Edward the Blue Engine
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|Edward the Blue Engine|
|Thomas & Friends character|
|First appearance||Thomas & Friends)|
|Created by||Wilbert Awdry
|Voiced by||Keith Wickham (UK)
William Hope (US)
Yasuhiro Takato (Japan; 1990-2004; S1-8)
Nozomu Sasaki (Japan; 2005-present; Calling All Engines! onwards)
Edward the Blue Engine is an anthropomorphic steam locomotive from The Railway Series children's books by the Rev W. Awdry, and the related TV Series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. He is a blue 4-4-0 tender engine with red stripes, about the same size as James the Red Engine, and has the number 2 on his tender. Also like James, he is a mixed traffic engine, meaning that he can easily pull freight or passengers, though he prefers freight. He is one of the major characters in both the books and the television series.
Edward is a kind engine, who is always keen to help a friend in need. The younger engines can always rely on him to lend a listening ear and sympathetic advice. He works hard and will always do his utmost to get a job done.
However, the big engines tend to see him as old-fashioned and slow. But the smaller engines such as Thomas, Percy, Toby and Duck respect him greatly and will stick up for him at all times. It is true that he is one of the older engines on The Fat Controller's railway (indeed, he helped to build it), but he has proved time and time again that despite his age he is entirely capable of working as hard as any engine. Several of the stories revolving around him, both in the books and television series, have involved Edward proving his worth to the others. Two of the most notable were 'Old Iron', in which he earned himself an overhaul by capturing a runaway James, and 'Edward's Exploit', in which he brought home a special train despite a breakdown, caused by one of his coupling rods breaking.
Edward has a branch line which he runs with BoCo, a diesel engine. Edward is equally happy with coaches or trucks, but he has also been known to help other engines with heavy loads, pull special trains and even act as a pilot engine for the Royal Train.
Charlie Sand and Sidney Hever
Edward is the only engine whose driver and fireman are named in The Railway Series (Henry's fireman was named in the annuals, being 'Ted'). In the foreword to 'Edward the Blue Engine', their names are given as Charlie Sand and Sidney Hever, and in the story 'Saved from Scrap', their names are mentioned.
These names are puns on their jobs. One of an engine driver's jobs is to sand the rails when they are slippery in order to allow the engine to grip. A fireman's job is to "heave" the coal from the tender or coal bunker to the engine's fire.
Behind the scenes
Edward was the first character created for The Railway Series in 1943. The inspiration for the character came from the Rev. W. Awdry watching trains on the Great Western Railway as a child. He said in interviews with Brian Sibley that to him, the noise of the locomotives' exhaust almost sounded like dialogue. For instance, the larger engines having trouble climbing the hills would appear to be saying, "I can't do it, I can't do it," and the smaller engines helping them would sound like they were saying, "I will do it! I will do it! I will do it!" This was the direct inspiration for the second story in The Three Railway Engines, 'Edward and Gordon'. The first story was 'Edward's Day Out', which was an introduction to the character.
The Rev. W. Awdry has said that Edward is based on a heavily modified Sharp, Stewart & Co. "Larger Seagull" locomotive supplied to the Furness Railway in 1896, but this is a piece of retcon created for the book The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways. Martin Clutterbuck notes that Edward bears a closer resemblance to certain Scottish locomotives of the North British Railway, notably the D20. It is likely that Awdry chose the Furness Railway locomotive because the Furness Railway was the closest mainland railway to Sodor.
The Furness origin for Edward is once again brought up in book 41 Thomas and Victoria, as Edward and Victoria are both from that area. The Reverend Awdry used a model of a LMS Class 2P 4-4-0 class to represent Edward on his model railway.
Edward on television
Edward is the one of the eight engines in The Steam Team.
In Season 10, Edward appears almost as cheeky and inexperienced as Thomas was in the first season, putting him completely out of character. This is especially evident in the episode "Edward Strikes Out", where he went as far as to call the new arrival Rocky "new-fangled nonsense". After an accident, he was back to his old self again.
Edward didn't appear in Thomas and the Magic Railroad as there was not enough screen time and opportunity to utilise him in a way that added any real value to the film. However, he did appear in the specials Calling All Engines, The Great Discovery, Hero of the Rails, Misty Island Rescue, Day of the Diesels, Blue Mountain Mystery, King of the Railway, Tale of the Brave, The Adventure Begins, Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure and The Great Race.
Edward is now voiced by William Hope in the US, (who also voices Toby) and Keith Wickham in the UK, (who also voices Henry, Gordon, Harvey, Salty, Stafford, Bertie, Harold, The Fat Controller and other characters).
- Keith Wickham (UK; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- William Hope (US; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Yasuhiro Takato (Japan; Season 1 – 8)
- Nozomu Sasaki (Japan; Calling All Engines! onwards)