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Council saves sole surviving Douglas Cable Tramway mechanism

Tuesday, 25 September 2018 14:36

Douglas Borough Council has saved the sole surviving piece of machinery from the Douglas Cable Tramway, a cable tram flywheel dating from 1894 which, now restored, is to be installed in the Bottleneck car park.


 AWheelDSCF0734 MediumThe wheel awaiting installation in the Bottleneck car park


The mechanism was used for manoeuvring tram cars around Douglas on the tramway which operated from 1895 until its closure in 1929 and ran from Loch Promenade, through to Victoria Street, then Bucks Road, Woodbourne Road, York Road and Ballaquayle Road before returning via Broadway.


The wheel was uncovered during excavation works carried out by the former Isle of Man Water Authority in 2000 for the IRIS sewer scheme when a long-buried cable tram chamber was unearthed.


ADSCF0727 MediumThe site at the Bottleneck car park being prepared by Auldyn Construction Ltd


After early restoration work by volunteers from Jurby Transport Museum, a team from Douglas Borough Council carried out the wheel’s full restoration with engineering and fabrication support from BB Consulting Engineers and Gallas Foundry.


Environmental Services Committee Chair Councillor Ritchie McNicholl said: ‘The Council is as equally committed to celebrating Douglas’s past as it is to advancing schemes to create a brighter future for the town.


‘The Isle of Man is internationally renowned for its vintage transport systems and the Council is proud to be contributing to the Island’s heritage by preserving this unique example of Victorian engineering for future generations. It is all the more appropriate that the Council should be delivering this attraction in 2018, the Year of Our Island, which provides an opportunity to shine a light on all the features that combine to make the Isle of Man the very special place that it is.’


Once the project is completed in collaboration with the Department of Infrastructure, Douglas Borough Council will arrange an official unveiling.