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Blandford The Somerset Engine

Class 7F 2-8-0 heavy freight engine. The first of a batch of 6 engines designed by Henry Fowler of the Midland Railway and built at Derby in 1914 (another batch of 5 delivered by Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn of Newcastle in 1925) for the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway. Although designed first and foremost for goods traffic, the ability of him and his brothers to conquer the steep Mendip Hills led to them being used on passenger trains; including The Pines Express.


The 7Fs were withdrawn from BR use between 1959-1964. Blandford was purchased privately by a rich farmer who intended to run him on special trains as soon as possible. However, due to legal problems, his new owner was forced to dismantle him immediately and hide him away with pieces scattered around the British Isles. After years of being left open to the elements, he was eventually restored and brought to Sodor in 2001, initially on trial when the Little Western branch suffered a motive power crisis during heavy ballast traffic, and remained since on permanent loan.  He has since proven an invaluable asset to the Little Western’s operations, and is used elsewhere as and when required.

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Due to reasons of his own, Blandford held a grudge against Duck & Oliver... or anything else of Great Western origin, claiming "They're all a bunch of TRATIORS!"
 
However, after an accident involving a tight tunnel and a long talk with Donald and Douglas, he realised the error of his ways and became friends with the two Great Western tanks... although, he will allways stereotype and often jump to conclusions.

He now resides on the Little Western on a full time basis. Although, he's been known to help out elsewhere on Sodor.

The Railway’s management also changed in 2006, following the death of Mr Roger Sam, the Thin Controller, from a heart-attack aged 58.  He was succeeded to the post by Richard Hatt, the current Fat Controller’s son, and the foreseeable successor to the NWR’s operations within the next ten years.  By mutual agreement of the engines, Mr Hatt won the name of Tall Controller’, given that his own father holds the title of Fat Controller, and his waist-size would hardly befit him becoming the Thin Controller!

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