NWR Main Line - Engines & Rolling Stock

Henry The Green Engine

Henry the Green Engine

A true stalwart of the NWR, Henry has had a very varied history. Originally he was a poor steamer and suffered from severe depression with the constant fear he would be scrapped. His confidence grew as time went on thanks to him being given welsh coal. This confidence grew into arrogance and became rather aloof and above his station largely thanks to his growing friendship with Gordon. His accident though brought him "down to earth" somewhat and since returning from his major rebuild, has become a more sensible engine.

He is kind and is popular in the shed. The old arrogant Henry is still there, but his good heart and work ethic always seem to win through.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Unknown (Believed to be from the North Eastern region)
LOCO TYPE: Unknown Mogul derived from old Gresley drawings rebuilt to Stanier 5MT specification.
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #1 – The Three Railway Engines
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

This locomotive has had perhaps one of the most colourful histories of any in the fleet. It is said that he was built in the early 20s by a rival of Sir Nigel Gresley. who had arranged the theft of what they thought were drawings of his A1 pacific, which were still in development. Apparently, this theft was somewhat of a blunder because the thief took drawings which were for a slightly earlier proposal of a 4-6-0 engine that was never built.

When Henry was initially tested, the reason why his design was never built by Gresley became very apparent. His firebox was far too small, meaning anything but the very best coal would not burn well and create enough heat. This lead to Henry being a very poor steamer. Not so long after, this Sir Topham Hatt came looking for a new steam engine to tide over his motive power crisis. According to him he had been promised a Robinson Atlantic, but instead was sent Henry, the proverbial “white elephant”.

To this day it is unclear as to why Henry was sent instead, and why indeed the Fat Controller simply did not return him. The common belief was since the purchase was made around the same time of the grouping of the railways, the mystery thief forged paperwork to allow him to unload evidence of the theft before the new CME of the LNER, Sir Nigel Gresley could discover the locomotive’s existence and as such discover the robbery. Of course this meant by the time Hatt wanted to return the locomotive, it was not to the small railway he had bought it from, instead to the LNER who would have had no knowledge of the sale and therefore not accept such a poor locomotive back to them.

So Hatt was left with the deplorable Henry. After many experiments and replacement parts he showed little to know improvement. and Hatt was running out of ideas. As a last effort to make Henry perform, the NWR bought in specially some expensive but high quality welsh coal. This burned well in small quantities allowing sufficient heat to get to Henry’s boiler. It was found he was a rather capable machine and remained in service with his own supply of best welsh coal.

Despite this small success. Henry was still a very expensive machine and Hatt would have preferred to have him completely rebuilt or replaced; but with no motive power to directly replace No.3, Hatt could not justify removing him from service when he was in good order and performing well. His chance came however in the famous Killdane collision where Henry working the ‘Flying Kipper’ collided with the rear of a heavy goods train due to signal and points failure caused by the bad weather (RWS #6). Hatt seized his chance and had Henry sent to the LMS works at Crewe to be rebuilt under the supervision of his long-time friend, Sir William Stanier who was CME of the LMS at the time. The nature of the rebuild remains shrouded in mystery, but what emerged from the works was a Stanier class 5 locomotive, a world apart from the locomotive that went in. How much of the original Henry was used is up for debate but one thing is for sure: he is still very much “Henry”.

Henry emerged with a Stanier 4000 gallon tender, but this was quickly substituted for a Fowler tender to the same design as NWR No.5, James. The reasons are unclear but it is widely believed this was the first form of mechanical standardisation on Sodor. 

Since being rebuilt, Henry has been one of the top performers of the fleet, and more than lives up to the reputation of his many classmates on the mainland. He often subsidies the express and is a true mixed traffic locomotive, handling all sorts of trains for passenger services to goods workings. His signature train, as it were, is of course the ‘Flying Kipper’, but as Henry has proven time and time again, he can be put in front of any train and pull it there and back.

In 2004, an experimental Black 5 Locomotive was built to Henry’s specifications with a temporary Caprotti valve gear, based upon designs from an Italian engineer – for many weeks, the engine was jokingly dubbed Henry’s “twin” until it was properly renamed as “Artruro”, after the Italian Engineer (ERS #112) before being sent on to a new home at a Heritage Railway.

The recent years for Henry have been rather hectic. In 2014, he was involved in an unfortunate incident where a “controlled” fire during a fire brigade practice got out of hand (ERS #216). He was never quite the same since, and it all came to a head when he was suffered a collision with Pegasus, which damaged his buffer beam and brake pipe (ERS #226).

He was removed from service and taken to the Works, where he was given a much-needed overhaul – this resulted in a year-long spell in the Workshops where almost everything, from his boiler frames to his wheel arrangements, were completely replaced. His return to steam was very timely as his ‘twin’, Arturo, was visiting the Island again with a number of railtours to raise funds for the Hatt Steam Trust. The two engines then proceeded to run the remaining railtours together until Arturo returned home on the Mainland, leaving Henry to continue his sterling work as a true stalwart in the NWR history books.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Henry's original prototype was completely fictional, the result of a the original artist simply painting a locomotive similar to gordon, but different enough not to be the same type. For this reason Awdry wrote in his accident and had him rebuilt into a Stanier 5MT.

The Stanier Class 5MTs were built as mixed traffic locomotives for the LMS by William Stanier. They remained popular up until the end of steam being among the last surivors in British Rail. 842 were built and no less than 18 survive in preservation today, still among the most popular steam locomotives with both crews and enthusiasts.

Gordon the Big Engine

Gordon the Big Engine

A NWR Veteran, Gordon has been with the Fat Controller's fleet from the very early days of the railway.  As such he has seen it all, done it all and has become irreplaceable in the eyes of many. Gordon knows his position well, and feels it deeply. This can cause him to become arrogant or aloof, but he is wiser beyond even his own considerable years and always strives to provide the best top link express service on Sodor.

He can often appear arrogant or aloof and as such does not give a good first impression, particularly with weaker, smaller or as gordon puts it, “Less important” locomotives. In the end though, his kind and experienced personality will win out and he has become a friend of almost every locomotive he has met.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Great Northern Railway
LOCO TYPE: Fictional Gresley Prototype Pacific; (see text)
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #1 – The Three Railway Engines
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

Gordon was bought in 1922 from the GNR (Great Northern Railway) as a prototype for Sir Nigel Gresley's A1 pacific locomotives. He immediately made a difference to the railway, providing the speed and strength it was lacking at the time.

It was this unique nature and position on the locomotive roster that caused Gordon to develop quite the “attitude” early on. While an excellent machine, Gordon has proven to be vulnerable on occasion, the most famous being his failure on what is now known, as Gordon's hill. His strong willed nature has often led to shy steaming when he has decided a job is below him and this is thought to be a common cause of these types of failures.

