Human Character Profiles

Find out more about the Fat Controller and all the other human characters on the Island of Sodor here!

The Fat Controller

The Fat Controller

Sir Topham Hatt, otherwise known affectionately by his engines as The Fat Controller, is responsible for looking after the Sodor Railway network.  In the Railway Series, the original Fat Controller received a baronet for his services to the railways on Sodor upon the nationalisation of British Railways in 1948, this title has been passed down continually across the following two generations of the Hatt family, who have held this office, with the original Fat Controller’s grandson Stephen currently in charge.  Firm but fair, the Fat Controller treats his engines like his own children, rewarding them when they are really useful and punishing them when they step out of line – but always ready to welcome them back into the ‘family’ again when they have redeemed themselves.

The Thin Controller

The Thin Controller

Mr Percival took over the running of the Narrow Gauge Railway in the hills from the Fat Controller.  He now looks after all the little engines and makes sure that they are just as useful as the ones on the big railway.  He also seen to bringing in new engines to help his team, such as Mighty Mac and Freddie.  In order to oversee the railway more effectively, he now lives in the small cottage next to the little engines’ depot with his wife and five children.  But unlike the Fat Controller, Mr Percival has a lot less ground to cover, so instead of using a car, he is often found to be far more at home taking his bicycle when running from place to place... possibly why he is the THIN Controller!

Lady Hatt

Lady Hatt

Lady Hatt is the Fat Controller’s wife.  Although very fond of the railway, she can be very fussy and pernickety at times – such as when she complained about Annie and Clarabel looking like ‘Beach Huts on wheels’, and when she almost refused to board a Hot Air Balloon which would take her and Sir Topham to the Grand Opening of a new station.  But in all, she has a heart of gold and a real affection for all of the engines and her friends, who are always on hand to help when the Fat Controller decides to throw her special surprises.

Stephen & Bridget

Stephen and Bridget

Stephen and Bridget Hatt are the Fat Controller and Lady Hatt’s grandchildren.  They are very fond of the railway and enjoy seeing Thomas and his friends.  Stephen and Bridget were with the Fat Controller and Lady Hatt on holiday when they first met Toby, and again when they and Toby discovered the old mine and castle where Bertrum now happily lives and works.

Dowager Hatt

Dowager Hatt

Mrs Hatt is The Fat Controller’s Mother. Any time she’s visited the Island, there's always been some kind of trouble to be had! The first time around it was “Gremlins”, which hindered her journey on Gordon’s train all across the Island – so much so she ended up naming her dog ‘Gremlin’ afterwards! On her second visit, when she came for her birthday picnic, Thomas and the Fat Controller struggled to find a suitable place for her to have one!

Dowager Hatt is based on the Mainland, but over the years she has made frequent visits to Sodor to keep an eye on her son – fond of him as she is, she can be a little imperious at times. When the Fat Controller caught a bad cold, Dowager Hatt insisted on running the railway for him until he recovered. But knowing very little about railways, she ended up causing more confusion and delay than the engines could remember! Luckily, Emily offered to help her out and together they managed to get things back on schedule.

Lowham Hatt

Lowham Hatt

Lowham Hatt is the Fat Controller’s fun loving younger brother, and his complete opposite.  On his most notable trip to Sodor, Lowham confused poor Thomas by letting him think that he was Sir Topham Hatt, leaving him bewildered at the sudden erratic behaviour of such a respected railwayman and the Controller of the Sodor Railway network – who had also mysteriously grown a moustache over night.  All came clear later on when Thomas asked Lowham who he was, and found they had left the Fat Controller and Lady Hatt behind at Maithwaite.

Jeramiah Jobling

Jeramiah Jobling

When James made a hole in the coaches’ brakepipe, the Driver, Fireman and Guard decided to make a contingency measure by wrapping a pad of newspaper around the hole, tied up firmly with some leather bootlaces.  The first person that the Guard noticed had a set of leather bootlaces was Jeramiah Jobling, who was reluctant to hand his laces over, which meant the train was stuck where it stood.  Eventually, after pressure from the other passengers, he handed his laces over and the crew were able to secure the brake pipe... and we are unsure to this day if he ever got his laces back...

