Time to ditch coal for island’s famous steam railway?

Thursday 12th May 2022 4:14 pm
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A look inside Dr John Taylor's 'Hobbit home' being built at Ballawoods Halt - Dr John Taylor OBE (Isle of Man Newspapers )

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Dr Taylor’s planning application also includes an indication that the famous inventor is working on an alternative for coal.

The Isle of Man Steam Railway’s locomotives are currently fired by Welsh high grade steam coal.

However, the pit that produced it has now closed.

In a statement, Dr Taylor suggested that the future of the beloved tourist attraction is not certain, and may already be up for debate.

He said: ‘The UK has pledged to cease all coal burning by 2024 and the Isle of Man will likely follow that lead.

‘Discussions are already taking place as to where a museum for the 160-year-old locomotives will be sited as they will no longer be able to operate without that coal on the Douglas to Port Erin track.

‘I am in the process of assembling a team to redesign the Isle of Man locomotive boilers to run on green hydrogen without changing their appearance so they will still cross the Manx landscape delighting tourists and local children, still going chuff, chuff, chuff emitting solely green steam.

‘To my knowledge, there is no production of green hydrogen currently on the Isle of Man – hence the necessity to collect solar and wind energy to produce green electricity to run the green restaurant and turn any spare green energy into green hydrogen to run the Isle of Man steam locomotives.’

He added: ‘The crisis with using oil and gas from Russia has confronted Europe in general and the Isle of Man in particular, making it even more important that the Isle of Man become self sufficient as far as possible.

‘Using solar and wind green energy would help us do that.

‘I believe that the conversion of the Ballawoods Halt cottage into a green restaurant would be a small but useful step on the path towards helping the island move forwards in an increasingly green world.’

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