Non-Rail Characters

With a great dislike of railway engines, Roland considers himself far superior given his history, and as such can become rather rude and boastful. He also detests any road vehicle that he feels is ‘letting the side down’, although his bursts of temper usually lead swiftly to his own downfall!

Important Info

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #115 - Adventures of the Ffarquhar Fleet



About the Character

Roland’s first home was a country retreat in the Sussex countryside, owned by a local landowner. His glamorous lifestyle was short-lived as in 1940 he was donated to a local Home Guard for war service, during which he acquired a camouflage style livery instead of his pristine black. At the end of hostilities he was purchased by a member of the platoon, and by 1960 had been bequeathed to relatives living on Sodor. 

Little used due to the expense of such a large vehicle, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that the owner’s son took charge of the vehicle, restoring him gradually to original condition and giving him a sparkling clean white livery. In recent years Roland has often been used as a wedding vehicle, a business that permits his owner to keep him on the road. Unfortunately such an important job has done nothing positive for Roland’s already inflated ego... 

Over the years he has raced Oliver and had his wedding party rescued by Brad, clashed with Bottom and Caroline at the Mid-Sodor Show, failed on a bridge and blocked a busy road and most recently he was seen causing a serious accident for Bulgy the bus! It's no wonder Roland isn't very popular...!

Roland is based on a Rolls Royce Phantom III of 1936 vintage. Many cars were leant to the Forces during the war years when petrol was in such short supply, with most prestigious vehicles often becoming ‘Staff Cars’. Likewise, many have been used for ‘Wedding Vehicles’ since or as museum exhibits.

Dennis is a friendly, hard-working soul who hasn't a bad word to say to anyone. Though he is often referred to as a steamroller, he just shrugs it off in good humour.

Important Information

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #54 – Duck, Oliver & the Little Western

CREATOR: Chris Signore

About the Characters

Little is known about Dennis's history before Sodor - only that he was manufactured in the early 20th century as the last of the steam-rollers were slowly replaced by their diesel-powered successors. Originally, Dennis had been built to run on kerosene, which caused engine problems over the years. As his owners hadn't the money or patience to see to it, he was sold “on the cuff” to a road company on Sodor, who converted Dennis to run on diesel, which improved his performance spectacularly. This was convenient, too, when not long after that, George suffered his accident on the farm lane (ERS #54) and was barred from the roads. As such, the Road Maintenance Company decided to buy up Dennis to replace the troublesome steamroller. 

Much to the engines's relief, Dennis is much more friendly and always has a cheerful word to everyone. He has also demonstrated quick-thinking in any emergency, such as the time he helped Bill and Ben clear a damaged train from Wellsworth crossing (ERS #81). While he's always been a very careful road-goer, his one major accident was caused by reckless driving from Berthold the BMV (ERS #192). Fortunately, he didn't suffer too much damage and was back at work in no time.

Dennis is a "freelance" inspired from various Diesel Roller models.


‘Bulgy’, as coined by the engines, was built sometime between 1954 and 1958, and arrived on Sodor in the late 1960’s to assist with the passengers over the Holidays.

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #44 - Oliver the Western Engine
CURRENT LIVERY: Red with Cream lining, later Cream with Black lining 
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

Bulgy is a rude and grumpy double-decker bus, who has no patience with railways. On first coming to Sodor he was not impressed with how his passengers enjoyed the Small Railway, and insulted Duck with jeers of ‘Down with Railways’ and ‘Free the Roads!’. His ranting generally meant no harm, until one of his friends arrived on the Island and took over his return route- leaving Bulgy available to take the engines’ passengers while masquerading as a ‘Railway Bus’. He famously became stuck under a bridge attempting to take an ill-advised short-cut and was unceremoniously left in the adjacent field for many years, badly damaged, to be used as a hen house. 

In recent years the good people of the Norramby Transport Museum have raised funds for his overhaul, and Bulgy returned to service on pleasure trips in 2013 in a luxurious cream and black livery which enabled him to be hired out for wedding party use. Unfortunately on his first trip, while attempting to save Oliver from a mishap, he was run off the road and badly damaged as a result. His future is once again uncertain.

