Agnes, Ruth, Lucy and Jemima are the oldest coaches on the Skarloey Railway, whilst Beatrice is their guard's van.
The Railway Series
The coaches have been part of the Skarloey Railway since the beginning of its history. When Skarloey took them out for the first time as part of the directors' train, Agnes was very suspicious and warned the other coaches to "be on their guard". She warned Skarloey that they would keep a sharp eye on him, but after Skarloey began to bounce when Mr Mack shut his regulator too quickly, they thought he bumped them on purpose and bumped him back, causing Mr Mack to fall into a set of bushes. He was so cross that he rode in Beatrice for the rest of the journey. However, when Skarloey was given a pair of trailing wheels and a cab, the coaches, even Agnes, could not help but feel impressed by it.
When the railway was facing hard times, the coaches were sometimes so full that passengers had to travel in Beatrice and third class passengers were allowed to travel in Agnes, to the latters ire, on occasions, particularly on Market Days.
In 1952, when Sir Handel and Peter Sam came to the Skarloey Railway, they immediately began to dislike Sir Handel for calling them "cattle trucks", so they decided to seek revenge by holding him back on the hill. When Peter Sam had to take the coaches out, they preferred him over Sir Handel, given his good nature, despite a small incident where they told him that he left the Refreshment Lady behind after Henry jokingly threatened to leave their passengers behind. They still held a grudge against Sir Handel when he had to take them out for Market Day and when Sir Handel had to stop for sheep that strayed onto the line, the coaches thought he bumped them on purpose and derailed him by bumping him onto a set of points. Skarloey was the only engine left and he scolded the coaches severely for their bad behaviour and warned them not to play tricks on him. They were left feeling ashamed of themselves. Since then, especially after Skarloey went away to be mended, they never play tricks on Sir Handel that involve derailing him and they all got along with him. Despite this, they can still be awkward on occasions and act in a way that only Skarloey and Rheneas know how to handle.
Early in the summer of 1982, the railway had so many visitors that there was not enough room in the four coaches to carry all the passengers, so some had to travel in Beatrice. When they reached Rheneas, the guard had to check the passengers tickets, which made Sir Handel impatient. When the guard had finished and blown his whistle, he tried to climb into Beatrice but some passengers blocked the entrance and Sir Handel set off without him. Beatrice tried to stop but was unable to on her own, but a passenger had pressed a buzzer inside her which sounded an alarm in Sir Handel's cab, which alerted his crew to the problem and made them stop Sir Handel and pick up the guard.
The coaches like all the engines, Sir Handel least of all for referring to them as "cattle trucks". They were also mistrustful of Skarloey at first for being bouncy. On the contrary, they took to Peter Sam right away, and he even called them his 'dears' whenever he took them out.
Agnes is a deep-voiced and proud first-class carriage who looks down on the others, who are third-class. Agnes appears to be the leader of the five. All four coaches look down on Beatrice and claim that she "smells of fish and cheese". Beatrice is, however, very useful. She has a ticket booth and an emergency buzzer and sometimes even carries passengers when the coaches are full. Jemima is somewhat deaf.
The coaches are genuinely nice and quiet like many other coaches, but can be rude and pushy if an engine does not treat them properly. They can occasionally be silly and awkward and play tricks on the engines by pushing them down a hill without thinking about what they are doing, something that Sir Handel and Duncan struggle with. However, Skarloey and Rheneas, given their many years of experience, always know when to be stern with them when they misbehave and put them in their place.
Agnes, Ruth, Lucy and Jemima are based on the Talyllyn Railway's first four coaches, Nos. 1 to 4, while Beatrice is based on the Talyllyn Railway's first guard's van, No. 5. Nos. 1 to 3 and No. 5 were built by Brown, Marshalls & Co. in 1866, while No. 4 (also known as "Lulu") was built by the Lancaster Wagon Co. in 1867 and is to a different design.
There is some confusion over which coach is based on No. 4. In "Skarloey Remembers" Agnes is stated to be a First Class coach, which would mean she is based on No. 1, however in Sodor: Reading Between the Lines it is stated she is based on the third class No. 4, with Ruth, Lucy and Jemima's basis being given as Nos. 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The only time one of the coaches was actually illustrated to look like No. 4 was in "Special Funnel", where it seems to be Ruth. In "Bucking Bronco", Agnes, Ruth and Jemima are mentioned as being the only coaches on the railway at that time, which would imply that Lucy is based on No. 4, as it arrived later than the others. According to The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways, all four coaches were built by Brown, Marshalls & Co., which would mean none of them are based on No. 4. Awdry did build a model of No. 4, which, according to the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum, is Jemima.
Agnes, Ruth, Lucy and Jemima are painted blue with cream window surrounds. The words "SKARLOEY RAILWAY" are painted under their windows in dark blue (only appears in Four Little Engines), and the numbers "1" (Agnes), "2" (Ruth) and "3" (Lucy and Jemima) are painted on their doors in gold, indicating each coach's class. Beatrice is painted entirely blue.
- In the fourth illustration of "Old Faithful", Skarloey is shown pulling five coaches instead of the usual four.
- Their models built by the Rev W. Awdry are now on display at a Narrow Gauge Museum in Tywyn, Wales, UK.
- The coaches were featured on the 1986 single cover of Oh L'amour, a song by English synthpop duo Erasure. They were incorrectly painted dark green with cream windows and Beatrice was portrayed as a coach rather than a guard's van.
- In the early drafts of the history of the Skarloey Railway, Sir Handel Brown (then named Smith) was said to have five daughters, Agnes, Ruth, Lucy, Hilda and Beatrice. Their names would be used for the Skarloey Railway Coaches, with the exception of Jemima who took the place of Hilda.