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The Railway Series

For other uses, see Edward (disambiguation).

“People say I'm old-fashioned, but I don't care. The Fat Controller says I'm a Useful Engine.”
― Edward talking to Trevor[src]

Edward is a blue mixed-traffic tender engine who lives and works on the Island of Sodor, and is the North Western Railway's number 2 engine.



Edward's Day Out

Edward was built by Sharp, Stewart and Company at their Atlas Works in Glasgow, Scotland in 1896. He worked on the Furness Railway's Cumbrian Coast Line before coming to Sodor on loan with other engines in 1915 to assist with the building of the North Western Railway. The Furness had found him to be a "shy steamer" and were not interested in getting him back when his work was completed. In 1921 [3], they sold him to the North Western Railway for a nominal sum, who have, by careful maintenance and extensive modifications, turned him into a reliable engine.

By 1922 and 1923, Edward had been used less and less was confined to Vicarstown Sheds for long periods of time, ranging from several weeks to a few months, much to the delight of the bigger engines. who claimed that he was too old and weak to work. This constant teasing made Edward feel very depressed. However, Edward was eventually let out again in 1923 and proved that what he lacked in strength, he made up for in work by pushing a stubborn Gordon and his heavy goods train up Gordon's Hill and helping to take the express for Gordon once he broke his safety valve, with some help from Henry.

When Thomas was fed up with fetching coaches for the big engines, Edward offered Thomas to take his trucks. However, Thomas, having no experience with trucks, was pushed down the hill and diverted into a siding. Later, Edward helped James double-head a passenger train when the splendid red engine was acting out.

For some time afterwards, Edward was getting so old that his parts caused him to clank as he went along, which led to the bigger engines teasing him about his age. Gordon and Henry teased him about when a group of cows caused half of his cattle trucks to break away and derail, but later got their comeuppance when they encountered a cow named Bluebell on a bridge. Later in 1952, Edward saved an old traction engine named Trevor from scrap when he encouraged the The Vicar of Wellsworth to buy him.

However that same year, James would still talk down to Edward's age and how slow he is. But after he was left running down the Main Line without a driver thanks to two naughty boys who played with his controls, Edward proved himself to be a hero when he brought the inspector and James' fireman to slow him down. James could not thank Edward enough for his heroic actions and the Fat Controller sent Edward to the works to have his worn parts mended as a reward. When Edward came back, everyone was very pleased to see him again.

At some point, Edward received his own branch line and had two twin tank engines named Bill and Ben help take trucks from the Sodor China Clay Company to Brendam Docks along his line from 1948. When the twins were playing tricks on a new diesel named BoCo in 1965, Edward put a stop to it and showed BoCo how to handle them. Soon, Edward and Gordon were both talking about branch lines, most to the disapproval of Gordon. That night there was a mishap at Tidmouth, which in favour, Edward's train went first which sent him down the mainline (this was caused when the signalman at Wellsworth was not informed of the delay) and Gordon went down to Brendam. Some few evenings later, when Edward was taking a passenger train filled with enthusiasts home to Tidmouth, his crank-pin snapped, damaging the wheel splasher and running plate on his left side, forcing the driver and fireman to take off his side rods. However, Edward was able to pull the heavy train back to Tidmouth, very late, but with triumph. BoCo looked after Edward's branch line while Edward was sent to the works again for repairs.

In 1988, while the Elsbridge river bridge was being repaired, Edward helped Thomas settle in on his branch line. Later, while taking china clay trucks to Wellsworth, the rear of his train derailed on a section of loose rail. Luckily, Trevor was nearby and was able to warn him about it.

In 1995, before the 50th anniversary of The Railway Series, Edward was hurrying along his branch line after being delayed by James. He loosened one of his bogie wheels on a set of points, which came off and landed in a field of cabbages. He was repaired in time for the Golden Jubilee and led Pip and Emma to Tidmouth as the royal train and was also held up at Knapford Junction after the points and signals failed.

In 2007, when an old coach named Victoria was being restored, Edward quickly recognised her from the Furness Railway and listened to her story about when she worked with a tank engine named Albert on his branch line, alongside another coach named Helena. Edward later took her to Knapford Junction for Thomas to take to Toby.

Later, in 2011, he was present for the celebration of the Thin Clergyman's centenary.


Edward is very kind-hearted, mature, wise and keen to help a friend in need. The small engines trust him to lend a listening ear and sympathetic advice. He is a hard worker too and always does his best to finish a job. Edward has also been the voice of reason to misguided engines. If ever an engine misbehaves or acts out, it is Edward that the Fat Controller turns to in order to soothe things out. As he runs a branch line, Edward knows the responsibilities it takes to be successful doing so, including shunting. This sometimes puts him at odds with Gordon, James and Henry, who firmly believed that tender engines are too important for menial jobs such as shunting. Because of this, Edward found himself treated harshly for his shunting duties until Sir Topham Hatt shut the big engines up in their sheds.

