'Arry the Iron Works Diesel

This article is about the characters that have appeared in the books of The Railway Series by the Rev. Wilbert Awdry and Christopher Awdry.

Unless otherwise stated on this page, the technical notes come from actual notes laid out by Wilbert Awdry when he was developing the characters and setting for his stories; these notes are cited in his publication The Island of Sodor: Its People, History, and Railways.[1]

North Western Railway[]

These are the main rolling stock of the North Western Railway (NWR), commonly referred to as the Fat Controller's railway:

Steam engines[]

Thomas (Number 1)[]

Thomas (No. 1) is a blue 0-6-0T ex-London, Brighton and South Coast Railway E2 class locomotive. He arrived on Sodor during World War 1, details of which remain obscure; he was sold to the North Western in 1920 to avoid complications. In 1925 he was put in charge of the newly-extended branch line from Knapford to Ffarquhar, which he runs to this day. In 1960, following his breakfast mishap he was modified with a flat running plate. He is inclined to get uppish but he has heart and dogged determination. Thomas is also the primary character in the eponymous television series, Thomas & Friends.

Edward (Number 2)[]

Edward (No. 2) is a blue 4-4-0 ex-Furness Railway K2 class locomotive. He is the first character to appear in The Railway Series. He was built in 1896 and arrived on Sodor in 1915 on loan with other engines to assist in the Railway's construction. As a 'shy steamer', he was not required back when the construction work was finished, and was formally sold to the NWR in 1921.

In 1924, the NWR dispatched Edward to England for a heavy rebuild at the Vulcan Foundry works at Newton-le-Willows.[citation needed] This resulted in him being extensively altered from his Furness K2 design and gaining his present shape, involving the substitution of his original sliding valves with piston valves and a superheated boiler, returning to Sodor after a five-month absence with his steaming capacity considerably improved.

Edward is one of the oldest engines on Sodor, always tries to help, and considers himself a friend to everyone who respects him. He likes working with trucks, which he is very knowledgeable about. However the bigger engines sometimes look down on him, claiming he is old fashioned, but the Fat Controller still knows he's a Useful Engine despite his age. His aforementioned rebuild and ongoing careful maintenance has made Edward a reliable performer, and since 1948 he has been principle engine of the branch line which runs from Wellsworth to Brendam.

Henry (Number 3)[]

Henry (No. 3) was originally a 4-6-0 built purportedly to stolen drawings for a GNR A1 prototype designed by Sir Nigel Gresley. He was built circa 1919 and arrived on Sodor in 1922 when Sir Topham Hatt was swindled into buying him.[2] There have been two Railway Series books devoted to him, namely Henry the Green Engine and Henry and the Express.

Awdry had wanted to write Henry out of the series, because C. Reginald Dalby's drawings made him look too similar to Gordon. After getting various letters from children about the character, Awdry changed his mind and in the sixth book, Henry the Green Engine, Henry is damaged in an accident and rebuilt offsite at Crewe Works to the design of the Stanier "Black Five".[3] Henry is painted green with red stripes, and can sometimes come across as arrogant and rude, but he does work hard and has even been called an "'enterprising engine'".

Henry was the central character in a controversial Railway Series story. In 'Henry's Sneeze', the character blasts some troublemaking schoolboys with soot and they "ran away as black as niggers". In 1972, articles in the British press raised this as an example of racism. Awdry claimed that it was a case of oversensitivity on the part of the race relations board, but he apologized and changed the offending sentence to "as black as soot", which has been used in subsequent ions of the book.[4]

Gordon (Number 4)[]

Gordon (No. 4) is a blue 4-6-2 ('Pacific') ex-London and North Eastern Railway Gresley Class A1 locomotive. He is the prototype example of his class, although this is not directly revealed in Awdry's books. He was built at Doncaster Works sometime between 1920-21, and was sold to the NWR and arrived on Sodor in 1923. His original three-cylinder chassis proved cumbersome, so in 1939 he was rebuilt at Crewe with a two-cylinder chassis and a new running plate.

He is the biggest and fastest engine on the railway and usually pulls the Express service named The Wild Nor' Wester. He is very boastful and proud, but good at heart, though he does not appreciate being regarded with disrespect or doing work that is indifferent to where he feels his priorities lie. This has led him to get ideas above himself, although he humbled somewhat after his incident in Off the Rails.

James (Number 5)[]

James (No. 5) is a modified red 2-6-0 ('Mogul') ex-Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Class 28 mixed-traffic locomotive. Built in 1912-13, he was sold to the NWR still painted in L&Y black livery by the London Midland & Scottish Railway in 1925. Following James's crash on his first day, he was repaired at the Works at Crovan's Gate and painted red with black (later blue) and gold stripes. His leading wheels were also modified on the Krauss-Helmholtz bogie principle to negotiate tight-radius curves flexibly. He settled down into a milder yet vain-inclined character afterward.

