Strathallan Depot

In 1886, Isle of Man Tramways Ltd, who had acquired the horse tramway from its founder Thomas Lightfoot in 1882, built a terminus station and tramcar depot on land opposite Burnt Mill Hill (now Summer Hill). The new depot accommodated only 12 tramcars; this storage space was supplemented in 1891 by the purchase of No.1 Strathallan Crescent with its yard and stables, becoming known as ‘The Brig’. A number of tramcars were kept in the yard area of The Brig when not in service.

By 1894 when the horse tramway was sold on again to a new concern, the Douglas & Laxey Coast Electric Tramway Company, there were 31 horse trams in service, the majority stored overnight in the open. With the likelihood of the tramcar fleet expanding further to meet growing passenger demand, the new owners and operator purchased a plot of land inside the entrance to the Derby Castle Pleasure Grounds and in 1895 proceeded to build the Strathallan Horse Tramcar Depot, a new 12-road tramcar shed which could hold up to 36 tramcars.

As built, the new depot was a single-storey structure with cast concrete facade, doorways fitted with wooden slat roller-shutters, and it had a traverser system outside allowing tramcars to be pushed sideways to access any of the twelve storage roads without the need for complex outside pointwork.

The large wooden advert hoarding erected above the single storey front facade initially promoted all the glens along the coast between Douglas and Ramsey, ‘places of interest along the way’ which visitors could travel to via the Douglas & Laxey Coast Electric Tramway (later to be renamed the Douglas, Laxey & Ramsey Electric Tramway and, from 1902, the Manx Electric Railway). 

After the horse tramway was purchased in 1902 by Douglas Corporation, commercial advertising became abundant and for many years adverts for Jacob’s Biscuits of one sort or another appeared on the Strathallan Depot hoarding and the horse tramcars. The advert hoarding made way for the addition of the upper floor in 1935.

In the early 1900s and again in the 1920s, internal offices and staff rooms were created within the building, using the far left and far right access roads, thereby reducing storage capacity to 30 tramcars. The first floor suite of offices were added by Douglas Corporation in 1935 for their tramway and bus management staff. By doing so, a further road was taken up by a stairwell, reducing storage capacity further to just 27 tramcars.

Subsequently, the upstairs offices have been used by the transport division of the Isle of Man Government up until 1999 and then as rentable meeting rooms until 2015.

Following a structural survey in 2016, it has been determined that the Strathallan Tramcar Depot is life-expired and requires either significant repair or full replacement to continue in use.
 

Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
helping to promote

Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway
c/o Rocket House, Parliament Square
Castletown IM9 1LB, Isle of Man
Tel:        07624 412374
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Copyright © 2015 to date - Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway

Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is an independent news, information and campaign support service, helping to promote and support the Douglas Bay Tramway, its draught horses and its historic tramcars. The Tramway itself is owned by the Isle of Man Government and operated as a heritage transport service and visitor attraction by Isle of Man Railways, part of the Department of Infrastructure.

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