About the Trust

Queens Promenade, Douglas (c.1910) 

We're an independent charity

Douglas Bay Tramway Heritage Trust is an Isle of Man charity helping to promote the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway, to conserve its heritage and to develop the attraction and experience for passengers and visitors.

We provide grants and purchase items to help advance education and heritage in relation to the Horse Tramway, its draught horses and its historic tramcars.  Some of the ways in which education and heritage can be 'advanced' in the context of the operation of an historic horse tramway are set out below.

If you have an appropriate initiative or project idea to implement in the Isle of Man that might benefit from our financial assistance, please get in touch with us by emailing admin@horsetram.im.

Douglas Bay Tramway Heritage Trust is registered as a charity (No.1238) in the Isle of Man, our activities are regulated by HM Attorney General for the Isle of Man. You can check our charity status on the Isle of Man Government's website.

'Toastrack' No.12 with now-retired Mark at Derby Castle (2016)  

Our aims and objectives

The day-to-day upkeep and welfare of the tram horses and operation and maintenance of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway are publicly funded by the Isle of Man Government in support of the Island's heritage and tourism offering.

The Heritage Trust raises separate charitable funds to support complementary education, heritage conservation and development initiatives. Our aims and objectives are to help:

If you support our aims and objectives and would like to help with a donation, please visit our Make a Donation page for information on how you can donate.

'Trammers' participating in vintage ploughing events (2018)

Advancing education and heritage

The continuing operation of the Horse Tramway and its associated transport stables allows the public to experience, first hand, the real-life workings of the earliest form of urban mass-public transit system:  the horse-drawn urban street tramway

The public are able to:

Restoring tramcars with traditional crafts and skills (2018)

It also helps to preserve the traditional crafts and skills necessary for the operation of a horse tramway with vintage wooden-bodied tramcars and for the care and working of heavy draught horses.

The participation of the Tram Horses in traditional draught horse events and activities like agricultural shows and field ploughing serves to further educate the public about specific draught horse breeds and their handling, historical uses and conservation.

Visitor & Journey Guide (2020)

Initiatives supported by us

Recent initiatives supported by the Heritage Trust include:

The original southern extent of the tramway, the Sea Terminal (2018)

What makes a Heritage Railway?

A 'heritage railway' is a railway or tramway that:

and is used exclusively or primarily for tourist, educational or recreational purposes.

Motive power and rolling stock used on heritage railways are often original and of historic value in their own right.

Most heritage railways make use of historical railway or tramway sites and formations.

Trammer Philip on Queens Promenade newly laid track (2019) 

Some heritage railways provide a viable alternative local public transit option, thereby helping to reduce road vehicle use in particular areas.

Most heritage railways are operated as visitor attractions and educational experiences, preserving transport and industrial heritage, often requiring financial and other assistance from support groups, volunteer workers, individual benefactors, associated charity organisations and grant-giving bodies.

Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is unusual in that it is still publicly owned, operated and funded by the Isle of Man Government, with additional support provided by volunteers and an associated charity body.