In the Author's Note of James the Red Engine (where James first appeared properly), it states that the nationalisation of British railways has just happened, though it should be considered that the book was first published in the year of nationalisation, 1948.

Percy (Number 6)[]

Percy (No. 6) is a green 0-4-0ST of indeterminate origins, although most fans have fairly compared him to the GWR No. 1340 Trojan. He arrived in 1926 to take over shunting in the yard at Tidmouth. When the work there became more then Percy could handle, in 1955 he was transferred to the Ffarquhar branch line, primarily to help with the development of the harbour at Knapford, and thereafter to help Thomas and Toby with goods trains. He is still based on the branch line to this day, as charming and perky as ever.

Toby (Number 7)[]

Toby (No. 7) is a blue and brown 0-6-0 tram engine, of the Great Eastern Railway's class C53. He was built in 1914 and arrived on Sodor in 1951 when he was withdrawn under British Railways ownership following the closure of his tram line, which was a branch of the Wisbech & Upwell Tramway. Toby's arrival closely coincided with Thomas's run-in with the Law, which barred him from going up the Quarry tramway on his branch line.

Toby is a wise, experienced engine who rarely gets involved and knows all there is to know about running a branch line properly. He often levels the peace with Thomas and Percy when things get too difficult between the two, but mostly doesn't mind them arguing. Toby's cowcatchers and sideplates (that cover his wheels) mean he is ideal for taking stone trucks to and from the quarry at Ffarquhar, as the railway runs close to the road. Toby has for years worked with his own coach, Henrietta, who is painted chocolate brown.

Duck (Number 8/5741)[]

Duck (real name Montague; No. 8, but displays his ex-GWR number, 5741) is an 0-6-0PT ex-Great Western Railway 5700 Class locomotive. He currently runs his own branch line, The Little Western. He is a loyal hard worker who believes that "there are only two ways to do things: the Great Western way, and the wrong way." He was built in 1929 and arrived on Sodor in 1955. Prior to his arrival on Sodor, he was one of the engines of his class that worked on station pilot duties at Paddington, which was revealed in the story Gordon goes Foreign.

Donald and Douglas (Numbers 9 and 10)[]

Donald and Douglas (Numbers 9 and 10 respectively) are identical black 0-6-0 ex-Caledonian Railway locomotives of the 812 Class who arrived on Sodor from Glasgow, Scotland in 1959. Knowing that one of them would have been scrapped if left behind, they made quiet arrangements with their crews to travel together minus visible numbers and hope for the best. Although the Fat Controller had only purchased one engine and intended to send the other back to Scotland, he changed his mind after hearing how hard they worked clearing the lines of heavy snow, and decided to keep both engines.

Donald & Douglas were given the numbers 9 and 10 respectively, as well as nameplates. They are practical, cheeky and no-nonsense engines who can be relied upon for any task.

Oliver (Number 11/1436)[]

Oliver (No. 11, but displays his ex-GWR number, 1436) is an 0-4-2T ex-Great Western Railway 1400 Class locomotive, who 'escaped' from the Other Railway where he was due to be scrapped. The GWR 1400 class engines were fitted with a connector system allowing the driver to control the locomotive remotely from the cab of an 'autocoach', such as Isabel.

He first appears in the book Enterprising Engines, where he was caught in a tough spot so close to reaching Sodor and he was rescued by Douglas. His escape made him popular with the other engines. He was built in 1934 and arrived on Sodor in 1967 where he was restored, painted GWR green. He was allocated number 11 on the North Western Railway, but was allowed to keep his GWR number '1436'. He was assigned to work with Duck on his branch line, and has been happily based there ever since despite his initial trouble with ballast trucks.


Bloomer is an LNWR Bloomer Class locomotive who is used on enthusiast specials on the Ffarquhar Branch Line. Bloomer had been thought to have been scrapped until Sir Topham Hatt discovered the engine in an abandoned shed in Scotland, having run on the Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway under lease from the LNWR. Bloomer is painted red and rarely seen in public, only being allowed out on special occasions. Bloomer never appeared in the books, and is only mentioned in Wilbert Awdry's lectures about the series, as well as a character model on Awdry's Ffarqhaur Branch Line layout (which is held in the care of the Talyllyn Railway).