Gordon has had 2 significant rebuilds in his time. The first was the biggest. He was sent to Crewe for major overhaul and rebuild. Here the Gresley Conjugated valve gear which had plagued him was removed, along with his cylinders. Topham Hatt decided that a measure of Gordon's impressive speed could be sacrificed for a gain in strength. To this end he had William Stanier, of the LMS design a custom 2 cylinder arrangement which did slightly limit the speeds Gordon could perform but his strength was greatly enhanced. His 8 wheel Gresley tender was also substituted for one which was to the same design as NWR #5 James which happened to be a LMS design. It is not explicitly said why this particular change occurred but it's widely believed that this was to reduce his overall length for turntables and to reduce coal capacity as the 8 wheel tender held much more than needed and just added extra weight.

The second rebuild was a much less extravagant affair. During his major overhaul at the end of his 10 year boiler ticket in 1996 Gordon had his boiler replaced. It was changed from an A1 boiler to an A3 boiler which was compatible and similar but allowed a higher steam pressure to be gained. This didn’t increase Gordon's maximum strength much but it increase his stamina which was important for long gradients like Gordon's hill. Outwardly he looked almost exactly the same apart from two square super heater covers on his smokebox. He didn’t receive the common longer ”Banjo” dome as most A3s like the Flying Scotsman did, as it was not needed, since the steam collector which it houses, was not deemed necessary for Gordon. He as such retained his original dome.

Gordon was returned to service in 1998 to join new express locomotive NWR #66 Sodor Castle on a now shared primary responsibility for the railway's top link express services. While getting off to a rough start including a race which the Fat Controller is not keen to be reminded of, the two locomotives now provide a smooth and efficient express passenger link for the railway. It is said the shared responsibility has sparked quite the rivalry between the two, but this if anything has only strengthened their performance.

In short, rebuilds and a significant amount of time have formed Gordon from an excellent express locomotive to an excellent express locomotive customised to the needs of the NWR. He is popular with locomotive crews, and is expected to give decades more good service.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Gordon is based on a prototype which, as far as is known, was never built for Gresley's A1 pacifics. He is based upon some early drafts of the drawings and has been given the designation “A0” by enthusiasts, although this designation also did not exist.

The A1 pacifics, to which Gordon would have initially been mechanically identical were among some of the finest express locomotives in the country, of which LNER #4472 “Flying Scotsman” the sole survivor.

James The Red Engine

James the Red Engine

It could be said that James, despite being a useful and versatile mixed traffic engine, has many faults. Sadly many if not all of these can be attributed to his quick temper, boastfulness and occasional feelings of superiority, which generally lead to his subsequent downfall soon after. Despite having been the subject of many an interesting incident over the years, James is rarely shy of hard work and has proved to be a worthy acquisition for the railway.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
LOCO TYPE: L&YR Class 28 Experimental Rebuild; (see text)
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #2 – Thomas the Tank Engine
CURRENT LIVERY: NWR Red, Gold and Blue Lining
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

In 1912, the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway introduced its Class 28 0-6-0 tender locomotives, themselves a development of the earlier Class 27. Although powerful for their size, the engines did have a tendency to become nose-heavy when run at high speeds.
Their designer, Mr George Hughes, attempted to rectify this problem by constructing a similar engine with slightly larger wheels (5’6” instead of 5’1”) and a leading pony truck. Although a worthwhile experiment, the engine did not produce the hoped for improvements. Following the Grouping of 1923 this engine was one of many ‘one-offs’ sold or disposed of, in this case being sold to the NWR. Over time further improvements were made by the Croven’s Gate staff, and any early issues have by and large been eradicated. The locomotives original wooden brake blocks were replaced following an accident that occurred on the first day in service on the railway. Further incidents occurred and problems arose, many of which can now be put down simply to ‘high-spirits’.

Although not the largest engine on Sodor upon arrival, James (later allocated the number 5) soon proved reliable and, due to technical issues surrounding No.3 Henry, was often to be found deputising on Express duties when No.4 Gordon was unavailable. This situation remained for many years, even following Henry’s rebuild. However, from the late 1960’s onwards, following the arrival of D3 Bear and later other larger engines like Sodor Castle and Winston, the need for the smaller James to haul Express services lessened. To this end, the engine has often been seen assisting on branch lines, most notably the Kirk Ronan line.

James has landed himself in several embarrassing situations over the years thanks to his hot-headed nature; he was the last steam engine to fully ‘accept’ the arrival and uses of diesel traction on the railway, and has been known to bicker over the topic of paintwork and colours on more than one occasion! His jealousy and resentment at having been ‘sidelined’ by the arrival of larger engines, although now subsiding, can occasionally rear its head, again leading to awkwardness. James enjoys a tease too and rarely passes the opportunity to make some witty remark about another’s misfortune.

Despite all this, James does have a friendly streak and has been known to show genuine kindness to others, such as his rescue of Pip and Emma during their first visit to Sodor.

In 1998, James was sent (last minute) to a War-Memorial Event at the National Railway Museum in York, where once again despite some minor incidents he proved himself a reliable, sensible engine and an excellent ambassador for the Fat Controller’s railway.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

James is a Class 28 of L&YR heritage with experimental modifications that were initially designed to cure some of the problems surrounding the class, meaning that James truly is a ‘one-off’. The Class 28’s, fitted with superheaters for improved performance, were designed for freight work.
None of the 63 original Class 28s survive, although 1 Class 27 has. At the time of writing this engine can be seen in the museum at the Ribble Steam Railway.


Bear the Hymek Diesel Hydraulic

Bear has been one of Sir Topham Hatt’s better recruitments, proving to be a powerful, reliable and reasonable member of the Railway. Calm and stable in personality, it is the sound of his Maybach engine that earns the cheerful and witty diesel his rough-sounding moniker of ‘Bear’.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: British Railways / Built at Beyer Peacock Works, Gorton
LOCO TYPE: D7000 / TOPS Class 35 “Hymek” Diesel-hydraulic Mixed Traffic locomotive
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #23 - Enterprising Engines
CURRENT LIVERY: Historic BR Two-tone Green with white trim, yellow warning panels and red buffers
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

The engine that came to Sodor on trials was the last of the Hymek dynasty built for the Western Region by Beyer Peacock and Co at their Gorton Works in Manchester. Built to fill the gap left by Class 5 Standards, Halls, Manors and other illustrious mixed-traffic engines, these accomplished diesels were able to perform their duty and beyond – able to take on the express duties of a GWR ‘Castle’ admirably.

The locomotive in question was sent to Sodor in early 1968 as part of trials against a Class 46 ‘Peak’ (which quickly became known as ‘Spamcan’ for its performance and personality!) and fared much better than its Derby-built rival. It was noted that ‘D7101’ acted more as a mediator and less of an antagonist than the Peak. Whereas ‘Spamcan’ was a typical arrogant, shortsighted diesel, Bear had the wisdom to respect steam engines and it was this sensibility along with his co-operative nature which endeared him to Sir Topham Hatt.

1968 was the year in which the National Traction Plan was unveiled and Sir Topham Hatt must have known that the Hymek’s days, for all their quality, power and success, were numbered. Therefore after a day in which both the Peak and the Hymek failed (but the Hymek was able to assist a rescue convoy) it was decided that Bear would be permanently stationed on Sodor but the Peak sent home in disgrace.

