Douglas Bay Horse Tramway

The Iron Pier, Broadway, Douglas (1877)Image courtesy Manx National Heritage iMuseum (

History & Heritage

Founded by Yorkshire-born engineer Thomas Lightfoot in 1876, Douglas Bay Horse Tramway is the oldest horse-drawn passenger tramway to remain in service anywhere in the World.

The Horse Tramway provides both an unique visitor experience and a heritage transport service along the busy seafront promenades of Douglas, capital of the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The Tramway retains thirteen of its original Victorian and Edwardian tramcars with which to operate the service, a selection of open-sided roofed and un-roofed cross-bench cars, enclosed saloons and a double-decker.

Originally built between 1883 and 1913, these historic tramcars afford today's visitors the opportunity to experience the first form of mass urban public transit pre-dating the arrival of electric trams across the World.

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Tramway History

Lower Tramway Stables (2017)

Tramway Stables & Trammers

The Tramway's original stables complex dating back to 1877 is a listed building and still used today to accommodate and care for the large team of draught horses during the Tramway operating season. Located off Queen's Promenade at the junction with Summer Hill, the Tramway Stables are open to the public when the Tramway is operating.

Visitors can explore the stables, meet the Clydesdale, Shire and Cob draught horses, learn about their lives and discover the hidden story of the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway.  Clydesdales, Shires and large Cobs are well suited to pulling horse trams with their immense power, large hooves and generally good temperament. 

There is an heritage exhibition room and gift shop on site.  Guided tours of the stables are available on selected dates throughout the season led by knowledgeable volunteer guides.

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Tramway Stables
Tram Horses

Sea Terminal Tramway Terminus (2018)

Tramway Operation

From 1902 until 2015, the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway was owned and operated by local government Douglas Borough Council (formerly Douglas Corporation).

The Horse Tramway was taken over by the Isle of Man Government in 2016 and is now operated as a heritage transport service and visitor attraction by Isle of Man Transport (part of the Department of Infrastructure), with additional support from volunteers and the third sector.

For timetable, fare, special event and service information, visit the Isle of Man Transport website.

The small retail shops within the Tramway Stables and the Tramcar Depot are also run by Isle of Man Transport, which receives all of the proceeds from items purchased in the shops.

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Along the Route

Derby Castle Tramway Terminus (2018)

21st Century Renaissance

Significant investment has been made by the Isle of Man Government in the development of the Horse Tramway as a heritage visitor attraction, including:

Further development of the attraction in due course will hopefully include reinstating track from Broadway to the Sea Terminal and public access to interpreted displays within the new tramcar depot.

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Historic Tramcars
Tramcar Depot