Cosmetic Restoration : No.5 Mona

Launched in 2022 following decontamination of asbestos by the railway, the Association pledged their conservation efforts and launched a Fundraising Appeal are to help restore No.5 Mona to public display condition after nearly fifty years in storage and partial dismantlement.  The fundraising target was set at £12,000.00 to include all associated works and professional painting.  This target was happily reached by 2023 and the locomotive completed in time to take part in the anniversary celebrations.  We are grateful to Culture Vannin for their grant assistance in securing the purchase of the original nameplate which has now been reunited with the locomotive as part of the project.

No.5 Mona on display nearing completion outside the goods shed at Port St. Mary where the volunteer works took place over an eighteen month period.

Cosmetic Restoration Involved...

* source fittings which have been borrowed over time

* re-assembly of the locomotive with all preparation

* a full clean including the motion,  frames, etc.

* preparing, undercoating, painting and lining out

* fitting brass nameplates and numberplate to the tanks

 * replica brass numeral to the left-hand side tank.

The Association secured an agreement to purchase one of the original name plates for re-fitting to the locomotive and from which a copy has been made and fitted.  Both of the original nameplates were sold with the engine into private ownership back in 1978.

Restoration Progress

Working in partnership with Isle of Man Railways, the aim to complete the cosmetic restoration of No.5 Mona in time for the 150th anniversary of the Railway in July 2023 was happily metYou can view the restoration progress from January 2022 to March 2023 on our separate online project work log here, updates after this time are posted directly to the news page on this site.  By May of 2023 work was well in hand to complete the professional paint job and the locomotive was displayed for the first time on  1st July as part of the anniversary celebrations, later taking part in a line-up of locomotives at Port Erin Station during the Summer Transport Festival after which it is proposed that the locomotive take the place of No.6 Peveril in the railway museum.

Help Us With A Donation

With your generous support, the locomotive played her part in celebrating the significant milestone - the railways 150th anniversary - and thereafter was available for public display to help tell the history of the Isle of Man Railway and the evolution of the Beyer Peacock 2-4-0 tank locomotives. The nameplate pictured is one of the originals purchased at auction by the Association in 2022, from which a second replica has been cast together with a numerals for the tank, all of which were fitted to the locomotive upon completeion of cosmetic work.  Using the donation link to the right you can now support our next porject on No.9 Douglas.

Historical Notes

Built by the firm of Beyer, Peacock & Co along with No.4 Loch for the opening of the Port Erin line in 1874, No.5 Mona was named after the Island and became a steadfast performer for the Railway. Although very similar in design to and with the same nominal 3’ 0 diameter 120psi boilers as the three engines delivered the previous year for the opening of the Peel line,  the side tanks and coal bunkers on engines No.4 and No.5 were six inches higher, allowing 385 gallons of water in each tank and 14 cwt of coal to be carried when full, essential for the more steeply graded and longer Port Erin line. The original livery was Holly Green with black lining edged in white. 

No.4 Loch | As Built | Douglas Station | c.1890

Larger rectangular shaped cab spectacles were fitted rather than the small round spectacles on the previous engines.  A tool box was formed as part of the side tank platework inside the cab, rather than being a separate wooden chest mounted on top of the left hand side tank forwards of the cab.  The injector overflow pipes were carried down the outside of the water tanks to finish below footplate level, bizarrely dissecting the still centrally mounted brass name plates on No.4 Loch and No.5 Mona in such a manner that the letters of the names were spaced to allow for the pipe!  Engine No.6 Peveril was built one year later to the same design as No.4 and No.5, albeit her name plates were positioned on the forward part of her side tanks.   The image of No.4 (left) shows the original arrangement of injector overflow pipe explaining the letter arrangements on the nameplates and earlier heavier lining detail.