Since then, the Hymek was given historic two-tone green livery and the nickname of ‘Bear’ (as a joke about the ‘roar’ of its engine) which eventually stuck and has acquitted himself well, becoming an integral part of the Fat Controller’s Mixed Traffic fleet.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

The D7000 Hymeks were built to be the mixed-traffic locos replacing the Halls, Manors, Stars and other intermediate motive power phased out when the Western Region switched over to dieselisation. Started in 1961, they served well and are said to have been the most successful of all the diesel-hydraulic types during their brief reign on British Railways. 101 of these locomotives were built, and it is testament to their design quality that although their ‘Farewell Tours’ had been made in 1973, some clung on to service life until 1975!
A trio of Hymeks also replaced the ‘9F’ banking the Lickey Incline. Nowadays, four of these charismatic engines have been preserved -at the West Somerset, East Lancashire and Severn Valley Railways.

Sodor Castle

Sodor Castle

Upon the re-privatisation of the North Western Railway in 1995, the Fat Controller fully intended to expand his fleet of resident steam engines and develop the services his railway ran.  With Gordon due to be taken out of service in 1996 to be fitted with a new boiler, he required a new full-time Express locomotive – thankfully, a museum in England had given him first refusal on an engine closely affiliated with his father.


‘Sodor Castle’ was brought to Sodor in the spring of 1997, with a view to expanding the Express passenger services.  The results were pleasing to both the Fat Controller, and the NWR’s Board of Directors, and set the scene for further expansion of the Express and other passenger services across the Island of Sodor.  In the beginning, Sodor Castle’s arrival did unsettle Gordon, and an underlying, but nonetheless friendly, rivalry still exists between the two engines.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: British Railways (Western Region)
LOCO TYPE: Great Western Castle Class
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #44 – Express Engines
CURRENT LIVERY: GWR Green, Orange / Black Lining
CREATOR: Ryan Healy

About the Character

In 1948, a late addition was made to the May batch of Great Western Castle locomotives due to be out-shopped from Swindon Works. However, as this was a late addition to the roster, the numbering system for the batch had already been allocated to the locomotives ordered. By luck, No. 4004, Morning Star had been withdrawn a month before, and the decision was taken through the availability of the number and the GWR’s fondness for its significance.

However, being a late addition to the fleet, he received no name and became the only member of the class not to carry one. Throughout the locomotive’s working life, he became a ‘jack of all routes and trades’ for British Railways on the Western Region, spending his working life without much significance to his peers or management.

In the late 1950s, he worked an RCTS Rail Tour, which ended up at Tidmouth. By this point, the locomotive was tired, suffering neglect and needed significant attention. Staff at Crovan’s Gate feared that if the locomotive returned to his home depot in the condition he had arrived in, he would be scrapped immediately upon return. So with permission from Sir Topham Hatt II, the engine was given the care and attention it required to keep it running for years to come. Noticing that he carried no name, the workmen cast some nameplates especially which read ‘Sodor Castle’ and placed them on the loco before sending him home.

Staff at Swindon loved the joke they and their Sudrian peers were playing on British Railways so much that they made sure the engine’s new identity remained intact. Eventually the Railway Executive learnt that people were laughing at them behind their backs and arranged for the engine to be run into the ground and withdrawn as soon as possible. As a result, the engine’s final run wasn’t without difficulties of its own. Agreements had been put in place to allow all engines to run at high speed in a last-ditch attempt for steam speed records. Sodor Castle’s final run under British Railways ended in near-disaster when the firebars began to melt as a result of over-exertion.

The locomotive was withdrawn officially two days later and placed in a line of locomotives which were awaiting scrap. He remained there for several months until a Heritage group came along looking for locomotives for their new Museum complex, with backing and co-ownership through the Hatt Steam Trust. Over a period of years, the locomotive was slowly restored back to full working order to run within the museum grounds. His ‘big break’ into Rail Tours came in the mid 1980s when a shed-mate, Flying Fox, was sidelined following an incident at the sheds during his steaming-up. After that, he became a semi-regular performer on Main Line Rail Tours, often being used as a ‘reserve’ for other engines in the event of failure.

In 1995, the Museum suffered a blow when a major backer went bankrupt. Realising this could have a major effect on their ability to raise funds for overhauling their locomotives when their boiler tickets ran out, they reached out for help from other backers. Noting the historical significance between them, they invited Sir Topham Hatt III and his father along to join them on one of the Rail Tour excursions. It was during this journey that a commuter service had failed and it would be necessary for another service to take over. Sodor Castle was quickly put into the place of the original service and showed ability in completing the journey ably.

The Museum group’s primary objective was only to gain further investment from the NWR, but Sir Topham Hatt III had other plans. He offered to buy Sodor Castle outright and restore it as part of the Steam Trust locomotives that would be entering service under the newly-privatised North Western Railway’s management. There was some reluctance from the Museum group, but they saw the locomotive’s best interests at heart under Hatt and agreed to his terms of sale, which would provide some buoyancy in their finances as a result.

The locomotive was withdrawn from service following the purchase and quickly entered into Crovan’s Gate Works for maintenance and cosmetic work in mid-1995. Such was the condition of the locomotive under the Museum’s diligence and care, that the Crovan’s Gate team saw a quick-turnaround and had the locomotive ready for service again in the spring of 1996 after an intensive period of work.

With great pride, Sir Topham Hatt II proudly unveiled ‘Sodor Castle’ as the North Western Railway’s new No.66 in the spring of that year, proudly announcing him as the first new steam locomotive to enter service on the NWR since Oliver’s rescue in 1968. The necessity for Express motive power was great as Gordon was due to receive a heavy overhaul, including the fitting of a new boiler.

Throughout the period of Gordon’s withdrawal, Sodor Castle took over primary control of the Express services between 1996 and Gordon’s return to service in 1998. After this, Express services became co-ordinated accordingly and primary responsibility for the services is shared between the two engines, (which was said to spark a rivalry between the two engines).

In 2003, Sodor Castle’s ten year overhaul was sponsored a former member of the consortium who had originally purchased him in the 1960s, who wished to use him for Rail Tour duties on the Main Land. This took Sodor Castle off the island for the best part of six months as he fulfilled obligations on numerous routes, prior to being returned to Sodor to continue his usual duties.

A very sensible, level-headed engine, he is often the peacemaker in the sheds at Tidmouth, although has been known to become headstrong himself, particularly when faced with pressures of supremacy and speed. However, he remains at the forefront of Express passenger services on the North Western Railway alongside the other engines of Express locomotive fleet.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Sodor Castle is based on the GWR Castle class of locomotive, designed by Collet and built between 1932 and 1950 to pull Express trains on the Great Western Main Lines. 
The specific engine he takes his number from, No. 4004, Morning Star, was scrapped following her withdrawal in 1948.  However, three members of the class were rebuilt to become Castle locomotives.

Winston the Western Hydraulic


Formerly one of the Swindon-built D1000 “Westerns” Winston like all his class and kind were withdrawn in the mid 1970s and sent for scrap. However due to the timely intervention of the Fat Controller – but hindered by the British Railways Board, Winston was thus to become Sodor’s absent son – that is until the new millennium heralded new changes....