Diesel engines[]

Daisy (Number D1)[]

Daisy (No. D1) is a green diesel railcar based on the British Rail Class 101 in a unique single car configuration. She was built in 1960 and arrived on Sodor specially for use on the Ffarquhar branch line (Thomas' branch line). She was highly opinionated about her functions at first, but after her humiliation from a stray bull, she made more effort to settle in. She first appeared in the book Branch Line Engines.[5]

BoCo (Number D2/D5702)[]

BoCo (No. D2) is a green Co-Bo mixed-traffic diesel locomotive, who works mainly on Edward's Branch Line (the Brendam branch line), but can also be seen working on The Main Line. BoCo is a Metropolitan-Vickers Type 2 Class 28 diesel-electric locomotive, named after its wheel arrangement, which is known as "Co-Bo". In the Railway Series, BoCo carries his North Western Railway number 'D2', whereas in the television series he carries the number D5702. He first appeared in the book Main Line Engines. He was built in 1958 and arrived on Sodor in 1965.

BoCo was received with some hostility by Bill and Ben, who called him a "Diseasel" due to a misunderstanding (the word "Diseasel" is also a portmanteau word combining the words "Disease" and "Diesel" and characters are heard commenting that "Coughs and sneezles spread diseasels"), and by the big engines. Edward accepted him right away, and soon the others were won over by his charming sense of humour; he was bought outright by the NWR in result and mostly works China clay trains through to the Other Railway. He is as much an expert in keeping Bill and Ben in line as Edward is.

Bear (Number D3) / D7101[]

Bear (No.D3) was originally known as D7101 and is based on the British Rail Class 35. He first arrived on the Island of Sodor on a trial for The Fat Controller. He was accompanied by another diesel engine, D199, who talked about taking over the railway, which D7101 didn't like. After D7101 suffered from a failed injector and was helped by Henry, he befriended Henry, and The Fat Controller decided to give him a second chance whilst D199 was sent packing. D7101 was given a new name, "Bear", a new number, D3, and a new coat of paint. Nowadays Bear backs up Gordon on his Express duties, and works local passenger trains turnabout with Henry and James.

Pip and Emma[]

Pip (short for Philippa) and Emma are the two class 43 power cars which top and tail an InterCity 125 trainset. They had experienced problems with their cooling system and came to the railway when Gordon was deputising for an excursion train on the Other Railway.

They appeared three times, in Gordon the High-Speed Engine, Thomas and the Fat Controller's Engines and Thomas and His Friends. Following Privatisation, the Fat Controller decided to purchase them in order to run a faster service to London.[6]

Other rolling stock[]

Annie and Clarabel are Thomas' regular orange-brown coaches who work with him as a Push-pull train on his branch line, enabling Thomas to stay at one end for his return journeys from Knapford. Annie only takes passengers while Clarabel has a composite layout in which she also has a compartment for luggage and the guard, and a drivers' cabin at her rear end. Thomas sometimes sings them songs to keep up a good rhythm as he travels along with them, and they love to sing back.

Henrietta is Toby's four-wheeled Great Eastern Railway coach.

Isabel, Dulcie, Alice and Mirabel are Great Western Railway autocoaches who work with Oliver (Isabel and Dulcie) and Duck (Alice and Mirabel), on The Little Western.

Toad is Oliver and Douglas' brake van that was saved when Douglas helped Oliver and Isabel escape from the Other Railway. Toad requested to be Douglas's brake van in deep gratitude for the latter's actions, which he felt greatly humbled by.

The Spiteful Brake Van is a brake van that was smashed to pieces when Douglas helped James up Gordon's hill.

Skarloey Railway[]

Skarloey Railway locomotives all have real-life equivalents; numbers 1-7 and number 9 are all "twins" of locomotives on the Talyllyn Railway (with the same numbers); Number 8 (Duke) is based on Prince on the Ffestiniog Railway. The railway's executives are Sir Handel Brown (The Owner) and Mr. Peter Sam (The Thin Controller).

Skarloey (Number 1)[]

Skarloey (No. 1) is named after Skarloey Lake, the northernmost point for passengers on the Skarloey Railway. He's an 0-4-2ST (originally an 0-4-0ST). Skarloey's equivalent engine on the Talyllyn Railway is Talyllyn. He was built in 1864 and arrived on Sodor the following year. He first appeared in Four Little Engines. The story of his early years was told in Very Old Engines, where it was revealed he was overly excitable and eager to make an impression prior to settling into a humbler yet dedicated engine. He has a wicked sense of humor as demonstrated notably in Steamroller. Skarloey was laid to one side in 1943 when he became too worn out, but was hastily reinstated during the events of Old Faithful. Between 1955-57 Skarloey was overhauled in England and he returned to regular service in 1958.

Rheneas (Number 2)[]

Rheneas (No. 2) is named after Rheneas station on the Skarloey Railway. He is an 0-4-0WT (but also has a back tank). He was built in 1865 by Fletcher, Jennings & Co. of Whitehaven, the same company that built his lifelong partner Skarloey. They are the oldest working engines on the Island of Sodor. Rheneas, who is more cautious than Skarloey, is known as the "Gallant Old Engine", as he kept the railway running during the turbulent period when Skarloey was in poor mechanical shape. His equivalent engine on the Talyllyn Railway is Dolgoch. In Four Little Engines, he was sent away to be overhauled and did not return until seven books later, in Gallant Old Engine.

