No.18 Ailsa

Fleet No.:


Wheel Arr.:


Works No.:

Last Operated:

Name Origin:

No.18 Ailsa



Hunslet Engine


In Traffic

Railway Operator

No. 18 Ailsa was built for the Jubilee Line extension of the London Underground in 1994 and used by the contractors who re-laid approximately 2/3 of the Port Erin line in conjunction with the I.R.I.S. project (a sewerage scheme which saw a main pipeline being laid beneath the railway in 2000-2002 resulting in shuttle services being operated, dubbed I Reckon It Stinks by its detractors). 

The locomotive was bought from the contractors upon completion of the work and named Ailsa in honour of Lord Ailsa, who had greatly contributed to the railway in the late 1960s. It was stated at the time that the loco would receive a Spring Green livery (sometimes known as “Ailsa Green” as it was standard livery at the time of his ownership) but it remained in plain white livery, until removal of some of its ballast weights which has resulted in a red oxide lower half with a white upper. 

The locomotive was originally built to work on the construction railway in the Channel Tunnel which accounts for the somewhat squat appearance, although the cab was extended upwards before its arrival on island. This also results in limited visibility for the driver which has seen it fitted with closed circuit television cameras to aid vision. However, this disability as well as the absence of a continuous train braking system (in this case vacuum brakes) and also a mechanically governed top speed of 16 miles per hour ensures that the locomotive is used largely on shunting and permanent way duties being unsuitable for passenger workings.

April 2019 and showing nameplate detail, unveiled in 2008 and originally polished, the workhorse seldom receives cosmetic attention as can be seen from this view.

March 2022 and ...whoops..., at the end of a successful days' shunter training No.18 became derailed outside the signal box when the track spread slightly under its weight.

In August 2013 some relay work and repairs following a burst of the I.R.I.S. pipeline near Ronaldsway Halt saw No.18 on a relatively unusual trip out on the line.

September 2022 and No.18 is in the running shed between duties at Douglas Station; this is a common haunt for the unit which rarely ventures outside the terminus in season.

July 2021 and a familiar daily scene in Douglas Running Shed with No.18 ready for shunting carriages at the start of another busy day, with No.13 Kissack being prepared.

February 2022 during a shunting course for new staff at Douglas Station using saloon carriages for the practical exam; No.18 is commonly used for these training courses.

July 2003 in use by contractors at Port Erin Station prior to being obtained by the railway and receiving its fleet name and number...remember when it was actually white?

How about this for a ...What If...?  An appropriate spring green livery (or thereabouts) for the locomotive that carries the name of Lord Ailsa, perhaps apt enough?

February 2022 marshalling rolling stock ahead of the first trains of the season at Douglas Station; note the bonnets are removed, doing nothing for the appearance of No.18.

June 2020 and No.18 passes through Colby Station transporting No.5 Mona and No.9 Douglas south for decontamination of asbestos to take place in the goods shed at Port St. Mary.

September 2020 saw No.18 in the rear of the carriage shed at Douglas Station with No.17 Viking stored in the distance, the latter unit having last worked in July 2012.

July 2023 with No.18 is in the running shed between duties at Douglas Station; this is a common haunt for the unit which rarely ventures outside the terminus in season.