Isle of Man Railway locomotives

Isle of Man Railway locomotives

The locomotives of the Isle of Man Railway were provided exclusively by Beyer, Peacock and Company of Manchester, England between 1873 and 1926; other locomotives that appear on this list were inherited as part of the take-over of the Manx Northern Railway and Foxdale Railway which happened in 1905 at which time the railway also purchased two more locomotives from Beyer, Peacock. All the steam locomotives have or had the 2-4-0 wheel arrangement, apart from 15 "Caledonia" which is an 0-6-0.

team locomotives

No. 1 "Sutherland"

Status: In store

Built in time for the opening day of the railway on 1 July 1873 and allocated works number 1253 by Beyer, Peacock this locomotive is named after the Duke of Sutherland who was a director of the railway company in its formative days. She was given the honour of hauling the first official train to Peel and remained in service, albeit as Douglas shunter only latterly, until 1964 when she was withdrawn and stored. When the Marquess of Ailsa took over the railway in 1967 she was painted spring green and placed on static display at St. John's, a tradition that later came to Douglas when the railway closed at the end of the 1968 season. When the new railway museum was opened in 1975 she was given pride of place and it seemed that was the end of the line. However, with anniversaries being in the air, she was brought back to Douglas in October 1997 for feasibility studies to examine her possible return to service for the Steam 125 celebrations the following year. Using the privately-owned boiler from No. 8 "Fenella" she was the star turn in 1998, and even travelled to the Manx Electric Railway on occasion steaming from Laxey to Fairy Cottage. She later was repainted to Indian red and withdrawn when the boiler was removed and replaced into the frames of No. 8. No. 1 is now in store at Douglas station, whilst No. 8 remains in service.

No. 2 "Derby"

Status: Scrapped in 1951

Second of the original batch of locomotives delivered to the railway, No. 2 was named after the Earls of Derby who owned the Isle of Man before it was sold to the British monarch and is often seen in early photographs without her back cab sheet (No. 1 also appears in this form on a famous photograph of opening day. No. 2 is the only locomotive on the railway to have been lost to the pages of history, only a pony truck survives today, and it is difficult to surmise if this was originally No. 2's as so many parts were interchanged on the locomotives. She was withdrawn in 1951 and dismantled at the time for use as spare parts for the other smaller class locomotives. The surviving pony truck was for many years at the end of Birkenhead Siding at Port Erin with "No. 4 Try These" chalked on it, and is currently in store as a final reminder of the only engine to not exist in one form or another.

No. 3 "Pender"

Status: On display

The third of the original trio was to have been named "Viking" originally, but the name was changed to honour the name of a director of the company Sir John Pender and it wouldn't be until over a century later in 1993 that an Isle Of Man Railway locomotive would carry the name. The last purchase of 1873 from Beyer, Peacock, she was little modified over the years, when compared with her sisters, and was withdrawn from service in the 1950s. In 1925 Pender was involved in an accident at Douglas Station which resulted in the death of the Fireman. The train failed to stop as it arrived at Douglas Station, crashing through the buffers, and coming to rest embedded in the platform. The Fireman was thrown from the footplate and suffered fatal injuries. Interestingly, she is the only locomotive that has ever left Manx metals having left the island in 1977 and now resides as a sectionalised exhibition display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, a stone's throw from her birthplace. It has been mooted that the locomotive should return and be placed in the museum at Port Erin but it is unlikely that this would ever happen, but she does however remain on display as an advert for the island and an explanation of how a steam locomotive operates.

No. 4 "Loch"

Status: In service

Named after lieutenant governor Henry Brougham Loch and beloved by many as their "favourite" engine on the railway, No. 4 has the strange title of being what must surely be the first locomotive ever to (re)enter service on the day the line closed. Having been earmarked for re-boilering in 1967 by the 1968 season she was ready for service and steam tests were carried out accordingly. Fate intervened however and at the end of September 1968 the Peel and Ramsey lines closed for good. Fortunately, the Port Erin line was retained and No. 4 was familiar to many as the south based engine for many years, right up until her withdrawal from service after the 1995 Christmas services on the railway. She is the only locomotive to carry a "bell-mouth" dome and a non-standard livery of maroon was carried from 1979 to withdrawal. Of course, now she wears the familiar Indian red but is distinguished from her shed-mates by carrying a Legs Of Mann and "4" numeral on her buffer beam. She was used heavily in the marketing campaign for the 1993 "Year Of Railways" when she was the locomotive chosen to haul special services on the Manx Electric Railway. Following the "Un-Loch Your Cash" appeal by the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters' Association in 1998-2000, she returned to service in 2002 and is now a regular fleet member once more. On May 20 2008, she collided with a van and badly damaged her buffer beam.

