The Skarloey Railway - Engines & Rolling Stock

The Skarloey Railway Engines

All the relevant information regarding the Skarloey Railway Engines within the ERS Universe

Skarloey

Skarloey

Built in 1864 by Fletcher Jennings & Co of Whitehaven, Skarloey is the oldest engine on the Skarloey Railway.  Worn out after years of service, the old engine was laid up for a time, before being sent for a complete rebuild to bring him back to full working order again in 1955.  The old engine returned as good as new in 1959, and after a few modifications by Mr Hugh over the years that followed, has become a more reliable runner than ever.

Important Information

 RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Skarloey Railway

LOCO TYPE: Fletcher Jennings Saddle Tank

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #10 - Four Little Engines
DATE OF ENTRY: 1864
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 0-4-2ST
CURRENT LIVERY: Red with Blue Lining
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

Built in 1864 by Fletcher Jennings of Whitehaven, Skarloey is the oldest Sudrian locomotive in continuous service.  He was delivered to the Skarloey Railway to help with the early construction and movement of goods, but was found to have some teething problems which had to be set right.  The locomotive proved to be a difficult steamer and had an excessive rear overhang, which made for very rough riding, and caused an unfortunate incident with one of the Directors who was flung from the open cab.

 

Skarloey returned to Whitehaven for modifications which saw a set of rear bogies fitted as well as a cab.  As a result of the rear trailing wheels he became a far better runner, and as the cab provided shelter from the elements for the crews, he was the more frequently used of the two locomotives.  He was returned to Whitehaven again for major overhaul in 1897 and carried on until 1945 without another, receiving only general maintenance in the Skarloey Railway workshops.  By this point, the locomotive was almost completely worn out – with the firebox and boiler requiring a great deal of attention.

 

From then on Skarloey laid out of use on ‘static display’ by the side of the engine sheds.  The Handel-Brown family had always insisted that he be ‘rested’, not scrapped by any means, although there was cause for concern as to the locomotive’s future.  In 1952, he proved he still had a will to work when steamed in an emergency to cover the failed No.3, Sir Handel.  With the railway’s turning fortunes, Sir Handel-Brown took a chance on the old engine and saw to it that he had the overhaul he sorely needed and sorely deserved. 

 

He returned in 1958 almost as new, but still suffering shy steaming.  This was attended to personally by the Railway’s Chief Engineer, Mr Ivo Hugh, who applied his knowledge of working with the engine to the repairs and modifications, curing the problems by fitting a brick arch in the firebox and a ‘Kylchap’ cowl on his blastpipe.

 

In spite of his age, Skarloey has proven to be a mainstay throughout the modern era of operation, and the overhauls of 1985 and 2006 have kept him running successfully.

 

The death of Mr Roger Sam, the 2nd Thin Controller, in 2006 showed the depth of traditional thought within Skarloey.  He was wary of a change in management, and even warier of a perceived takeover by the NWR.  However, he was impressed by the handling of the new appointment, Mr Richard Topham Hatt (son of the current Fat Controller), which some believe has prompted a slight change in his thinking.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Skarloey is based on the locomotive that is recognised in the Railway Series universe as his ‘twin’ – Talyllyn.  The locomotive was built to a specialised design by Fletcher Jennings of Whitehaven, with the locomotive originally being envisioned as an 0-4-0ST, before being converted to an 0-4-2ST.

 

At the time of writing Book 10 of the Railway Series, Four Little Engines, in 1954, Talyllyn was lying out of use in a hay barn with serious doubts over her future in service.  The story of Old Faithful was based on a true event before the locomotive was withdrawn, but the Rev W. Awdry felt a great sense of pride in 1958 when the locomotive was steaming freely once again following an extensive overhaul.  Perhaps somehow, life did imitate art, and did so in the most beautiful way.

Rheneas

Built in 1866 by Fletcher Jennings & Co of Whitehaven, Rheneas was the second engine built for the Skarloey Railway, and treated as a spare for much of the early days of the railway.  However, when Skarloey was withdrawn from service in the mid 1940s, Rheneas became the Skarloey Railway's saviour, and ran the line single-handedly until the arrival of Sir Handel and Peter Sam, when he was finally able to be taken for a full set of repairs in England - returning in 1961.

Important Information

 RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Skarloey Railway

LOCO TYPE: Fletcher Jennings Well Tank

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #10 - Four Little Engines
DATE OF ENTRY: 1866
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 0-4-0WT
CURRENT LIVERY: Red with Blue Lining
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

For such a small engine, Rheneas has had quite an eventful life.  Built in 1866 as a secondary engine for the Skarloey Railway, Rheneas was always used less throughout the earlier days of the railway.  Rheneas’s long wheelbase also proved rather hard on the track, and given that Skarloey acquired a cab early on, for the workmen, it made him the more attractive of the two engines to work with (RWS #20).  He did however receive a cab at a later date, fabricated in the Skarloey Railway workshops.  

 

However, it would seem that he was the far more cared for locomotive of the two – receiving two overhauls at Crovan’s Gate Works in 1937 and 1943, the latter as a consequence of Skarloey’s relatively poor condition.  Although the railway was subsidised by additional locomotives throughout the WW2 conflict to maximise the slate output, when these locomotives and stock were taken away again, Rheneas became the railway’s sole motive power, although he himself was heavily run down and Skarloey was out of service completely.