Important Information

LOCOMOTIVE TYPE: British Rail D1000 / TOPS Class 52 'Western'
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #69 – Winston the Diesel Hydraulic Engine
RA: 6
2000-2004 – BR Experimental Golden Ochre, small Yellow Warning Panel, White Window and Wheel surrounds, Red Nameplates and BR/Sudrian custom Coaching Stock.
2004-2008 - BR Western Region Maroon, BR Coaching Stock roundel logos, small Yellow Warning Panels, black wheels and nameplates, red bufferbeams
2008-Present: BR Experimental Golden Ochre, small Yellow Warning Panel, White Window and Wheel surrounds, Red Nameplates and BR/Sudrian custom Coaching Stock.

About the Character

Winston started out life as one of the first batch of the D1000 ‘Western’ locomotives to be outshopped at Swindon Works, starting in 1961 and ending in 1962. As directed, he was named immediately with a title of “Western...” as were all 74 locomotives eventually built.

The loco nicknamed Winston enjoyed an illustrious career – firstly it is recorded that in 1965 that he assisted in bringing home the return/stock working of the Funeral Train of Winston Churchill. It is also noted that in 1966 the same engine also took charge of a Royal Train, as well as during his time with British Railways, clocking up one of the largest mileages on record for the Class 52 Westerns (over 1,500,000). Originally outshopped in maroon, then trialled with the experimental Golden Ochre alongside classmate D1015 Western Champion before quickly (a small matter of months at best) reverting to British Railways Western Region Maroon before falling in line and being painted into British Railways regulation blue with full yellow fronts.

Due to the National Traction Plan of 1968 it was decreed that these magnificent and most-loved of the diesels were to be run down and withdrawn. At first minor repairs continued but as the 1970s dragged on and more class 47 and class 50s arrived on the Region, the ‘Westerns’ were slowly removed – although they held out to the bitter end and 1977.

‘Winston’ was withdrawn in November 1976 after a dynostarter caught fire; as with many of the ‘Westerns’ this sealed his fate and in time he was taken to Swindon’s cutting yards.
At this time a small number of societies were desperately trying to preserve at least one of these magnificent engines – the very last of Swindon’s traditions.
Alongside the Western locomotive Association and others another trust was formed to buy an engine. Nicknamed the “V-Trust” as a shortening of its title, named after one of the Swindon Westerns’ it was pressed for time as British Railways were disposing of the once-mighty Westerns at a rapid pace.

Sir Topham Hatt II, impressed with the performance of Hymek D3 ‘Bear’ sought out a Western for the North Western Railway. With the time pressure and the need for fiscal prudence he agreed to go in and share the purchase of a ‘Western’ with the V-Trust. Initially their bid for D1015 Western Champion was declined but then ‘Winston’ was instead purchased. However affairs at the last stage of the legal process revealed that Winston would not be able to be immediately reused on Sodor. Regardless, Topham Hatt generously continued on, allowing Winston’s salvation in the hope that someday the Western would be allowed to come in from the wilds and take his rightful place upon Sodor.

The years between this and Winston’s eventual debut were turbulent; the V-Trust had to move to different preserved railways twice and their numbers dwindled. By the early 1990s Winston was cold and mechanically tired, as was the V-Trust. In the wake of Privatisation in 1995, it was agreed that a full main-line standard restoration would be carried out at V-Trust premises with assistance from Crovan’s Gate, then for the locomotive, once run in and dates honoured to finally enter the North Western Railway!
Arriving on Sodor upto a decent standard, Winston had mostly been restored using reconditioned parts ad thought they served well, late in 2004 it was discovered that the locomotive was still falling somewhat short of expected performance on occasions even after some repairs and a repaint into BR maroon with small warning panels. Late autumn of that year saw the engine downrated to one engine use – and finally in January 2005 Winston was transferred to Crovan’s Gate for two months for an intermediate overhaul.

A few years later saw Winston truly become the spearhead of Sodor’s Diesel-Hydraulic Advance Project: 2008 saw him being rebuilt with two new MD870 engines and an improved hydraulic transmission. The result was a unique locomotive that could easily match anything that British railways used nowadays and was equal to new diesel hydraulics that Voith-Turbo were building.

Spring and summer saw Winston absent from Sodor as he with the DHAP travelled around the United Kingdom; railtouring from Penzance and Plymouth Laira as well as visiting preserved railways including the Midland Railway Centre – and being reunited with a fellow classmate also preserved. Finally Winston entered the hallowed Great Hall at the National Railway museum for a short stay before returning home to Sodor, where now although counted as an express engine, he also acts as older mentor to the new generation of powerful diesel engines that have been assembled for Sodor’s own Freight Company, powering across the United Kingdom.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Originally constructed in the early 1960s as part of the Western Region’s drive towards Modernisation with diesel-hydraulic locomotives, the Westerns were conceived to be the largest engines in the WR fleet after the shortcomings of the D800 Warships were found. The D1000s were all named with grandiose titles of ‘Western’ coupled to a title or rank. D1000-D1029 were built at Swindon, but due to time and costs D1030-74 were built at Crewe.

It must be stressed that firstly Winston is based on a specific member of the class. It must also be stressed that the events depicted in Western Diesel Engines [ERS 104] have been modified with some artistic license. The truth of this is that only one Western was ever painted Golden Ochre: D1015 Western Champion. It is also truth that D1015 did execute the return working of the Funeral Train back to London. It is also true that D1015 Western Champion, D1013 Western Ranger and D1062 Western Courier as well as other Westerns were, thankfully saved for preservation. Why not go and see them at the West Somerset, Severn Valley or East Lancashire Railways – or the National Railway Museum?

Winston’s major rebuild is also artistic license but is based on sound engineering principles: for example Maybach themselves did approach BR in 1963 with an idea for a Western-style loco that incorporated two MD870 [Hymek]engines and Mekydro transmission. This beast would have been easily capable of 4,000bhp. Now Voith Turbo too have built new diesel hydraulics for the Millenium – as seen here:

Pip & Emma

Pip and Emma the HST

Pip & Emma, the two diesel locomotives of a six car High Speed Train set, were first seen filling in for Gordon after he took a railtour to Carlisle. Their first day did not go without incident, as Pip's cooling system gave the duo problems. Emma unfortunately failed near Crovan's Gate, and it was left to James, following with a stopping train, to push and pull both trains (RWS #31).

In 1995, Pip and Emma were borrowed once more to take a royal personage to Tidmouth for the Railway Series' Golden Jubilee celebrations (RWS #39).

In 2006, they were purchased outright for the NWR by the Fat Controller. This has allowed the NWR to run a faster service to London, removing the need to change locomotives at Barrow.

Pip & Emma later had the honour of bringing Prince Charles to Tidmouth, where he unveiled a bust of the Thin Clergyman at Tidmouth in celebration of the Clergyman's one-hundredth birthday (RWS #42).

