The costs of repairs to a steam train after it was hit by a falling tree is in the region of £6,500.
It was damaged when a tree fell down in Ballabeg on New Year’s Eve, which occurred during a dining train event.
He said: ‘We have not received invoices for the repairs to all the carriages as yet and are also taking the opportunity to update the safety glass used in the carriages.
‘However, indicative costs of the works are in the region of £6,500, including the glass upgrades.
‘We’re working on the replacement of 13 broken or cracked windows, repainting and touch up repairs to handles, door latches, and lamps which were damaged in the incident.’
The minister explained that the safety of passengers was considered on the night after the DoI emergency services had removed the tree that ‘had fallen in front of the train’, which had been travelling at between five and 10mph.
‘There is an incident report from those directly involved,’ he said. ‘They made an assessment that the train could carry on to Port Erin where some people got off and back to Douglas.’
Mr Thomas added: ‘This is in a cutting between Ballabeg station and Ballanorris bridge and alongside that cutting there are 19 significant trees.
‘Those on the south side were all approximately three metres from the nearest running rail and are deemed to pose a risk to passing trains.
‘The trees at Ballabeg had been the subject of a permit application to DEFA for cutting trees down with the permission only being granted for the felling of three of those trees.
‘Unfortunately, the tree that fell down wasn’t one of those three trees.
‘We are looking at making sure we have safe operations of our heritage rail. There are lessons from this episode.’
He explained that the department has ‘major proposals’ in terms of the removal of trees to make highways safe and is working with the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture.
‘You can expect some announcements on that in the future,’ Mr Thomas said.