 

His poor health however, did not stop him from living up to the expectations of the management, and he performed incredible feats to keep the railway running and see off closure completely (RWS #17).  He was rewarded for his efforts in 1952 when Sir Handel and Peter Sam arrived on the railway, and Rheneas was finally able to be spared for full repairs and a heavy overhaul which would see him rejuvenated completely for active service. 

 

The railway’s finances were strained for a time, and it took until 1961 before funding was available to fully complete the necessary work.  Rheneas returned to a rousing welcome that year, and once again joined the ranks of the Thin Controller’s working fleet.

 

Since then, Rheneas has proven to be a reliable, popular and invaluable member of the Skarloey Railway team, and continues to run trains on the line alongside Skarloey.  In August of 2008, Rheneas had the great honour of visiting the Talyllyn Railway alongside Sir Handel and Peter Sam to participate as part of ‘Duncan Day’.  This was the first time that he or Skarloey had visited the counterpart railway.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Rheneas’s life history is based largely on that of his Talyllyn Railway counterpart, Dolgoch.  Both were built in 1866, and both were ‘second choice’ for crews running the trains as No.1, Talyllyn was a far more comfortable engine to work with.  Around the time of the Boer War, she is thought to have had some kind of overhaul, and was renamed Pretoria in 1901 to commemorate the event – however, upon her next repaint, she was reverted back to Dolgoch.

 

From the mid 1940s to the early 1950s, she was the railway’s only working locomotive, and kept going with great difficulty, requiring heavy repair.  By 1953, she was sidelined to be a ‘spare engine’ and then given the restoration she needed by Hunt Brothers in Oldbury, with a new boiler being built by Hunslet’s of Leeds in 1957, she finally returned to Tywyn in 1963 after ten years away.  Since then, Dolgoch has been a popular fixture on the railway and treated with the greatest favour.  The railway even gave special considerations to having her ready in time to haul the Preservation Society’s 60th anniversary train in May 2011 – with another new boiler constructed at the Severn Valley Railway.

Sir Handel

Sir Handel

Built in 1904 for the Mid Sodor Railway, Sir Handel (formerly Falcon) was brought up under the instruction of his 'Granpuff' Duke.  Occasionally stubborn, opinionated and stuck-up, but with a kind heart and well meaning manner, he is one of the main-stays of the Skarloey Railway, and is a semi-regular visitor to the Talyllyn Railway in Mid-Wales.

Important Information

 RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Mid-Sodor Railway

LOCO TYPE: Hughes Falcon Saddle-Tank

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #10 - Four Little Engines

DATE OF ENTRY: 1904 (Mid Sodor) / 1951 (Skarloey Railway)
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 0-4-2ST
CURRENT LIVERY: Red with Blue Lining
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

Sir Handel was built for the Mid Sodor Railway by Falcon Works of Loughborough in 1904 as an 0-4-0 saddle-tank, intended as a replacement for an engine scrapped earlier.  He was delivered by sea to Arlesburgh, put into blue livery and named Falcon.  He was sent back to the works in 1910 to have a set of trailing wheels fitted to create steadier riding.  He became one of the last locomotives to work on the line during the railway’s decline, and was sold to the Sodor Aluminium project in 1947 when the Mid Sodor Railway went into administration, along with No.4, Stuart.  Both engines were used as part of a project there, and then sheeted and stored for a year following completion in 1950.

 

From there, he was purchased by the Skarloey Railway to help run operations, and relieve the two ailing locomotives, Skarloey and Rheneas.  He was overhauled by Crovan’s Gate Works, and entered service in 1952, being renamed Sir Handel after the railway’s owner.  However, problems with the locomotive were present from the very beginning with the wheel treads found to be too narrow for the railway’s tracks.  This was amended through the fitting of new broader ones which held the rails better, but led to teasing about Sir Handel having ‘steamroller wheels’, which in turn caused a great deal of trouble with George the Steamroller... causing an accident on the return journey from a drop-off with the Ministry of Defence site.

 

Sir Handel had the great honour in 1982 to be the first engine from the Skarloey Railway to be asked across to the Talyllyn Railway in Wales, to help the railway through a locomotive crisis.  The handover ceremony was performed by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry in May 1982, and was said to attract many more passengers to the railway as a result.  Sir Handel’s stint lasted for two years, during which time, he had a slight altercation with a fallen tree at Nant Gwernol.  As a result, he was forced to wear an eye-patch and a bandage to cover the damage incurred, and was thought to look a bit like a Pirate.  Sir Handel returned to the Skarloey Railway in 1984.

 

From the mid 2000s, Sir Handel has been invited back to Wales on several occasions, taking over from Duncan for special events on the Talyllyn from 2008 throughout the course of his overhaul.  However, the basis of the agreement here sees Sir Handel returning to Sodor when he is not needed in Talyllyn service.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Sir Handel is based on the Talyllyn / ex-Corris No.3, Sir Haydn, built in 1878 by Hughes of Loughborough.  Similarly, Sir Haydn had wheel problems when it first arrived on the Talyllyn in 1951, not fitting to the Talyllyn’s gauge of 2ft 3ins and ‘a thumb’, which caused it to derail on more than one occasion throughout the pioneering days – but kept the railway going till No.4 was serviceable.

