Historial Engines

Flivvy was an old car bought by the Skarloey Railway and converted to run on rails as part of an experiment. Grumpy and arrogant, he was an unpleasant worker and didn't last long on the railway.

Important Info

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Skarloey Railway

MANUFACTURER: Ford Motor Company

LOCO TYPE: Ford Model T converted to rai on a Slate Wagon chassis

RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #174 - Temporary Little Engines



CREATOR: 01Salty

About the Character

Flivvy was built in 1927 as one of the last batches of Model T Fords. He was shipped to Sodor and quickly bought by a taxi cab company. For the next 20 or so years he was driven to the bone by impatient and dangerous taxi drivers trying to get their passengers to their destination as soon as possible. This led to a collision at Suddery docks in 1948, and because he was already out-dated by car standards, the taxi cab company didn't feel he was worth the repair, and he was sold to a used car lot. It was there in 1953 he was found and bought by the Skarloey Railway company.

By then he had heard about veteran cars like him being restored or retired, and was expecting the same treatment. But when he was driven to the Skarloey Railway yard at Crovan's Gate, he received a big surprise. They revealed that they were experimenting with non-steam traction, and had purchased him to be converted to run on rails. Flivvy immediately protested vehemently to this, but he had no choice.

After he was converted, he mainly pulled slate and works trains, as well as the occasional passenger train. He was in traffic for just over a year before his life of work finally caught up with him - his gearbox failed during a return trip to the Yard whilst going over a road crossing. It was decided, once again, that he wouldn't be worth fixing, so he was taken out of service and eventually scrapped.

Throughout his time on the roads and on the Skarloey Railway, Flivvy was extremely angry and rude. This attitude led to everyone not feeling that sympathetic for him during his downfall. However, his influence on the railway wasn't all negative. His trial eventually resulted in the purchase of Rusty in 1957.

Flivvy's name is an informal variation of the term 'Flivver', a word referring to any type of old, small or inexpensive auto mobile.

Flivvy's original form is a 1927 Ford Model T. His converted form is based off 'The Lawnmower', the first number 5 on the Talyllyn Railway, of which was also built from a Ford Model T and a Slate Waggon chassis. It entered traffic in 1952 and was withdrawn in 1953.

When Donald and Douglas visited the Strathspey Railway in the Summer of 2001, they met their resident engine known as "Jumbo". Having heard much of their epic escape to Sodor, he is overjoyed to see them at last after some 40 years and benefits greatly from their company during their stay.

RAILWAY ORIGINS: Caledonian Railway
WHEEL ARRANGEMENT: 0-6-0 Tender Locomotive
MANUFACTURER: The Caledonian Railway, St Rollox Locomotive Works, Glasgow
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #80 - Caledonian Railway Engines
LIVERY: Caledonian Railway 'Union' Blue, White Lining

With a great strength that belies his size and fuels his willingness to assist whenever needed, Jumbo is a larger-than-life, hearty, jovial fellow with the maturity required to be leader of the Strathspey locomotive fleet. His optimistic persona suits his name and the traditional image that many people have of Scotsmen – not that he's ever worn tartan before, of course!

Steam locomotives of the Caledonian Railway always had a bit of a reputation on British Railways, mainly on account of how robustly constructed they were. Because of this, many of them lasted well into the 1950s before being finally retired, their adaptable nature also being key to their own surprising longevity. One such design was the 812 Class 0-6-0 Tender Locomotive.

Introduced in May 1899 for a variety of goods traffic, the class were mostly based on Caledonian metals but, by the time of Nationalisation, were to be found all over Scotland. They were equally as at home on Boat Trains as they were with freight and one of them is known to have taken King Edward VII on a short Royal Train to Dunblane in 1907 to open the Queen Victoria School.

Although built for the Caledonian, the class did find their way onto Highland Railway territory by at least the time of grouping into the LMS, with allocations to Inverness, Wick, Forres, Helmsdale and even Aviemore. Some of them were even fitted with boilers previously fitted to the legendary CR Dunalastair 4-4-0 express locomotives.