No. 5 "Mona"

Status: Withdrawn 1970

Arriving with No. 4 in 1874 in readiness for the opening of the Port Erin line, the name "Mona" is named from the Latin name for the Isle of Man. No. 5 was a regular on the Peel line later in her career and remained in service right until the 1970 season when she refused to hold a head of steam and was subsequently mothballed. After storage, she was privately purchased from the newly-nationalised railway in 1978 but remained on site, being stored in the carriage shed at Douglas until it was demolished to make way for new bus garage and offices in 1999. Currently in the back of the new carriage shed, No. 5 has had no attention for many years and is a sorry sight, still wearing her 1967 spring green livery, now very faded. It is not known if she will ever return to service but in the near future this seems unlikely. She was one of two (the other being No. 12) to carry a brass fleet numeral on the left-hand tank only.

No. 6 "Peveril"

Status: On display

A one-off purchase in 1875 from Beyer, Peacock & Co. (works number 1524), and of similar design to Nos. 4 and 5, "Peveril" (named after a character in Sir Walter Scott's novel "Peveril Of The Peak" saw extensive use on Peel Line for many years. She was withdrawn from service, having been station shunter at Douglas for a number of years, in 1960 and was one of the static display locomotives during the Marquess of Ailsa years. Stored for several years together with No. 5 "Mona" in Douglas carriage shed, she was cosmetically restored by members of the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters' Association in 1994 and is now resident in the railway museum at Port Erin carrying the Indian red livery of the post-war years. Sometimes considered as a restoration job by the railway, this has yet to be carried out but enthusiasts remain hopeful that this may happen one day.

No. 7 "Tynwald"

Status: In store

Built in 1880 (Beyer, Peacock works number 2038), this locomotive has the dubious honour of being the first locomotive to have been withdrawn from service, as early as 1947 which accounts for the lack of photographs of her. She was stripped down and the frames were on a siding at Douglas station for many years. When nationalision and therefore rationalisation was in the air in the late 1970s, the remaining frames were purchased by a preservationist group and stored in the open air at Santon, later Castletown station. Very little remains of them, other than the main frame, coal bunker, and buffer beams but they have however survived over the course of three centuries and are an integral part of the railway's history. Currently in store, it is planned to return them to a public display area at some point in the future.

No. 8 "Fenella"

Status: In service

Originating from 1894 and named after a character in a novel by Sir Walter Scott, popular at the time, this locomotive was for many years based on the Ramsey Line of the railway and indeed remained in service until the Marquess of Ailsa revival in 1967. She was purchased by a preservationist group in 1978 with a view to complete restoration and in 1988 the boiler was lifted from the frames and sent to the workshops of the Severn Valley Railway for re-construction. This was a long-term project and as relationships between the owners and management soured, the project did not reach fruition. Happily, the owners offered the boiler (now complete) to donor locomotive No. 1 "Sutherland" so that she could return to service for the "Steam 125" celebrations in 1998 and after an agreed three years in No. 1 the boiler was lifted into No. 8 which now operates as part of the active fleet, although as the sole representative of the smaller loco class (No. 4 is extensively re-built) she tends to work on lighter trains or out of peak season.