 

Since then No.3 has proven a reliable and popular fixture of the Talyllyn fleet, although the cab leaves a lot to be desired in terms of its height, which the crews find is best suited to smaller individuals.  The loco has carried the Corris red livery since the late 1990s, and is often fitted with nameplates to reflect the name Sir Handel for special children’s events on the Talyllyn Railway.

Peter Sam

Built in 1920, Peter Sam was originally acquired for the Mid Sodor Railway before being bought by the Skarloey Railway in 1950.  The locomotive has gone under several physical changes throughout his lifetime on the railway, and went on to be the first long-term Skarloey Railway representative on the Talyllyn Railway from 1988 to 2000.

Important Information


RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Mid-Sodor Railway

LOCO TYPE: Kerr Stuart "Tattoo" Saddletank

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #10 - Four Little Engines

DATE OF ENTRY: 1904 (Mid Sodor) / 1951 (Skarloey Railway)
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 0-4-2ST
CURRENT LIVERY: Red with Blue Lining
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

Peter Sam was built in 1920 to the standard Kerr Stuart industrial design, and originally intended for work on the Mid Sodor Railway.  He was delivered to Cronk by rail and taken on to Peel Godred by Traction Engine, receiving the name Stuart and being placed into a green livery.  The engine was one of the last major purchases made by the Mid Sodor Railway, which would soon fall into a terminal decline.  He was spared from sale in the mid 1930s when the Mid Sodor sold off stock to cut costs and streamline their operations, however, went on to be sold along with Mid Sodor No.3, to the Sodor Aluminium project in 1948 when the Mid Sodor Railway went into administration.

 

From there, he was bought by the Skarloey Railway, who over the years made extensive changes to the locomotive’s appearance.  Aside from the livery change to the Skarloey Railway’s standard red with blue lining, over the years, he received a running board, buffers, a modified front-end, and most significantly, a Giesel ejector funnel – fitted in 1961 to replace the original which had been damaged in an accident during the closure of the Ward Fell Quarries. 

 

The idea came after relations were struck with the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society following Skarloey’s return in 1958.  The Talyllyn No.4, Edward Thomas, had been fitted with the same funnel in 1958, and Mr Hugh took a keen interest in its attributes and observed the locomotive’s performance several times throughout 1960.  The final decision was made by the Skarloey board to give Peter Sam a Giesel ejector of his own, which he received in the early months of 1961.  While his contemporary only carried the funnel until 1969, Peter Sam has retained his since it was originally fitted.

 

After a successful two-season stint for Sir Handel in the 1980s, Peter Sam was called upon by the Talyllyn Railway to become their Skarloey Railway representative in 1988 as their own No.4 would be loaned to another 2ft 3in gauge restoration project.  This led to an absence from the Island of Sodor that spanned twelve years on and off, with Peter Sam returning briefly in 1996 to tide over the locomotive crisis on the Mid Sodor Heritage Railway prior to the launch of the Skarloey Railway No.7 – Ivo Hugh.  Throughout this period also, Peter Sam visited the Corris Railway, representing their original No.4 who was undergoing repairs during his 75th birthday.  This particular trip fuelled confusion when Peter Sam saw the plans for the new Corris No.7, which he mistakenly believed to be him once he’d been sold to the Corris Railway Society!

 

Peter Sam returned to the Island in 2000 after raising funds for his overhaul by running a special photographic charter in BR Black.  Mr Hugh was so impressed with the livery when he saw it upon the engine’s return that he pushed extensively for it to be retained – but the traditionalists of the Skarloey Railway board initially vetoed the move, but Mr Hugh and Peter Sam eventually got their own way when the locomotive was called up for services on the Mid Sodor Heritage Railway to celebrate his return to the Island in 2002.  But instead of retaining the BR Black, Peter Sam was turned out in Talyllyn green as a tribute to the volunteers who had looked after him so well.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Peter Sam’s character and history are based extensively on the Talyllyn Railway No.4, Edward Thomas.  Both were built in 1920 and both worked on other 2ft 3in gauge railways before moving to their new homes.  However, Edward Thomas was in a poor state mechanically when it arrived from Corris in 1950, and required an extensive overhaul before it would be fit for service on the Talyllyn Railway for the 1952 season.

Since then, the locomotive has been a mainstay of the Talyllyn Railway’s fleet, and spent 12 years of its life as Peter Sam – being handed over by the Reverend Awdry himself, along with son Christopher and grandson Richard, at Wharf Station in 1988.  The engine itself was at the centre of a legal tangle with the Britt Allcroft Company when they took over the copyright in 1998 over the Peter Sam guise and permissions to use it – this was resolved when the express consent of the Reverend Awdry was brought to light. 

 

Talyllyn No.4 also holds a very special place in Sodor Island Forums history as well – being the first engine ever to carry The SiF Express headboard, and to be driven by Ryan Healy during the SiF in Wales Week 2009.

