20 August 2020
A petition has been launched seeking to reopen the Douglas to Peel line of the Isle of Man Railway.
The first part of the Manx system to be built in 1873, the 11.5-mile long Peel route was closed, along with the 16.5-mile long Ramsey line, in 1968 following a short-lived revival by the Marquis of Ailsa.
The closures left only the 15.3-mile southern route to Port Erin that still runs today.
Most of the Peel line has since been turned into a heritage trail for walkers and cyclists, while the first section out of Douglas also serves as emergency access during the TT motorcycle races held each June.
According to the instigators of the petition, Peel would benefit from a direct rail link to Douglas, bringing in tourism and increased visitors. “Many Manx people combine a day out with a train trip, and adding Peel to the network with its castle and museums would increase visitor numbers,” the petition states.
“The railway would reduce congestion, particularly during TT and Festival Of Motorcycling periods. There are also many visitors who only travel by rail, visiting the Island during the Rush Hour event and the Transport Festival and do not go to Peel – by reopening the railway, visitors to the city would increase and Peel would become a very attractive day-trip destination.”
The petition argues that Isle Of Man Railways would benefit from being able to operate commuter services to Peel, similar to those operating from Port Erin, bringing in more revenue and getting people out of their cars as a time when the island has declared a climate emergency.
Anyone wishing to add their name to the petition can find it at www.change.org/p/isle-of-man-government-re-open-the-douglas-to-peel-railway-line
Photo: Those behind the appeal want a return to scenes such as this – the former County Donegal Railway railcars at Peel in in 1962. The railcars are still on the island, stored in part-restored condition in Douglas sheds. Photo: Paul Myatt