Narrow gauge engines (Thomas and Friends)

Narrow gauge engines (Thomas and Friends)

In Thomas and 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


Victor (voiced by Matt Wilkinson) is a bright 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]

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.

Narrow-gauge Railway


Skarloey (voiced by Keith Wickham) is one of the oldest engines on the narrow gauge railway (in the original books he is the oldest). He is painted burgundy with white stripes, and sports the number "1" as well as nameplates on both sides.

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.


Rheneas (voiced by Ben Small) is one of the oldest engines on the Island of Sodor. Rheneas is painted vermilion with black nameplates and the number "2" on each of his sides.

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.

Sir Handel

This engine is first introduced as Falcon, who worked alongside Duke and Stuart (Peter Sam) on an old railway in the past. He has always been painted blue with red stripes and a nameplate and the number "3" on each side. When Falcon was bought to work on the Skarloey Railway, he was renamed Sir Handel.

He was given a set of wheels with broad tyres, which the other engines called "steam roller wheels". Sir Handel can be hot-headed and always has to have his way, which makes the trucks and coaches dislike him, but his personality seemed milder after a period of work at the stone quarry.

Sir Handel made his debut in Season 4, but was not seen again until Season 10. In The Railway Series, Sir Handel was given the Skarloey Railway's red livery, but he remained blue in the TV series.

Peter Sam

Peter Sam (voiced by Keith Wickham) began his life as Stuart, working on an old railway with Duke and Falcon (Sir Handel). He has dark green paint with red stripes, red nameplates and wears 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 behaviour. 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 taken 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 first appeared in Season 4, and he has made appearances in every season (except Season 8) since. In The Railway Series, he was given a red coat of paint like the other narrow gauge engines.


Rusty is the only diesel engine on the narrow gauge railway. Rusty is mostly orange, with his name and the number "5" painted on his side in white.

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. Rusty quickly made 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. In The Railway Series he was painted black with a similar nameplate to the steam engines.


Duncan arrived as a spare engine while Skarloey was being repaired. Duncan is the tallest of the narrow gauge engines, and his long funnel and high-roofed cab can make tunnels a tight squeeze. He is painted amber and wears nameplates and the number "6" on his sides.

Duncan is boisterous and likes having something to complain about. His "rock 'n' rolling" along the line got him in trouble when the end of a tunnel collapsed on him. He likes to be polished and often feels that he's overworked. Duncan can be prone to abandoning his work in search of adventure, which often gets him into trouble.

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

Fearless Freddie

Fearless Freddie is an old light grey 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.

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


Duke is considered a hero among most of the engines on the Island of Sodor. He is coloured 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. 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.

Duke was introduced in Season 4, but this is the only season to date in which he was featured. The story of Duke was based upon a true story about an engine abandoned in the Brazilian rain forest. Duke himself is based on the engine Prince, a tank and tender engine on the Ffestiniog Railway at Porthmadog, North Wales.

Mighty Mac

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

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.

Minor characters


Smudger is a reckless tank engine who worked on Duke's old railway. Smudger liked to show off, often riding roughly and derailing. He scoffed at Duke's warnings, which prompted the Manager to turn him into a generator behind the engine shed. It is not recorded what happened to Smudger when the line closed.

Smudger was only seen in "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, but painted a dark green with black stripes. Smudger is based on a Jennings Fletcher 0-4-0 engine.


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

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, and quickly ran back.


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. 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


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