The Douglas Horse Trams

Very much the Cinderella of the Manx transport systems the Douglas Bay Tramway (full details see Blogroll) is lucky to have survived into the 21st Century. Animal rights groups, motorists and general busy bodies have long railed against the continuance of the service but somehow it continues to stagger on. In my opinion the fortunes of the tramway reflects the ongoing decline of the IoM as a holiday destination. Today the service is run by Douglas Corporation and it might as well be bin trucks that they are running as there is little attempt to make the service attractive for tourists. The staff ‘uniform‘ has now degenerated into what ever the individual crew member chooses plus the regulation day-glo visibility jackets and even trousers! I know that safety must be top priority with the high level of road traffic on the promenade now but I think the level of visibility is totally OTT and makes getting a decent photograph all but impossible. Just how many passengers or members of staff have been mown down on the promenade anyway? Most, but not all, of the staff seem disinterested in their work and might as well be out on the bin trucks. Anyway these are just my personal observations and do not let them deter you from taking a ride on the tram.

I usually take the trip from end to end but the service is very flexible and many of the stops are very convenient to neighbouring hostelries. When I lived on the Island a trip from the Derby Castle end of the promenade would usually involve stopping off at least two or three pubs on the way home and of these I can recommend the Terminus Tavern, the Piano bar of the Empress Hotel (cool colonial feel to it), the Queen’s Hotel (nice outside seating area) and if you still have the stamina for more, the British Hotel and the Bridge Inn on the North Quay are good places to finish up. Needless to say I will return to subject of Manx pubs in future posts!

Once again I include the best YouTube video of the tramway that I can find but it doesn’t really capture the spirit of the thing and I will keep searching.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Ellen Duffy on August 15, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    I think that’s a very good video of the horse tram. While on my recent visit, I stayed right on the Loch Prom and enjoyed watching it pass below my window throughout the day. Still haven’t had a chance to try it, but it’s on my list for next time.

    Reply

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