Departed Characters

Engines come and Engines go...many leave for different reasons...

Rosie the Dockside Engine

Rosie

Despite joining the railway late on, Rosie has a history with Charles Topham Hatt, the 2nd Fat Controller, who was part of the Royal Engineers at Longmoor and drove Rosie whilst serving there, with Matthew Kyndley as his Fireman.  He retained a great affection for Rosie and upon rediscovery of her in 1990, oversaw her full restoration, which was completed months before he died in 1997.

 

Rosie came to the NWR in 2000 to work as part of the Ffarquhar Branch Line roster, carrying out the necessary work on developing the Ulfstead Extension.  Since 2004, she has shared duties with Brad, before being deployed to work full-time at Knapford Harbour.

Important Information

 RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: UK War Department / Longmoor Military Railway

LOCO TYPE:  USA Dock Tank

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #67 - Thomas' Branch Line Bothers

DATE OF ENTRY: 2000

CURRENT STATUS: Operational

CURRENT LIVERY: Longmoor Military Railway Livery - Royal Blue with Red and White Lining

CREATORS: Ryan Healy & Rhys Davies


About the Character

Rosie’s career with the Military nearly ended before it began.  When the ship delivering her from the United States was approaching the Western Approaches, the cargo-hold began filling with water, and had to be rescued before it sank.  Whilst she and her classmates made it to dry land safely, Rosie had developed a life-long aqua-phobia as a consequence of the event.

 

When Charles Hatt and Rosie first met at Longmoor, both were outsiders. Charles had recently been separated from his young family, and Rosie was an outsider due to her nominal gender, with men and engines alike treating her as a inexplicable embarrassment; it is likely that this contributed to their bonding, and founded the desire to prove herself that forms the core of Rosie’s personality. As part of this she shunned criticism and resolved to be just as rough, tough and hardworking as her shedmates at Longmoor Camp, but her efforts ultimately came to naught, when her supervising officers decided that dispatching her for actual European service after D-Day would be ‘bad for discipline’. Instead, Rosie remained ‘behind the lines’ at Longmoor, working supply trains. At Charles’ suggestion however, prior to his own embarkation for Normandy, she treated this piece of misdirected chivalry as a chance to prove what she could do, and spent the remainder of the war operating supply trains within the Longmoor complex.

 

This was by no means an easy task. The LMR featured several miles of single-and-double-tracked main line along with additional branches and yards serving various camps and barracks, and with thousands of vehicles passing through daily the timetable of both troop and goods trains was intensive. In the spirit of the women who built her however, Rosie mastered this challenge and was eventually recognised for her efforts with the ‘rank amongst engines’ of Sergeant, and a permanent home at Longmoor after the cessation of hostilities. A fellow resident at the time was ‘Brad’, a classmate who Rosie came to regard as a beloved brother.

 

However, all good things must come to an end, and in 1969 the LMR was found redundant by the Royal Engineers and closed, with all its engines demobbed for scrap. Amid the pageantry of closure, Rosie and Brad were unexpectedly saved by Charles Hatt, now the Second Fat Controller, who purchased them through the Hatt Steam Preservation Trust, after which they did stalwart service, together and apart, on various ‘startup’ Heritage Railways that could not afford their own locomotives. The ultimate dream of both however, was to eventually see service on their ‘real railway’, the NWR.  Rosie worked the small demonstration yard for several years before being retired as a static exhibit in 1981.  There was talk of her being restored to full working order over a period of years, however, this never materialised.

 

It wasn’t until 1990, when Sir Charles Topham Hatt brought Rosie back to Sodor for a full mechanical overhaul.  Such was the undertaking that it took several years to get Rosie back into full working order, with work being completed in 1996 at Crovan’s Gate Works.  Charles, now frail and ill took great pride in seeing her run under her own steam one more time.

 

In 1999, with work on the Ulfstead extension stepping up, the Fat Controller decided it was time to bring in another locomotive to help on the Branch Line.  The Museum’s shares in Rosie were bought out completely and she was brought into NWR ownership in January of 2000, beginning work on the Ffarquhar Branch in the spring of that year.

 

Since then, Rosie has become a valued asset to the branch. Life in the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ that was Longmoor has made her adept at passenger and goods services alike, and the Ulfstead football team even adopted her as their mascot. Her military background means she controls trucks with ease and takes orders well, and her pride and loyalty to the railway is unquestioned. As part of this, although she still wears LMR blue, at her own insistence she is one of the few engines to also carry ‘NWR’ branding on her person – “I spent forty years as part of the ‘NWR in Exile’,” she explains, “and now that I’m here I am going to fly the flag no matter what!”. Due to her British upbringing, she is also far more likely to burst out singing ‘Rule Britannia’ than ‘American the Beautiful’, though she remains proud of her heritage as a ‘Yankee Tank’.

 

Upon completion of the Ulfstead extension in 2004, she began sharing duties with Brad on passenger and goods work all along the Branch Line.  As time went on, however, her role at Ffarquhar slowly marginalised until Rosie spent much of her time at Knapford Harbour as a Dockyard shunting engine. After helping to clear the damage caused by the 'Great Ffarquhar Flood' in late 2010, the Fat Controller had to admit that she was surplus to requirements and, in a bid to save extra coal and water, had her sold off to a Heritage Railway. She has since proven herself to be just as useful at her new home as she had been on Sodor.