Rusty

Rusty

Rusty is an amiable, industrious little Diesel engine built to carry out maintenance work on the Skarloey Railway.  Although not having the equivalent strength of his steam engine counterparts, he is still an invaluable asset to the railway in terms of the work he does and the services he provides.  Since his arrival in 1957, he has been instrumental to the maintenance of the Skarloey Railway, and continues to keep the railway’s high standards.

Important Information

 RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Skarloey Railway

LOCO TYPE: Ruston-Hornsby Diesel

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #15 - Little Old Engine

DATE OF ENTRY: 1957
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 4W
CURRENT LIVERY: Dark Brown, unlined
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

Rusty was bought brand new from Ruston & Hornsby of Lincoln in 1957 to act as the railway’s General Maintenance engine, in order to provide relief for the two ex-Mid Sodor Engines, and to help improve the overall physical condition of the railway itself.  Rusty’s arrival allowed for Mr Hugh and his team to make unprecedented improvements to the railway’s permanent way with new track laid and undergrowth cleared.

 

Throughout their time working together, the others often refer to Rusty as Mr Hugh’s ‘Right Hand Man’, given how well maintenance work is kept up.  In addition to this, Rusty (and the other Diesels) also responds to breakdowns and emergencies, as well as occasionally running lighter passenger services as and when required, although this is never a regular occurance.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Rusty is based on the Talyllyn Railway’s Diesel, Midlander, which was bought for the Society from Jee’s Quarries in Hartshill near Nuneaton in 1957.  The Quarry Manager originally asked for 900 to sell the locomotive, which was laughed off by the Talyllyn’s Pat Garland, who was carrying out the purchase, who offered 2 instead.  The bargaining settled at 150, and Midlander began playing the role that inspired Rusty in the Railway Series.

 

Difficulties with parts for the locomotive meant that an identical Ruston & Hornsby was found and cannibalised to make improvements to the engine.  From 1963 to 1965, Midlander ran the ‘Friday only’ winter service for local residents, and 1971 to 1976, was based at Abergynolwyn to work on the Nant Gwernol extension.

 

Duncan

Duncan

After several years of working in a factory, Duncan has quite a temperamental nature, and upon his arrival on the railway in 1958, his language was often found to be strong.  Initially brought in as a ‘spare engine’ after Peter Sam’s accident with the slate trucks, he proved his worth over time and went on to become one of the Thin Controller’s main performers.  From 2000, Duncan was placed on long-term loan to the Talyllyn Railway in Wales, and delights children on the railway’s ‘Duncan Days’.  

Important Information

 RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Unknown Industrial 

LOCO TYPE: Andrew Barclay Well Tank

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #14 - Little Old Engine

DATE OF ENTRY: 1958

WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 0-4-0WT
CURRENT LIVERY: Red with Blue Lining
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

Duncan was built by Andrew Barclay of Kilmarnock for work in a factory in 1928, and was originally of 2ft gauge.  Very little is known about Duncan’s history prior to coming to the Skarloey Railway, however, his industrial background provided him with something of an attitude, which he identifies as him being a “plain, blunt engine”.  Christopher Awdry notes in Sodor: Reading Between The Lines that Duncan ‘is inclined to feel aggrieved about very little at times, but his heart is in the right place.

 

Duncan was purchased for the railway in 1958 to help with the increasing traffic and to provide relief for the two ex-Mid Sodor engines.  Initial problems with Duncan included his tendancy to ‘rock and roll’ along the track, which caused him to become stuck in a tunnel and later derail completely on a patch of bumpy railway line (RWS #14).  His stubborn nature did not improve a great deal following these incidents, and he deliberately failed on the viaduct whilst bringing a train home after a derailment in 1961 and had to be hauled home by Skarloey (RWS #17).

 

Whilst still having his ‘moments’, Duncan settled down somewhat and in the mid-1980s, he performed the admirable effort of helping some boy scouts by delivering a ‘pop special’, when liquid refreshment was sorely needed and very hard to come by (RWS #28).

 

Since Peter Sam’s return to the Skarloey Railway in 2000, Duncan has been based at the Talyllyn Railway on long-term loan.  Initially, Duncan was not keen to go, seeing it as ‘parading around’ for show, but after a bit of trickery from Rusty, he was keen to play the part and go (ERS #105).  From there on, he has been a popular fixture at ‘The Children’s Duncan Days’, where he can be met with other members of the Talyllyn fleet, as well as the occasional visitor from the Skarloey Railway. 

 

Duncan was not present on Sodor at the time of the Thin Controller’s death in 2006, although he was kept well up to date with the proceedings through the railway’s management, volunteers and members of the Awdry family.  However, he didn’t actually meet his new boss until he paid a visit to the Talyllyn with his own family in early 2008, when he accidentally scared Richard Hatt’s daughter... and soon realised who he was (ERS #140) .