Sir Handel (Number 3)[]

Sir Handel (No. 3) is named after Sir Handel Brown, the owner of the Skarloey Railway. He is an 0-4-2ST (originally an 0-4-0ST, like Skarloey), who originally worked on the Mid Sodor Railway. Stubborn and pernickety, he thinks pulling trucks is beneath him, and will do anything to get out of jobs he does not deem entitled to do; despite this he respects the value of being part of a team. His equivalent engine on the Talyllyn Railway is Sir Haydn.

Sir Handel was, according to his builders' plates, built in 1904 at the Falcon Works in Loughborough, and arrived on the Mid Sodor Railway in the same year,[citation needed] when he was painted blue and aptly given the name 'Falcon. After that line closed in 1947, he was sold to the Sodor Aluminium Company at Peel Godred and then in 1951 to the Skarloey Railway, which at the time was desperately short of locomotives. Sir Handel did not cope well with the neglected track on his new railway, and would often derail - sometimes deliberately. He was given special wheels with broad tyres to cure this problem, which were soon dubbed "steamroller wheels" by the other engines.

In the 1980s, he was invited to the Talyllyn Railway. This story actually runs parallel with fact, as the Talyllyn Railway had paid tribute to The Railway Series by repainting their locomotive Sir Haydn (whom Sir Handel was based on) to resemble Sir Handel. Sir Handel first appeared in Four Little Engines.

In the recent TV series, Sir Handel has inconsistently been shown to have a kind and wise personality like Skarloey, Rheneas, and Duke.

Peter Sam (Number 4)[]

Peter Sam (No. 4) is named after Mr. Peter Sam (better known as The Thin Controller), the manager of the Skarloey Railway. He is an 0-4-2ST, and is a polite though vulnerable engine, popular with passengers and coaches alike. Even the trucks do not play tricks on him because he treats them sensitively. His equivalent engine on the Talyllyn Railway is Edward Thomas.

He was built in 1920 by Kerr Stuart and Co. in Stoke-on-Trent, for the Mid Sodor Railway and was given the name Stuart and painted green. Like Sir Handel, he was later sold to the Sodor Aluminium Company and then in 1951 to the Skarloey Railway. Following an accident with some slate trucks, he soon lost his funnel and was fitted with a Giesl ejector which made puffing considerably easier for him.

In the 1990s he was sent to the Talyllyn Railway. As with Sir Handel, this was based upon the Talyllyn Railway creating a "lookalike" engine, in this case by repainting the locomotive Edward Thomas.

He first appeared in Four Little Engines.

Rusty (Number 5)[]

Rusty (No. 5) is named after his builders, Ruston & Hornsby. He is a black 4wDM, acquired direct from the manufacturers in 1957.[7] His equivalent engine on the Talyllyn Railway is Midlander.

He is a reliable, practical and friendly little engine who mainly works on maintenance duties, although he can also pull passenger or goods trains if the need arises. He does worry constantly about the upkeep of the line, and fell out with Duncan at one point because of this, but he is usually respectful of others.

He arrived in the book The Little Old Engine.

Duncan (Number 6)[]

Duncan (No. 6) is an 0-4-0WT, built by Andrew Barclay in Kilmarnock, who arrived/entered service on Sodor in 1958.[7] He arrived on the railway second-hand, as a spare engine when Peter Sam had his accident at the quarry. He was rough and bad-mannered, and tended to feel he was overworked. He would often sway along the track – what the Thin Controller referred to as "rock 'n' roll", and had a few accidents as a result. Despite the fact he can still get bad-mannered, cheeky and cynical, his behavior has greatly improved after his early tribulations and he became a calmer, respectable engine. His exact origins are unknown, but he did once work in a factory, according to Peter Sam. His equivalent engine on the Talyllyn Railway is Douglas.

He arrived in the book The Little Old Engine. Information not covered in the books indicates that Duncan had actually been sold to the Skarloey Railway in 1952 from the Scottish firm Melville Dundas at a knockdown price; due to tight funding he was not prioritised for overhaul and re-gauging at his new home until 1957.

Ivo Hugh (Number 7)[]

Ivo Hugh (No. 7) is named after Ivo Hugh, the Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the Skarloey Railway and Rusty's driver. He is an 0-4-2T, and is the Skarloey Railway's newest engine. His equivalent engine on the Talyllyn Railway is Tom Rolt.

