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