No. 9 "Douglas"

Status: In store

This was the last locomotive to arrive from the Gorton Foundry in 1896 (Beyer, Peacock works number 3815) and is the primary example of an unmodified Isle of Man Railway fleet member. There are several modifications but, most significantly, she is the only locomotive on the line to retain her salter safety valves although No. 14 "Thornhill" retains these but is in private ownership. Withdrawn in 1959 by which time she had been reduced to light duties, she was stored and cosmetically restored for the 1967 season but was ultimately sold in 1978 though fortunately has never left the railway. She was partially repainted in the 1980s into a non-standard brown livery (one which is thought to have been carried by some locomotives based on early colour photos) with black/orange livery. Later she was fully painted, again in a non-standard livery (the colour was previously used on the station building at Port Erin) with black/red lining which is the livery retained today. Her smokebox door went missing at some point and is now replaced with a wooden version. No. 9 is currently in store at Douglas and not directly available to the viewing public.

No. 10 "G. H.Wood"

Status: In Service

The first of two 1905 purchases, No. 10 is named after the railway's one-time company secretary and director George Henry Wood and indeed when new, so proud was the director of his namesake that he posed for photographs in front of the locomotive, the photos then being reproduced on his Christmas cards. As the first of the larger class of locomotives on the line, she was a regular performer and rarely out of service, operating mostly on the south line. She worked through the Marquess of Ailsa years to nationalisation but was withdrawn in 1977 with defective boiler. At this time she was stored in Douglas works and it wasn't until 1992 when sister No. 13 was withdrawn that she was reconditioned and launched at Easter 1993 as part of the Year of Railways sporting a darker green livery and black/red lining. She remains in service today, after a spell with a slight colour scheme change to black/yellow lining is now running in the Spring Green livery. She does not carry chimney numerals, and is the only member of the service fleet not to so do. No. 15 "Caledonia" (see separate entry) had her numerals removed in early 2007 but this was owing to an inconsistency in numbering only.

No. 11 "Maitland"

Status: In service

Stalwart of the fleet, rarely out of service, the second of the 1905 locomotives was named after another company director Dalrymple Maitland and is fondly remembered by several generations of enthusiasts as the longest-serving fleet member. Having been re-boilered in 1959 this ensured her future well into the final years of company operation, through the Marquess of Ailsa years and into nationalisation. Another boiler was fitted in 1981 (the first under government ownership) when she was re-painted into the current Indian red having previously sported a variation of the spring green livery. In 1989 she was chosen to take part in "The Ginger Tree" being filmed on the railway and was painted into an un-lined matt black livery which she retained for the rest of that season. In 2007 she was again withdrawn, and has not seen service but is expected to be the recipient of the next new boiler and return to active service thereafter.

No. 12 "Hutchinson"

Status: In service

The twelfth locomotive was a one-off order, similar in design to her two sisters purchased in 1905. Built in 1908 (Beyer Peacock works number 5126), she was delivered to the railway with salter safety valves and a deeper tone of whistle than had previously been employed. Still in service today, she has always been one of the most active members of the fleet, perhaps only surpassed by No. 11 "Maitland" and appearance-wise has had a chequered career. Today, she is largely in 1950s condition, carrying the Indian red livery of the period but her previous guise was much more contrasting. When the newly nationalised railway was in need of infrastructure refurbishment, No. 12 was the second loco to be fitted with a new Hunslet boiler. At this time she was given larger water tanks and a square "house" or cab supposedly similar to that carried by No. 16 "Mannin". These features, together with a non-prototypical blue livery gave the loco a somehwat odd appearance when compared with her shed-mates, and the look was not widely liked. She did however remain in this guise until withdrawn from service for rebuild and re-entered traffic in 2001 in traditional form. Also of note is that she was one of only two engines (the other being No. 5) to carry a brass fleet number above the name plate on tank. This was lost prior to the 1981 rebuild and has never been re-instated.

No. 13 "Kissack"

Status: In service

Another one-off order from 1910 (Beyer, Peacock works number 5382), unlucky 13 (latterly referred to as 12a by some of the railway's staff) was one of the backbones of the railway's fleet, having seldom been out of service until withdrawn with defective boiler at Christmas 1992; the boiler was refurbished and placed in the frames of No. 10 "G.H.Wood" which re-entered service as part of the "Year of Railways" in 1993 but No. 13 was left in dismantled form and stored. In 2001 it was announced that she would be the recipient of a new boiler and by the season of 2006 she was returned to steam. Painted in the now "fleet" livery of Indian red, her previous incarnation had been in and deep Brunswick green, not thought to have been an historic livery of the railway but more a "nice colour" at the time. She carries the deeper whistle that she will be remembered for in the 1980s but the brass safety valve bonnet that originates from this locomotive is now carried by No. 11. No. 13 is a regular performer on the railway and part of the active fleet.

