Narrow gauge engines (Thomas & Friends)

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This article is about the TV cartoons characters. For the books, see The Railway Series.

In Thomas & Friends, the Island of Sodor is home to a narrow gauge railway in the hills. These lines and the engines who work on them are some of the oldest on the island. The narrow gauge railway has some contact with The Fat Controller's standard gauge engines, but the location of the railway leaves the little engines in relative isolation.

Sir Topham Hatt's railway[edit]

Victor[edit]

Victor is a dark red Hispanic tank engine in charge of the Sodor Steamworks. He supervises all the engines who journey in and out of the workshops, as well as Kevin, the clumsy yard crane. Victor always has a helpful, constructive disposition and is good-humored with everyone he meets.[1] He speaks with a Cuban accent and spoke Spanish when he first came to Sodor.

Victor was introduced in the feature length special Hero of the Rails. The show's staff were researching real-life engine workshops as inspiration for the Steamworks when they learned that one had a self-contained narrow-gauge line, used to transport parts internally. The staff decided they wanted an engine with a cab, and chose as a prototype ALCo's #1173, which was specially built for a sugar plantation line in Cuba.[1] Some artistic licence was taken, as the original #1173 is a standard gauge locomotive.[2] Victor made multiple further appearances in the thirteenth series, and has appeared in every series and special since.

In Blue Mountain Mystery, it is revealed that Victor originally came to Sodor with Luke. Back then, he was painted bright yellow. Because Victor did not speak the same language as Luke or the crew on the ship, they could not understand him. While at sea, the chains holding Victor down to the deck of the ship snapped, causing him to roll freely along the short stretch of track that he was on. When the ship arrived at the docks, Luke asked to be taken up first. Victor tried to tell the crew about his chains, but they still could not understand him, so did not pay attention. When Luke was lifted off the ship, he accidentally bumped Victor, which sent him rolling backwards along the deck and into the sea. Luckily, Victor was saved by a jetty. It was a long time before he was lifted out, but instead of being sent to the Smelter's Yard, as Luke had thought, he was repaired. To communicate with the workmen, Victor learned their language, his first word being "red" because it was the color he wanted to be for his new life on Sodor.

Victor first appeared in Hero of the Rails and has appeared in seasons 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18. He also has supporting roles in Misty Island Rescue, Day of the Diesels, Blue Mountain Mystery and King of the Railway.

Voice Actors

Skarloey Railway[edit]

Skarloey[edit]

Skarloey

Skarloey is one of the oldest engines on the Island of Sodor. Skarloey lives and works on the Skarloey Railway as Engine No.1. He speaks in a heavy punctuated Welsh accent. He is painted red with white lining. Skarloey has his brother, called Rheneas.

When Skarloey first appeared in Season 4, he had not worked in some time, but soon proved his worth once more. He has often been a dedicated worker and a very wise engine, however later seasons have portrayed an element of timidness, and occasional childishness. The back of Engines and Escapades even describes him and Rheneas as a young and mischievous duo. Skarloey is based on Talyllyn, a locomotive found on the Talyllyn Railway.

As the series progressed, Skarloey's character waxed and waned, especially under the influence of HIT Entertainment. He and the other Narrow Gauge Skarloey engines took a full absence in the eight season but returned the following season alongside the other engines and two new arrivals, Mighty Mac (introduced in Season 9) and Fearless Freddie (introduced in Season 10). However, his character was altered into a more teenager-like personality. In recent episodes, he has tried to impress the other engines by bravely (but foolishly) going up the incline at the Slate Quarry with the coal trucks, and he was also carried across the Island on Thomas' flatbed in the Season 10 finale all the way to the Works. In the CGI series, his classic personality has returned. Skarloey is now the respected leader of the Blue Mountain Quarry.

Skarloey first appeared in season 4 and has appeared in seasons 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18. He has also appeared in The Great Discovery and has supporting roles in Blue Mountain Mystery and King of the Railway.

Voice Actors

Rheneas[edit]

Rheneas

Rheneas is one of the oldest engines on the Island of Sodor, along with Skarloey and Duke. Rheneas lives and works on the Skarloey Railway as Engine No. 2, and is known as the "Gallant Old Engine" because he saved the railway from closure. Rheneas is painted vermilion with gold and black stripes. He was Skarloey's twin brother in The Railway Series, but in the television series they are just referred to as friends.

Rheneas was first featured in the fourth season, in which Skarloey told of how Rheneas' dedication saved the railway despite considerable obstacles. This dedication earned Rheneas extensive repairs, and he was touted as a hero on his return. Since returning, Rheneas has worked diligently on the Narrow Gauge Railway on Sodor. Rheneas is based on Dolgoch, a locomotive found on the Talyllyn Railway.

