EMS Nr. 147
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Author: Keith Downing

From 1873 The Isle of Man built its own steam and electric railways as well as horse, electric and cable tramways each under its own operating company. The horse tramway had extended its services with a horse bus Iom80.jpg (98418 Byte)(SG 82) but by 1902 Douglas Corporation had acquired the cable Iom351I.jpg (85521 Byte) (SG 370) and horse tramways Iom356I.jpg (76360 Byte) (SG 365). In 1907 they re-established a horse bus to supplement the trams even though motor omnibuses had by then taken over most services on the mainland. In addition the cable tramway was proving expensive to operate so it was not long before the Corporation considered petrol-driven buses. The Tramway Committee was charged with developing the proposal. By 1914 they had placed orders for their first two buses which commenced operations on the 1st and 3rd August. Both vehicles were blue and cream with the legend Douglas Corporation Tramways Iom824.jpg (86858 Byte) (SG 848). During the 1920‘s another 20 buses had been delivered although the livery had become primrose by 1927 Iom821.jpg (111499 Byte) (SG 845).


At the same time a number of private operators had established their own services across the more rural parts of the island (SG 846). The Isle of Man Railway Company became concerned at the potential competition and set about protecting its position. Farghers Omnibuses and Manx Motors were established on 8 June 1927 with half their shares held by Isle of Man Railway officials. The proliferation of operators exceeded the traffic on offer and consolidation started. By 1930 the Isle ~ of Man Railway Company won the battle and took over virtually all the operators under the title Isle of Man Road Services Ltd (SG 850) with AM Sheard as manager of all road and railway services. The arrangement continued until the railway company became uneconomic in the 1960s and finally closed in 1965 by which time the island‘s government became involved to ensure bus services continued even though the railway‘s future was not secured until 1978 when it was purchased by the Manx government

At the same time that the Isle of Man Railway became the dominant bus operator, Douglas CorporationTramways began to rationalise their services. The horse trams were restricted to summer services and the cable tram was suffering serious wear and tear. Rather than face the expensive repair bill the line was closed on 19 August 1929. The cable tram depot became a bus garage the following year. Summer horse tram services have continued for holiday makers ever since but the Corporation primarily became a bus operator for the local inhabitants of Douglas. Further reorganisations have subsequently further changed the islands transport ownership ending the Corporation‘s involvement in transport..