The Douglas Bay 'Trammers'...

Clydesdale 'Trammer' Douglas
Clydesdales and Shires are well suited to pull horse trams with their immense power, large round feet and generally good temperament. There are more than twenty-five 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 then 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 who retired at the end of 2017 were the last in-service 'trammers' to be bred by the Corporation.

The 'Trammers' retire from service at an average age of 20, moving up to the IOM Home of Rest for Old Horses.  

Clydesdale 'Harry' at Southern District Agricultural Show 2017
Since the late 1990's, the tramway horses have been purchased mainly from the Garff - Ballafayle Stud near Ramsey and have been either of Clydesdale or Shire horse breed. More recently we have seen the re-introduction of cob-cross breeds and horses being purchased from the UK. A new in-house breeding programme is being trialled by the Tramway with a young cob stallion Thor

The current service 'trammers' are Alec, Amby, Andrew, Bobby, Charles, Chloe, Douglas, Harry, Keith, Kewin, Nelson, Philip, Rocky, Torrin & William. The tallest and heaviest is Andrew, the fastest is Kewin, the youngest is Nelson

Starting their training in 2019 are Clydesdale mares Ginger, Lady Mary, Erin, Zeba and MaggieThe Tramway also has a number of younger horses which may be seen in the Tramway Stables from time to time, including Annie, Blae, Dixie, Duke, Elodie & Jackson

Tram Horse Gallery (2016-19 Seasons) ...
Alec (c) 
Bay Shire

Amby (c)
Black Roan Clydesdale x Cob

Andrew (c)
Bay Shire

Blae (c)
Bay Shire

Bobby (c)
Bay Clydesdale

Charles (c)
Dark Bay Clydesdale x Cob

Chloe (c)
Bay Clydesdale

Douglas (c)
Bay Clydesdale

Elodie (c)
Bay Clydesdale

Erin (c)
Blue & White Gypsy Vanner

Bay Shire

Harry (c)
Bay Clydesdale

Bay Clydesdale

Jackson (c)
Bay Clydesdale

Black Shire

Keith (c)
Bay Shire

Kewin (c)
Bay Clydesdale

Maggie (c)
Bay Clydesdale

Chestnut Shire x Cob

Nelson (c)
Black Shire

Philip (c)
Strawberry Roan Clydesdale

Bay Shire x Cob

Bay Shire

Rocky (c)
Dark Bay Shire

Bay Shire

Skewbald Clydesdale

Torrin (c)
Bay Clydesdale

Bay Clydesdale

William (c)
Bay Clydesdale

Zeba (c)
Bay Clydesdale