The AEC Routemaster RM’s were designed between 1947 and 1956 by A.A.M. Durrant, Colin Curtis, and Douglas Scott. They replaced the AEC RT Regents as the primary public bus services around London from 1954 onward. The buses started being withdrawn from 1982, but a number of them remained in service up until 2005. After this however there have been two routes allocated for historical routes for running Routemasters.

Terence enjoys nothing more than hard work, and is capable of a numerous range of tasks thanks to his caterpillar tracks that help him to get just about anywhere. From roads to muddy fields and deep snow, little stands in Terence’s way.

Important Information

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #4 – Tank Engine Thomas Again

CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Characters

His arrival to Sodor is unclear, but he first appears in the series in 1949, soon after Thomas has started work on his branch line. Thomas is scornful of Terence’s tracks, but after being rescued from a snow drift admits Terence is very useful after all. 

Terence has helped the Ffarquhar engines on more than one occasion; he once took charge of the shunting at Ffarquhar during a locomotive shortage, although the trucks didn’t take kindly to his slow and steady speeds (ERS#126), and he helped with the Ulfstead extension project. 

But Terence isn’t infallible; he once blocked the railway with building stone after veering round fallen boulders (RS#42) and needed repairs after battling with a fallen tree in Trevor’s orchard (ERS#43). Although sometimes teased for his looks and slow speeds, Terence always laughs the jokes off, knowing it won’t be long until he can prove his worth.

Although it is not official, the general consensus to Terence’s basis is the Caterpillar Model Seventy Tractor. These were the largest and last petrol driven tractors the company produced; a diesel variant was produced at the same time. 266 of the petrol variant were produced before construction ceased in 1937, and it is believed only 9 survive. However, Terence may also be an Allis-Chalmers M Crawler Tractor of 1932 vintage. Of similar shape and design to the Caterpillar variant, Allis-Chalmers had adopted a Persian Orange livery for their vehicles in 1929, which would explain Terence’s livery instead of the Highway Yellow used by Caterpillar.

Rocky is a scruffy skip lorry, who works just about anywhere carrying away large skips of rubbish. He's loud, strong and confident of his abilities - at least most of the time…!

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #74 – Odd Job Engines
CURRENT LIVERY: Weathered Yellow
CREATOR: Chris Signore

Rocky is part of the Ffarquhar Skip Hire Service - it's his job to keep the stations and towns clear of rubbish by carrying away large skip-fulls of rubbish to the Recycling Centre. Often, he is loaned to other areas of Sodor when needed. 

Rocky means well and shares a friendly rivalry with the engines, but he sometimes gets rather above himself, always trying to outdo himself with every job. He was once described as being “up a gum tree” - an expression that was once proved correct when he was propelled into a tree whilst trying to lift two heavy skips at once (ERS #74)! 

 But that hasn't kept him quiet for long. Whilst working near the Mountain Railway (ERS #179), Rocky realised that he wasn't so clever after all when he was unable to bring down rubbish from Devil's Back station - a problem which was solved by the 'Truck' instead by taking his skips up the mountain by rail! 

 Of all the jobs Rocky does, his least favourite is dredger duty near Knapford Harbour (ERS #192). One time, he tried to get out of this by deliberately jamming his arms whilst at the site…but his plan backfired when he was forced to stay where he was and had to put up with the awful smell of the rubbish until a mechanic came to mend him! 

And of course, he caused additional harm after the Great Ffarquhar Flood - by accident, of course. After skidding on slippery roads, Rocky ran into into a bridge on Thomas' Branch, but decided not to tell anyone about it - it wasn't until Bottom the Landrover discovered that the bridge had been weakened by the accident that the truth soon came out...

Rocky is based on a common 18-ton Skip Lorry, a regular sight in Great Britain.

When Harold first arrived on the Island, he thought railways to be slow and out of date. He was soon put in his place by Percy who showed him just how useful railways could be - and over time, Harold has proven just how invaluable his ability to hover can be to the Sodor engines, particularly in times of trouble.

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #11 – Percy the Small Engine
CURRENT LIVERY: White with Red Stripe
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

Harold arrived on the Island of Sodor during the expansion of the Ffarquhar Branch, and has been based at Dryaw Airfield since. Harold’s primary role was always Search and Rescue - prime examples of his actions have been when he was used to drop supplies to Percy and his crew when they became stuck in flood water, and again when he was used to chase Thomas down the line when he ran away (RWS #30). 