Jumbo (CR No: 828/LMS No: 17566/BR No: 57566) was one such engine, outshopped on August 29th 1899 from St Rollox Works, Glasgow, and initially allocated to Aberdeen. During the Edwardian period, he could often be found operating on passenger work, namely excursions to Bridge Of Dun and run-of-the-mill operations between Aberdeen and Laurencekirk via Stonehaven.

In September 1940, Jumbo was relocated to Corkerhill MPD, Strathclyde, for use on the Paisley Canal Line. He remained here for most of his career under British Railways too, often operating on the Ayrshire coal traffic in a pair with another engine. It was from this that the Reverend.W.Awdry first gained inspiration for Donald and Douglas.

But, while the two Sudrian Caledonians had a bit of a battle to find a future, Jumbo had it better. In August 1957, he was relocated to Ardrossan MPD to join the last of his classmates in active BR service. When withdrawn in August 1963, he'd travelled over 1 million miles in service, quite a record for such an engine of such seemingly antiquated design.

A year previously, on January 13th 1962, the Scottish Locomotive Preservation Fund was formed with the intention to preserve 5 Caledonian locomotive examples. Sadly, economic difficulties prohibited this but, after considerable debate, it was decided to preserve an example of the 812s, as the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement was commonplace in preservation at the time.

Jumbo himself, if quizzed about his survival, likes to say that he owes the Scottish Region of British Rail's staff more than words can say. Indeed, having heard rumours about preservation, the staff at Ardrossan Shed had him taken out of service to avoid any lasting damage. Purchased shortly after withdrawal, he was then enlisted for restoration to museum standards.

To tell the truth, Jumbo was in a physically rotten state when preserved: it would take a high quality restoration job to correct years of work in an atmosphere full of chemicals and salty ozone from the Ayrshire coastline. This was carried out, during 1966, at Cowlairs Locomotive Works, Glasgow, a former North British Works where former St Rollox steam staff were now employed.

Completed in August 1966 and immaculately turned out in the lighter 'Saltire' variation of the CR's blue livery, Jumbo was then delivered to the Glasgow Museum Of Transport. Even so, the Fund had always intended to restore him to operate as he was designed to do, especially since he would be a rare preservation operator as a six-coupled goods engine.

Eventually, on October 17th 1980, Jumbo was removed from the Museum Of Transport and set off north into the Scottish Highlands. By this time, the Strathspey Railway had started operations at Aviemore, a former 812 stamping ground within a day's travel of Culloden Moor. Interestingly, when Jumbo arrived, much of his motion was still in very good condition!

From October 1983 onwards, it took nearly a decade to get the rest of Jumob back to rights! In the end, it was on Saturday May 15th 1993, in the medist of an uncharacteristic snowstorm (!), that he was relaunched into traffic on a railway now running from Aviemore to Boat Of Garten. There, for 8 years, he proved his value as a reliable and powerful addition to the fleet.

When his next overhaul came round in 2001, Jumbo was repainted into BR Unlined Black as BR No: 57566 with the Cycling Lion crest of the 1950s on his tender. During that year, he was paid a visit by Donald and Douglas, his cousins from Sodor, and spent a pleasant year in their company before his retirement (ERS #80).

Retired in July that year, 6 months earlier than planned, Jumbo's future was nevertheless secured when the Heritage Lottery Fund granted 94,900 to his overhaul. Added to a combined donation from Sir Topham Hatt (Sodor's Fat Controller) and newly joined benefactor Hamish Fraser, a start was made immediately with a boiler lift in September 2003.

Due to the effort made during the previous overhaul, Jumbo's firebox was in good condition while the biggest hurdle was the need to replace the entire boiler barrel. The smokebox, too, needed to be completely replaced but the cylinder block (itself of Dunalastair design) survived the rebuild, as did the refreshed tender.