 

Duncan returned to the Skarloey Railway in 2008 for his major overhaul, with Sir Handel becoming the more regular ambassador once again throughout the spring and summer months.  He is due to return to the Talyllyn Railway in time for the 2011 season, and is being turned out in a brand new livery prior to being shipped back over.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Duncan is based on the Talyllyn Railway’s Douglas, who currently masquerades as his Skarloey Railway counterpart.  The engine was built to 2ft gauge in 1918 by Andrew Barclays of Kilmarnock to serve for the Airservice Construction Corps, and spent much of its life on the RAF railway at Calshot Spit, Southampton, between 1921 and 1945.

 

The engine was then stored until 1949 when it was purchased by Abelson & Co. (Engineers), who later donated the engine to the Talyllyn Railway in 1953.  The engine was regauged to 2ft 3in and named Douglas after the donor (Douglas Abelson), for his generosity.  Douglas is a capable locomotive, but has been found to have the least pulling power of the Talyllyn steam locos, proving to be light on trains of more than five coaches – however, the original intention for her was to be used as a maintenance engine prior to the acquisition of Midlander, which became the No.5.

 

Over the years, Douglas has appeared in a variety of liveries – largely associated with her days with the RAF, the most notable being a special camouflage green, and currently, sports the Skarloey Railway red livery.

ERSGuide_ProfileBanner_IvoHugh.jpg

Ivo Hugh

Ivo Hugh is the youngest of the Skarloey Railway engines and the first new-built steam locomotive to arrive on the railway since Skarloey and Rheneas in the mid-1860s.  He is extremely proud of the distinctions he has over the other engines – his general design, his status as a new-build locomotive, and his overall strength, which was bettered in 2005 when the Mid Sodor Heritage Railway new-build, Rognvald, (then Thorfinn) arrived on the Skarloey Railway for tests.  This, along with the pitfalls of his youthful inexperience, can make him quite boastful and complacent, however, he can be reigned back in quite quickly with a stern word from the older engines... or suffering as a result of his own silliness.  However, overall, he is a kind, considerate young engine who means well and works hard to please the Tall Controller.

Important Information

 RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Skarloey Railway

LOCO TYPE: Talyllyn Railway New-Build Design / Andrew Barclay Donor Components

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #40 - New Little Engine

DATE OF ENTRY: 1996
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 0-4-2T
CURRENT LIVERY: Red with Blue Lining
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Christopher Awdry

About the Character

Mr Hugh’s inspection trolleys, or ‘Ivo’s Flying Bedsteads’ as they were more commonly known, had taken up the No.7 position for several years on the railway’s stocklist, thus pushing Duke into the No.8 slot, upon his arrival in 1969.  But having agreed a long-term loan contract with the Talyllyn Railway, and increasing volumes of traffic themselves in the late 1980s, the Skarloey Railway management opted to build a completely new locomotive.  As a gesture of goodwill, the Talyllyn Railway allowed Chief Mechanical Engineer, David Hugh, access to their tests on the new No.7, (which would be named Tom Rolt), due for completion in early 1991.  David was so impressed by the design that he asked to replicate it for the new Skarloey Railway No.7.

 

Whilst the Talyllyn No.7 took over twenty years and several false-starts to build, progress on the Skarloey Railway No.7 was far more brisk.  A new boiler was manufactured at Crovan’s Gate Works, and the locomotive’s construction was undertaken over a five-year period, both there and in the Skarloey Railway’s own workshops, with many of the major component parts being fabricated there.  Throughout the locomotive’s early days in service, David kept a close eye on the progress of the Talyllyn No.7 to see what he could learn from the engine for his own new-build.

 

Ahead of the project’s anticipated completion in 1996, the railway’s passenger traffic increased, which meant No.4, Peter Sam, was reluctantly recalled from Wales to cover the extra workload.   David led his team valiantly throughout the final push, knowing that No.4 had contractual obligations to meet and could not be held back for too long.  No.7 was completed in the spring of 1996, and unveiled to the public as Ivo Hugh, a testament to the railway’s former Chief Mechanical Engineer, to whom the railway owed so much.

 

Ivo Hugh has proven to be a reliable, sturdy and strong locomotive, capable of handling the railway’s heaviest work.  In terms of appearance, he is unique among the steam engines as he is the only one to carry side tanks as opposed to a saddle-tank or well-tank.  However, in terms of character he can also be found to be rather bouncy and like most young engines, full of his own ideas of grandeur and self-importance, but with a kind heart and a well meaning nature, this is always suitably pacified by the elder engines when necessary.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Ivo Hugh is based on the Talyllyn Railway No.7, Tom Rolt.  This engine was built from a 3ft gauge Andrew Barlcay locomotive of 1948, built for Bord Na Mona in Ireland and designed to burn peat, but never did – and so the loco seen very little use.  In 1969, the Talyllyn Railway was facing a motive power crisis, and with the unusual gauge of 2ft 3ins, a restrictive loading gauge, the construction of a new locomotive was the most likely option for the society.

 

The engine was named Irish Pete at the Society AGM in 1970, and work progressed steadily until 1973 when traffic levels quelled and the urgent need for another locomotive became less.  No.7 slipped down the list of priorities until 1988 when it was deemed to be cheaper to complete the work on the new build than incur heavy expenditure on the boiler of No.6.

