Empress Van F.27 (i)

F.27 is the first of two identical luggage vans purchased in 1897 and dubbed Empress Vans owing to it being delivered in the jubilee year of Queen Victoria; similar in dimensions to the half-luggage carriages F.19 and F.20 but with no passenger accommodation, it was used in connection with the Luggage In Advance service on the south line for the heavy boat trains.

Latterly the carriage was used as an ambulance train during road closures on the T.T. Course which was close by to much of the north line route, commonly stowed at St. John’s.  It survived the closures and was also later used to accommodate campers as part of the Campamarina scheme at Castletown Station, fitted out with bunk beds (as was sister F.28 at the same time).

Spending its latter years in the yard at Douglas Station in open storage and last used during Cycle Week in 1988, it was in poorer condition than sister F.28 and was stripped down to its frames in January 2013 to ultimately form the basis of a replica which now serves as the kitchen/generator/toilet for the railway’s popular dining train, the original being used for patterns.

The bodywork was beyond economical repair and scrapped at this time, though the timber underframe survives in the workshops at Douglas Station, possibly a candidate for future restoration at some point in the future, or the basis for another carriage.  Stripped to the timber underframes it is currently stored in the paintshop and is used for storage purposes only.




Over Ducket:






35’ 0”

7’ 0”  

8’ 2”


4’ 6”

9’ 4


Stripped down for measurements to form the basis of the replica in January 2013 in the workshops at Douglas Station.

By July 1969 the much faded red scheme appeared to be drab and brown when captured outside the goods shed at Douglas Station.

Stored in the workshops complex at Douglas Station in 2011 prior to being stripped down when replica F.27 (ii) was constructed.

In July 1986 F.27 was to be found in storage at Santon Station on the former manure siding with a variety of other rolling stock.

Al all-over brown livery on F.27 in May 1966 at St. John's Station; single movement that year saw the carriage return to Douglas using No.8 Fenella.

In the yard at Douglas Station following repaint into an all-over red scheme when used as an ambulance train during T.T. periods.

Wearing an all-over red colour scheme (F.28) in July 1966 at the rear of the old carriage shed at Douglas Station, the year of indecision...

September 1949 at Douglas Station and another view from the goods yard, note the seemingly temporary repair work to the running boards.

Panelling detail showing the nationalisation maroon showing through the faded purple lake, showing the toplight windows.