The Policeman

The Policeman

While working on the Quarry tramway, Thomas had the misfortune of encountering a particularly overzealous Policeman who took objection to him being there without sideplates and cowcatchers attached.   He branded Thomas a ‘regular law breaker’, but it gave the Fat Controller a convenient excuse to buy up Toby to run the Quarry line instead – and give the Policeman a fright when he rang his bell at him.  He was soon sent packing when he stupidly put parking tickets on people’s cars during a church service, including that of his own sergeant, who was sick of him quoting laws that were long forgotten in the rule book.

Mrs Kyndley

Mrs Kyndley

Mrs Kyndley lives in a lonely cottage near a tunnel on Thomas’s Branch Line.  She's a firm friend among the engines who always give her a cheerful whistle as they pass her home, and once saved Thomas from a nasty accident when a landslide blocked his line, by waving a red dressing gown out of her window to warn him.  The following Christmas, Thomas and the other engines showed their gratitude to her properly by giving her a special Christmas Party, and braved the elements and odds to make sure she got to celebrate with them!

Vicar Of Wellsworth

Vicar Of Wellsworth

The Vicar is a kind old Soul, with love and respect for all of God’s creatures. He was the one who saved Trevor from his Scrap yard fate, and has given him a new home in his Vicarage Orchard. The Vicar is responsible for holding the Yearly Vicarage Fete, which all the children, not forgetting Edward and Trevor, love the most.

Jem Cole

Jem Cole

Jem is the technical expert of the Island.  He is Trevor's Driver and helped restore him to his former glory when the Vicar was coming to see him at the scrap yard.  Jem is also responsible for the restoration of various old rolling stock and vehicles - including Elizabeth the Steam Lorry and an old coach which went on to become the Skarloey Railway's Refreshment coach.

Nancy the Guard's Daughter

Nancy

Nancy is the daughter of a Guard on the Skarloey Railway, who often helped out on the line doing odd jobs on the railway throughout her youth, such as helping the Refreshment Lady and polishing the engines.  Nancy is plucky and cheerful, and knows exactly what to say to stimulate stubborn old engines like Skarloey into wanting to be polished, like good news! 

Tom Tipper The Postman

Tom Tipper the Postman

Tom Tipper is a postman on the Island of Sodor, who assists Thomas and Percy with delivering the post in his Post Van.  Tom has always been great friends with the engines, but has been more so since Percy accidentally ran over the bicycle he was supposed to be using for his post run when his van was taken away.  As a result, Tom got a brand new van and a more enjoyable means of delivering the post around Sodor!

The Refreshment Lady

Refreshment Lady

There’s no guessing what makes The Refreshment Lady so popular with visitors and Staff - she travels along the Little Engines’ line to the Lakeside Station where she sets up a smallshop selling refreshments such as cakes, sweets and drinks. Once in pure impatience, Peter Sam almost left her behind!  However, thanks to Peter Sam, she later gained herself a travelling Tea Shop so she can sell her treats from any location on the Narrow Gauge Line!

Old Bailey the Fogman

Old Bailey

Old Bailey used to be Station Master of the station by the Lake; but when it closed down years ago, he had taken the job as Fogman so as he can be near the beautiful lake, where it wouldn’t be damaged by people dumping their rubbish near the condemned station building.  However, he gave Henry a few spooky scares over the course of two nights, with the best of intentions to keep him and his crew safe.  And after saving him from a nasty accident, his old station was reopened and was reappointed back to Station Master once again.

Cyril The Fogman

Cyril The Fogman

Cyril the Fogman lives at Misty Valley. When fog is about during winter, he puts detonators on the tracks to warn approaching engines for unseen dangers lurking in the mists ahead of them.  The Fat Controller thought he knew better by retiring Cyril and replacing him with a modern Railway Foghorn to warn the engines when there was fog ahead.  However, the foghorn was more trouble than it was worth, and Cyril's old fashioned warning methods saved the day, and won him back his job as the Fogman!

Miss Jenny Packard

Miss Jenny

Miss Jenny is the friendly Irish woman, who is the Owner of the Sodor Construction Company (otherwise known as “The Pack”) and takes responsibility for a number of building projects around the Island.  She likes all of her machines to follow the rules and make sure that they are kept in order. When she is pleased with someone doing a great job, she compliments them that they “make a mother proud!”