When Rheneas returned to the series after an absence in Season 8, he was depicted with a more childlike attitude. His first major role of the new series, "Rheneas and the Dinosaur" featured him and Skarloey having a dispute when Rheneas gets to pull a dinosaur skeleton but can't manage on his own. It should also be noted that Skarloey and Rheneas have never been referred to as brothers in the TV adaptation, being called friends in the more recent episodes.

Rheneas first appeared in season 4 and has appeared in seasons 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18. He also appears in The Great Discovery and has supporting roles in Blue Mountain Mystery and King of the Railway.

Voice Actors

Sir Handel[edit]

Sir Handel is a fictional steam locomotive from The Railway Series children's books by the Rev. W. Awdry and its spin-off TV series, Thomas & Friends. Sir Handel lives and works on the Skarloey Railway on the Island of Sodor as Engine No. 3. Sir Handel is named after the owner of the Skarloey Railway, Sir Handel Brown. Sir Handel is painted blue with red stripes.

He was originally called Falcon when he lived on the Mid Sodor Railway with Duke and Stuart (now known as Peter Sam). When the railway closed, he and Stuart were sold to the Sodor Aluminium Company, and then later to the Skarloey Railway, where he was renamed Sir Handel and given a red coat of paint. He had problems with staying on the track, so he was fitted with a set of wheels with wide tyres, nicknamed "steamroller wheels" by the other engines. He was taken to pieces for a television programme when he pretended to be ill. Later, he was sent to the Talyllyn Railway in Wales when one of their engines needed repairs. Most recently, he caused trouble for the Thin Controller by deliberately damaging his firebox.

Sir Handel made his debut in Season 4 and did not appear in any of the episodes between the fifth and ninth seasons, but was not seen again until Season 10. In The Railway Series, Sir Handel was given the Skarloey Railway's red livery, although he was always painted blue in the TV series. Sir Handel is based on Sir Haydn, a locomotive found on the Talyllyn Railway.

Sir Handel first appeared in season 4 and did not return until season 10. He has also appeared in seasons 11, 12, 16, 17, and 18. He also appears in The Great Discovery and has a supporting role in Blue Mountain Mystery.

Voice Actors

Peter Sam[edit]

Peter Sam

Peter Sam began his life as Stuart, working on an old railway with Duke and Falcon (now known as Sir Handel). He has green paint with red stripes, red nameplates, and the number 4. Peter Sam was bought to work on the Narrow Gauge Railway at the same time as Sir Handel, and often ended up apologising for his old friend's behavior. Coaches and trucks alike found him polite and easy to get along with, so he quickly became a useful addition to the railway.

Following an accident with some trucks, Peter Sam's funnel came loose and was knocked off by an icicle hanging in a tunnel. The replacement funnel was square and strange-looking. The other engines made fun of the new funnel until they discovered how well Peter Sam worked because of it.

Peter Sam was introduced as Stuart in the fourth season of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. A number of Peter Sam's original adventures were adapted, with the same personality he had in the books. For the next few seasons, his character waxed and waned. After being absent with the other Narrow Gauge engines for Season 8, he returned with Skarloey, Rheneas, Rusty, and Duncan the following year, starring in the episode "The Magic Lamp". He still retains qualities from the books, and has had his flattened funnel since the adaptation of "Special Funnel" in 1995. In recent episodes, Peter Sam has made cameos and other minor roles, but in Season 11 he had a couple of speaking roles. In Season 12, Peter Sam stars in "Mountain Marvel" where he finds a statue of Proteus.

Unlike the Skarloey Railway of the books, where all the locomotives are painted red, in the TV series each is painted a different colour: Peter Sam retains his original green colour from The Mid-Sodor Railway. Also, Peter Sam's Giesl Injector was more square flat than in the RWS. For his CGI appearance, though, he has an accurate Giesl.

Peter Sam first appeared in season 4 and has appeared in seasons 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18. He also appeared in The Great Discovery and has a supporting role in Blue Mountain Mystery. He also cameoed in King of the Railway.

Voice Actors

Rusty[edit]

Rusty the Diesel is responsible for hauling maintenance trains for gangers to repair the track. He also occasionally pulls trucks and, when the railway is very busy, passenger trains. He is one of the kinder diesels on the Island, and he is always trying to make his friends happier. Rusty is mostly orange, with his name and number painted on both side in white, but in The Railway Series, he is painted black. He is No. 5 on the Skarloey Railway,

Rusty came to the railway to help maintain the line, pulling trains of workmen and equipment around the railway. Rusty is fearless, practical, and friendly and he quickly becoming friends with the other engines. Although Duncan can be rude to him, he always apologizes after Rusty has helped him out.