He was built in the mid-1990s in the Skarloey Railway's workshops, at Crovan's Gate. Although never touched upon in the books, Ivo Hugh was rather overcome with awe by the legacies of his experienced colleagues when he entered service, and struggled to comprehend how well he could do by comparison, especially in the eyes of Sir Handel and Duncan. Duke however took him under his wing, and he has since grown into a responsible and passionate engine.

He first appeared in New Little Engine, his only book appearance to date.

Duke (Number 8)[]

Duke (No. 8) is named after The Duke of Sodor. He is an 0-4-0STT, who originally worked on the Mid Sodor Railway under the same name. His equivalent engine on the Ffestiniog Railway is Prince, one of the four engines in the Ffestiniog Railway's 'Small England class'.

He was built in 1879 for the opening of the Mid Sodor Railway the following year. He was named 'The Duke', after the Duke of Sodor. This name was later shortened to simply "Duke". He has a fatherly air about him and a high respect from those who know him well; he upholds this with sincere dignity and a touch of heart. When his old railway closed, he didn't make a sale and was left in his old shed, which ended up being buried in a landslide; he sat there for over twenty years until he was finally recovered and ultimately restored for service on the Skarloey Railway.

He first appeared in Duke the Lost Engine.

Fred (Number 9)[]

Fred (No. 9) is the railway's second diesel engine. His equivalent engine on the Talyllyn Railway is Alf. Very little is said about him in the books, apart from that Rusty once pulled a weedkiller train for him when he claimed he was ill. Given that Rusty openly admitted he hated having to dawdle with the weedkiller truck, it is likely Fred had talked his way out of doing the job for the same reason. He actually does get a good run up the line on occasion.

He got a mention in New Little Engine. According to Sodor: Reading Between the Lines, he entered service in 1989, having been acquired from the National Coal Board.

Culdee Fell Mountain Railway[]

The Culdee Fell Railway climbs to the top of Sodor's highest mountain, which shares the railway's name. It is based on the Snowdon Mountain Railway in North Wales, was opened in 1900, and for many years was operated under the direction of Mr. Walter Richards, the General Manager. It has only ever appeared in one book, Mountain Engines. The locomotives on the line are all 0-4-2RTs.

Godred (Ex-Number 1)[]

Godred was the original engine on the railway, being named after one of Sodor's historical rulers. Godred allowed the significance of his naming to decide his beliefs and did not pay mind to anything else. Despite Culdee's warnings and being taken apart for inspection, Godred continued to act up until, shortly after the railway opened, he faced his untimely end when he lost vital contact with the rack rail on a loosened rail-joint. Godred was so badly damaged that he was scrapped soon afterward, though Culdee implied that what could be reused from Godred was taken to mend the other engines.

This incident is based directly upon the Snowdon Mountain Railway's opening day accident revolving around their No. 1 Ladas.

Culdee (Number 4)[]

Culdee (No. 4) is the principle engine on the mountain railway, and the most sensible of the fleet. His equivalent engine is No. 4 Snowdon. When introduced in Mountain Engine, he had been overhauled in Switzerland in 1962-63 and was on the last stage of his journey home. Culdee mainly works with his own coach named Catherine, who complements him perfectly.

Lord Harry/Patrick (Number 6)[]

Lord Harry/Patrick (No. 6) is the second principle engine on the mountain railway, arriving in 1962 and being named after the manager. His equivalent engine is No. 6 Padarn. Rather like Godred, Lord Harry became very self-assured of himself, but was very boisterous and would tend to show off just to satisfy himself. As punishment, Lord Harry's name was taken away and he was demoted to taking staff and supplies to the summit hotel. He redeemed himself when he braved an intense gale to rescue stranded climbers, leading to his renaming to Patrick.

The railway is also home to Ernest (Number 2), Wilfred (Number 3) and Number 5, who in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways was revealed to be named Shane Dooiney. They arrived alongside Godred and Culdee for the railway's opening. In addition, Alaric (Number 7) and Eric (Number 8) arrived with Lord Harry in 1962-63 as slightly heavier engines. Like their counterparts on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, Nos. 7 and 8 have been withdrawn indefinitely in recent years, as newer 0-4-0DH diesel locomotives have supplemented the steam engines.

Arlesdale Railway[]

The Arlesdale Railway is Sodor's smallest railway. It is based on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway in Cumbria. It is run by Mr. Fergus Duncan (The Small Controller). Five engines appear in the books. Three more are mentioned in the companion books, Sigrid of Arlesdale, Blister I and Blister II, all of whom are diesel engines.


Rex is a green 2-8-2 Mikado type who lived and worked on an unnamed railway on the mainland with Mike and Bert until it closed. He has a charismatic personality and is inclined to boast freely about how easy his duties are; he however had traction problems which sometimes hindered his performance. His Ravenglass & Eskdale equivalent is River Esk. He was built by Davey Paxman in 1923. A notable one not covered in the books saw Rex damage his cylinders and valve gear when he slipped violently, putting him out-of-commission; the incident was similar to the 1994 catastrophe that befell LNER A2 60532 Blue Peter. Rex was eventually returned to service with renewed frames, cylinders and valve gear, which permanently cured his traction issues.