Farmer McColl

Farmer McColl

Farmer McColl is a burly mustachioed, hard working farmer, who provides the livestock and farmyard supplies needed around Sodor.  He was first met when his baby lambs were stuck on the other side of the mountain during a bad snowstorm and Toby had to help him get the vet to the other side and make sure they were all right.  He is a good friend of the railway and calls upon them very often when he needs a favour.

Alicia Botti

Alicia Botti

Alicia Botti is the World Famous Italian Opera Singer, who likes to visit Sodor for special occasions. But she wasn’t entirely pleased with her first visit when she discovered a mouse in Thomas’s train and her loud scream smashed every window in town!  However, she did appear to have an appreciation of Steam engines when she saw a very dirty and grubby Percy pull into the Docks, remarking he looked like a "Proper Steam Engine!"  Always keen to put on a performance, Alicia Botti has returned to Sodor several times, and in her more recent visits has shown herself to be less of a Diva than she was when she first came - helping to clean Toby, and enjoying a ride behind Thomas as he gave her a tour of Sodor ahead of her grand concert at the Town Hall.

Lord Callan

Lord Callan

Lord Callan is Owner of the Callan's Castle overlooking Castle Loch, and also a good friend of Sir Topham Hatt.  We first met this gentleman when Donald and Douglas were bringing goods up to his Castle to prepare for his Grand Re-opening.  The Scottish Castle has become a popular entertainment venue on the Island since it's reopening with Lord Callan hosting numerous parties and concerts there.

The Brass Band

The Brass Band

Whenever the Island of Sodor is celebrating, there is a need for the Brass Band to come along and play their wonderful music.  However, their trips to Sodor haven’t always run smoothly!  At one of their Summer Concerts, Bertie the Bus became stuck in mud when taking them to a concert – and they had to be saved by their old pal Edward; Thomas left the Tuba Player behind when they were due to play at Lady Hatt’s Birthday Party, and Rusty ran out of fuel while taking them on a tour of the Mountain Railway before a concert.  However, despite the mishaps, they still love coming to Sodor and playing some beautiful tunes to brighten the spirits of any occasion.

The Duke & Duchess Of Boxford

The Duke and Duchess of Boxford

The Duke and Duchess of Boxford are the boastful Spencer's owners, and use him as their Private engine to escort them all across the railway network.  They appear to have an affection for the Island, following their first visit they later bought a summer house and became regular visitors, becoming good friends with Sir Topham and Lady Hatt.

The Mayor Of Sodor

The Mayor

The Mayor of Sodor is in charge of all the Island’s important affairs, and is a regular attendant at special events on the railway such as the reopening of Great Waterton, and the unveiling of the new Lion of Sodor statue.  He is very good friends with the Fat Controller and Lady Hatt.

Farmer Trotter

Farmer Trotter

Farmer Trotter is a friendly pig farmer who lives next to Thomas’s Branch Line.  Thomas is a regular visitor and can often be seen bringing him supplies to keep his farm running smoothly, although on one notable occasion, when Thomas was asked to bring some soft straw from Farmer McColl’s farm for newborn piglets, he brought everything that Farmer Trotter didn’t need!  As well as pigs, Farmer Trotter is also well known for making honey with his bees and for his shiny red apples, which he sells at Market.

The Bird Watcher

The Bird Watcher is a friendly Welsh chap who, as you may well guess, is keen on finding interesting or rare species of birds along Thomas’ Branch Line. But he caused a great deal of trouble when he heard the call of a rare bird whilst on the train – and in his excitement, he pulled the emergency cable to try and look for it. Not only did he make Thomas late, but the sudden stop gave Annie a wheel-flat. After a stern warning from the Fat Controller, the Bird Watcher promised to use the emergency cable properly from then on. But it took Thomas a little while longer to fully forgive him...

The Grumpy Passenger

This particular passenger is a regular face on the Skarloey Railway – most of which for the wrong reasons. Nothing ever seems right for him, and is known to complain about everything to everyone. He finally got on Duncan’s nerves one day, so Duncan did all he could to satisfy this passenger...whilst at the same time upsetting everyone else around him in the process. In the end, the Thin Controller advised Duncan to take no notice and to concentrate on his own work instead.

