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More Railway Passengers 18 November 2003

Following completion of the 2003 summer period, Isle of Man Transport is pleased to announce an increase in the number of passengers carried between April and October compared with the same period in 2002.

The Manx Electric and Snaefell Mountain Railway carried 184,375 passengers representing a 1% increase over 2002, and the Isle of Man Steam Railway carried 89,998 passengers, an increase of 40% over last year. This increase also reflects the additional length of line available for use this year during the ongoing IRIS pipeline works which allowed steam trains to operate between Douglas and Castletown and also between Port St Mary and Port Erin this year.

Director of Public Transport David Howard said: 'I am pleased that passenger figures are improving and that the steam railway operations over the increased length of totally refurbished track has encouraged this. We are looking forward to the entire Douglas to Port Erin line being available to us again from May 2004 after two years of improvement work as part of the IRIS scheme. I am sure there will be a lot of interest in our steam railway next year.'

Whilst the Snaefell and steam lines are closed for the winter, a limited passenger service continues seven days a week on the Manx Electric Railway. The service will continue to operate even with the commencement this week of track infrastructure works costing 750,000 - part of the continuing programme of investment on this line.

Tourism Minister David Cretney said: 'My Department has invested more than 7million in the railways' infrastructure over the past four years and it is pleasing that passenger numbers increased this year despite there still being interruptions on the steam line. We look forward to building on that increase in 2004 and future years.'

Meanwhile, tickets for the Santa steam trains on December 6 and 7 are currently on sale from the Travel Shop, Lord Street, Douglas, priced 7.50 for adults and children aged 4-15 years, and 5 for under 4s. Bookings can be taken by phone on 662525. The Travel Shop is open Monday-Friday from 8am until 5.45pm, and Saturdays 8am until 3.30pm. It closes Monday and Saturday lunchtime 12.30pm to 1.30pm.

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