There are currently no plans to replace the bridges along the former St John’s to Ramsey railway line.

Previously, the government conceived and developed plans for improvements to the railway line, with the long-term hope of re-establishing the trail.

In a written answer, Infrastructure Minister Chris Thomas said there are ‘no plans at present’ to replace the bridges.

‘In November 2021 an overall capital cost of £1.3 million to facilitate the construction of seven footbridges on the St. Johns to Kirk Michael Heritage Trail was calculated,’ he said.

‘Other than this it is not possible to give a meaningful cost indication as no up to date cost estimate exists.’

Seven bridges were proposed, three of which involved more work.

The DoI said: ‘These plans would build on and connect to the successful, popular and well-used improvements to the Douglas to Peel Heritage Trail.

‘If completed, it would create one of the longest and best walking and wheeling trails in the UK.

‘Opening the trail to users of all abilities would add to the island’s tourist offering as well as being an asset for the people of the island.

‘Three of these bridges – Glen Wyllin, Glen Mooar and the A1 Peel Road bridge – involved major reconstruction with large bridge spans.

‘Four smaller bridges were also included – at Kerrowglass, Ballacarnane and two near Knocksharry.’

Despite confusion, the DoI confirmed the plan was always for seven bridges.

It added: ‘The department does not have an up-to-date cost estimate, but the price of replacing all seven bridges will have increased considerably with inflation since it was last assessed.

‘In addition, work to improve the condition of the trail underfoot would be required to improve accessibility.’

Mr Thomas explained that ‘when circumstances allow’ the department will review the options available and develop a project accordingly.

‘The reinstatement of the Heritage Trail bridges is worthy of serious consideration and that both the DoI and the Department for Enterprise should cost and prioritise maintenance and investment options for the island’s long distance footpaths, bridleways and green lanes,’ he said.

‘Consideration will also be given to the benefits in terms of the community and the economy, ensuring the island is a great place to live and, from a health and wellbeing perspective, in support of the Island Plan.

‘The department will work with others, including the Department for Enterprise in respect of its remit, to consider the economic benefit from our walking, wheeling and cycling offering and to try and identify an alternative funding source.’

Scaffolding was erected on Glen Wyllin and Glen Mooar Bridge Abutments in 2021, but the contractor was told to dismantle it. It came just one day after Mr Crookall expressed his concerns over the money being spent on the project.