Transport in the Isle of Man

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are a number of transport services around the Isle of Man, mostly consisting of paved roads, public transport, rail services, sea ports and an airport.


Overview map of transport links in the Isle of Man

The island has a total of 688 miles (1,107 km) of public roads,[1] all of which are paved. Roads are numbered using a numbering scheme similar to the numbering schemes of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; each road is assigned a letter, which represents the road's category, followed by a 1 or 2 digit number. A roads are the main roads of the island whilst roads labelled B, C, D or U decrease in size and/or quality. (The C, D and U numbers are not marked on most maps or on signposts.) There is no national speed limit – some roads may be driven at any speed which is safe and appropriate. Careless and dangerous driving laws still apply, so one may not drive at absolutely any speed, and there are local speed limits on many roads. Many unrestricted roads have frequent bends which even the most experienced driver cannot see round. Drivers are limited to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) in the first full year after passing their driving test (Isle of Man citizens are permitted to start driving at the age of sixteen)[2] and some are not used to having to make progress in the same way as on a larger road network such as that in the UK: even a cautious driver can get from anywhere in the island to anywhere else in no more than sixty minutes.

Set against this is a strong culture of motor sport enthusiasm (pinnacled in the TT, but there are many events during the year) and many residents familiar with the roads are well used to traversing country roads at speeds illegal on similar roads elsewhere. This leads to a very diverse spread of both driving competence and speed. In an official survey in 2006 the introduction of blanket speed limits was refused by the population,[3] suggesting that a large number appreciate the freedom.

There is a comprehensive bus network, operated by Bus Vannin, a department of the Isle of Man Government, with most routes originating or terminating in Douglas.

An organisation on the Isle of Man called the Fare Free Campaign supports making bus and tram travel on the island free of charge for all routes. One of the reasons the campaign gives for supporting this is to encourage people to change their transportation habits to help mitigate climate change.[4][5][6]


The island has a total of 68.5 km (42.6 mi) of railway. There are seven separate public rail or tram systems on the island:

Railway Location Approx.
Track Main
(days per week)
Operated by
Isle of Man Railway Douglas - Port Erin 25 Single Steam 36 7 Department of Infrastructure
Manx Electric Railway Douglas - Ramsey 27 Double Electric
Snaefell Mountain Railway Laxey - Snaefell Summit 8 Double Electric 42
Douglas Horse Tram Douglas Promenade 3a Doublea Equine 36 Douglas Borough Council
Groudle Glen Railway Groudle Glen,
Lonan and Onchan
1 Single Steam 24 1 or 2 Groudle Glen Railway (2012) Limited
Great Laxey Mine Railway Laxey 0.4 Single Steam 19 1 Laxey & Lonan Heritage Trust
Orchid Line Curraghs Wildlife Park,
0.6 Single Steam 3+12, 5, 7+14 Manx Steam & Model Engineering Club

a Reopened 2022, on a shortened route with its western terminus at Broadway.

(The last three are short-distance tourist rides which cannot be said to be transport services.)

All of these routes are seasonal.


The only commercial airport on the island is the Isle of Man Airport at Ronaldsway. Scheduled services operate to and from various cities in the United Kingdom and Ireland, operated by several different airlines.[7]

The island's other paved runways are at Jurby and Andreas. Jurby remains in Isle of Man Government ownership and is used for motorsport events and, previously, airshows, while Andreas is privately owned and used by a local glider club. The old Hall Caine Airport, a grass field near Ramsey, is no longer used.

Aircraft Register[edit]

The Isle of Man Aircraft Register became operational on 1 May 2007. The register is open to all non-commercial aircraft and is intended to be of particular interest to professionally flown corporate operators. As of November 2012 a total of 537 corporate and private aircraft had been registered.

Ports and harbours[edit]

Isle of Man Sea Terminal at Douglas Harbour

There are ports at Castletown, Douglas, Peel, Port St Mary and Ramsey. Douglas is served by frequent ferries to/from England and occasional ferries to/from Ireland; the sole operator is the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, with exclusive use of the Isle of Man Sea Terminal and the Douglas port linkspans under the conditions of the user agreement with the Isle of Man Government.

Merchant marine[edit]

The Isle of Man register comprised 404 merchant ships of 1,000 GT or over at the end of 2017.[8]


  1. ^ "Everything you ever wanted to know about the Isle of Man". Isleofman Dot Com Ltd. Archived from the original on 25 February 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Driving licences". Isle of Man Government. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Islanders reject speed limit plan". BBC News. 20 June 2006. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  4. ^ Turton, Sam (29 August 2019). "Campaign for fare free buses". IOMToday. Isle of Man Newspapers. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  5. ^ Pritchard, Rob (21 October 2019). "Fare free campaigners to hold public meeting". 3FM. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  6. ^ Pritchard, Rob (4 November 2019). "Fare free campaigners hosting meeting". 3FM. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  7. ^ "Flight destinations and timetables". Isle of Man Government. 2017. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Annual Reports". IOM Ship Registry. Retrieved 27 November 2018.

External links[edit]