Modifications during the locomotives working life included the fitting of separate front rod-operated sanding gear in 1895 when a new 3’ 0diameter boiler was also fitted.  New rear sandboxes were positioned inside the top outer corners of the coal bunker (the rivets holding these in place can be seen at the top of the bunker sides, a trait shared with No.4 Loch and No.6 Peveril. With the water feed valves and the front sand boxes now occupying the two front boiler rings, there were no suitable places to re-position the original makers plates which had curved backs and would not sit on a flat surface.  This is the reason why engines No.1 Sutherland to No.6 Peveril inclusive no longer carry original makers plates, the whereabouts or survival of the plates being unknown, presumed scrapped.   No.4 has carried replicas for several years.

No.5 Mona | Modified | Douglas Station | c.1895
Now with larger boiler and water tanks at Douglas Station  c.1932 still with Salter safety valves and tapered chimney, note the highly polished handrails.

The locomotive was enlarged in 1914 by fitting a 3’ 3” diameter 160 pounds-per-square-inch boiler and 480 gallon side tanks, increasing her tractive effort by one-third.  Similar changes had been made to engines No.4 Loch in 1909 and No.6 Peveril in 1911. In the 1920s, the Railways standard livery remained Holly Green but with thinner black lining edged vermilionA mechanical lubricator driven off the left-hand leading crankpin was fitted in 1936, followed by steam and vacuum brake equipment.  Prior e distinctive tapered chimney with its copper cap and brass numerals were still a feature, as were the Salter safety valves and bell mouth dome as per the illustration to the left, also showing the enormous coal stack at Douglas Station, a feature for so many years.  The highly burnished handrails also seen here were a feature of the earlier years which persisted on some examples until quite late.  Note the small whistle.

Her present 3 3 diameter boiler with Rosspop safety valves, welded smokebox and cast chimney were supplied by Beyer, Peacock in 1946 when the locomotive was last extensively overhauled and outshopped painted in the post-war standard IndianRed livery with black lining edged yellow or “straw” .  Carriage steam-heating supply equipment and the brass numeral on the left hand side tank were fitted at this time.  No.5 was withdrawn from service after closure of the Peel and Ramsey lines in 1968, carrying the Spring Green livery adopted by Lord Ailsa in 1967, with black lining edged white, and red painted connecting and coupling rods.  Her last recorded mileage in 1964 was 1,896,370 but records indicate that she did see limited service in 1969 on the south line but following a burst tube whilst on permanent way duties in early 1970 ensuring that the locomotive was withdrawn with no consideration given to an overhaul owing to her poor condition.  Following withdrawal the locomotive spent some time on display at Port Erin Station at the end of the bay platform before storage in the carriage shed at Douglas Station.

No.5 Mona arriving at Ramsey Station c.1962 with our grateful thanks to Mike Jose for the historic image; this is the standard post-war red livery carried by the fleet until 1967.
No.5 Mona at the rear of the carriage shed  at Douglas Station in April of 2020 just prior to being removed for asbestos decontamination and cosmetic restoration, illustrating the poor condition of the locomotve prior to work commencing.

The locomotive was purchased privately by the now-defunct Isle of Man Railway Society (later the Isle of Man Railways & Tramways Preservation Society and now reformed as The Three Foot Gauge Railway Society) for preservation in 1978 but remained un-restored, residing for twenty years in the old corrugated iron carriage shed at Douglas until it was demolished in 1999.  The locomotive was relocated for a short while into the Infill Shed created behind the Running Shed at Douglas.  She was later placed in a sealed tent with sister No.9 Douglas at the back of the new carriage shed.  No.5 Mona returned to Government ownership in 2012.  The locomotive was partly dismantled in 2020 for removal of asbestos, at which point the possibility of cosmetic restoration was first discussed.  It was moved to Port St. Mary for our volunteers to commence work on the frames and tanks in January 2022 and by December of that year the boiler (previously stored at Port Erin) and the cab sheets (with J.C.K. at Balthane) were reunited as work continued; the completed locomotive was unveiled as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations in July 2023, after which volunteers moved on to a similar project on No.9 Douglas.