Mike is a red 2-8-2 Mikado type who lived and worked on an unnamed railway on the mainland with Rex and Bert until it closed. He is based on the Ravenglass & Eskdale's River Mite. Whilst River Mite was built in 1966, it is implied in the books that Mike had been around for a fair amount of time prior to arriving on Sodor in 1967, which cements the love-hate dynamic between him and Rex. He first appeared in Small Railway Engines along with Rex and Bert. Despite this he prefers hauling ballast wagons over passengers, mainly due to the quiet easy run he usually gets with them.


Bert is a blue 0-8-2 River Irt type who lived and worked on an unnamed railway on the mainland with Mike and Rex until it closed. He is a neurotic engine who tended to be a "shy" steamer. His equivalent is River Irt. According to Mike and Rex, he's a "youngster", which suggests that unlike his counterpart, he was built later than his two colleagues from old parts. He was rebuilt to Jock's patterns shortly after Jock entered service, and is now considerably more robust and powerful an engine.


Jock is a yellow 2-6-2 Prairie type who was built by the Arlesdale Railway in 1976 due to a shortage of power. He was put through test trials while still unnamed; the Small Controller had tried coming up with names for him but gave up. Douglas suggested the name Jock in reference to the Highland Railway engines he remembered seeing back in Scotland, much to Jock's liking. Jock boasted casually about his handsome image and customer reception, and gave Mike a run for his money during a doubleheader run, resulting in Mike failing his water-injector on the way back. Jock helped Mike home and in the process realized that he was primarily built to relieve pressure on the other engines, and he began to show greater respect for the value of teamwork. He first appeared in Jock the New Engine. He is based on Northern Rock.


Frank is a 0-4-4 diesel-hydraulic engine who lives and works on the Arlesdale Railway. He is a grumpy engine who can lose his temper when led to believe he isn't appreciated. His anger at not being included in the book Small Railway Engines led to him ramming into a buffer and the back of the shed. The Small Controller scolded Frank for his ineptitude and sent him out. He later redeemed himself when he rescued Rex's train after the latter suffered a fractured steam pipe. Frank is painted gray and has only appeared once in Jock The New Engine. He is based on Perkins. As revealed in Awdry's lectures about the series, Frank was originally painted green with a steam-outline, much like his real life basis.

Privately owned[]

Stepney (Bluebell Railway, ex-London, Brighton and South Coast Railway No. 55)[]

Stepney is a real-life LB&SCR A1X class 0-6-0 tank engine who was featured in the book Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine. He was the first preserved engine of the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex, where he lives to this day. Interpreted as an eager, knowledgeable chap, he visited Sodor shortly after being sold to the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society for a visit to promote his home line, arriving on a railtour via the Other Railway in 1962.

Neil (Sodor & Mainland Railway Number 2)[]

Neil is a quiet 0-4-0 box tank engine who featured fleetingly in the book Very Old Engines, when Skarloey referred to him via a flashback. According to Wilbert Awdry's private lectures, Neil was obtained "off the peg" as a standard design from his builders Neilson & Company in 1861. He arrived with two others, and they worked together until the railway fell into hard times before 1901. Neil was sold off to the Crovan's Gate Mining Company, which interchanged with the Skarloey Railway, and Skarloey was given his own special "haulage wagon" to back Neil up when he needed repairs. Neil was known to be extant when the North Western was formed, but was likely in poor shape by that time.

Bill and Ben (Sodor China Clay Company numbers 1 & 2)[]

Bill (No.1) and Ben (No.2) are orange twin 0-4-0ST engines who work for the Sodor China Clay Co.. They both have Saddle tanks which cover their smokeboxes, but not their Fireboxes. They have 'SCC' painted in yellow on their Saddle tanks, and underneath are their names on brown nameplates; their numbers are painted on their smokeboxes, under 'Brendam Bay'. Apart from their nameplates and numbers, they are absolutely identical from the outset — which can be confusing to engines who don't know them well, although Ben takes concepts more hesitantly than Bill. They are smaller than the other engines due to their private railway having to pass under a narrow road bridge. They were built in 1948 and arrived on Sodor the same year.

Bill & Ben are based on Alfred and Judy, two engines built by Bagnall's of Stafford, who worked at Par, Cornwall. They are unusually low, allowing them to fit under a narrow rail bridge that taller engines could not access without being heavily cut down in size. Alfred and Judy are both preserved at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway.

Bill & Ben first appeared in the book Main Line Engines and played a major role in Thomas and the Twins.