No. 14 "Thornhill"

Status: In store

Built for the Manx Northern Railway in 1880, this locomotive was originally numbered 3, becoming 14 upon the merger with the Isle of Man Railway in 1905 but not receiving its number and chimney numeral immediately. She was the only locomotive purchased by the Manx Northern to be built by Beyer Peacock & Co., in their Gorton Foundry in Manchester (works number 2028), and was similar in design to No. 9 "Douglas". Unique among the fleet in still being in the most "original" form, she retained her distinctive Salter safety valves until withdrawal from service in 1953 and after storage she was repainted and placed on display at St. John's station during the 1967 and 1968 seasons, and later at Douglas station. In 1978 she was sold for private preservation on the island and remains there today, unavailable for public viewing.

No. 15 "Caledonia"

Status: In service

This unique locomotive dates from 1885 and is the only engine on the line to have been built by Dübs and Company, of Glasgow; purchased to tackle the steep gradients of the Foxdale Railway she was ideally suited to the job. After the merger in 1905 she was numbered 15 in the Isle of Man Railway fleet (having previously been Manx Northern's No. 4) and only saw sporadic use, most notably on snow clearing trains. When the Marquess of Ailsa took over operations in 1967 she was repainted into spring green livery and saw service once again but by 1975 she had been painted into Manx Northern colours and placed in the then new museum at Port Erin where she remained until 1993 when she was returned to Douglas by road for steam feasibility tests. By 1995 she was the star of the show, operating on the 1 in 12 gradients of the Snaefell Mountain Railway as part of the centenary celebrations. This had historical precedent as "Caledonia" had been leased for construction purposes in 1895. She has since been part of the stable of serviceable locomotives, having been painted into a non-prototypical blue livery in 1999 but happily reverted to the intricate original paint scheme in 2007.

No. 16 "Mannin"

Status: Withdrawn 1964

The last locomotive to be supplied to the railway and built in 1926, again by Beyer, Peacock & Co. (works number 6296), No. 16 was by far the most powerful locomotive on the line. She was purchased to haul the heavy Port Erin boat train, a job which had previously taken two locomotives either double-headed or banked. Much larger than her older sisters, she was latterly used as Peel-based engine and appears to have never travelled on the Ramsey line (certainly there is no photographic evidence to support this). She remained in service until 1964 and later was repainted into spring green and placed on static display at St. John's and later Douglas stations until entering the railway museum in 1975 with "Caledonia" and "Sutherland". Never considered to be a candidate for restoration, she has only ventured out of the museum once (when it was being re-built in 1998/1999) and at this time she was treated to "lining out" of paintwork, the previous coat having never been lined. There were in fact two locomotives bearing this name, the other was a mock-up used in the annual Douglas Carnival parade but the fate of this loco appears to be lost in the mists of time.

Other locomotives

No. 17 "Viking"

Status: In service

This engine was built by Schöma of Germany in 1958 and purchased by the railway in 1992 replacing the time-expired railcars (see below) which after many years of neglect were reaching the end of their useful lives (without receiving serious attention). As part of the Year of Railways celebrations in 1993 and following competition in the local press, the locomotive was named "Viking", the name originally to have been allocated to No.. 3 "Pender" back in 1873, and she was outshopped in a dark green livery similar to that carried by No. 10 "G.H.Wood" at the time. Upon delivery she had been in unlined green livery with the fleet number 208 on her cab sheet. Beset in latter years by mechanical problems, No. 17 is now in the spring green livery following comments made by local preservationists that a loco (preferably steam) should appear in this colour scheme. In a typical management decision of the time, they chose the diesel to receive this scheme.

