Saturday, March 2, 2024
Home Travel Review calls for a 15-year strategy for the Manx heritage railways

Review calls for a 15-year strategy for the Manx heritage railways

by Staff

Image source, IOM Transport

Image caption,

The Manx Electric Railway celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2023

A 15-year strategy is needed to secure value from the Isle of Man heritage railways, a report has found.

The recommendation is one of 13 from engineering consultants Systra in an independent report.

The review said while there were ideas about how the 150-year-old network could progress, there was a “lack of a clear, unified vision”.

The review was set up to consider the the steam railway, Manx electric railways and horse trams.

Overall it found that the railways had “continued to positively progress” despite challenges posed during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Image caption,

The horse tram tracks currently only run to the Villa Marina on Broadway

The report said while there was “clearly a strategic case for reinstatement” of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway the full length of Douglas Promenade, it would require a “very large increase in passenger numbers to avoid a further increase in subvention”.

However, it said the Sea Terminal could be used as part of the railway’s visitor facilities “prior to investment in facilities at Derby Castle”.

It said that introducing a commuter train service between and Ramsey and the capital on the Manx Electric Railway would have a “low marginal cost” would likely generate “positive value for money”.

Introducing two morning and two evening services would need 88 passengers per trip to turn a profit, which was “ambitious” by “plausible”, the report stated.

Changing the points at the Derby Castle to allow the electric tram to travel further into Douglas town centre could be done in conjunction with this, it said.

Image caption,

The review looked at the island’s heritage transport including the 150-year-old Isle of Man Steam Railway

Looking at the overall impact of the heritage railways on the economy, the consultants found that for every £1 spent in subvention and capital investment there was an economic benefit of £2.88.

It also recommended an increase in capital investment “a small number of years” to allow track renewal programmes to be completed, following a reduction in annual spending £5m to about £2.5m in 2023.

Systra said the railways strategy was needed to “further enhance the visitor experience with the ultimate aim of increasing revenue and passenger numbers”.

Other recommendations included the formation of a board of directors to oversee the management of the network, the creation of better communication between tourism agencies, a review of the cost of Go Explore tickets for all the railways, and an “urgent” improvement to the railways’ digital marketing.

Infrastructure Minister Tim Crookall said the report would provide the department with “a firm base from which to view the railways’ current position and then plan their future development”.

Why not follow BBC Isle of Man on Facebook and X? You can also send story ideas to [email protected]

Leave a Comment

Copyright ©️ All rights reserved. | Tourism Trends