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 in 1905, when the railway also purchased two more locomotives from Beyer, Peacock. All the steam locomotives have or had the 2-4-0 T wheel arrangement, apart from 15 Caledonia which is an 0-6-0 T.

No. 1 Sutherland

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1873 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.1253 1921-1922
Holly Green (1873-1946)
Lined Black & Red
Chairman & Director 3rd Duke of Sutherland

Built for the opening of the railway on 1 July 1873 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first official train to Peel and remained in service, albeit as Douglas shunter only latterly, until 1964 when she was withdrawn. 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 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 travelled to the Manx Electric Railway on occasion steaming from Laxey to Fairy Cottage. She even made a brief return to Peel Station to commemorate the opening of the Peel line. She later was repainted to Indian red and withdrawn when the boiler was removed and replaced into the frames of No. 8. No. 1 was stored undercover at Douglas station until late 2018 when work on cosmetically restoring it for display commenced.

No. 2 Derby

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1873 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.1254 1908-1909
Scrapped None (Last Carried
Holly Green)
Former Island Owner 7th Earl of Derby

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 Set the precedent for Steam On The Electric being used in construction by the Isle of Man Tramways & Electric Power Co. (there are two photographs illustrating this). 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 Frames having survived in store for many years were scrapped in 1980 by "Pat the Rat" (a local scrapman) at the behest of the then manager Bill Jackson. 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

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1873 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.1255 1898-1899
Holly Green (1873-1946)
Lined Black & Red
Company Director Sir John Pender

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. Pender was re-boilered in 1888 and 1913. The third and current boiler was made in 1923 for No.2 "Derby", and was fitted in 1951 after that locomotive was broken up. The side rods are from No. 4. "Loch" (they are stamped 1416).Pender was canibalised for spare parts to keep the other locomotives in service. Many non-ferous fittings are missing.

Pender 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. Pender was sectioned at the Museum: the boiler and firebox were life-expired and the right-hand cylinder is cracked. The right hand tank was removed and is in storage at the Museum; many cab fittings were missing before arrival at the Museum. Pender was re-painted after sectioning in an approximation of Isle of Man Livery but in BR Brunswick green.

No. 4 Loch

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Current Livery Name Origin
1874 Beyer, Peacock & Co. BP1416 1955-1968
Indian Red (1946-1965)
Lined Black & Yellow
Island's Governor Henry Brougham Loch

Named after lieutenant governor Henry Brougham Loch and beloved by many as their "favourite" engine on the railway, As originally built "Loch" was a small boilered locomotive, but she was rebuilt as a medium boilered locomotive in 1909. This gave her the same tractive effort as Nos 10 and 11. No. 4 has the strange distinction 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 non functioning "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 was a regular fleet member once more. On 20 May 2008, she collided with a van and badly damaged her buffer beam. The boiler certificate expired on 31 August 2015 and following that day's services the locomotive with withdrawn from traffic. The overhaul began in 2017.

No. 5 Mona

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Current Livery Name Origin
1874 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.1417 1909-1911
Stored Spring Green (1967-1978)
Lined Black & White
Traditional Local Name Mona's Isle

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. Rebuilt as a medium boilered locomotive in 1911. Last reboilered in 1946, 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 (and having been relocated there in 1999 shortly after the original 1893 shed was demolished to make way for a new bus depot and administrative centre), 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

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Current Livery Name Origin
1875 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.1524 1901-1902
Indian Red (1946-1965)
Lined Black & Yellow
Sir Walter Scott's Peveril of the Peak

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, apt as the name is also a local one. She was rebuilt as a Medium Boiled locomotive in 1907, and last reboilered in 1932. She was withdrawn from service, having been station shunter at Douglas for a number of years, in August 1960 and stored out of use thereafter. In 1967 she was selected as one of the static display locomotives during the Marquess of Ailsa years at St.John's station and, after closure of the Peel and Ramsey lines in 1968 relocated to Douglas Station for display purposes. Stored for several years together with No. 5 Mona in original 1893 Douglas carriage shed, she was removed from here and cosmetically restored by members of the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters' Association, a local preservation group, 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

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1880 Beyer, Peacock & Co. BP2027 1900-1901
Non-Standard Green
(Unlined, Bunker Only)
Island's Parliament Tynwald Court