He was one of many engines to make the transition from The Railway Series to the TV Series in Season 4. When he was painted black in The Railway Series, he had a similar nameplate to the steam engines.

Rusty is based on Midlander, a diesel locomotive found on the Talyllyn Railway.

Rusty first appeared in season 4 and has followed in seasons 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18. He also appeared in the specials Calling All Engines, The Great Discovery, Blue Mountain Mystery as a supporting role, and also cameos in King of the Railway.

Voice Actors

Duncan[edit]

Duncan

Duncan is a fictional narrow gauge steam locomotive from The Railway Series children's books by the Rev. W. Awdry, and the spin-off TV series Thomas & Friends. Duncan lives and works on the Skarloey Railway on the Island of Sodor. Though Peter Sam refers to Duncan as "keeping busy and meaning well", he is a stubborn engine that likes to complain that he is overworked. He is known for swaying on the track dangerously, which his driver calls "Rock 'n' Roll".

Duncan first appeared in Season 4 of the TV Series, and reappears frequently. He was painted red in The Railway Series, and is often portrayed with a Scottish accent. In the TV Series, he is painted golden yellow with gold and black lining. He is No. 6 on the Skarloey Railway.

Duncan is based on Douglas, a locomotive found on the Talyllyn Railway. Currently, the real version of the engine carries a character face, name and colour.

Duncan was the only one of the original core engines on the Narrow Gauge Railway not to appear in the new CGI series when the Skarloey Railway engines reappeared in the sixteenth season. However, he did return in season 18 in the episode "Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger".

Duncan first appeared in season 4 and has appeared in seasons 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 18. He also appeared in The Great Discovery and was also mentioned in season 16.

Voice Actors

Duke[edit]

Duke, also known as The Duke, is considered a hero among most of the engines on the Island of Sodor. He is colored brown, with his name displayed on both sides. He was named after his grace, the Duke of Sodor, and whenever anything went wrong he would exclaim, "That would never suit his Grace!"

Duke lived and worked on a now-closed railway with Stuart and Falcon(Sir Handel and Peter Sam). He was the oldest engine on the line, and liked everything to be "just so". This prompted Falcon and Stuart to give him the nickname "Granpuff". When the railway closed, Stuart and Falcon found new homes, but Duke was left behind in his shed. Many years later, a group of enthusiasts excavated Duke's shed, and promised to reunite him with Stuart and Falcon. All three were very happy to meet each other again.

The story of Duke was based upon a true story about an engine abandoned in the Brazilian rain forest.

Duke would be the first narrow-gauge engine in the series to have a tender, even though he was also the first engine introduced on Sodor to not have buffers. Later in the fifth season, his model was turned in Bertram's by being painted dark-brown and wearing Smudger's face.

Duke himself is based on the engine Prince, a tender engine on the Ffestiniog Railway at Porthmadog, North Wales.

He was introduced in Season 4, but this is the only season to date in which he was featured. He appeared early in the episodes of that season and then had some non-speaking appearances later. However, his painting appeared in a signal box in the season 5 episodes "Bye George" and "Oliver's Find". He later made a stock footage cameo in the Season 7 episode "Harold and the Flying Horse".

Mighty Mac[edit]

Mighty Mac is a double-ended Fairlie locomotive, and the newest addition to the Skarloey Railway. Despite the opposing personalities of the two ends, they are technically one engine - one that is painted royal-blue with gold and red stripes. Mighty is the "older" half distinguished by a small flick of hair and Mac is the "younger" and he is distinguished by his youthful features, round nose, and freckled cheeks.

Prior to their adoption into the Skarloey Railway family, Mighty Mac had only ever worked in the shunting yards for a long time. Their conflicting personalities placed themselves and their passengers in danger while running an important errand. But with Thomas' advice in mind, they were able to complete their task and realise the value of working together.

Mighty Mac made their debut in Series 9 of Thomas & Friends, in an episode of the same name. They later have appeared in seasons 10, 11, and 12, and also in The Great Discovery.

Fearless Freddie[edit]

Fearless Freddie is an old warhorse engine who returned to the narrow gauge lines after many years. He carries the Number 7, and has light grey and black and gold livery. He and Sir Handel were close friends when they were younger.

Upon returning home, Freddie was challenged by Rheneas and Skarloey to a series of races up and down the mountain. When he realised he wasn't as strong or fast as he once was, Freddie used his knowledge of the mountain routes and short-cuts to secure victories. However, when his cheating placed Rheneas in danger, Freddie was forced to put his knowledge to better use and help Rheneas.