Unfortunately, the big engines, especially Gordon, often see Edward as old-fashioned and slow. In the first story, their bullying reduced him to tears, but over the course of the series, he developed a thicker skin, as shown in "Old Iron" where he laughingly shrugs off James' insult about him being late. While it is true that he is one of the oldest engines on the North Western Railway (which he helped build), Edward has proven time and time again that he is more than capable of working as hard as any engine. He and BoCo have been the only engines who can look after Bill and Ben and know how to put them in their place should they misbehave. Like any otherwise old engine, he stands for no nonsense from anyone, especially from the bigger engines.

Technical Details


Edward is based on a heavily modified Sharp, Stewart and Company "Larger Seagull" K2 class, supplied to the Furness Railway in 1896, as stated by the Rev. W. Awdry.

These locomotives were built in two batches: the first of six in 1896, with two extra members of the class being built later in 1900. All eight of the locomotives survived into the 1923 grouping and lasted through to the late 1920s and early 1930s, performing secondary duties around Barrow-in-Furness. In real life, all of the K2s were scrapped, with none surviving into preservation.

Given that Edward was built in 1896, he probably would have been part of the first batch of K2s.

Visible Crovan's Gate modifications made to Edward include:

  • Making his wheel splashers flush with the cab, thus also removing the coupling rod splashers
  • New cab side windows as opposed to cutaways in his cab side sheets
  • Square cab lookouts as opposed to the original round ones.
  • A higher pitched boiler and longer smokebox.
  • The replacement of his original Furness Railway tender with a Fowler tender.


Edward is painted in the standard blue livery used by the North Western Railway, with red and yellow lining. His number (2) is painted on his tender in yellow with a red outline. During Gunvor and Peter Edwards' tenure as the series illustrators, the colours used for his number were reversed. He has a black running board with red bufferbeams and valences.

In William Middleton's illustrations, Edward was a significantly darker shade of blue compared to later illustrations. He had only one boiler band down the middle and a gold dome. His roof was blue, his wheels, buffer holds and valences were black, and his buffers were white. Additionally, Edward is described in these editions of the book as having yellow lining, which was later altered to red in re-publications.

It can be assumed that, before arriving on Sodor, Edward was originally painted in Furness Railway Indian red with vermillion and black lining and wheels. His company's initials, "F R", would have also been painted in yellow with blue countershading on the sides of his tender.


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Official Description

From Official Media:[1]

Edward The Blue Engine: Edward has been on the Fat Controller's Railway for a very long time, but he did not come from as far away as Thomas, and he is probably older too. Before 1923 the railways round Barrow-in-Furness were owned by the Furness Railway Company. Edward had been built for the Furness Railway by a firm of Scottish engine-builders called Sharp, Stewart and Company. In 1921, the Furness Railway had no more use for the engine we know as Edward, and sold him cheaply to the Fat Controller. Since then he has been repaired so many times that not much of the original Edward is left, but the rebuilding has been done with care and has made him a very reliable engine. He began his work on Sodor as station-pilot and shunter at Wellsworth, but then exchanged with Thomas and moved to Vicarstown for a spell. When Thomas began working his branch line, Edward came back to Wellsworth, and the Fat Controller made him responsible for the branch to Suddery and Brendam. He now works this line most efficiently.

From Official Media:[4]

Edward (NWR No.2): A 4-4-0 of uncertain ancestry. He was borrowed in 1915 from the Furness Railway, but has since been so much rebuilt at Crovan’s Gate as to obscure his origins. It is generally thought that he began life on the Furness as one of their Sharp Stewart ”Larger Seagulls” of 1896. The Furness had found him to be a ”shy steamer”, and were not interested in getting him back. They sold him to the NWR for a nominal sum. The NWR however have, by careful maintenance, turned him into a reliable engine.

From Official Media:[5]

Edward (2): Edward's journey to Sodor was shorter than Thomas's, but they seem to have arrived at about the same time. He is a 4-4-0 of the 'Large Seagull' Class introduced on the Furness Railway, which ran the Cumbrian Coast line, in 1896. Sine say he came over the bridge from Barrow on official business but he couldn't somehow find his way back again, but the official story is that he was borrowed during a locomotive crisis and later bought, like Thomas, for a 'nominal sum'. He has been extensively modified while on the Island, and the theory that in the old days he had difficulty making steam is certainly not true now. He is in charge of the Brendam Branch, which runs from a junction at Wellsworth, often described in the stories as 'Edward's station'. None of Edward's original Class have survived.


  • Edward was the very first character created for The Railway Series, in 1942.
  • Edward is the only engine whose crew has been named in the Railway Series. In the foreword of "Edward the Blue Engine" their names were given as Charlie Sand (driver) and Sidney Heaver (fireman). Their surnames came from their duties (one of the driver's jobs is to sand the rails when they are slippery to let the engine's wheels grip, while the fireman "heaves" coal to the firebox); their first names came from an engine crew from the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway.

See also