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: British Railways
LOCO TYPE: British Railways Class 43
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #31 – Gordon the High Speed Engine
CURRENT LIVERY: IC125 Blue/Yellow with NWR accoutrements
CREATOR: Christopher Awdry

About the Characters

Pip & Emma have been portrayed in the books as a calming influence, and as being of great potential use to the Fat Controller's railway. They are unusual in that they will only ever face in one direction: Emma is always facing Tidmouth, and Pip always faces Barrow (RWS #42).

It is unclear as to the set's life outside the NWR. Privatization in 1994 led to the fleet of IC125s being divided up between Train Operating Companies (TOCs), though it seems fair to suggest that Pip & Emma have been on loan to the NWR since the late nineteen eighties, on the basis of their livery: by 1987, and their introduction, the blue/yellow corporate branding was already heritage, having been removed from the real fleet by 1985.

Given the ease with which they have been called up for service on the NWR, it is reasonable to suggest that they were surplus to requirements on the other railway, who were happy to make them available and to sustain them in the original corporate blue livery, until such a time that their position on the NWR could be made permanent.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Pip & Emma are based on the original High Speed Train design which used Paxman Valenta engines, this being confirmed by the design of the exhaust ports on their roofs.

The class holds the distinction of being the fastest diesel unit in the world, with an absolute maximum speed of 148 mph (238 km/h), and a regular service speed of 125 mph (201 km/h), hence the moniker of "Intercity 125".

The 197 power cars which were produced are numbered 43002-43198, though some have been renumbered in specific cases where withdrawal due to accident damage have occurred.

The class of diesel units is still operating to this day, though most have been re-engined to prolong their working lives until they are due for replacement, by the proposed Hitachi Super Express. The development cycle for the replacement series is such that the existing fleet may be required to operate through to 2015 or beyond.

697 Squadron - 'Squaddie'


Squaddie is known as the tough, sturdy and kind soul, and stands as another of the famous Bullied’s in preservation as a rare and impressive sight on his Express trains. He seems to have a nice if bustling life on the railway, sometimes falling into bad situations thanks to flaws of his class and build, but forever doing his best to keep up with the constant timetables given to him.

About the Character

In 2005, the Hatt Steam Trust purchased the kit of a parts, known as 249 Squadron, a Bulleid Pacific that had been removed from Barry Scrapyard some years earlier, and never restored. Given that there were many Bulleid Pacifics in preservation, and particularly of the “Battle of Britain” class, Sir Topham Hatt (III) authorised the rebuilding of the locomotive to modern standards, for the mainline (ERS #120).

This included the fitting of Caprotti valve gear, replacing the original Bulleid chain driven valve gear. The locomotive was successfully test steamed that year, and made its debut as the NWR's number 73, and (minus nameplates) steamed alongside the NWR's original test bed pacific, Gordon (no.4), and a host of visiting engines, namely Flying Scotsman (no.4472), Princess Elizabeth (no.6201), and the Duke of Gloucester (no.71000).

The comparison tests between the two caprotti locomotives (no.73 and no.71000) proved illuminating, and the Bulleid Pacific, now painted in a variation on the standard NWR blue, with red lining, was accepted into traffic, and named as part of the Armistice Day memorial on the 11th November, 2005. The locomotive was then named 697 Squadron, in honour of Sodor's own Battle of Britain Squadron. Soon after, the locomotive gained further press with “saving” a Captain Algernon Buggleswaite, an elderly pilot who crashed his Spitfire, not far from the mainline. The locomotive's crew raised the alarm, and the elderly pilot was taken to hospital by air ambulance (ERS #153).

The locomotive performed its daily duties admirably, with a coal consumption closely following the standard set by the (heavier) NWR no.4, and gained a deserved reputation for free steaming, although was prone to wheelslip, in the hands of inexperienced drivers.

It was in the hands of such a driver that an unfortunate accident occurred in the latter half of 2008, with poor maintenance of the delicate caprotti valve gear resulting in the right hand camshaft shearing, and causing a derailment of the locomotive, and its empty stock working. The locomotive was recovered a day later, after the wrecked coaches had been removed, and the damage to the mainline repaired. The locomotive was badly damaged, and it was considered not economically viable to repair the locomotive to its caprotti valve gear form.

This came in a period of great expenditure, and little outlay, whereby the NWR invested in new engines for D6 and D3, and three extant class 60 diesel-electrics from Deutsche Bahn Schenker. The diesel depot fire (ERS #151) – which was blamed on sparks emitted from no.73, and its subsequent rebuilding – was also a factor in a decision to not rebuild the locomotive straight away.

However, hope came in the offer from a member of the RAF Benevolent Fund, to help pay for the cost of restoring the locomotive to its original Bulleid form, on the condition that it was used to celebrate the island's war heroes once more. The locomotive, despite its disrepair, was dispatched by road to Dryaw airbase, and took part in the airshow of 2008 as a static exhibit. The funds, for both the Benevolent Fund, and the locomotive were met a few months later, and no.73 entered Crovan's Gate works for its final major overhaul, to date.

The locomotive was accepted back into traffic in late 2008, and has been gratefully met by a pool of drivers now better versed in the ins and outs of the Bulleid Pacific design.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

BR Battle of Britain class 34073 249 Squadron is one of around 20 surviving Bulleid “Light Pacific” locomotives. Built in May 1948 as a British Railways-built example of a Southern Railway design, and named after the RAF's 249 Squadron it remained in service until June 1964. After withdrawal, it was moved to the Woodham Brothers' scrapyard, Barry, (in South Wales) for scrapping. It remained there until February 1988 when it was moved to Brighton.

The locomotive was stored at Ropley on the Mid Hants Railway for a number of years, while awaiting a decision about its restoration. Some time around May 2006 the locomotive left the Mid Hants in order to donate parts of its valve gear to sister engine 34067 Tangmere (which had suffered a catastophic failure while hauling a mainline excursion, causing its valve gear oil-bath to be punctured).

249 Squadron is currently stored at the East Lancashire Railway's Baron Street works, Bury, awaiting a buyer and restoration.

Daphne The Deltic


Formerly 55010 of British Railways, D15 arrived on Sodor as a bequest to the North Western Railway following over twenty years in isolation in the Scottish countryside, during which time attempts at restoration were never fulfilled.

Having finally been returned to traffic after so many years, Daphne has a deep-rooted belief that if you believe in something enough, it’ll happen. Having been granted her ‘second chance’, she has a bubbly, cheerful personality and can be rather chatty too. Sadly, she has a tendency to speak before thinking, which has caused upset to several engines over the years! Occasionally stubborn and bossy when things go wrong, and certainly not an engine to take any nonsense from others, Daphne means well and is genuinely happy to work on whatever trains she is given. Following her years on BR in which she witnessed first hand the end of the steam era, she has a fondness and respect for those steam engines that survived.

Important Information

LOCOMOTIVE TYPE: British Rail Class 55 'Deltic'
MANUFACTURER: English Electric, Vulcan Foundry
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #135 - East Coast Engine
RA: 5
BR NUMBER: D9010/9010/55010
CURRENT LIVERY: Br Two Tone Green, Yellow Wearning Panel, White Window Surrounds, White BR Double Arrow Insignia

About the Character

Daphne, a name only acquired in 2008 after starting work on Sodor, started life as D9010 and entered service with British Railways in 1961. It was nearly four years until she received her official name, ’The King’s Own Scottish Borderer’, at a ceremony in Dumfries.

