The Norramby Road Museum - Exhibits

Thomas first met Bertie the Bus when the little tank engine became stuck in the snow - Bertie had been called to rescue his passengers. A little while later, they decided to have a friendly race to see which of them was the fastest. And even though Bertie lost the race, he has become good friends with Thomas and the other Branch Line Engines ever since. 


Bertie is a cheery chap, ready to help out when needed. Sometimes he boasts of the reliability of the roads, but the engines don't mind as it's only friendly teasing.

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #4 - Tank Engine Thomas Again
DATE OF ENTRY: 1948
CURRENT STATUS: Working Exhibit
CURRENT LIVERY: Red
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

For several decades, Bertie ran a bus service that was both competitive and complimentary to the Ffarquhar Branch Line, and contributed to Sodor Roadways, cultivating a very good working relationship with the North Western Railway management. His notoriety as a friend of Thomas the Tank Engine was capitalised upon by his owners, who kept him lovingly maintained right up until the 1990s when the company was privatised and taken over by a larger mainland based group. 


Whilst still in good working order, by the 1980s, Bertie had been relegated to a novelty role, running special ‘nostalgia’ services on the back of his television series popularity, largely in the tourist seasons when visitors would come to the island. The new owners agreed that this was still a viable idea and sold him to the Sodor Road Museum to continue this role in 1996. 


 Bertie is now a star attraction and remains in active role, running special services to the seaside, mountains and along his old stomping ground to provide special days out on the Ffarquhar Branch.

Bertie is based on an AEC Regal "T Class" London Country Area bus - painted in the common red livery of many of London's buses.

Algy

Algy is one of Bertie's friends, who lived and worked at the same bus company. Like Bertie, Algy is a friendly sort, always eager to lend a wheel in an emergency.

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #92 – Road Museum Vehicles

DATE OF ENTRY: 1950


CURRENT STATUS: Working
 Exhibit

CURRENT LIVERY: Blue and White


CREATOR: Christopher Awdry


Algy hadn't always worked on Sodor - in his first few years he worked in the South East areas of London, constantly overworked from chartering commuters here and there. This did not do his engine much good, and in the end he was sold to Sodor Roadways “for a score”. Though his engine still caused him problems, he and Bertie became very good friends regardless, and would help each other out when possible. 


When the two buses were eventually retired from regular service, Bertie put in a good word to the people at the Norramby Road Museum, who agreed to take Algy on so he could help Bertie with the special coach tours across the Island. As an added bonus, they also helped to fully repair Algy's motor! 


Algy is happier now he is given proper care and attention - but sometimes he is still subject to folly. In 2013 he had a silly falling out with Nero over who could show visitors the best view of a local lighthouse, and become stranded in a field as a result. 


Unlike most of the characters in the Railway Series, Algy only ever appeared in the Annual Stories penned by Christopher Awdry. He was officially made “canon” in the ERS.

Algy is based on a AEC Regal "T Class" London Country Area bus.

Caroline is a kind but fussy old car - she does not like high speeds and is very set in her ways. Some call her "old fashioned" while many simply see her as "nostalgic".

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #18 – Stepney the Bluebell Engine 
DATE OF ENTRY: 1915
CURRENT STATUS: Static Exhibit
CURRENT LIVERY: Red
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

All her life, Caroline has been based in the Ffarquhar region, in the very early days before Thomas was given the Branch Line for himself. She lived near Elsbridge by the Cricket Field, and was “Master's” primary source of travel, consisting of gentle rides in the country for sightseeing or picnic outings. What she cannot stand are hills and high speeds; being highly-sprung she is sensitive to both, and is only too happy to travel anywhere that is remotely flat without any need to hurry. 


In those days, Caroline did not hold with railways. Although not as rebellious as George or Bulgy, she quietly but firmly took no notice, seeing Thomas, Percy and Toby as “silly, noisy things.” But after her chase with Stepney, she soon changed her mind when Stepney and his crew kindly helped her back home to the cricket field. She soon changed her minds about trains after that. 


But as time passed, her Owner was unable afford her repairs. After buying a new car to get about in, he kept Caroline safe and warm in her garage for many years, until the Norramby Road Museum was formed. When the museum people enquired of any old cars to be part of their exhibit, “Master” knew that Caroline deserved better and so donated to the museum where she lives to this day. She had made lots of new friends and is only too happy to participate in various Vintage Car Rallys. 

