What a couple Steve and Susie make?
Susie gave up her job in the health service and linked up with Steve in order to plod the seafront of Douglas, Isle of Man and who could blame her.
Steve is a 19hands tall Shire horse and they can be seen working together as trammer and tram driver on the unique horse drawn tramway of the island’s capital.
Not only is there this tram treat on offer the Manx Electric Railway will whisk you for miles along the cliffs and through countryside to the town of Ramsey.
And it does not stop there as if that was not enough the transport geniuses of the Victorian age had another treat in store with an electric tram ride up to the island’s highest peak Snaefell or Snow Mountain!
These transports of delights are certainly one of the big draws for its visitors and not to let down the enthusiasts whom take their transport with steam they can even cater for that. With a 15 mile long service from Douglas to the seaside town of Port Erin.
Known world wide as the island and country that allows motorbike racers to circumnavigate it at extreme speeds of up to 200mph on its winding roads. This series of somewhat more sedate transport types never the less attracts thousands of visitors too.
There are so few places in the world that can offer such a diverse choice of transport experiences in a place that is just 35 miles long and 19 miles wide!
MANX TRAMS RUN ON THE SEAFRONT AT DOUGLAS
Starting with the Douglas horse drawn tram that will take you very neatly to the start of the electric tram service. The stables can be visited where as well as Steve you can meet Amby, Charles, Rocky, Robin and at least 10 others.
At the Laxey junction stop here you can plan to either continue to Ramsey or switch to the Snaefell Mountain Railway branch for the 30minute ride to just under the peak of the mountain. The last 50feet is an easy stroll up the slope to its summit.
A café provides an excellent break and if the weather is clear then you will be rewarded with views over to Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and the Isle of Man itself.
The fact that these services are still all running in the 21st century when it was built in the 19th is a miracle and what an asset it is for the Isle of Man’s tourism industry and provides an important transport link to their residents as well.
Run by the Island’s transport department the tram-cars are original with some very old technology powering them but when it comes to ticketing its bang up to date with a card reader and easy to use ‘Go’ touch cards can be purchased to use on all the old and newer island transport.
I was lucky to be invited by Great Rail Journeys to experience what is on offer for rail and transport enthusiasts. It is a compact island and it’s so easy to visit the various attractions as they are mostly conveniently linked.
Travelling on a seafront horse drawn tram one minute, the next an electric tram taking you to a mountain top and before you know it you are behind a puffing steam engine to a charming coastal town.
If you have a desire to visit the Isle of Man or if you have an interest in heritage trams or trains then do try it for yourself. It makes for a perfect 5night stay with many meals and yet another form of transport a ferry with links either via Heysham or sometimes Liverpool.