Like many of the Deltic class, ‘Number 10’ enjoyed an interesting career. She was the first to clock up 2,000,000 miles in service, was given responsibility for the last ever locomotive hauled ‘Flying Scotsman’, (the day before the HST’s took over), and unusually was the only member of the class to wear BR two-tone green livery with the White Arrow insignia. She later becoming 55010 under the TOPS system and receiving BR blue with full yellow ends.

Following the introduction of the HST’s in 1978, the Deltics were given over to working secondary duties. One by one as they were failed with mechanical faults, the class gradually decreased in size as promised repairs never arrived. This was due in part to the great expense required on the engines.

Following withdrawal late in 1981, 55010 was moved to Doncaster Works for eventual scrapping. However, a combination of a determined enthusiast, helpful allies at the Works and scrap merchants, and a financial boost from one Sir Charles Topham Hatt saw ‘Number 10’ saved and moved north to Scotland in May 1982 for renovation at a private estate. Many years later people questioned whether Sir Charles’s decision to financially assist with the rescue was simply just good friendship, or in the hope of securing the services a useful locomotive in the years to come.

A reprieve from the cutters torches was gratefully received but her saviour, Earl Leven Lembrecht Coulson, found the restoration beyond his financial means and over the next twenty four years he came close to bankruptcy on many an occasion.
Following the Earl’s death in 2006, Sir Stephen Topham Hatt learnt the class 55 had been left to the NWR in the Earl’s will. The locomotive was bought to Sodor by road where the Crovan’s Gate team set about completing the restoration.

Although arriving on Sodor with two Napier engines (one which the engine had when withdrawn, another believed purchased from scrap for parts) both are now old and have been known to cause Daphne trouble on occasion, and since 2010 talks have begun regarding a long term solution to D15’s motor problems. Cosmetic restoration has also been carried out and the locomotive has been out shopped in her ‘rare’ livery of two tone BR green and double arrow insignia, a livery she carries with pride. Shortly after entering service, D15 was officially named after the Earl’s long suffering widow, Daphne, in tribute for her encouragement and support over two decades of slow but loving restoration.

Having finally been returned to traffic after so many years, Daphne has a deep-rooted belief that if you believe in something enough, it’ll happen. Having been granted her ‘second chance’, she has a bubbly, cheerful personality and can be rather chatty too. Sadly, she has a tendency to speak before thinking, which has caused upset to several engines over the years, such as when poor Warrior found himself ‘between jobs’ for a time. In recent times she has had her fair share of misfortune though, whether it be derailing the Pullman rake in the yard, entering into a feud with a new and rather brusque Inspector on the railway, the removal of one of her two Napier engines or missing the 50th Celebration Party for the Deltic class at the Shildon Museum because of another feud she was having with Dick the class 66. 

Occasionally stubborn and bossy when things go wrong, and certainly not an engine to take any nonsense from others, Daphne means well and is genuinely happy to work on whatever trains she is given. Following her years on BR in which she witnessed first hand the end of the steam era, she has a fondness and respect for those steam engines that survived.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Originally constructed in the early 1960’s following the successful trials of the earlier prototype, the 22 strong ‘Deltic’ class were the mainstay of the London to Edinburgh express services throughout the 60’s and 70’s.
The locomotives were allocated to one of three depots, and their names depended on these; eight were named after racehorses and allocated to Finsbury Park. The rest were named after British Army regiments and were divided between Haymarket and Gateshead.

55010, ‘The Kings Own Scotish Borderer’ was withdrawn on Christmas Eve 1981 after being failed with a fractured oil pipe in the early hours of that morning. Moved to Doncaster along with her sister locomotives (all of which were withdrawn by early January 1982) the fleet were cut up or sold for privatisation over the coming months and years. Although one of the locomotives present at a Doncaster Works Open Day in February 1982, 55010 was cut up three months later. 6 members of the class survive.

Robert The Southern Engine


By 2007, the North Western Railway had gradually built up a sizable fleet of Express Passenger and Heavy Freight locomotives, both old and new. However, this was leaving Bread & Butter services such as local passenger trains out of the equation and in need of suitable motive power. This often infuriated the bigger engines as they preferred to work the more glamorous Express trains.

To ease this problem, The Fat Controller invested in Robert; an old Southern Railway goods engine who had seen use on passenger trains in BR days. With James suffering injector problems after a previous trip to the works, his addition was all too convenient. Unfortunately, his origin was questioned after ‘Sodor Castle’ kept protesting against the employment of a Southern engine and an encounter with ‘Squaddie’ opened suspicions about his identity.

When Robert revealed his true colors however, the other engines quickly realized what a big mistake they had made. And as such, welcomed Robert into the elite of the NWR’s mainline fleet.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Southern Railway
LOCO TYPE: Southern Maunsell S15 Class
ERS #134 – Robert the Southern Engine
CURRENT LIVERY: Southern Railway Green, Yellow Lining
CREATOR: Chris The Xelent

About the Character

In his early days, No 842 struggled to learn due to a lack of experience enforced by unforgiving management. As such, he found coaches particularly difficult to handle.

This was changed when he met an elder member of his class. No 505; a kind and forgiving machine who was regarded by many as the finest goods engine on the Southern Railway. He chose to teach No 842 many tricks of the trade as a way of helping him overcome his troubles.

Both engines remained firm friends beyond the end of BR steam as they and a third S15 (No 30828) were sent to Barry scrapyard. After languishing for several years, they were purchased by the Eastliegh Railway Preservation Society and taken to their old railway works for restoration.
It was decided by the ERPS that 30828 would be restored first and was returned to work in 1993. When work could commence on the remaining two however, the ERPS were approached by the National Railway Museum to restore the biggest and fastest Southern engine of their generation; No 850 ‘Lord Nelson’, commonly referred to as ‘His Lordship’.
This took several years with teething troubles extending into Lord Nelson’s re-entry to traffic. And by the time these were overcome, both 505 and 842 were in a terrible state of repair. The only economic option was to combine the best parts from both engines to form one good machine. Unfortunately, with 505’s frames beyond repair, it was he who had to suffer termination.
The two engines were taken to Crovans Gate works for dismantling and re-building. During which, No 505 handed over his un-official name to the younger engine; telling him to carry it as a tribute to his friend, his designers and the Southern Railway.

Although he lives on with these hard memories in mind, ‘Robert’ is a hard working and likeable character, who has quickly become renown for his dry and sharp sense of humor. And since his introduction, the NWR's passenger services have eased strain on other engines in the fleet.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Southern Rly No 842 was one of the last members of the S15 class 4-6-0s; better known as Goods Arthurs. These were built in batches between 1920-37; the class originating from the London & South Western Railway’s last CME, Robert Urie. In the end, they totaled 45.
Although designed for freight traffic, the S15s were often seen on local passenger trains in the South West of England. As goods traffic on the Southern was never heavy compared to goods trains further north!

