IoM Frames

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Ten surplus carriage underframes from the Isle of Man Railway were purchased by the FR from scrap dealers Manx Metals in 1975[1].

They were from IMR bogie coaches F51-3, F55-6, F58-61, F69 and F72, which had had their bodies removed in 1967 so they could be used as container carriers. In this state they ran as bare underframes with no decking, and were unofficially renumbered R1-11 in 1968, but not in the same order.

These coaches had originated as three-compartment four-wheeled stock delivered between 1873 and 1875 for the opening of the IMR lines. Between 1909 and 1926 the bodies of these old coaches were fitted in pairs on new bogie underframes supplied by Metropolitan, thus producing 26 bogie coaches which combined the newest running gear on the line with the oldest coachwork. There may have been an intention to fit completely new bodywork at a later date, but it was never done. Some time after conversion they were numbered F50-F75 (not in order of conversion) to follow on from the IMR's existing bogie coaches. Latterly they were used as reserve stock for peak season, Tynwald Day and school trains, gradually getting less and less usage until the time of the 1965 closure of the IMR. Lord Ailsa and Viscount Wombwell leased and reopened the the railway in 1967 and the container scheme was developed in that year, but it only lasted until 1968. The conflats were then parked at Douglas, loaded with containers, for some years, but were sold to Manx Metals in 1974[2] as part of a major clear-out of historic but unwanted rolling stock at this time.

R series numbering[edit]

The exact correspondence of F and R numbers is not fully known. In an article [3] Douglas Robinson recounts how he and two companions visited the IMR when the container service was operating and decided that the 'runners' (then un-numbered) should be identified in the traditional IMR fashion by a number prefixed by a letter indicating the class of vehicle. F signified bogie coaches, and they selected R for the 'runners' as this letter had not previously been used by the IMR. They applied the numbers themselves. They did not then know which coaches had been dismantled, so we can only assume that the allocation of R numbers was random.

Some of them were seen at Douglas in Sept 1971, and the R numbers and the dates on the Metropolitan makers' plates were recorded by the present scribe (R. G. Cash) in the hope of establishing a correlation. Boyd[4] has a table showing the conversion dates of the 'Pairs' coaches when they were put on new bogie underframes. This table appeared in earlier editions of the book but some of the dates quoted differ from those in the final edition. Using the green single-volume edition which I had at the time it was not possible to draw any meaningful conclusions, but that edition was compiled before Boyd had access to the IMR company records. Assuming that the dates in the final three-volume edition are now correct (he had access by then), we get the following, based on the known list of coaches converted at this date, F51-3, 55-6, 58-61, 69, 72.

R1 dated 1919 must be F53

R6 dated 1921 must be F61

R8 dated 1926 must be F72

R2 and R7 both dated 1912 could be F51, F52 or F55 but we can’t tell which

R9 and R10 both dated 1923 must be F60 & F69 but we can’t tell which

There was also a 1922 frame with no apparent R number, which must be F58 (could this be the one the FR later called “R0” because it had no visible number?).

So that leaves R3, R4, R5 and R11 which were not noted, they must be F56, F58, F59 and whichever of F51, 52 and 55 is not either R2 or R7.

According to Boyd the frames were of two lengths, 34'2" long if they were to accommodate a First Class body and a Third, 33'2" if two Thirds. On this basis F52, 53, 56, 59, 61, 72 should be the longer type, and the others should be short. It might be possible to clarify some of the identities if we knew the lengths of the existing frames by R number.

R8, used for Carriage 117, is recorded as 34'2" in FRM 80 (p14). This correlates, as expected, with F72.

Use of the IMR frames on the FR[edit]

In order of construction.

  • Waggon 56 Built 1976, on IoMR frame No. R4 [5]. It was intended that this would be converted to carry an ex-GPO Simon Polecat and would run on the bogies from ex-L&B Carriage 14[6] but if the Polecat was fitted it has subsequently been removed. It did get the L&B bogies and Car 14 had its bogies replaced by others at about this time but regained the originals in July 2002[7]. 56 is now on diamond-frame bogies.
  • Waggon 57 Built 1976, on IoMR frame No. R2 [8] on Polish bogies.
  • Carriage 117 (1977) Built 1977 on IoMR frame No. R8 [9]
  • Carriage 118 (1977) Built 1977 on IoMR frame No. R6 [10]
  • Carriage 119 (1980) Built 1980 on IoMR frame No. R10[11]
  • Carriage 120 (1980) Built 1980 on IoMR frame No. R11[12] The FR seems to have called this R.0 - a number not used by IoMR. It may have been unmarked when it came to the FR.
  • Carriage 121 (1981) Built 1981 on IoMR frame No. R7. Body scrapped 2005[13]
  • Carriage 111 Built 1986-90 on IoMR frame No. R5 [14]
  • Carriage 124 Built 2005 on IoMR frame No. R7 re-used from carriage 121.

R2 and R4 were used for flat waggons as they were considered least good for coachbuilding (reasons not given) [15]. Were these the short type?

Frames R1, and R9 were also purchased - these were stored.

For completeness it should be recorded that IoMR frame R3 had been converted to a rather unsatisfactory well-wagon in 1967, and was not purchased by the FR, being scrapped by Manx Metals.

See also[edit]

See Wikipedia for further information on the history of the IMR stock, but please disregard the correlation there between F and R series numbers - the writer assumes they were renumbered in order but for reasons given above this does not seem to have been the case.


  1. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 069, page(s): 005
  2. ^ Boyd, James IC (1994). The Isle of Man Railway. Vol. 2, An outline history of the Isle of Man Railway including the Manx Northern Railway and the Foxdale Railway (1905-1994). British narrow gauge railway, no. 2B. Oxford: Oakwood Press. p. 191. ISBN 9780853614692. OCLC 60225596.
  3. ^ Railway Bylines Vol 7 No 7, June 2002, p346 (Irwell Press)
  4. ^ Boyd, James IC (1996). The Isle of Man Railway. Vol. 3, An outline history of the Isle of Man Railway including the Manx Northern Railway and the Foxdale Railway. British narrow gauge railway, no. 2C. Oxford: Oakwood Press. p. 245. ISBN 0 85361 479 2. OCLC 59645137.
  5. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 072, page(s): 005
  6. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 094, page(s): 008
  7. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 178, page(s): 434
  8. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 093, page(s): 033
  9. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 077, page(s): 003
  10. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 076, page(s): 004
  11. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 081, page(s): 004
  12. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 081, page(s): 004
  13. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 093, page(s): 008
  14. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 130, page(s): 402
  15. ^ Ffestiniog Railway Magazine, Issue 072, page(s): 005