 

No.7 was completed in 1991, and named again at the Society’s 1989 AGM, this time honouring the memory of the man who founded the Preservation Society in 1950, Tom Rolt.  The naming ceremony took place on May 6th 1991 at Abergynolwyn, where his widow Sonia proudly did the honours, referring to the work as a “Frog Prince transformation of a locomotive.”  And in a final affectionate nod to a man he held in very high regard, the Reverend Awdry, although not having a direct hand in writing the story made sure the letters corresponding to the name matched Tom Rolt’s.

Duke

Duke

Duke is the wise old sage of the Skarloey Railway, and seen as ‘all things to all engines’.  He is close ally of Skarloey, Rheneas and Rusty, finding affinity in age, temperament and wisdom; and the ‘Granpuff’ of Sir Handel, Peter Sam, Duncan, Ivo Hugh, Buzz, Evan and Fred – always ready to put them in their place when they misbehave.

 

Duke is meticulous and believes in good order and behaviour among the engines and the organisation in general, and will quite often be heard saying “That will never suit His Grace” if this is not the case!

Important Information

 RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Mid-Sodor Railway

LOCO TYPE: George England Saddle-Tank / Tender (Boston Lodge Built)

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #25 - Duke The Lost Engine
DATE OF ENTRY: 1880
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 0-4-0ST
CURRENT LIVERY: Brown, yellow lining
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

In 1879, the Earl of Sodor approached the Festiniog Railway’s Boston Lodge Works regarding construction of a locomotive for the new Mid Sodor Railway, due to open the following year.  The Festiniog had an ailing locomotive at the time of their need, Mountaineer, a George England design from the original batch of locomotives for the railway.  Recommendations had been for the locomotive to be ‘dismounted’ on account of the fact that it was not roadworthy.

 

At this time, Boston Lodge were not in the habit of throwing working components out.  However, it was decided that Mountaineer’s frames would not be suitable for the construction.  Accidental damage on two occasions had made a lasting impression, and contributed to the loco’s withdrawal from service in 1877.  It is rumoured that many of the major component parts from the original Mountaineer were used in the construction of new Mid Sodor locomotive, which was built to the same specifications as the two later George Englands with a large saddle-tank and tender.  Boston Lodge works looked at this as a fruitful exercise, and good practice for the rebuilding of the three serviceable England engines, Prince, Princess and Palmerston, who would go on to be re-framed later.

 

The engine was delivered to Arlesburgh by boat from Portmadoc, and went into service on the Mid Sodor in 1880, being named ‘Duke’ in honour of the Earl, and was rostered to haul the opening train that year.  It is undetermined how many other locomotives were present on the Mid Sodor in the early days, however, by the mid-1930s, Duke was the last remaining of the original stock.  A testament to the engineering work of Boston Lodge, Duke proved to be one of the line’s finest performers, popular with crews for his spacious cab, and well-maintained throughout the years when the railway was profitable.

 

However, as the railway’s fortunes declined, the locomotives began to suffer also.  As only three locomotives operated the railway throughout the final years, Duke was pressed into service more often, and by the time of closure in 1947, he was worn out and in need of a heavy overhaul.  He was viewed as an unattractive purchase by the Aluminium Company, who required motive power for their next project, and acquired the two younger engines for this purpose.  The Mid Sodor Manager did not wish to see Duke scrapped, and ordered his men to oil, grease and sheet him up in Arlesdale shed, in the hopes that a buyer would eventually be found.

 

In the intervening years, the landscape around Arlesdale yard completely changed over the twenty year period as nature took over, and long after the rails had been lifted, Duke became something of a legend within the valley, tied up with the folklore of the old Mid Sodor.  Although no-one could be entirely sure, there was great conviction among the local people that Duke still remained in the old shed late into the 1960s.  Perhaps it is fortunate then that the lead spoils used to ballast the Mid Sodor trackbed allowed for a level of resurrection in the early 1960s, when the 15-inch Arlesdale Railway was laid on the first seven miles of the original Mid Sodor line to exploit the lead product for ballast.

 

The original intention for the new railway was to use the Arlesdale station yard from the Mid Sodor days, however, the overall condition of the site gave cause for concern, and they were persuaded to base their new terminus on a mine spur.  As the Rev. W. Awdry and close associate Rev. Teddy Boston researched the area for new stories, they often met individuals who knew of the old Mid Sodor, and quite often, would be enthralled by tales beginning with “My father used to say...” or “My Grandfather once told me...” regarding the fate of the little old engine, tucked up in one of the old sheds.  Interest was piqued further during the Skarloey Railway’s centenary, where the name ‘Duke’ sparked further questions...

 

Awdry’s interest led him to enlist the help of the Rev. Boston and the Small Controller, Mr Fergus Duncan, to investigate the mystery and see what truth could be drawn from the stories that had circulated for twenty two years.  Maps, literature, verbal testimonies and various other archives were pored through for months, and throughout 1969, several expeditions were mounted to explore the old Arlesdale site.  It was on one of these expeditions that (as the Rev. Awdry documents) that the Rev. Boston ‘made a breakthrough’, and fell through the former Arlesdale shed, landing on Duke.