All of the class were withdrawn between 1962-66. Seven are preserved. Nos 499, 506 and 828 ‘Harry A. Frith’ reside at the Mid Hants Railway, Nos 825, 830 and 841 are based on the North Yorkshire Moors in various states of repair and No 847, the last 4-6-0 built for the Southern Railway, is owned by the Maunsell Locomotive Society on the Bluebell line.

Sammie the Goods Engine

Sammie the 9F

By the mid 1960s, the Second Fat Controller could see that the writing was on the wall for steam on British Railways, and knew that soon he would have to dig his feet in and resist demands from the Railway Executive to ‘modernise’. He resolved to build his fleet up as much as possible before the coming storm broke and consequently arranged for locomotives from specific classes to be transferred to Sodor, plugging as many gaps in the roster as he could. One particular requirement was an engine suitable for express goods traffic, and Hatt accordingly requested a BR Standard Class 9 2-10-0.

To his surprise, what he got was number 92250, the last steam engine to be built at Crewe. Having apprenticed at Crewe under William Stanier, Hatt’s delight can only be imagined when this particular engine steamed over the Walney Bridge on January 1st 1965. She announced herself to be ‘Samarkand’ (or ‘Sammie’), and immediately proved herself a great talent in the field of ‘fast fitted freight’.

Originally based at Barrow Shed, Sammie was once responsible for running container trains to and from the Tidmouth Freightliner Terminal. But with the financial crisis putting a strain on Sodor, it was decided for economical reasons that Sammie be taken off the Freight Link and to perform mixed-traffic work alongside Robert, Henry and James.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: British Railways
LOCO TYPE: BR Standard Class 9F
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #108 – Last of the Crewe Engines
CURRENT LIVERY: LNWR Black with Red & Yellow Lining
CREATORS: Rhys Davies and Simon Martin

About the Character

Because Crewe works lost out to Swindon for the honour of building Britain’s last main-line steam engine, Sammie was out-shopped in 1958 in plain BR black with relatively little fanfare. Her builders had however chosen a name for her, one that honoured Tamerlane, the ‘First of the Crewe Engines’. Built in 1843, Tamerlane was named for Timur the Lame, founder of the ancient Timurid Empire. Accordingly, Sammie was named for Timur’s capital city and resting-place, Samarkand, located in present-day Uzbekistan.

Despite being a product of the London Midland Region, Sammie was allocated to the Western Region for the entirety of her BR service. Already hostile to anything Swindon due to the circumstances of her birth, the indignity of having her boiler lifted upon delivery (in order that ex-GWR fitters could judge the quality of Crewe’s workmanship) was a humilitating experience and hardly improved her attitude. After settling down into her work however, she had a productive and unusual career, some highlights including deputising for a classmate as banker on the Lickey Incline, and being fitted with a Giesel Ejector funnel as part of a fuel-economy experiment (the results were inconclusive, but Sammie still features her Giesel funnel to this day). Circumstances soon overtook her however, and Sammie found herself laid up for withdrawal in December 1965, along with every other steam engine at her shed, Gloucester Horton Road. She was exactly seven years old.

What happened then is still murky, but what is known is this. It fell to Horton Road to provide a 9F to fulfil the Fat Controller’s transfer request, and the foreman had selected Sammie’s elder sister, 92230 ‘Grace’. At some point around this time, Sammie’s fireman, a young man of Sudrian descent, managed to obtain the transfer sheets (some say he broke into the foreman’s office) and modified ‘92230’ to read ‘92250’, adding a serif to transform a ‘3’ into a very wobbly ‘5’. No-one noticed the change, the paperwork was subsequently filed with Paddington and Sammie’s life was spared, at Grace’s expense. When the foreman realised how he had been made a fool of he had the offending fireman, Robbie Farrier, promoted to driver and assigned him to drive Sammie to Sodor, thus ridding himself of two embarrassments at the same time. His loss however was the NWR’s gain, and Charles Hatt immediately had Sammie repainted into a suitable livery to commemorate Crewe Works, complete with brass nameplates and plaques carried on her cabsides declaring her to be the Last of the Crewe Engines.

In the ensuing forty years, Sammie has proven herself as a reliable and dedicated member of the fleet. Powerful and fleet of foot, she is also free-steaming and extremely forgiving when fired or driven indifferently, making her a popular choice for training young footplate crews. As a reward for her good service, in 2003 the Third Fat Controller had her placed on a year’s loan to the National Railway Museum, where she participated in a celebration of Crewe’s 160th anniversary. This sojourn was not entirely peaceful however, as it brought Sammie into contact with her classmate and longstanding rival, Evening Star, the last steam engine built at Swindon.

Young for a locomotive, she is an exuberant and energetic tomboy, who rejoices in the fact that she's the second-strongest steam engine on Sodor (the first being Emmeleia, the ex-Lickey Wellsworth Banker). Having the personality of someone in their late teens, she tends towards sardonic humour and has eagerly soaked up fifty years of popular culture, from the Beatles to IPods. Like all young people she does have a temper however, and when riled can swing to either extreme aggression or self-indulgent moping. One particularly bad patch came after her return from York when she discovered the circumstances of her ‘salvation’ from BR, at the same time as the sudden death of her now-retired friend and driver, Robbie Farrier. Such emotional trauma left her in bad shape, but she thankfully overcame it with the help of her crew and friends, resolving to carry on the proud legacy of her classmates. She subsequently put in a star performance at the NWR’s Heavy Goods Gala, and finally made peace with Evening Star, who was in attendance as guest of honour.

However, in early 2012, Sammie's life took a very different turn. In a bid to keep up with the increasing workload, it was decided that she be taken off the Freight Link with Winston in her place - as Winston is able to run on the Mainland whereas Sammie can only go as far as Barrow. Since then, Sammie has been demoted to 'Utility Engine', running passenger and small goods trains alongside Henry, James and Robert. Though this was still met with great excitement from the press and indeed Railway Buffs, it took Sammie a little while longer for her to adjust to her new duties. But she did in the end, and now she continues to being Really Useful since.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

The real-life number 92250 was never granted a name and unfortunately did not escape the cutter’s torch, being scrapped at Cashmore’s scrapyard in Newport in 1966. Nine of her classmates have survived into preservation however, and in 2004 one of them, 92214, participated in a competition ran by Steam Railway magazine to suggest a suitable name for the last steam locomotive built at Crewe. 92214 subsequently appeared for a photo-shoot numbered 92250 and carrying the winning name, Samarkand.

Ted the Diesel Shunter

Ted was the first new revenue-earning ‘heritage diesel’ to be drafted in when Ffarquhar Quarry expanded beyond Mavis and Toby’s means. However an uncertain start and a troubled past led to a turnabout in fortunes...a rocky incident with a happy ending became the opening act for a sell-out career for Sodor’s most laid back and rolling diesel!

