Caine : 'A fantastic and generous offer, but it shouldn't be necessary'

Wednesday 12th August 2020 1:00 pm
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The Snaefell Mountain Railway begins its 2019 season - pictured is tram No 4 ()

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An offer by a heritage society to cover the costs of running the Snaefell Mountain Railway for its 125th anniversary is being considered by transport bosses.

But Garff MHK Daphne Caine said the Department of Infrastructure should be obliged to operate the route.

The Manx Electric Railway Society has offered £9,000 to allow the SMR to run later this month on August 20 to mark the anniversary.

Unlike the island’s other heritage lines, the DoI deciding against running the SMR this year, citing a variety of reasons including cost.

The MERS committee then voted unanimously to ’transfer £9000 to the Railways to permit them to operate the SMR for three weeks for the 125th anniversary celebrations’.

A spokesman for the department said: ’The DoI is aware of a news release issued last night by the Manx Electric Railway Society, and that it contains on offer of £9,000 towards the cost of running the Snaefell Mountain Railway over the period of its 125th anniversary.

’The offer is noted with interest, and will be considered. However, costs are likely to be much higher than the MERS is aware of, and work is required to assess the full financial impact to the department.’

The MERS said the money could be used to restore a tramcar if the money wasn’t needed to meet losses for the anniversary.

Garff MHK Daphne Caine added: ’It’s a fantastic and generous offer from the MER Society but it shouldn’t be necessary. Taxpayers have invested millions in the railways’ infrastructure over recent years and the DoI should be obliged to operate some services on Snaefell this summer for the many thousands of staycationing residents.

’It would be a crying shame if there were no services to commemorate the 125th anniversary on August 20 but also no reason in my view why they couldn’t continue operating Snaefell trams longer than three weeks if passenger numbers cover much of the operating costs.’

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