Real Life Locomotive Basis

Designed in less than a week by US Colonel Howard Hill, the 382 S100 ‘Yankee Tanks’ remain the most powerful class of six-wheeled tank engine ever to operate within the British Isles, and their rugged, no-nonsense design and construction left quite an impression wherever they went. Frederick Hawksworth on the GWR took inspiration for his ‘1500’ shunters from them, and more notably the Southern Railway purchased several and modified them into its ‘USA’ class, for service at Southampton Docks (of which Rosie’s cousin, Brad, is an example, with Rosie remaining closer to ‘as-built’ condition). Travelling as far afield as Greece and Africa during WW2, the S100s saw post-war service all over Eurasia, with many countries building their own versions of the class. Some indeed, are so similar that they have been brought to Britain and ‘retconned’ into lookalikes of the Southern’s USA tanks.

Arcelia the Class 59

Arcelia the Class 59

When the Oil Refinery became busier, the Management had the idea of bringing in their own personal Diesel engine to be in charge of running the oil trains as well as assisting Kaiser with the shunting. So Arcelia was brought in on trial to see how well she could perform. 


But though Arcelia seemed friendly and inviting at first, she soon proved to be a real nasty piece of work. She was known to be very manipulate with trying to get her own way, causing more harm through lies and spiteful words, and caring little for any engine (steam in particular) she deems out of date compared to her make. Her attempts to bring other Diesel engines on to her side proved to be her downfall, however, when she crossed swords with Bear...

Important Information

 RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: ARC (Hanson)

LOCO TYPE: British Railways Class 59

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #103 - More About Kaiser The Fireless Engine
DATE OF ENTRY: 2004
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: CO-CO
CURRENT LIVERY: Red / Blue
CURRENT STATUS: Operational
CREATOR: The Old Bean

About the Character

When Arcelia first arrived on Sodor, she was in a bit of a pickle.  She had been sent across from the Other Railway for review, and due to her poor reliability, feared that she may well be transferred to a Heritage Railway and retired.  Then, she eyed up the possibility of replacing Kaiser at the Oil Refinery and attempted to blackmail and con him out of his position.

 

Her own ignorance and deceit soon caught up with her later on, and she was transferred to a Quarry upon her departure from Sodor.  The last known mention of Arcelia came from Procor, who had caused significant damage to her.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Arcelia is based on the BR Class 59 Diesels built for ARC in the early 1990s.

Vermat the Mountain Rail-Car

Vermat

Vermat arrived on trial to try and develop the services on the Culdee Fell Mountain Railway, but proved to be such a disaster with his numerous faults and failings that the management decided to ship him back to his manufacturers when his trial period was over. Vermat became desperate to stay, and his desperation led him to try and highlight the faults in the unpopular and uppity Diesel, Norman, in the hopes that he would be sent away instead. However, Vermat’s final failing was his ultimate undoing, and the plan failed. He was sent back to his manufacturers a broken engine.

Important Information

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Culdee Fell Railway

LOCO TYPE: HPE Tredegar Railcar
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #58 –
Brave Mountain Engines
DATE OF ENTRY: 1995
CURRENT STATUS: Scrapped (Effective 2010)
CURRENT LIVERY: Orange & Cream with Green Lining
CREATOR: Stuart

About the Characters

The Diesel Railcar, Vermat, was introduced on trial from HPE Tredegar Ltd at the same time as Norman and Betty. There were great hopes that this would bring the line “bang up to date” with the best traction on the island, and an experience of modern as well as futuristic and classic traction whilst ascending Culdee Fell.

However, the Railcar proved to be a huge disappointment for the railway. Whilst being able to ferry twice as many passengers on a regular trip, it was hugely erratic and unreliable. Throughout it’s time in service, and was often withdrawn for repairs to put faults right, many of which, even the manufacturers themselves were reluctant to find explanation for.

It was because of these factors that railway’s management decided before the end of the trial period that it would not be worthwhile purchasing Vermat outright, and withdrew the locomotive indefinitely following yet another failure prior to the end of the trial period. He was returned to HPE Tredegar in 1998, and sold on cheaply to another railway abroad, once the manufacturers were satisfied that all faults were finally addressed.

Sadly, they hadn’t been, and reports from the railway have seen him once again withdrawn and scrapped effective of July 2010.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

The Snowdon Mountain Railcars were bought by the same company in 1995, and proved to be hugely unreliable to the railway. They were withdrawn in 2001, and remained at Llanberis for nine years with an uncertain future. In July of 2010, they were taken away from the railway for scrapping, having only served six years in an active revenue-earning role.

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Important Information

LOCO TYPE: Caldon Low Industrial Tanks
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #156 - Restoration Engines
DATE OF ENTRY: 2009
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 0-4-0
CURRENT STATUS: Static Exhibits
LIVERY: Furness Railway Red
CREATOR: Simon Martin

About The Characters

Snake and Newt were originally brought to the Island of Sodor as contractor locomotives to help with the construction of the Sodor China Clay Pits at Brendam Bay.  Although useful during the construction of the Clay Mines, the two engines were not deemed suitable for the needs of the Sodor China Clay company to run the trains to the Harbour at Brendam on a regular basis.

 

They were succeeded by Bill and Ben when the mines opened in 1948, and were kept as spare locomotives in case of emergency.  Emergencies were few and far between over the years, and Snake and Newt very rarely saw service apart from when Bill and Ben required overhauls or repair. They were stored under cover at Brendam for a number of years before going on display at the Harbour until the effects of the sea air began to take their toll on the two engines in the 1990s, when they were once again moved to storage to avoid further damage.

 

The Sodor China Clay Company did attempt to pass the locomotives on permanent loan to the Sodor Railway Preservation Society whilst they were still based at Ballahoo, but given that space and funds were both at a premium at that time, the two locos were rejected.  However, when the new museum opened in 2009, Snake and Newt were welcomed with open arms and cosmetically restored at Crovans Gate Works to their former glory.  They now form part of the exhibition telling the story of Sodor’s industrial heritage.

Real Life Locomotive Basis

Snake and Newt are based on the industrial tank engines built for the Caldon Low Tramway