The 'Trammers'

Clydesdales and Shires are well suited to pull horse trams with their immense power, large round feet and generally good temperament.  There are currently twenty-one of these heavy draught horses with the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway. Historically known as 'trammers', they also attend agricultural shows and compete in ploughing matches on the Island.

The Tramway Stables, established by Thomas Lightfoot in 1877, are located off Queen's Promenade at the junction with Summer Hill.  They have a present day capacity for twenty-four horses.

Historically, the majority of horses were purchased from Ireland, a mix of cob and farm breeds, old enough to put in harness after brief training and with a working life of perhaps eight years before being sold on to local farms or re-exported.

A mare called Polly, bought from Ireland, had presented the operator Douglas Corporation with a foal named Ramsey in 1966. Due to significant cost rises for good horses in the early 1970's, the Corporation decided to commence its own breeding programme, the first foal being born in 1974.  The breeding programme continued through until the 1990's. Mark & Robert are the last in-service 'trammers' to be bred by the Corporation.

Since the late 1990's, the tramway horses have been purchased mainly from the Ballafayle Stud near Ramsey and are either of Clydesdale or Shire breed.

The current in-service 'trammers' are Amby, Andrew, Charles, Douglas, Ian, Keith, Kewin, Mark, Philip, Robert, Robin, Rocky, Steve, Teddy, Torin & William The oldest and smallest is Mark, the tallest is Steve, the heaviest is Andrew, the fastest is Kewin, the youngest are William and Torrin.

In training are Alec, Bobby, Harry & Nelson.  Blae, a Shire filly born in 2016, will start her training in a couple of years time.  With the exception of Blae, all of the other horses are geldings.

Alec (S)

Amby (C-x)

Andrew (S)

Blae (S)

Bobby (C)

Charles (C-x)

Douglas (C)
Harry (C)

Ian (C)

Keith (S)

Kewin (C)

Mark (S-x)

Nelson (S)

p (C)
Robert (S-x)

Robin (S)

Rocky (S)

Steve (S)

Teddy (C)

Torrin (C)

William (C)