The Coffee-Pot Engines (Tidmouth, Knapford & Elsbridge Railway)[]

The Coffee-Pot Engines are 0-4-0 vertical boiler 'Coffee Pot' engines who lived and worked on the Tidmouth Knapford & Elsbridge Railway. They all had vertical boilers and were designed for work on the line that would evolve as Thomas's Branch Line. These engines were never seen in The Railway Series, only mentioned in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History, and Railways. The TV Series character Glynn is based upon these engines.

Mavis (Ffarquhar Quarry Company)[]

Mavis is a 6wDM shunting engine. She belongs to the Ffarquhar Quarry Co., and works mainly shunting stone trucks in their quarry.[citation needed] She sometimes brings Toby's trucks down the line when he is busy. Mavis is based on a BR Class 04, some of which were fitted with the sideplates and cowcatcher for use on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway, the same line that Toby came from. She was built by the Drewry Car Company [8] and arrived on Sodor in 1962.

When Mavis was new, she was praised by the quarrymen for her purpose and was convinced by this that she knew it all. Blatantly ignoring Toby's advice on handling trucks as a result, brought Mavis to a literal standstill at a street crossing near Ffarquhar, where swollen mud and the trucks, who had previously been bossed around by her, turned the tables on her. To Mavis's intense fury, rescue came in the form of "fusspot" Toby. However the two became friends when Mavis rescued Toby from a collapsing bridge, having indirectly put Toby into a situation she had planned half-wittedly for herself. She apologized and is now allowed to come down the line from time to time, and is a useful addition to the branch line.

She first appeared in the book Tramway Engines. She was named after the Rev W. Awdry's neighbour in Rodborough, Stroud.

Wilbert (Dean Forest Railway, ex-National Coal Board No. 3806)[]

Wilbert is a real-life Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST who was loaned from the Dean Forest Railway heritage line to promote his association with Sodor, and to help Donald and Douglas out when they were overworked by having to do multiple jobs in different places. Wilbert was anxious to make a good impression, but enjoyed the engines' company whilst he was trialled on the Island for a few weeks. His visit is the subject of the book Wilbert the Forest Engine.


Other Railway Engines[]

Various locomotives from the 'Other Railway', aka the British national rail network, have visited the Fat Controller's Railway, both on regular trains to-and-from the mainland, or in participating in a big event. The LMS Patriot Class engine that argued with Gordon and Duck in Gordon goes Foreign is an example of the former instance, along with the British Rail Class 40 diesels that mocked the steam engines in Bowled Out and Old Stuck-Up.

Jinty, an LMS Fowler Class 3F, and Pug, an LMS Kitson 0-4-0ST, came to Sodor on loan to relieve Thomas and Percy on their branch line whilst they were away on exhibition with the other six major engines during the events of The Eight Famous Engines. Jinty was shown how to manage Thomas's passenger service, and had to help recover Thomas when he got too big for his wheels and indirectly damaged his front. They left along with the five other engines loaned at that time once the Sodor regulars returned.

Diesel is a black British Rail Class 08 diesel shunter, proved by far the most notorious visitor, arriving on trial for a short time in the spring of 1957. He was in the throes of spreading false accusations about the other engines when he was found out by Sir Topham Hatt and accordingly sent back. Unlike his role in the Thomas & Friends television series, he never returned to Sodor again.

GWR 3700 Class 3440 City of Truro[]

The City of Truro visited Sodor in 1957 on a railtour from the mainland and stayed for one night only. He was acquainted with Duck during his visit, and they enjoyed reminiscing about their old Great Western days prior to the guest's departure, much to Gordon's chagrin.

LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman[]

The Flying Scotsman visited Sodor in late 1967 during the period when he was in the ownership of his saviour Alan Pegler. His presence cheered Gordon up immensely, as the latter had become much distraught over the scrapping of many of the steam engines on the mainland, and especially his brothers. During his visit, Scotsman hauled regular trains, and deputised for D7101 after he failed on his first passenger run, to the enthrallment of the passengers themselves. He departed for his then-home at Doncaster the morning after Douglas helped rescue Oliver.

Non-rail vehicles[]


Terence is an orange caterpillar tractor who was first seen in Tank Engine Thomas Again. He can go "anywhere" thanks to his caterpillar tracks and notably helped Thomas out of a deep snowdrift. He was built in 1934, although he possibly did not start working by Thomas's branch line until a slightly later point. He is based on a Caterpillar Model 70.


Bertie is a red bus that first appears in the story in which he rescues Thomas' passengers whilst in a snowdrift, and has his most famous adventure when he challenges Thomas to a race. He often talks to Thomas and takes his passengers home at the end of the day. He still runs a service to this day, although not as intensively as he did during the events of the stories he appeared in when he was younger. He is based on the Leyland Tiger.


