Delivered as a one-off order in 1896 this locomotive remains largely in as-built condition and was only re-boilered twice during her service career, the first being in 1909 (when it was fitted with the 1894 boiler from No.8 Fenella) then again in 1912 when a new boiler was obtained from Beyer, Peacock & Co., Ltd., of Gorton, this is the one still carried today making it the oldest one to remain on the railway.
The only major modification was the fitting of vacuum braking equipment for train braking combined with an existing steam brake which was installed at the same time as iron brake blocks replacing the original timber ones. It retains the sloping smokebox arrangement from its earliest days and was in regular traffic until withdrawal, though latterly confined to light duties, much of its service career was spent on the north line.
The locomotive carried its original “Gorton Screamer” whistle throughout its career and this is retained today; it also had the nameplates forward of the tank centre (rather than the curious arrangement with No.4 Loch an No.5 Mona where the lettering was spaced to allow the injector overflow pipe to bisect it) and carried worksplates on the rear portion of the tanks in common with elder sister No.8 Fenella.
Liveries carried from delivery were the original Brunswick Green, changing after the war to the standard Indian Red, then to Spring Green in 1969. Distinctive tank patches make the locomotive easy to identify in photographs, these being carefully crafted around the oval worksplates; at some point a large split appeared in the front buffer beam which also identifies the locomotive from others in the fleet. The iconic tapered chimney with copper cap and brass chimney numerals were a lifelong feature.
Withdrawn in 1953 and stored in the carriage shed at Douglas Station, it was cosmetically restored for the 1969 season and placed on display with a number of other withdrawn locomotives for a number of years. The locomotive was sold in 1978 to the now-defunct Isle of Man Railway Society and placed in storage together with No.8 Fenella (purchased at the same time) in the locomotive shed at Port Erin while service locomotives used the former goods shed.
During this period the locomotive was partially repainted into a non-standard brown livery with black and orange lining, later being fully painted, in green (matching the station scheme rather than an historic livery) with vermilion and black lining, notably being displayed at Port Erin during the Year Of Railways celebrations in 1993 when it was tended by Supporters’ Association volunteers. At some point the smokebox door was removed and replaced with a wooden version.
Moved into Douglas Station during railway museum renovations in 1998, it was stored in the new carriage shed with No.5 Mona in a sealed tent owing to the presence of asbestos lagging. During 2020 the locomotive was moved south by rail together with No.5, hauled by No.18 Ailsa, and dismantled to allow decontamination of asbestos, requiring a move to the goods shed at Port St. Mary where contractors were based. Since this time it has not been fully reassembled.
The boiler, tanks and cab all sand blasted and primed in red primer. The boiler is currently stored on the Peel Line siding at Douglas, while the chassis and superstructure are currently stored in the running shed; they were used for gauging trials on the electric railway in January 2023, the first time the locomotive had ventured onto this line, and the first time since withdrawal it had visited the northern town. On return to home metals it was placed chimney first to Douglas;
In January 2023 the Supporters’ Association unveiled plans to cosmetically restore the locomotive in order for it to take part in the 150th anniversary celebrations of the south line following year, after a similar project with No.5 Mona. At the present time a small but dedicated group of volunteers and working at preparing the locomotive frames to allow the boiler and cabs to be refitted, after which painting will commence, the original green with broader lining being the ultimate aim.