Built in 1880 (Beyer, Peacock works number 2038) and named after the Manx Parliament, 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. No. 7 was the first of the fleet to have sandboxes placed just ahead of the water tanks. As a result, the shape of the feedwater pipe was changed from the original "C" shaped end to an "S" shape entering the boiler between the smokebox and first cladding ring, rather than between the first and second cladding rings. The locomotive was involved in a collision with No. 10 G.H. Wood in 1928 and the frames were badly buckled at this time; owing to the large amount of work required to repair this, she was not selected for any further attention when withdrawn in 1947 and the locomotive dismantled. Stripped down, the frames were stored on a siding at Douglas Station for many years, with the tanks and cab being stored separately and scrapped in 1974. Upon nationalisation, the remaining frames were purchased by what is now the Isle of Man Railway & Tramway Preservation Society and stored in the open air at Santon, later Castletown. 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 decades and are an integral part of the railway's history. In store off-site for a number of years, the frames were returned to public display on the goods platform at Castletown Station during November 2009. The frames have since been sent off Island and are now at the Southwold Railway.

No. 8 Fenella

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1894 Beyer, Peacock & Co. BP3610 1920-1921
In Traffic Indian Red (1946-1965)
Lined Black & Yellow
Sir Walter Scott's Novel Peveril of the Peak

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 carries a unique, 2'11" diameter, 160psi boiler, which gives her the same theoretical power output as the medium boiler locomotives, but in reality she was inclined to run short of steam on heavy trains. 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 operated as a member of the active fleet until early summer 2008. Being the sole representative of the smaller engines (No. 4 has been rebuilt to a medium configuration) she was often to be seen on lighter trains, specials and acting as station pilot. She operated in May 2010 on non-passenger duties as part of the annual Rush Hour event and since this time a long dispute has been settled and the locomotive returned to railway ownership in April 2012 seeing service once again for the Rush Hour event. No. 8 made a return to the site of Peel Station for display to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the Peel line on 1 July 2013, placed on a short length of display track next to the former water tower at the station..

No. 9 Douglas

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1896 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.3815 1909-1911
Stored Non-Standard Green
Lined Black & Red
Island's Capital Town Douglas Town

A further increase in traffic led the railway company to order a further locomotive in 1896, with No.9 being the last locomotive Gorton Foundry that year (Beyer, Peacock works number 3815). Last reboilered in 1912, "Douglas" is the primary example of an unmodified Isle of Man Railway fleet member. There are several modifications but, most significantly, she is the only railway-owned locomotive on the line to retain her original Salter safety valves although No. 14 Thornhill retains these but is in private ownership. Withdrawn in 1953 by which time she had been reduced to light duties, she was stored and cosmetically restored for the 1969 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 lining. 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

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1905 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.4662 1977-1992
Spring Green (1967-1978)
Lined Black & White
Company Director & Secretary George Henry Wood

The first of two 1905 purchases, and the first "medium boiler" locomotive, 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 which was an approximation to her original livery. The locomotive wears the Spring Green livery applied in 2007 to mark the fortieth anniversary of the takeover of the railway by Lord Ailsa. Together with No. 12 they are the only service locos to not carry chimney numerals. It featured in the movie Five Children & It. The boiler certificate expired on 1 August 2017, its last appearance was the 50th anniversary celebrations of the re-opening of Douglas station on 29 July 2017. The overhaul began shortly afterwards with the boiler being sent away for overhaul in April 2018.

No. 11 Maitland

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1905 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.4663 1958-1959
Undergoing Rebuild Indian Red (1946-1965)
Lined Black / Yellow
Company Director Dalrymple Maitland

Stalwart of the fleet and rarely out of service, the second of the 1905-built locomotives was named after another company director 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. The boiler tubes for this new boiler were funded by the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters' Association, a local preservation group. In 1989 she was chosen to take part in The Ginger Tree, a television dramatisation being filmed on the railway and was painted into an unlined matt black livery which she retained for the rest of that season before being returned to a variation on the Indian red livery. She also featured in the movie Five Children & It. The locomotive sports a brass safety valve bonnet mounted on the boiler (the others being painted) but this was originally carried by No. 13 Kissack until 1971. The locomotive last worked in 2007 and awaits the return of a rebuilt boiler from the Severn Valley Railway. The frames were moved off site for restoration in 2017.