Trevor is a traction engine who was introduced and rescued via Edward in Saved from Scrap, and now spends most of his time working in the vicarage orchard opposite Edward's branch line. Trevor was purportedly delivered to Sodor for a threshing contractor just before World War 1, and he is still used for many odd jobs. Edward often stops to talk to him when passing the orchard. Trevor's favorite thing to do is to take children for rides during the vicar's fetes. He is based on the William Foster & Co. Traction Engine No. 14593.


Harold is a white helicopter to The Railway Series characters, although they share a friendly rivalry. He is best known for the famous race between him and Percy. He is owned by the Island's coastguard and lives at Dryaw Airfield. He was built in 1949 and first encountered Percy when the latter arrived on Thomas's branch line in 1955. He is based on the Sikorsky S-55.


George is a green steamroller who despises railways and what they stand for. He was built in the 1940s and supposedly first arrived on Sodor to help with the expansion of the Aluminum Works at Peel Godred between 1947-50. Whether or not he first came across Sir Handel (then still known as Falcon) at that point is unclear, but it is likely given how Sir Handel was unfazed about him when they came across each other in Steamroller. He later ran into a debate hassle with Daisy in Thomas Comes Home. He is based on an Aveling-Barford R class steamroller.


Caroline is a car who appears in the story 'Train Stops Play'. She spends most of her time transporting cricket players to and from the fields. She lives on the Elsbridge Cricket Fields. She went after Stepney after a cricket ball fell in one of his trucks. She was delivered in 1926 and is based on a Morris Oxford Bluenose Saloon.


Bulgy is a double-decker bus. He is a member of the Anti Rail League. In his Railway Series appearance, he attempted to steal passengers from Duck's train and famously got wedged under a low clearance bridge whilst Duck celebrated his defeat. He later got turned into a chicken coop after he was recovered when he refused to listen to reason. He is based on the AEC Regent III, famous for serving London's bus routes in the 1940s and 1950s.


Sir Topham Hatt[]

Sir Topham Hatt (better known as The Fat Controller or The Fat Director), is the head of the main rail company on Sodor. He is a firm but fair leader for whom the engines have the greatest respect. It is revealed in The Island of Sodor, Its People, History, and Railways that over the course of the series, Sir Topham Hatt's son Charles Topham Hatt II succeeded him in 1954, and his grandson Stephen Topham Hatt III became the Fat Controller in 1984. In Sodor: Reading Between the Lines, it is stated Sir Topham Hatt I's great-grandson Richard Topham Hatt IV will become acting controller upon Stephen Topham Hatt III's retirement, but it is unknown when this occurred.

Sir Handel Brown[]

Sir Handel Brown (better known as The Owner) is the head of the Skarloey Railway. He is the namesake of the railway's #3 engine. He has other businesses to attend to and is rarely seen in person. So Mr. Peter Sam (The Thin Controller) runs the railway.

Mr. Peter Sam[]

Mr. Peter Sam (better known as The Thin Controller) is the vice president of the Skarloey Railway. He is the namesake of the railway's #4 engine. He is well respected by the engines.

The Small Controller[]

Mr. Fergus Duncan (better known as The Small Controller) is the owner of the Arlesdale Railway. Despite being known as The Small Controller, he is taller than both the Fat Controller and the Thin Controller.

The Fat & Thin Clergymen[]

The Fat and Thin Clergymen are two clergymen with a strong interest in the railways of the Island of Sodor. The Thin Clergyman is an author, strongly hinted to be the Rev. Wilbert Awdry, and the Fat Clergyman records moving pictures, implied to be the Rev. Wilbert Awdry's real-life friend, the Rev. Teddy Boston.


  1. ^ Awdry, Wilbert (1987). The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways. Kaye & Ward. ISBN 9780434927623.
  2. ^ Awdry, Wilbert (1987). The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways. Kaye & Ward. p. 129. ISBN 9780434927623.
  3. ^ "W. Awdry Dies". The Washington Post. The Washington Post. 23 March 1997. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  4. ^ Sibley, Brian (1995). The Thomas the Tank Engine Man. London: Heinemann. pp. 272–5. ISBN 0-434-96909-5.
  5. ^ The Rev. W. Awdry; G Awdry (1987). The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways. Kaye & Ward. p. 126. ISBN 0-434-92762-7.
  6. ^ Awdry, Christopher (2005). Sodor, Reading Between the Lines. Sodor Enterprises. p. 9. ISBN 0-9549665-1-1.
  7. ^ a b Awdry, Christopher (2005). Sodor: Reading Between the Lines. Sodor Enterprises. p. 13. ISBN 0-9549665-1-1.
  8. ^ "The Wisbech and Upwell Tramway: Toby and Mavis". lner.info. LNER. Retrieved November 5, 2017.

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