Thus it was that, on June 18th 2010, Jumbo was back in business again, now painted into a darker shade of Caledonian Blue, rather like that of the British Union flag. He was in action on June 26th of that year when LNER K4 No: 61994 The Great Marquess visited with an SRPS Railtour and was recommissioned officially with a bottle of fine malt whisky on July 10th.

Despite their size, the power capability of the Caledonian 812s was astonishing and Jumbo finds the Strathspey Railway, with its easy gradients and lovely scenery, to be a 'braw' retirement ground for engines like him. Popular with crews and the public, as well as his locomotive compatriots, he'll always do his utmost in service, whatever the weight of the train behind him: the longest coal trains in steam days were the real Druimachdair compared with eight loaded coaches!

Natalie was a small but determined engine who was borrowed by the Skarloey Railway during its early years.

RAILWAY OF ORIGIN: Pen-y-Bryn Slate Quarry, Wales
LOCO TYPE: Vertical-Boiler Tank
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #174 - Temporary Little Engines
LIVERY: Dark Red w. Black Lining
CREATOR: 01Salty

Natalie was built in 1877 at the Union Works in Caernforn. She was immediately pressed into working at shunting yards and quarries in various places along North Wales. Her name was inspired by the first place she worked at: Nantlle. The work was dirty, and the yards were crammed and unpleasant, so she delighted in the opportunity of being borrowed by a railway on the Island of Sodor.

However, when she arrived on the Skarloey Railway in 1900 she was not met with the welcome she expected. It turned out that the Manager of the Skarloey Railway had asked for another engine from the yards in Wales, which was bigger and stronger. The company in Wales decided instead to keep their best worker and send Natalie, who was one of the slower engines. At first the Manager was not happy, and left to sort out the issue - leaving Natalie on the flat truck. When he realised there was nothing he could do, he had Natalie trialled and put to work at once with the construction of the new slate quarry near Skarloey.

Natalie enjoyed working on the railway, but her slower speed meant she had to make extra effort to remain on time. Her determination to stay on the railway soon caused her to become impatient - always hurrying workmen and passengers along so she wouldn't be late and possibly sent away. This impatience led to her derailing at Glennock after a church service in 1909.

In 1914 the yards back in North Wales requested that Natalie be returned to help with the War efforts. The Skarloey Railway obliged, and so Natalie left with a friendly goodbye from engines and staff. Since then her memory lives on, and she is considered one of the hardest working engines in the history of the railway.

Natalie is based on 'Chaloner', a narrow-gauge engine that worked at slate quarries in North Wales. It was bought by Mr A. Fisher and put into preservation. It now usually resides at the Leighton Buzzard Narrow-Gauge Railway, but has made many visits to other narrow-gauge preservation railways.

Kingfisher was an engine Daphne knew during her early British Railways career.

Important Information

MANUFACTURER: Doncaster Works
RWS/ERS ENTRY VOLUME: ERS #148 - Daphne the Deltic Diesel
BR NUMBER: 4483 / 60024
CURRENT LIVERY: BR Green, Black and Orange lining

About the Character

Kingfisher was based at Haymarket shed when D9010 - later to be better known as Daphne - arrived after construction. The cocky Deltics replaced over 50 steam engines and Kingfisher wasted no time in warning the new arrivals that they too would be replaced some day. 9010 refused to pay any attention until she failed and had to be rescued. She later formed a good friendship with Kingfisher and many other steam engines, and was most upset when he was dispatched for scrap.

Kingfisher was built at Doncaster Works in 1936 entering traffic as 4483; upon nationalisation it was allotted the British Railways number of 60024. Kingfisher was used in its final years to work express trains from Glasgow to Aberdeen. The last of the A4 class in common use, it was withdrawn for scrapping in September 1966 from Aberdeen Ferryhill but due to a shortage of motive power worked the 08:25 Glasgow to Aberdeen return trip on 14 September of that year, which heralded the final revenue earning service for an A4.

Problems with the firebox saw preservation hopes dashed and the engine was cut up.