Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

According to The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways, the people of the Arle Valley already had their own railway line which predated the Mid Sodor Railway by nearly two decades.

The mine owners of Cas-ny-Hawin had consolidated together with people in the Arle Valley to build a small 2ft. 3in. gauge tramway to connect with the Port of Arlesburgh. At first the tramway was horse-worked, but they sought to follow the Skarloey Railway's lead of adopting steam traction to work their line, and by 1866, had an unspecified number of steam locomotives of their own, but were used for the mineral traffic only. Passengers were carried on the tramway, for free at their own risk, and charged only for the carriage of their hats, attire and other personal belongings.

The Peel Godred Committee saw interest in upgrading the tramway and extending it into the mountains to connect with the town of Peel Godred, and after several meetings with the mining companies, the committee bought up the tramway, and upgraded it to Board of Trade standards to allow regular passenger-carrying services.

The tramway ultimately became the Mid Sodor Railway, work was finished in 1874 and the tramway was open to the public, with a road coach link to Peel Godred from Marthwaite provided until the construction of the rest of the route to King Orry's Bridge was completed by 1880.

The route of the old tramway is still in use today, making up much of what is now the Arlesdale Railway.


The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways does not mention specifically how many steam engines the Arlesdale Tramway had, or what they looked like. Despite that Awdry clearly stated in Duke the Lost Engine that Duke had been the "first engine on the line," he was not built until 1879, so these tramway engines would have most certainly have been on the railway before Duke came along, having helped to construct the Mid Sodor Railway and make it suitable to Board of Trade requirements.

On Awdry's model layout of the Mid Sodor, there was a "tram" engine called Tim running around. It seems quite possible that Awdry had intended for him to be one of the original engines that came from the tramway.