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On track and on film: Horse trams to feature on Dutch TV

Thursday, 04 July 2013 14:26

The Douglas horse trams are set to attract some more international fans after a television crew from the Netherlands spent a day filming them, along with other vintage rail systems in the Island, for Rail Away, a programme on Dutch national TV about trains and travel.


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Produced by EO, one of the leading non-commercial TV and radio stations in the Netherlands and part of the region’s public broadcasting network, Rail Away has been running for more than 18 years, with each episode attracting around 750,000 viewers.


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For the crew it was their first visit to the Isle of Man as producer and project manager Gerben van Ommen explained: ‘Sailing from Liverpool, we entered a whole new world known as the Isle of Man. We’d been told the tramway was unique, as the newest car dated from 1906 and the tram is pulled by a horse. We wondered: “Were the people so poor they had no money for a “normal” tram, and no money to buy a modern one?” No, that wasn’t the case. What we discovered was a well developed island with a unique vintage railway system noted for its original rolling stock. These trams and trains are so old, they are unique in Europe and we became so absorbed with their history we had to remind ourselves we were there to film a new episode of Rail Away, which is seen all over the world and of which about 180 episodes have been made so far. 


RoneyZSC 0144 MediumDriver Michael Roney is filmed by the Dutch TV crew


‘The vintage transport systems in the Isle of Man were set to add a brand new episode in the history of Rail Away and where better for us to start our journey in the Island than with a ride in a unique horse tram? And that’s what we did on our first day ever in the Isle of Man.’


GroupZSC 0131 MediumThe crew: Mike Dam, soundman; Gerben van Ommen, producer and project manager; Joanne Brouwer, director; and Mike Rutten, cameraman



Regeneration and Community Advisory Committee lead member Councillor Stephen Pitts said: ‘We were delighted the TV crew enjoyed their horse tram experience and for that I should like to extend my thanks to the tramways team for their co-operation and making our visitors so welcome.  Gerben and his colleagues have now joined the many people across the world who have discovered the Island’s unique vintage transport system and become such devoted fans of the horse trams, still delighting visitors in this, the service’s 137th year of operation.’


The 2013 horse tram season operates daily until September 15th. 

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