Caroline is based on a "bullnose" Morris Oxford, a range of motor cars in the United Kingdom from as far back as 1913.

Red Dragon is a tough old girl - she has a heart of gold and respect for her friends, but she doesn't suffer fools gladly, and is never afraid to stand up against anyone who tries to push her around. In fact, she is one of the few in the Road Museum who can put natural grumblers like George in their place!

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #92 - Road Museum Vehicles
DATE OF ENTRY: 1930
CURRENT STATUS: Working Exhibit
CURRENT LIVERY: Maroon Red with Gold Lining
CREATOR: Christopher

Red Dragon once lived and worked in the Scottish Highlands, the pride and joy of a respectable Laird. Red Dragon (known to locals as “The Dragon Lady”) was previously owned by the Laird's Great-Grandfather, who had been a humble shepherd in his young days; and the Laird, a respectable man, intended to maintain family tradition by showcasing Red Dragon at every vicarage and fete held at his grand mansion – he even owned his own personal pair of overalls to drive the old girl himself. She also made regular visits to the Balado and Boat of Garten event. As well as that, Red Dragon was often loaned to farms if a tractor should fail. 


Then in mid-1990 the old Laird quietly passed away, and Red Dragon's future was unknown. She had been close to being bought up by the Scottish Traction Engine Society, until the Laird's will was discovered, which stated that Red Dragon was entitled to a distant family member, who at that time was currently living on Sodor. Unfortunately, there wasn't much room for his home for a Traction Engine...! 


So Red Dragon was kept in safe storage where, overtime, he kindly donated Red Dragon to the Norramby Road Museum where he would always be able to visit her any time. He is especially pleased to see Red Dragon chuntering about at various Vintage Rallies too, just as she had done so many years before. 


 Since then, Red Dragon has been a popular sight at the museum and at Vintage Rallies - her most memorable event was The Mid-Sodor Rally in 2007 (ERS #142) where she and George accidentally caused some damage to a bandstand...

Red Dragon is based on a Wallis and Steevens Oil-Bath Tractor model.

George has been vehemently anti-railways since anyone can remember. He has caused trouble for the Skarloey Railway engines, stirred up trouble on the Little Western for Duck and Oliver, and even caused Daisy some discomfort when he was assisting with roadworks in the mid-1990s. He was begrudgingly retired in the late 1990s and sold to the Sodor Road Heritage group for their new museum, and now acts as a working exhibit alongside Bertie the Bus.

Important Information


RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #17 - Gallant Old Engine

DATE OF ENTRY: 1962

CURRENT STATUS: Working Exhibit

CURRENT LIVERY: Green with White Lining

CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry


About the Character

George first came to the attention of the Sodor engines when he was repairing a road adjacent to the Skarloey Railway’s former quarry at Ward Fell. This ended in near-disaster when he and Sir Handel ‘raced’ down the narrow lane between road and railway, with George colliding into Sir Handel’s train. 


After this, George was sent to work on other projects across the Island. One of these was mending the road that ran alongside the Little Western, where George and his team keenly stirred up trouble for Duck and Oliver. However, due to flooding, the line was closed and the engines couldn’t take George home as planned when the job was done. An attempt to drive home on his own steam proved disastrous – with George passing through a farm lane, and whacking into the farmer’s cars (ERS #54). 


After this, he was banned from the roads for driving without insurance and Sodor Roads Dept. were forced to sell him on to a Scrap Yard. George worked there for many unhappy years before being laid to one side in the late 1990s. However, he did make the occasional return to his previous work with the Sodor Roads Dept. when Dennis was in need of repair (RWS #36). 


Upon retirement from the Scrap Yard, he was then taken on by Sodor Road Heritage as a working exhibit. On one of the first Vintage Rallies he took part in, he made for a spectacular sight – when he lost control of a load he was due to deliver on behalf of a lorry driver to Norramby, and crashing into a garden wall (ERS #92)! 