No. 18 "Ailsa"

Status: In service

Built in 1994 and used by the contractors who re-laid the entire line in conjunction with the IRIS project, this locomotive was bought from the contractors upon completion of the work and named "Ailsa" in honour of Marquess of Ailsa who has done so much to keep the railway alive in the late 1960s. It was stated at the time that the loco would receive a spring green livery (known as "Ailsa Green" as it was standard livery at the time of his ownership) but it remains in plain white livery to date.

Nos. 19 & 20

Status: In store, restoration partly completed. Work halted 1999

When the County Donegal Railways Joint Committee was selling surplus assets in the early 1960s, the Isle of Man Railway were looking for a cheap alternative to their ageing steam locomotive fleet and purchased these two railcars. They had already been allocated fleet numbers which were retained by the new owners but it was only when the ex-contractors' engine No. 18 "Ailsa" was officially numbered in 2005 that the fleet had ever been in correct sequence. These railcars have been the subject of much controversy in the late 1990s when their over-budget rebuild was brought to a halt by incoming management and since this time no work has been done on them. The preservationist group Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters' Association have campaigned for their completion, especially in conjunction with the failed commuter train services that were laid on by the railway in connection with the T.T. races in 2007 but shifts in management attitude may see their return to service in the future. They remain in store at Douglas station.

The Simplex Locos

Status: Active

There are two Simplex locomotives on the railway, one of which is based at Port Erin for shunting purposes, the other at Douglas for the same reason. The south based version has had a somewhat crude cab fitted to protect the driver from the elements. The machine that is based at Douglas was resident in the old carriage shed (the site of the current railway offices) for several years, before overhaul and entry into service, complete with fluffy dice!

The Wickham railcars

Status: Active

There are also two Wickham-built four-wheel railcars used by the permanent way gangs, and these are often transferred between the Manx Electric Railway and the line as required. The railway was also in possession of a steam crane in the 1990s which was modified by owner Stephen Carter of the Laxey Towing Company to be self-propelled. It has since been sold off-island.

The "Sharpies"

Status: Scrapped

The Manx Northern Railway's first two engines were provided by Sharp Stewart & Co. (prior to merger with Dübs & Co. and Neilson Reid & Co. which formed the North British Locomotive Company) for the line's opening in 1879 and were 2-4-0 side tank locomotives bearing the names "Ramsey" and "Northern"; whilst there are very few photographs in existence, it is known that they survived the takeover by the Isle of Man Railway in 1905 but were never re-numbered as the other two Manx Northern locomotives were. They saw very little use on the line after takeover (the railway having only just purchased Nos. 10 and 11 at this time) and were scrapped in 1923 and 1912 respectively. Their fate other than these dates is not known and they have become part of the folklore of the island's railway network, lost in the mists of time.

Liveries

The original company livery is thought to have been a deep green colour with black lining and either white or vermillon outer lining. This remained the standard livery of the line, although the white lining gave way to orange/red at some point. It wasn't until 1944 that the railway changed the standard livery to "Indian" red which is a rusty, orange colour akin to red lead paint. This remained standard until the 1967 re-opening when Lord Ailsa had service locomotives repainted into a fresh "spring" green livery very similar to London and North Eastern Railway "apple" green. The story goes that Rev. Teddy Boston, a friend of the Marquess had a model of an Isle of Man locomotive that he had painted green and said it was effective, the rest is history! Green became standard livery until nationalisation when "historic" liveries were re-introduced. Firstly, in 1981 No. 11 "Maitland" appeared in a variation on the Indian red scheme, followed by the most bizarre incarnation of them all, a royal blue No. 12 "Hutchinson" complete with alleged "Mannin"-Style" square cab. This was never popular with the enthusiasts and was eventually reverted to traditional Beyer, Peacock "house" in 2001. No. 13 "Kissack" also appeared in a darker green, and No. 4 "Loch" in a non-historical but very attractive shade of maroon. Locomotives were different liveries for the period, with No.1 being outshopped in spring green in 1998 for the "Steam 125" event. Upon the arrival of new management in 1999 all locos were painted into Indian red, harking back to the post war years (with the exception of "Caledonia" which was painted dark blue). For a heritage railway to need such a corporate image (these were buzz words at the time) was a little puzzling but happily since the departure of that particular management regime the historical liveries have began to return, with "G.H. Wood" outshopped in spring green in 2007 marking the 40th anniversary of the takeover by Lord Ailsa, and "Caledonia" reverting to her original Manx Northern livery. It is understood that one further locomotive will be outshopped in the original darker green at some point. The only exception to the liveries above, is No. 11 "Maitland" and she received all unlined matt black livery in 1988 for use in filming the BBC drama serial "The Ginger Tree" and this livery was retained for the rest of that season.