Like a number of other vehicles on Sodor, Harold’s popularity and notoriety made it difficult for him to be ‘retired’ or moved elsewhere. However, to preserve his lifespan, he was accommodated in a reduced role from the 1970s onward, but was still treated as a necessary piece of equipment given his ability to land on water and float in times of sea-rescue off the coast. 

When the resurgence of interest in Sudrian affairs began in the mid-1980s following Britt Allcroft’s television series, Harold was given the special honour of running chartered flight tours around the island for tourists. One of his more memorable flights took place in 1998 when he was used to film Henry running through the mountains for a documentary - but he flew too close thanks to the interference of a Director and caused a severe blowback in Henry’s cab (ERS #44). 

After 2000, Harold was finally withdrawn from service and placed on static display at Dryaw Airfield. However, so strong was his popularity that over time, the Airfield Management saw Harold put back into service in late 2005 with a brand new engine and proper refurbishment. This was very timely in the bleak winters of 2009, which relied heavily on Harold to search for blockages or obstructions that were otherwise impossible with other modes of transport (ERS #170). 

However, Harold's formal return to service was cut short when the volcanic ash cloud grounded all aviation transport in 2010 (ERS #181). Poor Harold was grounded for several weeks, until he finally got his chance in rescuing some passengers, who were stranded in the mountains after their hot air balloon came down. 

A loyal friend in the skies, Harold has since resumed his position as a Search and Rescue Helicopter - and is loving every moment of it!

Harold is based on a Westland-Sikorsky S-55 Whirlwind helicopter - many of which serve the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm primarily in search and rescue.


Berthold is one of the most modern vehicles to grace Sodor's roads - not to mention one of the vainest!

Important Info

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #144 - Simon the Midland Engine


CREATOR: Kyle Nicholas

About the Character

Berthold was a brand-new motorcar on his arrival on the Island of Sodor; shipped freshly from a factory in Germany to the port of Kirk Ronan. However due to a Lorry Driver’s strike he found that he was not immediately dispatched, and found himself waiting on the quayside with several of his siblings. During this time his uppity attitude got on the nerves of everyone around him, including Gwen and many of the dockers. 

A solution for delivery was finally found when the North Western Railway agreed to transport the cars to the dealership in Tidmouth, and Simon was dispatched to docks immediately. Unfortunately, Berthold’s attitude immediately annoyed the engine who, unlike the others, sought to get his own back and the BMW’s downfall came as the train approached the highway underpass at Rolf’s Castle. A build-up of soot and ash was blown off the underpass by Simon’s exhaust blast and settled all over the uptight car, spoiling his lovely new paintwork and making him unpresentable for the factory-room floor! 

It was later revealed that Berthold was purchased by a young businessman near Knapford who, unfortunately, shared Berthold's poor personality and impatient streak. However, Berthold and his driver received their comeuppance when they narrowly avoided a nasty accident with Dennis the Diesel Roller (ERS #192), which resulted in Berthold's driver being arrested for reckless driving!

Berthold is based on the 2008 E63 model of the BMW 6 Series. These cars, and their convertible E64 cousins, are considered the part of the company’s luxury coupé lineup, and have been in production since 2003. Considered one of the more stylishly designed of BMW’s fleet, its shape was made to resemble that of a shark, and the production of this line is continuing into 2011 and beyond.

Bulstrode was built in around the 1920’s, and when we were introduced to him, was used to carry stone from Anopha Quarry, of which was transferred from trucks at Knapford Harbour.

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #32 - Toby, Trucks and Trouble
CURRENT STATUS: Not Operational
CURRENT LIVERY: Black and Red / Cream Cabin
CREATOR: Christopher Awdry

Bulstrode was a disagreeable and very impatient barge - he never stopped complaining, and always thought he was never filled quickly enough. His complaining greatly annoyed the stone trucks that were working with him, and one day they had an argument before Percy arrived to collect the trucks. As he prepared them to be unloaded, a coupling broke and sent four of the stone trucks hurtling down the quay, through the buffers and into Bulstrode’s hull. 

The damage caused a large hole in his hull, which led to partial sinking. When the trucks were removed, Bulstrode was towed to a nearby beach and left there as a 'children's playground'. Whether or not he is still there is unknown.

