Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

87546 and 98462 are two blue tender engines who once visited the North Western Railway on trial from a railway on the Mainland.


The Railway Series

In 1923, two blue engines only known by their numbers - 87546 and 98462 - were sent to the North Western Railway on trial.

87546 and 98462 stayed at Vicarstown Sheds along with Edward, Henry, Gordon and a red tender engine. The big engines notably teased Edward, who was confined to the sheds, claiming that he was too old and weak to work. When Edward was eventually let out again, the other engines were very cross.[1]

The big engines were known for being rough with the coaches. One of them had pulled the coaches so roughly, that the coupling on the coach had came right off[2].

Eventually, the Fat Director decided to send them away for being rude, nasty and horrid engines[3].

It is not known what happened to them since the decline of steam, but they were most likely scrapped.


According to the Rev. W. Awdry, both 87546 and 98462 were horrid, rude engines who were very mean and spiteful to the others. They especially loved teasing Edward.

Technical Details


It is unknown what type of engine both 87546 and 98462 really are. Although they resemble Gordon and Henry in his original shape.

87546 is only seen in one illustration, where he appears to have outside cylinders and inside steam pipes. Although his wheel arrangement is unknown, it is known that he has at least two leading wheels.

98462, on the other hand, appears in three illustrations. In the first, he appears to have inside cylinders and steam pipes, however in the second he has outside cylinders with inside steam pipes and Walschaerts valve gear, with the main rod appearing to connect to his front driving wheels. 98462 appears to have either a 4-4-2, 4-6-0, or 4-6-2 wheel arrangement.

After problems of consistent accuracy of the C. Reginald Dalby's drawings in the early books, later characters introduced were based more closely on real locomotives.


In the first illustration of "Edward's Day Out", both 87546 and 98462 are painted blue with yellow lining. In the second illustration, 98462 has red lining. Both their liveries are similar to one of the North Western Railway's liveries. It is possible that their numbers are painted in damp yellow, with a red outline, on their tenders.


The Railway Series

Companion Volumes

Video Releases


  • Both 87546 and 98462 are two of a number of background engines inserted into The Railway Series by William Middleton and C. Reginald Dalby. In 1963, a young reader from New Zealand named Ross wrote to the Rev. W Awdry asking who the unnamed blue engines from The Three Railway Engines were and if they were featured in other stories. The Rev. W. Awdry invented an explanation that they were rude engines on trial who were quickly sent away.[3]
  • Both 87546's and 98462's numbers appear to be fictional, as no other engines in real life have carried them.
  • In Edward and Gordon, Thomas and James took the roles of 87546 and 98462 due to budget reasons.



* RWS only | ** T&F only