No. 12 Hutchinson

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1908 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.5126 1977-1980
Withdrawn Indian Red (1946-1965)
Lined Black & Yellow
Company Director & Politician William Hutchinson

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), and named after company director W. A. Hutchinson, 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 somewhat odd appearance when compared with her shed-mates, and the look was not widely liked. Due to the higher side tanks, she was inclined to roll more at speed than the other locomotives in her rebuilt form. 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 was reinstated for the 2009 season. Returned to service in April 2017 following a winter overhaul and withdrawn following expiration of boiler certificate on 31 August 2019.

No. 13 Kissack

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1910 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.5382 1955-1971
In Traffic Holly Green (1873-1945)
Lined Black / Red / White
Company Director & Politician Edward Thomas Kissack

Another one-off order from 1910 (Beyer, Peacock works number 5382), and named after a company director; 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 a 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 was, for a time, carried by No. 11, being reunited with No.13 for a Winter Photography event in February 2013 and remained since this time. No. 13 is a regular performer on the railway and part of the active fleet since returning to service in 2006 with a new boiler. When performing steam trials prior to this, the locomotive appeared with "12a" chalked on the back cab sheet, evidently by a superstitious member of workshop staff. No. 13 was withdrawn from service in 2013 for boiler repairs. These were completed in March 2015 and the locomotive is now back in service, spending April of that year turned chimney-first into Douglas for the first time in many years for a short spell. The locomotive emerged in the holly green livery in March 2016.

No. 14 Thornhill

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1880 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.2028 1911-1913
Privately Owned Tuscan Red (1879-1905)
Lined Black & Vermillon
Chairman's Residence Thornhill House

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 (the numerals were lost in 1956 when a replacement chimney was fitted). 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. 7 Tynwald. Unique among the fleet in still being in almost "original" form, she retained her distinctive Salter safety valves until withdrawal from service in 1963 and after storage she was repainted into an approximation of her original colour scheme 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

Built Original No. Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1885 M.N.Ry. No.4 Dübs & Co., Glasgow D.L.2178 1967-1995
Metropolitan Red (1879-1905)
Lined Black & Red
Scottish Traditional Name Latin For Scotland

This unique 0-6-0T 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 Ramsey Cattle Mart specials and for snow clearing trains. She was reboiler in 1923, receiving the first boiler on the IMR to carry "Ross" pop safety valves. When the Marquess of Ailsa took over operations in 1967 she was repainted into spring green livery and saw service once again until 1968. 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 reverted to the intricate original paint scheme in 2007. The locomotive was the subject of a major rebuild from 2009 and returned to service in January 2013. It was prematurely withdrawn from service in 2014 with boiler problems. The overhauled boiler was returned in April 2018 and the locomotive was returned to steam in September 2018.

No. 16 Mannin

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1926 Beyer, Peacock & Co. B.P.6296 1964-Date Railway Museum Indian Red (1946-1965)
Lined Black & Yellow
Traditional Manx Name Meaning Isle of Man

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 2-4-0T 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 a Douglas-based engine and used on the Peel line. It appears she never travelled north of Kirk Michael 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. Briefly considered as a candidate in for restoration in 1967, but rejected on account of her non-standard design, 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 is unknown. In early 2019 it was announced that Mannin would be removed from the museum for restoration to working order, her place being taken by No1 Sutherland once her cosmetic work is completed. The railway hopes to have Mannin back in full working order in time for the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Isle of Man Railway in 2023.

No. 17 Viking

Built Builder Works No. Original No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1958 Schöma, Dortmund, Germany SDE2066 208 1988-1992
Stored Spring Green (1967-1978)
Lined Black / White
Deferred from No.3 Pender

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. Whilst usually restricted to non-passenger services, No. 17 saw some use in traffic during the 2010 season owing to steam locomotive failure; it is usually in operation as part of the annual railway-based events Rush Hour in April/May each year and the Manx Heritage Transport Festival each July. The locomotive is currently stored and unserviceable, her future remains uncertain. The Department of Community Culture and Leisure announced in 2012 that were will be seeking £750,000 of Government funding for a new build locomotive to replace Viking. In October 2012 was announced that a replacement diesel engine had been sourced to replace Viking with delivery expected in Spring 2013.[1]