Bulstrode’s exact prototypical information isn’t known. It is believed that he is based on a 1920’s self-propelled coastal barge.

Generally a grumpy character, Crabby is one of the latest additions to Tidmouth Harbour, working on the quayside to load and unload ships in the container dock. He can be particularly irked by the presence of Dick and Dilworth, who will often frequent his dock when collecting containers or other goods to take away

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #137 - Engines & Animals
CREATOR: Ryan Healy

Crabby is a Gantry Crane, built around 2005 for work at Tidmouth Harbour in the container dock, replacing the former crane. He was christened Crabby by the workmen because of his side-to-side movement, similar to that of a crab, as he moves up and down the rails between ships and trains. The Fat Controller approved and made it official. Rumour had it that the name originated from the television series character Cranky, but this cannot be substantiated. 

Crabby is now a vital part of the Harbour infrastructure, and has helped to revolutionise and drive the freight services of Sodor forward.

Crabby is based on a rail mounted Gantry crane found at railway docks up and down the UK.


Rod is a cocky, over-confident caterpillar crane, primarily used for construction work all over the Island of Sodor. He’s brash, he’s proud and a little bit full of himself, but overall, he’s a friend to everyone and will always help out when someone is in need, like how he helped to rebuild the Hackenbeck Bridge after it had been washed away. However, this ‘swagger’ can often see him being the one in need of help – such as the time he accidentally manoeuvred into a muddy bog and got himself stuck during the construction of St. Finan’s viaduct on Thomas’s Branch Line extension.

Important Information

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #79 – Skarloey Railway Engines


CREATOR: Ryan Healy

About the Characters

Rod the Caterpillar Crane has been on the Island of Sodor for many years, working for A. W. Dry & Co as part of their construction team. Rod was part of the team that helped to build St Finan’s Viaduct over the River Els as part of the Ulfstead Extension in 2003, and, quite by accident, helped to identify the problems with the ground underneath the viaduct when he became stuck in the boggy marshland. The spot is now forever known as ‘Rod’s Merry-Go-Round’ (ERS #99). 

 However, Rod has had his moments of heroism as well, such as when he was able to re-rail Edwin Richard after he came a cropper at an Army event in 1997 (ERS #79) and when he helped to rebuild the flood damage done to the Ffarquhar Branch Line in late 2010 (ERSN #3)

Rod is based on a typical Crawler Crane used in the construction industry.


Trevor is a kindly old Traction Engine who lives near Edward's Branch Line - as well as making himself sawing logs, he enjoys giving children rides at the Vicar of Wellsworth's Annual Fete.

Important Information

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: RWS #9 - Edward the Blue Engine



CURRENT LIVERY: Green with Yellow boiler bands

CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

About the Character

Nothing is known of how Trevor came to live on Sodor - indeed, the first we know of him, he is in a scrap yard! However in conversation with Edward he explains that his owner considered him ‘old fashioned’ and was therefore disposed of. Edward, determined to save his new friend, finally asked the Vicar of Wellsworth who, with a little thanks to his two pestering and excited children, agreed to purchase the old engine. 

Trevor has more than shown his usefulness over the years, assisting with the Peel Godred expansion project alongside Stuart and Falcon (ERS #216), the Knapford Harbour extension in the mid-1950’s and then the Ulfstead extension and viaduct construction on the Ffarquhar line many years later. He has also come to the rescue of many of his engine friends over the years - he warned Edward of a derailment (RS #33), helped clear trees during a hurricane that had left Gordon and the Express stranded (1989 annual) and hauled a fallen branch from the line one evening as Jinty was approaching with a late train (ERS #152). 

Friendly and hard-working, Trevor can sometimes be a little shy and timid, although never afraid to speak out when needs must. He has sympathy for all engines and vehicles that have faced scrap during their lives, believing ‘everyone deserves a second chance’ (ERS #142).

The Rev. Teddy Boston, a good friend of the Rev W Awdry, owned the 1927 built Foster Traction Engine ‘Fiery Elias’, and is widely believed to have been the inspiration for Trevor.


Foden is an unusual type of steam lorry, but still worth a great deal to his current owner.