 

From there on, Duke was repatriated from the shed and delivered to Crovan’s Gate for full restoration and repair.  Once completely rebuilt, Duke re-entered service on the Skarloey Railway as their No.8, and remains there to this day under their ownership, but still retains his Mid Sodor colours and nameplates. 

 

On several occasions, he has been invited back to the Mid Sodor Heritage Railway to run special trains, and remains popular with the society members as the catalyst behind their movement to reopen part of the railway.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Duke’s design is based on the six George England locomotives built for the Festiniog Railway in the 1860s.  There has been some debate over the actual basis of the locomotive, with elements of history seeming to allude to the two serviceable Englands – Prince and Palmerston.  Whilst Prince is more applicable in terms of the nature of the name, and is often the engine referenced in the Awdry literature, Palmerston’s history bears greater similarity to Duke.

 

After withdrawal in 1940, Palmerston became a ‘lost cause’, being used as a stationary boiler for Boston Lodge and for a time, the Glaslyn Foundry.  Parts of the engine were donated for the restoration of Prince, and by the 1960s, what was left was considered to be beyond repair.  Palmerston did, however, make a recovery under the care of a consortium that bought him and moved him to Derbyshire for repair in the mid-1970s, and in 1987 returned to the Ffestiniog for the final leg of its repairs – returning to service in 1993, and being of sterling service ever since.  However, as Prince was active at the time of Awdry’s writing, arguably, he is still more likely to be Duke’s basis.

 

There is no conclusive evidence from Awdry related sources to state firmly that Duke’s construction could have taken parts from the original ‘Mountaineer’.  However, the dates do provide food for thought, given Mountaineer’s withdrawal in 1879, and Duke’s construction within that year, therefore, it is possible that Wilbert and George Awdry could have played upon this.  Given that the Festiniog Railway records from William Williams’ reports log are sparse and provide little insight into the locomotive’s life, times or eventual fate, it does allow for a level of plausibility.

 

However, there is a story in Ffestiniog folklore from some years ago, which is thought to have occurred late into the evening, when a George England locomotive ran past Boston Lodge with an empty slate train as a worker finished his day’s duties.  Normally, this would mean little – but given that Prince and Palmerston were locked away in Boston Lodge shed, and neither Welsh Pony or Princess (other two surviving England locos) were serviceable – the gentleman was convinced that it could be the ghost of ‘Mountaineer’.

Fred

Fred

Fred is one of the Skarloey Railway’s other Diesel locomotives, used extensively on the railway’s engineering and ballast work.  Fred is a kindly soul who ‘knows his place’ in the railway’s pecking order, and prefers to take life at a snail’s pace.

Important Information

 
RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: National Coal Board

LOCO TYPE: Hunslet Diesel

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #40 - New Little Engine
DATE OF ENTRY: 1989
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 0-4-0
CURRENT LIVERY: Black with red lining
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Christopher Awdry

About the Character

In the mid-1980s, Rusty suffered some mechanical faults, which were quickly put right by Mr Hugh and the railway’s engineers.  At the time, Rusty was the railway’s only locomotive designated to maintenance work, and it was decided that an alternative would be desirable.  

 

In 1989, the railway purchased two defunct Diesel locomotives from the National Coal Board to create a back-up for Rusty.  The best parts of both were amalgamated together and Fred was the result.  Originally built as a standard underground mining locomotive for the National Coal Board, he became No.9 on the railway’s official stocklist, displacing Evan who was placed on permanent loan to the Mid-Sodor Heritage Railway following a loan agreement with a Lake Railway in England.

 

Fred is often found to be the slowest of the Skarloey Railway Diesels with a maximum speed of just under 9mph, and continues to maintain his underground look, running without a cab.  However, in spite of these imperfections, he is a very powerful little machine, and is used exclusively for engineering work on the railway.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Fred is based on the Talyllyn Railway’s ‘Alf’, a former underground mining Diesel engine which was bought from the National Coal Board as two locomotives in 1989.  One was overhauled to make one good and reliable engine, whilst the other was dismantled and used for spares.  The ‘spare’ is currently stored at Brynglas station.

Shamus Tebroc

Shamus Tebroc

For reasons of economy, the Thin Controller and the Skarloey Railway board began looking at larger Diesel locomotives capable of pulling passenger trains on an off-peak service.  Initially, it was a long-term objective with funds being set aside to cover the expense of purchasing such an engine, however, with the sale of Edwin Richard to the Mid Sodor Heritage Railway in 2004, the Skarloey Railway were able to fund the purchase of a former Bord Na Mona Diesel, which had originally been planned for work on the Mid Sodor extension to Ulfstead Road!

Important Information


RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Bord Na Mona

LOCO TYPE: Simplex T Class Diesel

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #107 - Edwin Richard's New Home

DATE OF ENTRY: 2005
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 4W
CURRENT LIVERY: Unlined Burgandy
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Ryan Healy & Christopher Signore

About the Character

Shamus Terboc was originally built by Simplex to 3ft gauge for Bord Na Mona in 1980 as part of a batch of 10, and spent several years helping to harvest peat from various bogs in Ireland.  However, the Simplex Diesels were not deemed to be the success that Bord Na Mona had hoped for, and Shamus was withdrawn from service in 2004.