No. 18 Ailsa

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Current Livery Name Origin
1994 Hunslet Engine Company LD9342 ~ In Service Allover White
Former Railway Operator Archibald Kennedy

Built for the Jubilee Line extension of the London Underground in 1994 and used by the contractors who re-laid the entire line in conjunction with the IRIS project (a sewerage scheme which saw a main pipeline being laid beneath the railway in 2000-2002 resulting in shuttle services being operated), this locomotive was bought from the contractors upon completion of the work and named "Ailsa" in honour of Archibald Kennedy, 7th Marquess of Ailsa who had 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. The locomotive was originally built to work on the construction railway in the Channel Tunnel which accounts for the somewhat squat appearance. This also results in limited visibility for the driver and in recent times it has been fitted with closed circuit television cameras to aid vision. However, this disability ensures that the locomotive is used largely on shunting and permanent way duties being unsuitable for passenger workings.

Nos. 19 & 20 Diesel Railcars

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Current Livery Name Origin
1949 Walker Brothers, Wigan C/N-7989 1959-1961
Partially Restored None, Unfinished Not Named
1950 Walker Brothers, Wigan C/N-83149 1959-1962
Partially Restored None, Unfinished Not Named

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 a potential commuter train services between Port Erin, Castletown and Douglas, which would extend the service that is laid on annually by the railway in connection with the T.T.. The TT Commuter service is currently run using a steam locomotive and hauled stock, which leads to high operating costs. A shift in management attitude could see their return to service in the future, but for the time being, they remain in store at Douglas station awaiting completion and return to service.

No. 21

Built Builder Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
2013 Motive Power & Equipment Solutions Inc.,
Greenville, South Carolina, U.S.A.[2]
MP550-B1[3] 2013-2016
In service Racing Green
Yellow Chevrons
Not Named

Built as a replacement for No. 17 Viking it is the first new locomotive to join the fleet since No. 18 Ailsa. The locomotive's underframe, body, and engine are brand new. The bogies are modified from a GE industrial locomotive. It is the first locomotive on the Isle of Man Railway to feature a cab at each end, arriving on the Isle of Man in December 2013 and is currently undergoing testing.[4] Early tests revealed a problem with overheating, and a new prime mover has been supplied by the manufacturers under warranty. Further testing is ongoing although the locomotive has performed several passenger duties, notably at the head of the railway's dining train. The locomotive currently lies out of use. Trials took place in July 2019, with an entry to service taking place in late August 2019.

Nos. 22 & 23 Wickham Trolleys

No. Built Builder Works No. Status Livery Notes
~ 19?? Wickham of Ware ???? Scrapped Red & White Ex-Queen's Pier Railway, Ramsey
No.22 1956 Wickham of Ware 7442 In Traffic Brunswick Green Restored 2015, permanent way duties only
No.23 1961 Wickham of Ware 8849 In Traffic Brunswick Green Restored 2013, on Manx Electric Railway

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. One of these (nominally carrying No.23) was rebuilt in 2013, the other was restored to original condition in 2014. A third railcar was formerly used on the Queen's Pier Tramway in Ramsey and was brought to the railway in 1975 for use when the Peel and Ramsey lines were lifted, it has since been scrapped. No.22 carries its fleet number above both end windows and No.23 has vinyl decals in one window.

Nos. 24 & 25 The Simplexes

No. Built Builder Works No. Status Livery Notes
No.24 1959 Motor-Rail Co. 22021 In Traffic Oxford Blue & Red Cabless unit, generally based at Port Erin carries the name Betsy
No.25 1966 Motor-Rail Co. 40S280 In Traffic Brunswick Green Carries drivers' cab, at Douglas Station

There are two Simplex locomotives on the railway, one of which is based at Port Erin for shunting purposes; the other can be found occasionally on the electric railway and has a driver's cab and Railway Company crests applied to its cab sides; No.24 was repainted in September 2018 and received a fleet number and painted-on name for the first time, while No.25 carries no fleet details at present.

