Half-Brake Carriage F.49
The last carriage to be delivered to the railway, from the usual suppliers, the Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon Co., Ltd. of Saltley Works in Birmingham in 1926, this carriage has been in virtually constant service since it was delivered and is the last of its kind to remain in traffic, one of two to still exist. F.49 was fitted with Timken roller bearings from new making it unique. Built to the same design as the other half-brakes beginning with F.33, only one other remains today, F.43 which was withdrawn in 1983 and is currently stored in the carriage shed at Port Erin Station.
Internally, the large luggage compartment which occupies half the body is fitted with lookout duckets at its northern end and a bench seat running the width of the interior; it also has a letter rack mounted on the bulkhead, this still sees use during the annual transport festivals when the carriage is used as a Travelling Post Office for the issuance of first day covers and limited edition stamp sets. It also retains its non-return drop-safe which was used for cash takings, and a large shelf at the other end doubles up and can be used to create a small livestock pen by fitting into slots.
In 1990 it had a major overhaul and emerged from the paintshop in the early purple lake and off-white scheme with original lettering including “Luggage Compt.” on the double doors, appearing largely as it would have done upon delivery, though carrying the later crests. A major overhaul then took place 2019-2020 which saw the body lifted to allow a major overhaul of the underframes and bogies, returning to traffic in 2020. It is generally used in a rake with the other large “F” carriages and based on the Douglas set, useful for the transportation of prams, pushchairs and bicycles at busy times.
Above: F.49 is the last surviving large half-brake in traffic and remains in daily service throughout each season in the post-war red and cream livery; the body was lifted from the underframe for the first time in 2019 and heavily overhauled and the carriage received new flooring.
The view from the luggage compartment as seen by the guard with F.49 at speed heading south in July 2022, note the drop-safe.