Four-Wheel Carriages : General Information


There were a total of fifty two four wheel-carriages (discounting the  “E” brake vans) on the railway, delivered from the Metropolitan Carriage & Wagon, Co., Ltd., of Saltley Works, Birmingham for the openings of the Peel and Port Erin lines in 1873 and 1874 with a number of detail differences.  By clicking on one of the links below you will be taken to dedicated pages for each series of carriage and each individual example.  It is clear from studying reference material that the “A”,B,C” and “D” series were not initially known as such, with each carriage having its own number with no alphanumerical syste which seems to have been adopted later upon delivery of the first of the F” series which were known as such from their delivery.  The original numbering sequence appears to have been lost to history.

A.1 - A.11


B.1 - B.24

C.1 - C.14

D.1 - D.2

First Class Compartments

First Class Open Saloon

Second (Later Third) Class

Second (Later Third) Class

Composite Compartments

Opening Day : 1st July 1873 

This detail from one of three photographs captured on opening day, 1st July 1873, shows one of the first batch of carriages to the side of No.1 Sutherland with the inaugaral train complete with the Douglas & Peel United banner.  The carraige would appear to be in an all-over colour scheme with fleet numbers (possibly 23?) on the waist panels with further lettering on the compartment doors which cannot be discerned.  This certainly gives rise to the theory that the “A” to “D” were not initially used.  It is possible that the words “First Class” are painted on the doors but there are no records to indicate whether or not this was the case.  The type of door vents would suggest it to be one of the later B” series, as with the vehicle immediately to its right.

Turn Of The Century Peel

Deatil from a photograph at the turn of the century at Peel Station showing B.19 in what appears to be the familiar purple lake and off-white colour scheme, still with its roof-mounted oil lamp housing visible, note the door vents that this series featured.  Note also the transfer on the compartment window designating it as a smoking compartment.  This example would go on to be mounted on a bogie underframe with C.1 in 1910 to become F.64 though on the original photograph it appears to be close coupled with B.1.  Looking through the centre window it can be observed that there is no partition between the compartments, B.19 being an open third class, similar to F.63 today.

Restored “Pairs”  In Service

Restored “pairs”  carriage F.62, the northernmost portion of which originated as A.1, showing the other variant of vent above the droplight distinguishing it as one of this series.  This example features three first class compartments which traditionally would have had full height partitions although this restoration has retained a three-quarter height partition between two of the compartments from the layout of the carriage upon withdrawal from traffic in 1987.  The restored carriage is fitted with armrests in each first class compartment which were not an original feature and restrict the capacity of each to six passengers.  When built they were designed to carry ten passengers each although in more recent times it is common to allocated four per bench seat making a total of twenty four in each.

Opening Day : 1st July 187

Another detail from one of the opening day images showing the leading three four-wheel carriages of the first official train hauled by No.1 Sutherland prior to departure from Douglas Station with members of the military band in the foreground.  These also appear to be in an all-over livery and lettering on the farthest left compartment door can just be discerned.  Judging by the vents on the doors these appear to be third class carriages, whilst the third may be of first class origins.

No 23 On Opening Day?

This rendering is based on the image above to illustrate how the carriage which appears to be No.2 might have looked on the day, no oil lamp housings or secondary livery (such as off-white upper panelling.  The lettering is conjectural and based solely on the original image and historical references to the carriages initially being second class which was later amended to third class.  The livery is not dissimilar to the nationalisation maroon applied from 1979 to their vehicles when they were “pairs”.  The colour of the solebars and running boards is again conjectural.  James Boyd cites the Railway Company being dissatisfied with the paintwork which may have resulted in the later purple lake scheme.

Early View At Peel Station

This enlargement from a well-known image at Peel Station shows three four-wheelers, likely close-coupled by this stage and illustrates the purple lake and off-white livery as well as the roof-mounted oil lamp housings on what appear to be members of the “B”series judging by the vents above the droplights.  On third class carriages there were two oil lamps which were shared across the three compartment, whereas on the first class carriages there were three, one for each compartment as the partitions were roof height.

Early View At Peel Station

Another enhancement taken from the same photograph as the one above, a rake comprising a brake van and two close coupled four-wheelers with two of the early F” series at the rear complete with oil lamps.  The first carriage behind the van is of first class type with its variant in door vents while the second appears something of an oddity, having a similar vent but only on the central compartment.  This feature was also carried later by F.73 which could perhaps make it one of the two members of the “D” series?  Despite being relatively early the upper running boards appear to be quite badly warped with wear.  It is note quite possible to make out the arrangement of the roof-mounted oil lamp housings and the difference between them and the bogie stock is quite evident, the solebars being covered by panelling on the latter.