The "Sharpies"

Built Builder Original No. Works No. Withdrawn Status Livery Name Origin
1879 Sharp, Stewart & Co., Glasgow M.N.Ry.
~ 19?? Scrapped
~ Headquarters' Town Ramsey Town
1879 Sharp, Stewart & Co., Glasgow M.N.Ry.
~ 19?? Scrapped
~ Local Name North Of Island

The Manx Northern Railway's first two engines were provided by Sharp, Stewart and Company for the line's opening in 1879 and were 2-4-0 side tank locomotives bearing the names Ramsey and Northern. J.I.C. Boyd in his "Isle of Man Railway (Oakwood Press 1967) points out that the Sharpies were dimensionally similar to the Beyer Peacock locomotives built for the IMR. However, in their use of a leading radial axle, rather than a Bissell truck, and other features, they were more conventional examples of mid-Victorian locomotive design than the Isle of Man Railway's Beyers. Boyd mentions that they were tested at speed before their entry into service and officially restricted to 45 mph. There have been some suggestions that their shorter wheelbase, 11'6" as opposed to 13'9" for the Beyer Peacock locomotives, made their ride less than steady at higher speeds. However, this does not seem to have limited their usefulness as both were reboilered in 1892/3, and McNabb ("Isle of Man Railway," 1945) reports that they were both "worn out" by 1905. Ramsey was hired to IOMTEPCo by the MNR for construction work in the 19th century. 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. Ramsey is reported to have been used to haul Permanent Way trains (Boyd, op. cit.) in the years before 1914. 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. It seems likely, however, that as non-standard locomotives, they were scrapped as soon as the traffic department regarded them as surplus to future requirements. This probably occurred after the delivery of No. 13 Kissack in 1910. There is some evidence (Boyd, op. cit.) that the Railway attempted to sell "Ramsey" in 1919, and again in 1920 as a contractors' locomotive.

Boiler variants

All of the Isle of Man Railways locomotives and Manx Northern No. 3 Thornhill were built to an adaptation of a very successful 1866 design Beyer Peacock had supplied for the 3'6" (Cape) Gauge sections of Norwegian State Railways (NSB). Apart from being constructed for 3' 0" gauge, the major dimensions are identical to the Norwegian Class IV "Trygve". The Manx locomotives came in three principle variants; the ten "Small Boiler" locomotives consisting of Nos. 1 to 9, and Manx Northern No. 3 (later Isle of Man Railway No.14) as built. These had 2'10.75" boilers pressed at 120 psi. The cylinders were 11" diameter by 18" stroke, and the driving wheels 45". They were delivered in three, slightly differing, batches. Locomotives 1 to 3 had 320 gallon water tanks, round cab spectacle plates, and "C" shape feed pipes; 4 to 6 were built with 385 gallon tanks, square cab spectacle plates, and "C" shape feed pipes; and 7 and 14 with 385 gallon tanks, square spectacle plates, and "S" shape feed pipes. 8 and 9 were supplied with 160 psi boilers, but were otherwise largely identical to 7 and 14.

The four locomotives that constitute the "medium" series are Nos. 10 to 13; the boilers were enlarged from 2'10.75" diameter to 3'3" and pressed to 160 psi. Whilst this did not increase the theoretical tractive effort, it was found that they were considerably less prone to running short of steam on the long climbs out of Douglas on the way to Port Erin and on the Ramsey line out of St. John's. These locomotives were built with 480 gallon water tanks. Cylinder and driving wheel dimensions were unchanged. Three small boiler locomotives - 4, 5, and 6 - were rebuilt to the Medium boiler variant, complete with 480 gallon water tanks, in 1907-14. No. 16, with its 3'6" diameter boiler pressed at 180psi, and 12" by 18" cylinders is the solitary example of the "Large Boiler" variant. She also carries 520 gallon water tanks.


The original company livery is thought to have been a deep green colour with black lining and either white or vermilion outer lining. This remained the standard livery of the line, with slight variations, down to the end of World War II. The original white lining gave way to orange/red at some point, probably around 1905, and there was a gradual reduction in the mount of detail applied to the lining over the years. A 1949 colour photograph of Mannin shows her in unlined green - perhaps as a result of a repaint early in World War II, whilst Fenella is seen in a work worn late 1930s version of the livery applied when she was reboilered in 1936/7.