 

However, an employee of Bord Na Mona, who had also been a long-standing member of the Mid Sodor Heritage Railway, approached the Board of Directors upon the engines’ withdrawal, and requested one of them for regauging.  The Board agreed, and as a gesture of goodwill, the regauging and engine modifications were arranged and conducted for by Bord Na Mona within their own workshops at no cost to the Mid-Sodor Heritage Railway.

 

He was jokingly renamed ‘Irish Pete’ by the volunteers, and delivered to the Mid Sodor Heritage Railway to assist with the push through to Ulfstead Road in early 2005.  However, engine problems befell him early on, and he was quickly transferred to the Skarloey Railway’s workshops at Crovan’s Gate.  As this was a Diesel Hydraulic engine, Mr Hugh called upon the expertise of the DHAP to assist in getting him running properly.  Once in motion, the results were astounding, and thoroughly impressed the Skarloey Railway’s Board of Directors, who had been harbouring aspirations of running a more cost-efficient off-peak Diesel passenger service, in line with other narrow gauge steam-based railways.

 

Mr Hugh took ‘Irish Pete’ on as a pet-project, and had ample opportunities to test him.  When Edwin Richard failed after breaking a spring on a passenger service, ‘Pete’ was rushed into service to conduct the rescue and managed to keep the time-table effectively with his superior strength.  At the same time, Sir Handel was proving a massive coup for the Mid Sodor Heritage Railway when running a steam passenger service – and the railway decided they would like to keep this going as well.  Therefore, a sale agreement was tendered between the two railways, with the Skarloey Railway buying up ‘Irish Pete’ and selling Edwin Richard to the Mid-Sodor Heritage Railway.

 

Once the sale had been completed, the Skarloey Railway board opted to bring ‘Pete’ into line with the other engines, and gave him a more fitting name.  He was named Shamus Terboc, after the man who had brought prosperity back to the Skarloey area in the 1860s, much like the new Diesel was intended to do in his lifetime.

 

Shamus Terboc was the last major purchase by the Thin Controller, Mr Robert Sam, prior to his death in early 2006.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

The basis for Shamus’s prototype were the Simplex Diesels employed by Bord Na Mona, which as previously stated were employed until 2005.  The locos were not successful in practice, and as such, they were mainly used on lighter duties.  The other basis of inspiration is taken from the Simplex T Class based at the Golden Valley Light Railway which was regauged from 2ft 6in to 2ft, as well as being restored and given a new engine.  The Talyllyn Railway’s Bryn Egwlys is also a member of this class, but on a personal basis, the two creators would argue that this particular loco is not akin to the other Talyllyn locos in providing the direct inspiration for the Skarloey Railway counterpart in this instance.

Scott

Scott

Scott is a no-nonsense, military precision Diesel who worked previously for the Royal Navy, moving munitions around their Depot at Deans Hill in Wiltshire.  Although not from the same military style background as Edwin Richard, it has still left him with a very strong work-ethic and firm attitude toward other engines.  However, he does know when to set this to one side at the appropriate times.

Important Information


RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Deans Hill - Royal Naval Armaments Depot

LOCO TYPE: Baguely

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #88 - Maintenance Engines

DATE OF ENTRY: 2004
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 4W
CURRENT LIVERY: Blue with Hazard Stripes
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: Clay Halford

About the Character

Despite being built to a basic looking design, Scott has had a truly eventful life.  Built in 1980 by Baguely, he was initially transported to the south of England to work for the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Deans Hill in Wiltshire. Here he was used for transporting Naval armaments, including nuclear weapons, between the Underground Store Houses and the road/rail transfer sheds.  With an extensive network of tracks around the site, and a constant workload, Scott and the other Diesels supplied to the site were kept very busy and encouraged to work continually.

 

Scott would not have been snapped up by the Skarloey Railway had it not been for the incident which seen him withdrawn from Deans Hill.  In mid-2002, whilst moving from one of the store houses, he collided with another locomotive which resulted in a damaged frame and a broken front axle.  Whilst no serious accident occurred as a result of the collision, Scott’s pride took a battering when he was withdrawn from service and never re-entered.

 

He became surplus to requirements and was tendered for sale in early 2003, where he was bought by the Skarloey Railway, along with another defunct loco for spares.  Scott was repaired, overhauled and regauged by Mr Hugh and his team, and now provides an invaluable back-up for Rusty, as well as running occasional passenger services in times of emergency.

 

It was on account of Scott’s performance that the Talyllyn looked to the Skarloey Railway for advice, regarding the acquisition of three Baguely Diesels due for withdrawal from Trecwyn RNAD in 2008.  Following Scott’s transition into civilian life, the Skarloey Railway only had the highest of praise to deliver.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

The Talyllyn Railway acquired three Baguely Diesels from Trecwyn RNAD in 2008, with the view to replacing two of the railway’s ailing Diesel fleet.  These locos will be regauged from 2ft 6in gauge to 2ft 3in before they’re put into service.  Whilst Scott is based on this prototype, his history is more akin to a locomotive acquired in 2004 for the Amberley Museum in West Sussex, which similarly came from Deans Hill RNAD in Wiltshire in 2004, after suffering a similar fate to how Scott came around.