www.douglas.gov.im/index.php/leisure/horse-trams

The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway on the Isle of Man ran 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 were located. It was a distinctive tourist attraction.

History[edit]

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 earlist days the track was expanded, 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 (now Douglas Borough Council) in 1902. Since 1927 the tramway has run in summer only.[1]

In 2015 Douglas Borough Council 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.

Closure[edit]

In January 2016, Douglas Borough Council confirmed 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] 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]

Description[edit]

The tramway was 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge, double track throughout, running down the middle of the road. Service was 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 were maintained by "closed toastracks", with winter saloons and open toastracks also in semi-regular service. In summer trams were stabled outdoors overnight adjacent to the Terminus Tavern public house, and there was 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 tram service along the seafront would be temporarily suspended while resurfacing work on the prom continued into its next phase, which runs from Regent Street to Strathallen. However, the plans were later revised, allowing regular horse tram operation to take place in 2015, and the 2015 operating season began on 11 May.[6]

Tramcars[edit]

Fleet[edit]

The remaining core of service trams represented 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.

No. Built Builder Layout Seats Notes
No. 1 (ii) 1913 G.F. Milnes-Voss & Co., Ltd. Enclosed Saloon 30 Replacement Car, No Advertising
No. 12 1888 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 42 Blue Livery, Ornamental Lamps, No Advertising
No. 18 1883 Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon Co., Ltd. Double Decker 52 Converted Single Deck 1904, Returned Double-Deck 1989, Okell's Advertising
No. 21 1900 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 42 Extended, Manx Electric Railway Society Advertising
No. 27 1892 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Enclosed Saloon 38 No Advertising
No. 28 1892 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Enclosed Saloon 38 No Advertising
No. 29 1892 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Enclosed Saloon 38 No Advertising
No. 32 1894 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 44 Promenade Embroidery Advertising
No. 33 1894 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 44 Atholl Rent-A-Car Advertising
No. 34 1894 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 44 Blank
No. 36 1894 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 44 Conister Bank Advertising
No. 37 1894 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 44 Orchard Recruitment Advertising
No. 38 1894 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 44 Manx Electric Railway Society Advertising
No. 39 1902 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 42 H.S.B.C. Advertising
No. 39 1902 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 42 H.S.B.C. Advertising
No. 40 1902 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 38 Awaiting Attention
No. 43 1907 United Electric Car Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 44 Charles Taylor Advertising
No. 44 1907 United Electric Car Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 44 Royal Tram, Red, White & Blue
No. 45 1907 United Electric Car Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 44 Atholl Rent-A-Car Advertising

Scrapped fleet[edit]

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.

No. Built Builder Layout Seats Scrap Date
No. 1 (i) 1876 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 52 1901
No. 2 1876 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 52 1948
No. 3 1876 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 52 1948
No. 4 1882 Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 52 1949
No. 5 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 52 1948
No. 6 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 52 1949
No. 7 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 52 1924
No. 8 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 52 1949
No. 9 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 38 1952
No. 10 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 38 1983
No. 13 1886 Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 48 Renumbered (See No. 14)
No. 15 1886 Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 48 1949
No. 16 1886 Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 48 1915
No. 17 1886 Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 48 1917
No. 19 1886 G. F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 30 1952
No. 20 1886 G. F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 30 1952
No. 23 1891 G. F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Umbrella Car 30 1952
No. 24 1892 G. F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 38 1952
No. 25 1892 G. F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 38 1952
No. 26 1892 G. F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 38 1974
No. 30 1894 G. F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 38 1954
No. 31 1886 G. F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 38 1987 (Advertising Car 1968-1975)
No. 41 1905 G. F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 38 1991
No. 46 1909 Milnes-Voss & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 42 2001 (Birkenhead Tramway Museum)
No. 48 1935 Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co. Convertible Saloon 38/44 1982 (Sold, M.E.R. 1980)
No. 50 1935 Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co. Convertible Saloon 38/44 1982 (Sold, M.E.R. 1980)

Other tramcars[edit]

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 fulfills the same role.

No. Built Builder Layout Seats Notes
No. 11 1888 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Open Toastrack 40 Withdrawn 1983, Jurby Transport Museum
No. 14 1884 Starbuck Car & Wagon & Co., Ltd. Double Decker 52 Extant Manx Museum, Douglas
No. 22 1900 G.F. Milnes & Co., Ltd. Umbrella Car 42 Tram Shop, Jurby Transport Museum
No. 35 1894 G.F. Milnes-Voss & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 42 Home Of Rest For Horses, Bulrhenny
No. 47 1911 G.F. Milnes-Voss & Co., Ltd. Roofed Toastrack 44 Withdrawn 1978, Jurby Transport Museum
No. 49 1935 Vulcan Motor & Engineering Co. Convertible Saloon 38/44 Withdrawn 1980, Stored Privately

Future[edit]

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.[7] Plans have been submitted by the Island's Department of Infrastructure [8] to rebuild the Douglas Promenades. Plans would see the tramway moved 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.[9]

On 22 January 2016 it became known that Douglas Council had decided that the tram will not run from 2016 on; cars be given to museums and the horses be sold. [10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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 links[edit]