It wasn't until 1944 that the railway changed the standard livery to Indian red which is a rusty, orange colour, akin to red iron oxide or red lead. The "Indian Red" paint as produced in the railway's workshop and tended to oxidise over time. Recently repainted locomotives would be a deep red colour with a hint of orange; those that had not visited the paint shop in some time would be a reddish brown. This was lined out white-black-white, and remained standard until the 1967 re-opening when Lord Ailsa had service locomotives repainted into a fresh "spring" green livery. This was very similar to London and North Eastern Railway apple green. The story goes that the Rev. Teddy Boston, a friend of the Marquess had a model of an Isle of Man locomotive that he had painted in LNER colours. This was shown to Ailsa in the spring of 1967, who liked it, and had 5, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 15 quickly repainted to match! Spring green became standard livery until nationalization, when the new Isle of Man Railways management decided to repaint the locomotives in a variety of colours to dispel the notion that there were only two engines on the line. The first so treated was No.4 Loch which appeared in a non-standard Midland Red livery for the 1979 season. Two years later No. 11 Maitland appeared in a variation on the Indian red scheme, though she briefly ran in a dull black livery after being used for the BBC production of 'The Ginger Tree' in the late 1980s. There then 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 when the locomotive was reboilered in 2001 she reverted to traditional Beyer, Peacock "house" with its wrapped over front and rear plates. No. 13 Kissack appeared in Brunswick green c.1980, and remained in that livery until withdrawn in 1992. When G H Wood re-entered service in 1993 she took over from Kissack as the dark green locomotive, whilst Sunderland was out-shopped in spring green for the 1998 season.

This variety of liveries continued in use until 1999 when, upon the arrival of new management, all locos were swiftly painted into Indian red, harking back to the immediate post war years. The exception there was Caledonia which was painted dark blue, and got to play Thomas the Tank Engine for the annual 'Thomas and Friends' event. Locomotive No.10 G.H. Wood was out-shopped in spring green in 2007 marking the 40th anniversary of the takeover by Lord Ailsa, and Caledonia reverting to her original Manx Northern livery shortly afterwards. Presently 4, 8, 12 and 13 carry the post war Indian Red livery, No.10 carries the Ailsa era Green, and Caledonia is running in the earlier, more elaborate version of the MNR's Claret livery.

The railcars from the County Donegal Railway were in a red and cream colour scheme when they arrived on the island in 1961, and when repainted by the railway company into a version of the then standard dark red and cream IMR carriage livery. This differed from the carriage livery in that cream was retained only for the waist stripe, whilst the window surrounds were painted deep red. 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. Unfortunately, the Falklands War broke out shortly thereafter, 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 in the early 1990s.

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.


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! All Isle of Man Railway locomotives were supplied with brass chimney numerals, whilst the ex-MNR engines received them following the 1905 merger. Today No. 10 does not carry any chimney numerals, 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! In 1946 Beyer Peacock supplied three boilers with new cast iron chimneys which were not fitted with numerals. These boilers were fitted to Nos. 5, 10, and 12, which lost their chimney numerals as a result. It was at this point that No. 5 and No. 12 gained small tank side number plates. 12 lost hers again when reboilered in 1981. 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 have been recycled from a pre-1939 boiler fitted to No.13 prior to her 1971 reboilering), No. 4 features fleet number and three legs of man in brass on the buffer beam, etc.


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 from 1978 to 1995 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 a new deeper whistle was provided by Hunslet, and events came full circle when No. 12 was extensively overhauled in 2001 she took was fitted with the original deeper whistle, later being replaced by the medium toned one. Until withdrawal, No.4, known for the distinctive high pitch whistle, had been replaced with a medium tone one, leaving only No. 8 Fenella and 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.

See also


  1. Darbyshire, Adrian. "£350,000 diesel loco on the way". Isle of Man Today. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  2. Narrow gauge diesel delivery. Railway Gazette, 27 December 2013.
  3. "No.21". Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  4. "Diesel-Electric Loco Arrives". Isle of Man Government Public Transport. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  • James I.C. Boyd Isle Of Man Railway, Volume 3, The Routes & Rolling Stock (1996) ISBN 0-85361-479-2
  • Norman Jones Scenes from the Past: Isle of Man Railway (1994) ISBN 1-870119-22-3
  • Robert Hendry Rails in the Isle of Man: A Colour Celebration (1993) ISBN 1-85780-009-5
  • A.M Goodwyn Manx Transport Kaleidoscope, 2nd Edition (1995)
  • David Lloyd-Jones Manx Peacocks: A Profile of Steam on the Isle of Man Railway (1998) ISBN 0 906899 958
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