M.N.Ry. No.4 Caledonia  (No.15)

M.N.Ry. No.:

I.M.Ry. No.:




Wheel Arr.:


Works Number:

Valve Gear:

Last Operated:


Name Origin:





21 Tons, 10cwt



Dübs & Co., Ltd.



In Traffic

127,438 (1905-64)



Caledonia (colloquially known as Cale, and in case of any doubt - pronounced Cal-ee) is unique on the island in every respect; a one-off order from Dübs & Co., in 1885 and is the only engine on the line to have been provided by the Glasgow manufacturers to the island; designed to cope with the steep gradients of the Foxdale branch to which it was ideally suited, the branch was not the success it was hoped to be and the locomotive saw little use after the merger with the Isle of Man Railway in 1905, but remarkably was chartered to assist in construction of the Snaefell Mountain Railway in early 1995.  It was later numbered No.15 in the fleet and saw use rarely in service, largely relegated to mart specials and snow clearing duties.  It was re-boilered in 1922, and was the first to carry Ross pop safety valves (replacing the original Ramsbottom valves).  It is this boiler that remains today.  Stored when out of use in the open courtyard to the rear of the running shed at Douglas Station (site of the infill shed today), her last duties were on snow clearances in 1964/1965 fitted with a small plough.

In 1967 the locomotive was chosen to break through the ceremonial ribbon on reopening day at Douglas Station and it was repainted into the Spring Green livery, later seeing use on the south line, though poor steaming and inexperienced crews meant that it was not favoured in regular service; indeed is was only pressed into traffic when no other locomotives were available.  In the spring of 1968 it was repainted again into an approximation of the original Manx Northern Railway scheme to haul a special train to St. Johns for the fledgling Supporters Association, hauling Royal Saloon F.36 and Governors Saloon F.75 (among others) for the occasion.  This would prove to her her final sojourn in service and shortly afterwards it joined the display locomotives at St. Johns and later Douglas Station the following year.  By 1975 it had entered the railway museum at Port Erin Station at the head of the Manx Northern Railway train and it would stay displayed here until September 1993 when it was returned to Douglas by road for feasibility studies for a return to service.  

These were a success and the locomotive took centre stage for the centenary celebrations of the Snaefell Mountain Railway in 1995, returning to the slopes of the island's only mountain. Returned to an accurate 1885 livery based on work carried out during reassembly and the official works photograph, the locomotive also operated on the Manx Electric Railway that year between Laxey Station and Dhoon Quarry.  It remained in regular use and was repainted into an appropriate Caledonian Blue livery in 1999 in which it operated until 2007.  A further major overhaul followed in 2009 which also saw a repaint into the original scheme.  More works were carried out which saw a return to service in 2013 but the following year it was withdrawn with boiler issues.  More overhaul work followed so that by April 2018 the locomotive was on test, returning to regular use in September 2018 after the most extensive strip-down since it had left the factory.  Today it is often seen in service alongside the familiar Beyer Peacock locomotives and is popular with the travelling public.

June 1968 outshopped in an approximation of the original livery outside the running shed at Douglas Station on one of her final steamings, after which Cale was displayed at St. Johns Station.

January 1965 at Port Erin Station fitted with the snow plough on clearance duties, a task for which the locomotive was used regularly over the years, latterly almost exclusively until the reopening.

August 1933 outside the carriage shed at Douglas Station with the smaller chimney complete with brass numerals and an unlined utility livery, carrying the 1922 Beyer Peacock boiler.

November 2022 with one of the experimental weekend trains ready to leave Douglas Station; Cale was used exclusively to operate these trains over four weekends to great success.

The short-lived blue livery applied in 2003 seen shortly after returning to service at Douglas Station while turned bunker away from the terminus.

June 1968 and Cale in the yard at Douglas Station prior to taking an Association special train to St. John's and return using Royal Saloon F.36 and Governors’ Saloon F.75.

July 2001 at the head of a Royal Train for the Duke & Duchess of Wessex ready for departure from Douglas Station for the short journey to Santon, in the blue livery hauling the Bar Set.

Pressed into traffic during a motive power shortage in August 1968 at Castletown Station, Cale carried the spring green livery for only this season before reverting to red.

In model form the locomotive has appeared in a number of liveries produced by Accucraft U.K., seen here in all-over Indian Red unlined. It was also available in Metrpolitan Red and in blue.

The locomotive with The Manxman as part of a dry-run of the dining train ready to depart Douglas Station in March 2023.  Cale is a regular perform on evening dining duties.

November 2022 and Cale at Port St. Mary Station in use for the November weekend trains that were operated that year, she was used to haul all of these trains concluding the season.

April 1950 the locomotive is seen beside an impressive coal butt at Douglas Station being shunted.  It was rare for her to emerge from the sheds other than snow clearing duty at this time.

June 1995 at Bulgham Bay during one of the successful Steam Under The Wires events during the International Railway Festival, first undertaken by No.4 Loch in 1993.

Ramsey Station and the locomotive carrying a smaller chimney completed with brass numerals after the alamgamation with the Isle of Man Railway, note one of the vans in the background.

The locomotive with The Manxman at Ballasalla Station on a pre-season trial of the dining train with new caterers for the 2023 season.  The locomotive can regularly be seen on dining duties.