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: British Railways / BREL Swindon
LOCO TYPE: D9500 / TOPS Class 14 0-6-0DH Shunter/Trip Loco
ERS #46 - Diesel Engines
– BR/NCB two-tone green with yellow fronts;
1997-2009: Sudrian Blue cab, Railfreight Grey bonnets, yellow warning panels, red bufferbeams and rods.
2009-present: Black cab and bonnet sides, BR Maroon cabfront, rods and diagonal trims approaching bonnet ends. Red and black ‘panel’ bufferbeams in ‘Western’ ‘T’ style. BR Coaching Stock roundel, ‘TED’ and ‘D5’ aluminium plates (in D1000 style, backed in red) on cabsides.
CREATOR: Fox & Christopher

About the Character

‘Ted’ started life at Swindon Works as did all his fellow D9500s, as part of the British Railways Western Region’s rapid dieselisation programme. He was one of the ‘troop’ assigned to shunt at that hallowed of all WR destinations – Paddington. Starting life in the rocking 1960s had an effect on Ted and his class – the outcome being a much more carefree, laid back and rock ‘n’ roll attitude in comparison to the somewhat formal (some might say stuffy) outlook of previous Great Western engines such as Duck and to a lesser extent, Oliver.

However this carefree attitude on the part of other engines as well as their mechanical shortcomings saw the ‘troop’ transferred to South Wales for a while before transferring to Hull Dairycoates – the last troop to go before the North Eastern Region withdrew the 14s and sent them back to Worcester.

Becoming bitter, the 14s stored at Worcester rarely moved - but Ted was rostered as a stock shunter. It was from there that the order came: Withdrawal!

Withdrawn but quickly revitalised, Ted’s troop were put to work for the National Coal Board. It would be here he earned his name “Lucky” - in cruel irony it must be added as several accidents occurred whenever this locomotive was about. There were never fatalities but often major inconveniences, such as a wagon jarring a point blade and derailing – or the engine coming to grief in an embankment!

Ted was withdrawn in December 1985 and sold for scrap – but fate chose that the scrapman would sell the engine to preservationists even as they were warming the gas axes up!

Ted was sold into preservation and worked uptil 1994 at a rural branchline until a transmission failure saw him sidelined. In 1997, as Ffarquhar Quarry forecast an immense rise in traffic, scouts acting on the company’s behalf spotted Ted. As a result, the dilapidated Ted was bought, half and half by the North Western Railway and the Ffarquhar Company.

A rushed restoration saw Ted quickly deployed – but with faulty brakes which in turned caused disaster within the first six weeks.  After this, it was decided to allow an elite team of diesel engineers - led by one shady Thomas Yeoman – to completely renovate the engine to prevent further accidents. Particular attention was paid to the braking system.
After this, Ted served the Ffarquhar Branch Line loyally – but was transferred in 2009 to Tidmouth when he was promoted to Station Pilot and shunter. Before he could assume this position, he was mixed up with Jinty and was taken to Brendam Docks for a few days!

Once finally reaching Tidmouth however, Ted was viewed as a more than suitable engine for the position.  Here though Ted came to grief – the result of a bad oil spill on the part of a visiting class 50 on a railtour – and ended up closing platforms 1 and 2 of Tidmouth Station for several days.

Ted meanwhile, once absolved from blame once more received the DHAP treatment –this time the faithful ‘14’ was rebuilt with an improved Paxman engine unit, a superior Voith-style transmission and jackshaft setup designed by the Project Team and an entirely new livery designed for his new role of a fetching BR maroon and black, complemented by cast metal plates similar to those the D1000 Westerns bore.

Since then Ted has settled and become a ‘true Tidmouth shunter’, becoming a reliable – and easier to start – member of the Tidmouth station staff.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Initially built as an interim between the yard shunters and the mainline type 2 locomotives, these engines were dispatched to act as pilots, shunters and ‘trip’working locomotives, performing the tasks of the pannier tanks that they displaced. However, with the British Railway’s Board hostility to ‘non standard’ locomotives, problems with the 14’s design including brake and engine unit issues and finally, the rationalisation of the railway network killing off the branchlines and expensive shunting yards the D9500s were built for, British Railways had an embarrassing situation on their hands. Firstly they tried to relocate 33 of the class to Hull Dairycoates to take up colliery trip-working still extant there – and when that dried up, BR had no choice but to withdraw them. The last were withdrawn by early 1969.

A number of these locomotives were unfortunately scrapped at this early time in the class’ existence – but a great deal more found a second lease of life thanks to the National Coal Board and private industry. Thus they worked on, with several modifications being made to improve reliability – and one engine having its Paxman unit replaced for a Dorman unit. However, as the coalfields too closed down, the venerable 14s were phased out of service – the last withdrawn from revenue earning service in 1986!


No less than 19 have been sold to preservation and a good number of these are in working order, including the doyen of the class at Peak Rail, No D9526 (owned by the Diesel & Electric Preservation Group) at theWest Somerset Railway and D9523 at the Nene Valley Railway.

Croc is an ordinary if large flatbed truck. He is long and low, like a crocodile. And, like a crocodile, he is trouble. He sits in the yard, watching and waiting, biding his time, until... BANG! Trucks are off the rails, everyone is wondering what happened – and there is Croc, right in the middle of things, a seemingly innocent grin on his narrow face. When an engine sees Croc smiling, they fear the worst.

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #143 - Engines To The Rescue
CREATOR: Talyllyn

Croc is a scheming, malicious example of the worst of the islands rolling stock. Due to his size, he’s no ordinary troublemaker either – while lower and going more unnoticed, the smaller trucks look up to him as their ringleader, a role in which he revels. Wherever he goes, chaos follows and quickly. 

Prime examples have been when with the aid of faulty brakes he caused a runaway which could have cost Duck - and lives – if it had not been for Henry heroically giving chase and stopping him in time (ERS #143). Even after some consequences for his actions, he never ends up settling down. Since then, he’s managed to give Ted immense grief and ending up responsible for the demolition of a platform at the Big Station, though getting his comeuppance (ERS #160), and managing to damage Gwen in an incident at Kirk Ronan, ironically allowing a chance to give her an overhaul (ERS #180). 

Croc is still miraculously at work today, remaining the low-lying danger in the Yard – ready to snap up and seize any engine foolish enough to be off their guard around him!

Croc is based on the quintessential flat truck employed in the British Isles.

Zippy is no different than the average Troublesome Truck - except that he's much, MUCH louder!!

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #67 - Jinty the Shunting Engine
CURRENT STATUS:  Operational
CREATOR: Steven McGregor

Zippy earned his name for two reasons - his big, wide mouth and his love of high speeds. All trucks, of course, have a need for speed, but for Zippy, it's an obsession. Many's the time this troublesome truck has bumped engines, broken couplings and even derailed himself in attempts to gain a few more miles per hour. Lord help the poor engine who had to take him out on a slow goods. None came back happy. 

Zippy's dangerous ways eventually came back to bite him soon after Jinty became Tidmouth Pilot. An Important Gentleman wished to transport goods on Gordon's Express one evening and a spare van was required. Jinty, tired of Zippy's constant complaining, shunted him onto the train in his sleep, resulting in the fastest, most terrifying night of the little truck's life. 

Zippy doesn't like high speeds anymore. In fact, they make him quite nauseous...!

Zippy is based on the standard LMS covered vanfit, a common sight on many British goods trains from the 1940s onwards.