The railcars from the County Donegal Railway were in a deep red and cream colour scheme when they arrived on the island and when repainted by the railway company they retained broadly similar colours but the style was altered slightly. They remained in this livery until 1981/1982 when they visited the paintshops, one being outshopped in a cheerful blue and white livery for a very short time, but the Falklands War had began and having them in Argentine colours was not deemed appropriate so they were hastily repainted to a red and white scheme (the same as that carried by the island's buses at the time) and they remained like this until withdrawal from service. No.17 "Viking" was a deep green colour upon arrival in 1992 and was repainted (but with black/orange lining added) for the naming ceremony in 1993. In 1999, when a local support group voiced the opinion that one engine on the line should be in the spring green livery, the management chose No. 17 to be so treated; it remains in this colour scheme, albeit slightly more grubby, today. No. 18 "Ailsa" was all over white upon delivery and there has been mention that it would be painted into another colour, spring green being mooted owing to the loco's name, but this has yet to happen. The two Simplex locomotives are painted blue, and yellow, whilst the Wickham railcars are also blue with yellow chevrons.

Idiosyncrasies

Whilst all from the same manufacturer broadly to the same design, the Beyer, Peacocks all have slight differences; for example, the first trio have their nameplates mounted forward of the injector feed pipe, whereas Nos. 4 and 5 are central, meaning the name plates unusually read "LO CH" and "MO NA", there being a gap where the pipe passes through! For some reason, only Nos. 5 & 12 ever carried a brass numeral above the nameplate, although when No. 12 was refurbished this feature was not returned. All locomotives have, at one time or another, carried brass chimney numerals, although today No. 10 does not carry any, and No. 15 lost hers when her identity was returned to Manx Northern Railway No. 4 in 2007; when originally returned to traffic in 1995 she carried both numbers at once! Over the years, the water tanks of each loco were patched when they leaked, resulting in each one being distinctive by their pattern of patches; this is not noticeable today as the tanks are welded and the rivets are only dummies for aesthetic purposes. No. 6 "Peveril" in the museum does however retain her patched tanks. There are several other differences for the die-hard enthusiast, such as the grab rail on the back of No.5's cab is of a different style to all the others, No. 11 has a brass safety valve bonnet (at one time carried by No. 13), No. 4 features fleet number and three legs of man in brass on the buffer beam, etc., etc.

Whistles

The stable of Beyer, Peacock locomotives carry standard whistles, these can be broken down simply as high, medium and low. The medium tone of whistle is more commonplace for the simple reason that whenever a new boiler was supplied it came with a whistle. The higher "pea" whistle on the pre-1905 locomotives also has two variants, with 1-6 being higher than 7-9 and it was the distinctive shrill original whistle that No. 4 "Loch" carried in the 1980s and 1990s that will be remembered more recently. The third, much deeper tone of whistle was carried by Nos. 12 and 13 upon delivery but this changed so that by the 1950s they carried the standard one. When No. 13 was rebuilt in 1971 the original whistle was replaced, and events came full circle when No. 12 was extensively overhauled in 2001 she took was fitted with the original deeper whistle. At the present moment, No.4, known for the distinctive high pitch whistle, has been replaced with a medium tone one, as has No. 8 "Fenella" leaving only "Caledonia" with a shrill whistle. It is not known what type of whistles were carried by the Sharp Stewart locomotives. On occasion, such at Thomas Days, Santa Specials and the end of season trains, staff members put their own whistles on locomotives, such as triple-chimes but these were never fitted to the locomotives originally.

ee also

* Isle of Man Railway stations
* Isle of Man Railway rolling stock
* Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters' Association

References

* "Manx Peacocks - A profile of Steam on the Isle of Man Railway" by David Lloyd-Jones - published Atlantic Publishers 1998


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