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #145 – The Mid-Sodor Rally
CURRENT STATUS: Retired, owned by private collector
CURRENT LIVERY: Yellow with gold lining (with 'D.P. Jones, Quarry Contractor, North Maron, Sodor' written on sides)
CREATOR: Michael Ubrihien

Foden was built in 1921, and was drafted to work in industrial yards with his brothers around England. However, this was relatively short lived, with the newer models of steam lorries started taking over their work in the 1930's. Foden was purchased and sent to work in a quarry north of Maron, but again after a few years he was replaced by a diesel lorry and left as a backup. Following this he was moved from owner to owner, until he was bought by an older collector, whom restored him to his former glory and takes him to rallies and shows. 

Foden is rather morose and moody, and up until his incident at the Mid-Sodor Rally, he was opposed all more modern forms of transportation, with the mindset they are all arrogant and only willing to steal his usefulness from him. It was only after he met and befriended Guinevere that his feelings of contempt have decreased, and he is now somewhat more tolerable and friendly.

'Edwin Foden & Sons' built steam lorries from the early 1900's until 1934. Foden is an 'overtype' steam lorry, with an exposed boiler and smokebox - as opposed to an 'undertype' like Guinevere.


Geoffrey is an elderly Steam Plough, and is good friends with Arnold.

Important Information

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #145 - The Mid-Sodor Rally



CURRENT LIVERY: Unlined Dark Green with Yellow wheels

CREATOR: Michael Ubrihien

About the Character

Geoffrey was built in 1874 for Farmer Bill Shuvvel, and was delivered to his farm near Ulfstead Road in 1875. His first jobs were for bailing hay and straw, and then moved on to threshing and ploughing duties. After Bill Shuvvel's death he was sold to a nearby farm, where he was used for contract threshing and occasional timber sawing. In 1955 he was sold to a scrap dealer, who decided to keep him, due to him being 'too good to scrap'. Geoffrey was then purchased by local vehicle collector Raymond O'Brien in 1978. Geoffrey was restored, and is now used for rallies and shows, in which he shows his ploughing abilities alongside his good friend Arnold. 

When Geoffrey was young he was eager and sometimes impatient, but has since grown wise with age. Geoffrey also enjoys telling stories of his early farm life (including a run-in with cows on a narrow bridge!). He also enjoys keeping his unkept gritty livery, saying it's "what a real farming engine looks like!"

John Fowler & Co. #2528 "The Chief" is a 14 horse-power steam ploughing engine, which was built in 1874. It is regularly taken to shows and events, and given heavy objects to pull to show its strength.


Shane is a rude, self-important type of tractor. He thinks himself better than any other - but like all great boasters, pride always comes before a fall...!

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #43 - Edward's Branch Line
LIVERY: Dark Blue
CREATOR: Rev. W. Awdry

Shane was built in the 1950's, and first worked for one of the farms that produced wool near the Arlesdale Railway. We first see a glimpse of him in 1967, when careless driving by his driver Willie caused a trailer of wool sacks to tip over on the railway line, causing Rex an embarrassing derailment (RWS #22). Willie partially blamed the handling of Shane for the accident, so not long after he was replaced by a newer tractor and sold to the Thomas Cousins workshop near Ffarquhar.

For the following decades the workshop used Shane as a cheap 'tractor for hire', working on farms all across the west side of the Island. In 1996, he was hired by the Vicar of Wellsworth to help Trevor deliver apples to the Suddery Market. Shane's rude attitude annoyed the engines, but was put in his place when he stalled on a level crossing (due to poor maintenance) and accidentally struck by BoCo (ERS #43). He was sent back to Ffarquhar, and eventually properly repaired.

Around 10 years later Shane was sent to a vintage rally held near the Mid-Sodor Heritage Railway as a way to promote the workshop. Shane, still as nasty as ever, participated in a ploughing competition - only to come dead last because of a cheating steam lorry (ERS #142).

Not proving his worth as a promotional tool, Shane was sold cheaply to a young farmer near Wellsworth desperate for a tractor. Here he has been working since, although in recent years has strained the relationship with his owner after causing a messy accident in Wellsworth (ERS #218). Shane has still not yet learnt the error of his ways, and it may lead to his ultimate downfall - but that's yet to be seen.

Shane's basis is (as yet) an unidentified tractor of 1950's vintage. He resembles tractors from builders such as Case, McCormick International or Ferguson.