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6 'Surplus' Horse Trams to be Auctioned

posted 14 Aug 2016, 13:26 by Friends of DBHT   [ updated 29 Aug 2016, 11:15 ]
Douglas Borough Council has announced that it intends to offer a total of six surplus horse trams for sale by auction on Saturday 27th August.


The following press release was issued by the Council:

"As part of Douglas Borough Council’s package of support measures to assist the Department of Infrastructure in its running of the horse tram service the Council is to auction six horse trams no longer essential for historic or operational purposes through local auctioneers Murray’s on August 27.

Regeneration and Community Committee Chairman Councillor Stephen Pitts said: ‘The Council has agreed to assist the Department of Infrastructure in consolidating its core horse tram stock, for which the Department will be retaining a large fleet of trams of historic interest for operational use.

‘Following the Department’s assessment of the fleet there are a small number of surplus trams in need of restoration - examples of which will be retained in the main fleet – to be sold by public auction to organisations or individuals willing to commit to their preservation.’

The trams to be auctioned are a winter saloon, three bulkheads and two ‘toastracks’ in differing conditions, but all in need of renovation.

The auction will take place on Saturday August 27 at 11am, with viewing between 9 and 11am at Murray’s saleroom, 8-10 Allan Street, Douglas."

Friends of Douglas Bay Horse Tramway Statement:

The sale by auction of six out-of-use horse tramcars by Douglas Borough Council is very disappointing but not unexpected after Tynwald approved a recommendation that a maximum of 11 tramcars will be required for any future continuance of the service. We understand that the six tramcars for sale on 27 August are:
  • Winter Saloon No.28
  • 'Sunshades' No.33, No.34 and No.37
  • 'Toastracks' No.39 and No.40
We are pleased to note that prospective bidders will have to demonstrate a viable conservation plan for each tramcar, which may extend to the giving of covenants and avoid them becoming 'back-garden sheds'. That said, we have to acknowledge that a number of garden sheds and summer houses in the past have become beautifully restored heritage transport vehicles in museums around the World, including the Upper Douglas Cable Tramway Car No.72/3 right here on the Isle of Man.

Conservation plans will likely be taken into account by the Manx Museum & National Trust when it considers applications for required export licenses for any of these categorised cultural objects to leave the Island. But we hope that transport museums across the UK and Ireland will still show an interest in acquiring a vintage horse tramcar for preservation and display.

The Isle of Man Government (Department of Infrastructure) proposes to acquire separately from Douglas Borough Council two better-condition examples of each of these tramcar types as part of the future Douglas Bay Horse Tramway service fleet. We have asked the Department to reconsider the merit of also acquiring the third Winter Saloon No.28.

Services at the fringe of the season (April / early May and late September / October) invariably will have to cope with inclement or wet weather along Douglas Promenades; therefore the ability to provide enclosed transportation for passengers will be essential for maintaining the viability of the service at these times. We believe having a third Winter Saloon in the fleet is a necessary contingency which allows for maintenance downtime or indeed unexpected demand.

It also allows Saloon No.1 properly to be included as part of the proposed 'museum set', fully restored to original condition and used only on special event days.