Isle of Man Steam Railway
The Isle of Man Steam Railway operates on a commercial basis between Douglas and Port Erin (around 15.5 Miles). The Steam railway is operated by the Isle of Man Government and is still used by commuters, shoppers, day trippers and visiting tourists. The line is a 3ft gauge. It's route is what is left of the once extensive network to Peel, Ramsey and Foxdale. The line dates from 1893 but it's use in the modern day has seen the Government make small concessions to allow try and allow as much disabled diversity as possible. The line has a large amount of plans for the future and at the time of my visit was waiting for a batch of boilers to arrive from the Severn Valley Railway which will allow more steam locomotives to come back into service. There are also big plans to enhance the current coaching stock fleet and return the troublesome General Electric Diesel to service which will assist greatly with the current locomotive availability.
No.8 - Fenella
No.13 - Kissack
No12 - Hutchinson
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 It was prematurely withdrawn from service in 2014 with boiler problems.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.