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Petition to Re-Open the Douglas to Peel Railway

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by IMR8, Jun 3, 2020.

  1. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    Many of us on here have been involved with heritage railways for longer than most of us care to remember and have thrown away our rose coloured spectacles long ago.
    Unfortunately the purpose of your 'petition' is far from clear and lacking detail. Had you presented a clear argument with a cost/benefit analysis Nat.Pres. members might have taken it more seriously. The fact that only 35 people have 'signed' in a week should tell you that the idea is a 'non-starter'.
    Ray.
     
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  2. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    There's no intention of that £500m being used to lay any track as such- its intended purely for funding feasibility studies and business cases for possible regeneration.
     
  3. MuzTrem

    MuzTrem Member

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    Don't get me wrong, of course I would like to see it reinstated; but I am realistic about what is likely to be achievable. It is true that all preservation schemes start as 'WIBN' ideas, but the ones that succeed tend to be those which are prepared to temper their idealism with pragmatism, and have a clear plan for how they are going to make their scheme sustainable in the long term.

    The Isle of Man Railway is quite different from most preserved railway in the British Isles, in that it is run by the Manx Government as a nationalised operation. On balance, that is almost certainly a good thing. Given the limited number of potential volunteers on the island, and the long-term decline of the Manx tourist industry, it is highly unlikely that any of the 3' gauge railways would have survived without government support.

    However, government ownership also makes the railways vulnerable in some respects. The post-2008 economic downturn has put pressure on government spending all over the world. Coronavirus will only exacerbate that. When governments have to cut spending, heritage attractions are usually top of the list for spending cuts because, bluntly, there's more votes to be had from protecting schools and hospitals. So the Manx railways can never be considered truly secure. The recent threat to the Douglas Horse Trams proves that.

    In those circumstances, our priorty must be to protect what we have. Whether we are able to actively volunteer on the island, or whether we can only cheer from afar, we all need to be ready to act as advocates for the island's railways if they should come under threat. Ultimately, it is enthusiasts like us who are most likely to raise their voices and support the railways in a time of crisis.

    However, we need to make sure that, if that moment comes, the people in power will take us seriously. We need to give the impression that, whilst we are obviously passionate about our hobby, we are also realists, and not the sort of people who would make totally unrealistic demands. If we start talking about pie-in-the-sky schemes like reopening to Peel, we will be dismissed as fantasists. That, in turn, might mean that the politicians are not prepared to listen to us at a time when it really matters. That, in turn, might mean that, far from gaining the Peel line, we might end up losing the lines that we already have.

    So yes, I would like to see the Peel line reopened. But I don't want to see the Port Erin line, or the electric railway, or the Snaefell line close. So that is why, on balance, I have not signed your petition.

    In any case, you say that the government "needs" to evaluate it; but plenty of people here have evaluated the scheme and given you a pretty clear indication of what the likely answer would be. For the government to carry out an evaluation would merely be a waste of Manx taxpayer's money.
     
  4. Mike Buttell

    Mike Buttell New Member

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    The idea is a complete non starter.
    There is, however, a Facebook page inhabited by similar dreamers, “Reinstate the Douglas - Peel Railway Line” if you flag up your petition there IMR8 you might at least double the numbers on it and enjoy some convivial badinage
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  5. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    What I would like, and what is possible are two very different things. When you have a petition that is based on a kernel of hard work and realism, then I’ll listen. At the moment, I get a mixture of WIBN and desire to close an important local facility - and I’d be unlikely to support a railway reopening to Padstow because of the damage it’d do to the Camel Trail.

    I disparage BML2 elsewhere on this forum but they have at least got to the point where they have done serious groundwork to create a platform for themselves.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  6. IMR8

    IMR8 New Member

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  7. bantamd14

    bantamd14 New Member

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    IMHO perhaps a more useful campaign would be to petition to retain the MER Laxey to Ramsey line, which periodically is under threat of closure?
     
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  8. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    It always comes back to the same inescapable fact. Some serious "brainstorming" to increase overall visitor numbers would do more to secure the future of all the Manx railways than owt else.
     
