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Restored cable tram flywheel installed at landmark site

Wednesday, 24 October 2018 14:49

The sole surviving piece of Douglas Cable Tramway machinery, a cable tram flywheel dating from 1894, has been installed in the Bottleneck car park.


 A DSC7041 AGroupMediumFlanking the wheel: The Mayor and Mayoress and, left, Councillor David Christian. Also pictured, left to right are the Council's Stephen Halsall and Padraig Keig, Paul Gayler, of Gallas Foundry, and the Council's Alan Kneen. Right are the Council's Chris Pycroft and Dana Enyon with Councillor Falk Horning


Now saved for the Manx nation, the wheel was fully restored by a team from Douglas Borough Council, following early restoration work carried out by volunteers from Jurby Transport Museum, with engineering and fabrication services provided by BB Consulting Engineers and Gallas Foundry.


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The restoration project was delivered in collaboration with the Department of Infrastructure.


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Environmental Services Committee Vice-Chair Councillor Falk Horning said: ‘The project to save and restore this important component of the Island’s vintage transport system has been a triumph of collaboration between the public and private sector, notably Isle of Man-based specialist firms.


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‘That the wheel now occupies such a landmark position at one of the principal gateways to the capital of the Isle of Man is testimony to the importance the Council places on protecting this magnificent example of Victorian engineering.’


Council Leader Councillor David Christian MBE JP said: ‘Heritage defines who we are as a nation and helps to illustrate our past. Restoring and returning this wheel to the heart of the Douglas community represents a statement of intent by the Council that even when budgets are under pressure it is vital that our history and heritage be preserved and promoted for future generations.’


The cable tram flywheel was used for manoeuvring tram cars around Douglas on the tramway which operated from 1895 until its closure in 1929 and ran from Loch Promenade, through to Victoria Street, then Bucks Road, Woodbourne Road, York Road and Ballaquayle Road before returning via Broadway.


The wheel was uncovered during excavation works carried out by the former Isle of Man Water Authority in 2000 for the IRIS sewer scheme when a long-buried cable tram chamber was unearthed.