Sir Robert Norramby - Earl of Sodor

Sir Robert’s family has a long, rich history. The Earls of Sodor go back as far as the 1800s, where the Mid Sodor Railway was first established. In honour of the first “Earl” at that time, their first locomotive was named “Duke”, a title which Duke himself carries with pride. Curiously, though the Earls of Sodor have been active on the Council of the Duchy of Lancaster, there is no Duke of Lancaster to speak of – so only Sudrian veterans refer to the Earl as their “Duke”. 


 Robert Norramby is the current Earl of Sodor, and an old friend of the Fat Controller. In the Railway Series books, though he wasn’t referred to directly, he was given the honour of opening the Lakeside Loop Line on the Skarloey Railway and then, some years later, witnessed the rediscovery of Duke from his old shed on the defunct Mid-Sodor railway. 


Since then, he spent most of his life travelling the world before returning to Sodor many years later. Although he may appear elderly and distinguished to many, Sir Robert is very eccentric, always looking for new things to add to his family estate at Ulfstead. Since restoring Ulfstead Castle for the public, he has filled it with his vast, expanding collection of valuable paintings, statues and suits of armour. But his prize possession is Stephen “the Rocket”, who gives tours of the estate alongside Millie the narrow gauge engine. 


Later on, inspired by the dinosaur fossil discovered at the China Clay Pits, Sir Robert extended his estate by building a Dinosaur Park with giant models and exotic plants. What he may add to his estate next is a surprise to everyone!

The Dock Manager

Brendam Docks wouldn’t be as efficient as it is without the Dockyard Manager in charge. He makes sure that the engines collect the right trains and that all cargo is loaded and unloaded on time so as not to keep the many ships waiting. Of course, it doesn’t stop the Fat Controller from visiting the Docks on a semi-regular basis to ensure that everything is running smoothly...

Mr Bubbles

This particular clown has gone through several different names throughout the series – from “Kuffy” (Series 11) to “Mr. Giggles” (Season 12) before being properly christened “Mr. Bubbles” (Season 13 – onwards). As his name suggests, Mr. Bubbles is well-known for performing with giant bubbles and balloons as a means to entertain children at large or special events.

Sailor John

Sailor John has led a rough and shady life – after being dismissed from the Navy, he retired to the seaside town of Arlesburgh where he took to his hand as a skilled engineer, such as converting his sailboat, Skiff, to run on the rails. He did this for a very good reason…he has spent many years searching for the lost treasure along the coastlines of Sodor. And it was only when the pirate ship was uncovered that he struck up a friendship with Thomas so the three of them could find it together.

But though he may seem friendly and charming, Sailor John is nothing more than a “pirate” himself, caring for no one’s needs but his own. He lied to Skiff all along about giving the treasure to the Sodor Museum and went as far as breaking into the Fat Controller’s office where it was being kept for safe-keeping.

However, Sailor John almost got away with the treasure until he was thrown overboard by Skiff, and was left stranded until he was taken away by the police.

The Small Controller

The Small Controller

Mr Fergus Duncan is the Small Controller, nicknamed so as he is in charge of the Small Railway at Arlesdale. He was appointed by both the Fat and Thin Controllers to run the line so they could get the supplies of ballast that reside in the hills on his line. But despite his nickname, he is actually taller than the other two Controllers on the Island!

The Fat & Thin Clergymen

The Thin Clergyman
Rev Wilbert Vere Awdry

The Fat Clergyman
Rev Teddy Boston

Don’t those two Railway Enthusiasts look familiar? Funny enough, they should be to Railway Series fans!


They are no other than the Reverends Wilbert Awdry and Teddy Boston, otherwise known as the Thin and Fat Clergyman. Toward the end of his books, Awdry began adding himself and his good friend Teddy into infrequent books. They featured firstly in Small Railway Engines as a pair of enthusiasts taking photographs, and then again with the same set of characters in Duke The Lost Engine, where they helped to find Duke with their intentions to “mend him and make him happy again”.

The Two Clergymen in CGI


Even today, they have been “immortalised” in the current CGI TV Series. Reverend Awdry was first to appear in a minor cameo in Sodor’s Legend of the Lost Treasure, as a kindly nod to the 70th anniversary of his original books. Then both he and Teddy Boston appeared together when the Small Railway Engines story ‘Tit for Tat’ was adapted for Season 20. If you look closely in future specials and episodes, they may very well be present amongst the crowd somewhere!