  9. 60044

    60044 Member

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    Bang on. What the IoM needs is a mixture of obvious and innovative investments. The obvious ones would be tourist "villages" along the lines of Centre Parcs and "Go Ape" (and similar) types of attraction. An innovative development might be along the lines of The Tropical Island Resort in Krausnick, south of Berlin, which boasts the largest indoor pool, 50,000-plant forest - and enough space to fly a hot air balloon inside. A couple of really good themed water parks and a Alton Towers type theme park could all help transform the island into a go-to destination
     
  10. 5944

    5944 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Or more immediately, the horse trams - despite what they've said about reinstating the complete line in a year or two.
     
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  11. kscanes

    kscanes Resident of Nat Pres

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    You would need to be careful you did not replace one lot of visitors with another, with no actual increase in numbers. What you are suggesting sounds like something the current visitors go to the Isle of Man to avoid!

    How much travel (on trains or anything else) do visitors to Centre Parcs do while they are visiting an area?
     
  12. 60044

    60044 Member

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    I love the Isle on Man but whenever I've been there it has been to enjoy the mountains and railways - and in following such pursuits I'm not contributing a lot to the local economy. The problem is, I think, that I'm quite representative of the average visitor when what the island really needs is boatloads of visitors looking to spend boatloads of cash. What's already on the island clearly doesn't appeal to that type of visitor as such but might well pick up some additional traffic if visitor numbers increase. For what I've suggested to be really successful it would really need to be concentrated in a relatively small area, such as the flat northern tip of the island - a bit like Orlando in Florida. I think a lot could be done up there without ruining the more scenic parts of the Island for those of us who prefer that.
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    But if you are visiting - and assuming you aren’t making a somewhat implausible day trip - you are still staying in local hotels, eating in local pubs or restaurants etc? So that is still spending in the area - it’s hard to see specifically why a self-contained attraction like a Centre Parcs would be more any beneficial to the economy. In fact I’m tempted to wonder whether such self-contained holiday villages might have the same impact on a local hospitality sector as an out-of-town supermarket has on local shops, ie kill them for want of footfall.

    Tom
     
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  14. 60044

    60044 Member

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    You are focusing on specifics rather than the general principle. Center Parcs was merely an example, perhaps a poor one, of a leisure accommodation provider, Kissimmee, near Orlando. is perhaps a better example of a large accommodation complex serving the nearby theme parks but intermingled with secondary attractions of its own
     
  15. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    The days of three or four sailings, many by by steam ships from Liverpool to Douglas on a Saturday plus sailings from Fleetwood, Llandudno, Dublin & Belfast several times a week are sadly long gone.
     
  16. QuornYard

    QuornYard New Member

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    I've been to the Island many times for the motorcycle racing and can't help thinking that tourism there will always be held back by the cost of getting there. I've just checked on the Steam Packet site, a return ferry crossing in October from Heysham for 1 adult in a car is £184.50. Previously I've paid over £400 for the same trip for Manx GP fortnight, travelling during the early hours to get the cheapest crossings I could. That's before adding in accommodation etc. Shame because the various railways are well worth visiting.
     
  17. 60044

    60044 Member

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    People have, however, become accustomed to using more newfangled devices called aeroplanes that can reach the IoM from all over the country, carrying more manageable numbers of people... and once they are there they can get around by a variety of means relevant to this board, or they could hire a car! And if the volume of traffic is there the likes of Ryanair will provide services at sensible prices.
     
  18. QuornYard

    QuornYard New Member

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    Quite, though the rumour is the passengers have to run really fast to get the plane from Liverpool off the ground (as told to me by an ex-RAF friend).:) My experience of trying to get friends to go over there by singing the Island's praises is that they're keen until they realise the time and cost - it's not like catching a ferry to the Isle of Wight for example.
     
  19. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I have visited the island twice, both times by air, and both times primarily (but not exclusively) for the railways. If I wanted a car there I would fly and hire one.
     
  20. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    That's not bargain basement either.
     

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