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Isle of Man Railway Steam Locomotive Fleet

Updated on May 1, 2011
All images Copyright David Lloyd-Jones
All images Copyright David Lloyd-Jones

The Fleet of Isle of Man Railway Beyer, Peacock 2-4-0 Tank Locomotives

The elegant Manx Beyer, Peacock 2-4-0 tank locomotives are well known throughout the railway world and for the enthusiast they symbolise the Isle of Man. A railway's locomotive fleet is normally the main focal point of interest for enthusiasts, all other features such as the rolling stock, buildings and signals etc, are usually only of a secondary importance. The looks and design of the locomotives are what first attracts many people to a particular railway.

The history of the Isle of Man steam railway's locomotive fleet is very complicated and needs to be examined in detail to understand it with a degree of accurately. Many railway enthusiasts have said that the Manx engines have a limited appeal as they all look exactly identical. However a closer inspection will soon reveal they are all in fact very different.

The fifteen standard 2-4-0 tank locomotives supplied to the Isle of Man Railway Co. Ltd. were built by Messrs. Beyer, Peacock of Gorton works, Manchester over a 53 year period, starting with the first batch of three engines being delivered in time for the opening of the Peel line in 1873.

They are all built to the same basic design, but each subsequent batch being of a larger capacity to counter the increasing traffic demands placed on the railway each year as the Island grew in popularity as the 'playground of the north-west'. This design was not totally unique to the Isle of Man.

The origins of these engines can be found in earlier locomotive designs from the same maker such as the Metropolitan Railway's famous 4-4-0T's of 1864. Messrs. Beyer, Peacock had also previously supplied three very similar looking locomotives to the 3ft 6in (1008mm) gauge Norwegian State Railway in 1871.

While two engines based on the second batch of Manx 2-4-0s went to the Irish 3ft (914mm)gauged Ballymena & Larne Railway in 1877 and 1880 respectfully.

As with any railway company that has been operating the same locomotive fleet for almost 125 years, the Manx Peacocks have obviously been subjected to various alterations during their lifetime. Modifications, enlargements or repairs after accidents has altered the outline of some of these engines. Likewise, boilers, chimneys, domes and many other smaller parts were swapped about regularly in order to keep engines in traffic. The very early standardisation of parts has been a major factor in the railway's survival right up to the present day.

The Manx Peacocks that are in the current operational fleet in the 1990s are a far cry from what was originally delivered. All have had at sometime replacement boilers, side tanks, cabs, wheels and similar. While a couple have even had a new chassis - so all that possibly remains of some of the original locomotives is the name and builders plates (some of these may well be replicas too!).

As these improvement and repairs took place over many years it is therefore essential to refer to a good photograph(s) of a particular engine within the historical period to follow these changes with any accuracy. To a newcomer the many differences between individual engines can seem very bewildering.

Believe it or not there is a set patten. The main alterations to engines generally occurred when the boiler was changed. By following the dates on list of engine boiler changes and the variation notes below and carefully studying photographs of the locomotives the pieces of the complex Manx Beyer, Peacock jig-saw should start to fall into place.

Isle of Man Railway Steam Locomotive Fleet

Beyer, Peacock
In Store
Beyer, Peacock
Scrapped 1951
Beyer, Peacock
On Display
Beyer, Peacock
In Traffic
Beyer, Peacock
In Store
Beyer, Peacock
On Display
Beyer, Peacock
Dismantled 1945
Beyer, Peacock
In Traffic
Beyer, Peacock
In Store
G H Wood
Beyer, Peacock
In Traffic
Beyer, Peacock
In Traffic
Beyer, Peacock
In Traffic
Beyer, Peacock
In Traffic
Beyer, Peacock
Privately Owned
In Traffic
Beyer, Peacock
On Display
All images Copyright David Lloyd-Jones
All images Copyright David Lloyd-Jones


No.1 =1891, new boiler

1919, No.7's of 1903

1923, No.5's of 1907

1939, No.7's of 1923#

No.2 =1893, new boiler

1912, No.6's of 1892

1917, No.2's of 1893

1921, No.5's of 1895

1923, new boiler#

No.3 =1888, new boiler

1913, new boiler

1951, No.2's of 1923

No.4 =1893, new boiler

1909, new boiler

1946, No.5's of 1914

1968, new boiler*

No.5 = 1895, new boiler

1907, new boiler

1914, new boiler

1936, No.6's of 1911,

1946, new boiler*

No.6 =1892, new boiler

1911, new boiler

1932, new boiler*

No.7 =1903, new boiler

1919, No.5's of 1907

1923, new boiler#

1939, No.5's of 1907

No.8 =1908, No.5's of 1895

1915, No.5's of 1907

1919, new boiler

1936, new boiler@

No.9 =1909, No.8's of 1894

1912, new boiler

No.10 =1926, new boiler*

1948, new boiler*

1993, No.13's of 1971)

No.11 =1934, new boiler*

1959, new boiler*

1980, new boiler*

No.12 =1946, new boiler*

1980, new boiler*

No.13 =1944, No.11's of 1905

1949, No.10's of 1926

1971, new boiler*

No.14 = 1896, new boiler

1910, No.4's of 1893

1913, No.2's of 1893

1916, No.5's of 1895

1921, new boiler

No.15 = 1922, new boiler

No.16 None.

Notes :

* Fitted with a closed dome and Ross`pop' valves.

# Fitted with Ross `pop' valves one on top of the boiler, the other housed in the top of the dome.

@ Special 2'-10 3/4" boiler with a closed dome and Ross `pop' valves


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