Freddie is based on Russell, a locomotive found on the Welsh Highland Railway in North Wales.

Freddie first appeared in season 10 and also appeared in seasons 11 and 12. He also appeared in the special The Great Discovery.

Luke[edit]

Luke is a little apple-green Irish narrow gauge tank engine who came to the Island of Sodor at the same time as Victor.

Luke has had many adventures, like befriending a deer and sending it to the Estate (Ulfstead Castle) and switching jobs with Millie. During his visit to the castle, he couldn't find the Groundskeeper's lodge, and he went so fast he bumped his carriage and passengers, but soon he learned to be patient and calm.

Luke appears to be based on a Kerr Stuart Wren locomotive with an enclosed cab with doors added and added buffers. He carries the number 22 on his sides.

Luke first appeared in the 2012 movie Blue Mountain Mystery and has appeared in seasons 16, 17 and 18. He also has a supporting role in King of the Railway.

Voice Actors

Estate Railway[edit]

Millie[edit]

Millie is Sir Robert Norramby's private French narrow gauge tank engine. She who made her debut in the 2013 movie, King of the Railway, she also debuted in the 17th Season episode, The Switch.

Millie is a youthful, fun-loving, narrow gauge engine who runs on Sir Robert Norramby's (the current Earl of Sodor) Estate Railway which includes Ulfstead Castle. In the 17th season episode, The Switch, she learned to work in the Quarry, that she actually liked tunnels, and she found out that she was stronger than she thought.

Millie is based on a Decauville 0-4-0 well tank engine.[3]

She is the first female narrow gauge engine to be introduced in the television series while the Sigrid of Arlesdale is the first female narrow gauge engine to be in The Railway Series.

Millie is painted vibrant blue with white lining, with a golden running board, boiler bands and wheel spokes and Sir Robert Norramby's crest on the sides of her cab.

Millie first appeared in King of the Railway and has appeared in seasons 17 and 18.

Voice Actors

Minor characters[edit]

Smudger[edit]

Smudger is a reckless tank engine who worked on Duke's old railway. Smudger liked to show off, usually riding roughly and derailing. He scoffed at Duke's warnings, which prompted the Manager to turn him into a generator behind the engine shed. Nothing is recorded about what happened to Smudger when The Mid Sodor Railway closed, so that means it's unknown as to if he either has remained there or been scrapped.

Smudger was only seen in the season 4 episode "Granpuff," substituting a red Baldwin called "Number 2" from the original story in the Railway Series. Smudger's model was similar in shape to Rheneas and Duncan, but he was painted dark green with black stripes (Peter Sam/Stuart's colour). Smudger is based on a Jennings Fletcher 0-4-0 engine. His model was later used for Rheneas and his face for Bertram in season 5.

Bertram[edit]

Bertram is an old dark brown engine who worked near an isolated mine on Sodor. He is known as the 'Old Warrior' because of his bravery. He remained at the mine until it was rediscovered years later. Toby thought he was a ghost at first, but the two were later introduced and became friends. Bertram now works at the restored mines, taking passengers to the fairground at the site.

Bertram only appeared in Toby's Discovery and had no dialogue. His body was modified from Duke's, and his face was taken from Smudger. According to Britt Allcroft, Bertram was intended to be a tank engine.

The Ghost Engine[edit]

The Ghost Engine was a narrow gauge engine who supposedly worked on the Skarloey Railway. According to Rusty, he was returning home one misty full moon night when he lost control on the old iron bridge and fell into a ravine. No one has ever found him, but workmen claim to have seen his ghost trying to cross the ravine, only to fail. Rusty told Duncan his story after he teased Peter Sam for allowing his trucks to derail in the ravine. Duncan disbelieved the story, but the next day Duncan's crew arranged things so that Duncan believed the engine was trying to cross the bridge at the same time as him when one misty moon-lite night he was taking some slate trucks from the slate incline quarry, and quickly ran back.

Proteus[edit]

Proteus is a legendary yellow tank engine who wore a magic lamp upon his funnel. Legend said that anyone who found the lamp would have their wishes granted. As Skarloey told this story to the other Skarloey Railway engines, the clues to finding the magic lamp are a rush of wind, a creaking noise, and a flickering light, the source of the flickering being the magic lamp itself. Peter Sam almost thought he discovered the lamp himself after hearing the story.

The other engines have kept him in their minds, and a bronze statue of him has been set up by the railway.

Proteus first appeared in The Magic Lamp, in which his shape was similar to Sir Handel's. His statue appeared in Mountain Marvel.

The name Proteus occurs in Greek Mythology: Proteus was a water-god known as the "Old Man of the Sea".

See also[edit]

References[edit]