Director of Transport Services Retires

Ian Longworth, the Director of Transport Services, has stepped down from his role, bringing to an end one of the most colourful careers at the top of the island’s civil service.

Few senior civil servants who have left in recent weeks have left as much of a mark as Mr Longworth on the island.

The gov has said he had planned to retire previously and had been working part time prior to Covid. He returned to work full time during Covid but with the TT behind us now is the right time for him to step down. 

Despite this, as highlighted below, Mr Longworth actually returned to his role in January 2020, before the pandemic period.

At the time, former CEO Nick Black said: ‘At the start of 2019 Ian Longworth moved into a part-time project management post on a 12 month limited term basis. That 12 month period is now at an end and Ian has chosen to return to his full-time post. Therefore, from January 2 Ian Longworth will return to his post of director of transport services.’

Emily Curphey, Interim CEO at the DoI, said: ‘I would like to thank Ian for his hard work and dedication within the Department and throughout his career. I wish him well in his retirement.’

A Storied Past

First appointed in 2009, Mr Longworth stepped down from the role in 2019. However this proved only temporary as a year later he was back behind the wheel.

His time in the job has seen many interesting moments, from the bus drivers’ strike which required school children in the south to get the train to school through to the experiment with bendy buses which led to this iconic image.

Credit: Mike Wade, Isle of Man Newspapers

While strife with the buses has bubbled away for sometime, Mr Longworth’s passion for railways has arguably left the heritage network in a better state than when he found it. If one discounts the horse trams that is.

His time in charge has seen a wider range of public events on the railway, the introduction of the dining car, much needed cash being pumped into the railways, awards aplenty and, as recent as last month, the linking up with heritage railways in the UK for special events. Not that it has all been good, there was the runaway tram on the mountain, the mess of the horse trams on the prom and the doomed diesel which has barely been used during its time on the island.

Credit: John Maddrell, Isle of Man Newspapers

Mr Longworth had his detractors in his role, but also his supporters, including historian Charles Guard. During a special running of the MER to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the trams reaching Groudle, Mr Guard said: ‘When he first came into the job in 2009, the railways were not in the best of shape, but he has, with his dedicated staff, done a superb job. He can drive anything, but I’ve also seen him down cleaning and chatting to engineers. He has been the driving force behind the reinvigoration of our railways.’