In 2007, George took part in the Mid Sodor Heritage Railway’s Steam Rally, and became a hero when he and the Traction Engine, Red Dragon, hauled a low-loader, carrying Duke, to the railway when it had broken down (ERS #142).

It is thought that George’s original basis was taken from the Rev. Teddy Boston’s Aveling & Porter Steamroller, 'Thistledown'.

Guinevere

Guinevere was an interesting character to develop, and and something of an experiment - she is basically the ERS equivalent of Elizabeth from the TV Series. And like Elizabeth, Guinevere is a proud, no-nonsense type, who is still a great friend to those who know her and likes to perform an excellent service.

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #92 – Road Museum Vehicles

DATE OF ENTRY: 1937


CURRENT STATUS: Working Exhibit


CURRENT LIVERY: Blue


CREATORS: Ryan & Christopher


Guinevere’s discovery came as rather of a mystery. During construction of the Miniature Railway's new tea room near the end of the line, the men came across an old shack which had been left alone for a long time. Deciding to examine it for either restoration or demolition, they were very surprised to find very dusty old steam lorry inside! 


The lorry introduces herself as Guinevere, and many years ago she had worked for an unknown (long defunct) company near the port of Norramby. When the company closed down, she was put away in her shed and apparently forgotten about. The Miniature Railway Manager made a decision - as no one seems to be in any real hurry to reclaim her, they would make use of her instead. 


 So Guinevere was kept busy helping to deliver the supplies needed for the new tea room. She soon proved to be popular along the railway – but her strange presence soon caught the eye of Algy when he saw what he thought looked like a steam engine running where there no rails…and after a brief run-in with the Steam Rally at Norramby Town, her presence was soon heard of by all and sundry. The Road Transport Museum decide to buy up Guinevere once her work was done, and she has remained there ever since. 


Even though Guinevere has no memory of her old owners, she seems perfectly happy all the same. At the very least, she helps Red Dragon to keep troublemakers like George in their place!

Guinevere is based on a Sentinel DG4 steam lorry.

Arnold

Arnold is a ploughing engine who, alongside best friend Geoffrey, enjoys attending steam rallies and fairs to demonstrate his art. Old and happy with his retirement, Arnold can be a bit forgetful and repetitive, but he mean well and has a heart of gold.

Important Info

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #142 - The Mid-Sodor Rally

DATE OF ENTRY: 2007

CURRENT STATUS: Static Exhibit
CURRENT LIVERY: Black with Red Detailing / Yellow & Chocolate Detailing on Bunker
CREATOR: Ian

About the Character

Arnold arrived new on Sodor in 1916 straight from the factory. Originally he worked at a farm north of Wellsworth, before being sold on to Claude O'Brien in 1944; a fact he was glad about, as his first owner had no understanding of ploughing engines; as Arnold often remarks, "'E didn't even know one end of a plough from another!" Claude took great care of the engine, as did he son Raymond. 


In 1956 Arnold was ‘retired’ from service for two years while 'The Master' raised funds for maintenance. Finally in 1958 he returned to Leeds for heavy boiler repairs, which were necessary after years of 'patch-up jobs'. Returned in excellent condition after only a few months away, this was Arnold's only jaunt away from Sodor until 1997, when together with Geoffrey he made the journey to a Steam Rally in Cumbria. They have since visited several similar events with their owner Raymond O’Brien, who keeps the two engines as part of his private collection. 


Now inclined to go off at tangents and reminisce rather a lot about "The old'ern days", Arnold is quite happy with retirement and content to let the younger vehicles have their chance to prove themselves, but has shown that he can still put in a hard days work when needed; provided he’s treated kindly by an experienced pair of hands! 


In 2011 Arnold's boiler ticket expired and he spent two years alone in his shed before being moved to the Road Museum as a long term visitor, where he earns his keep as a static exhibit until funds can be sourced for his overhaul.

Arnold’s real life counterpart is 1916 John Fowler & Co. 'K7' Steam Plough. At least two of this type survive, No.14257 ‘Linkey’ and sister engine No.14258 ‘Sevington’. Both saved for preservation in 1961 by the steam enthusiasts the Pegden Brothers of Elham, Kent, before later being sold separately. The two engines were reunited at the Bedfordshire and Steam & County Fayre in 2003 after 56 years apart.