Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
This article is about the controller of the Arlesdale Railway. You may be looking for the traction engine or the Story Library book.

“I have no spare whistles, so you'll have to wait! It serves you right for being such a crosspatch!”
―The Small Controller scolding Mike[src]

Mr. Fergus Duncan, nicknamed the Small Controller is the General Manager of the Arlesdale Railway. He is actually taller than the Fat Controller and the Thin Controller; his nickname refers to the fact that his railway is often called the "Small Railway".


The Railway Series

Fergus Duncan was born in 1936. In 1965, a consortium was formed by the managements of the Sudrian railways to build a new railway to exploit a source of ballast on the closed Mid Sodor Railway. Fergus Duncan was appointed to oversee the construction of the line, the Arlesdale Railway, which went ahead rapidly under his direction. Upon the line's opening at Easter 1967, he was appointed its General Manager. He lives in a house which he built himself at Arlesdale Green, near the station and his office is located at Arlesburgh West.

In 1969, he, the Thin Clergyman and the Fat Clergyman went on a search for Duke. They successfully found him in the remains of his shed.

After Rex's steampipe began leaking one day and Frank had to take his train, the Small Controller began thinking that they needed another engine and so he arranged for Jock to be built.

Around 1977, he adopted a system of Radio Control for his railway, on the suggestion of its basis, the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. By 1987, the system had worked almost perfectly and had the conditional approval of the Railway Inspectorate. Fergus Duncan, however, had no doubt of the final outcome and was looking forward to the day when the other railways on the Island are recommended by the Inspector to follow the Arlesdale's lead.

In 2005, he was approaching a remarkable 40 years of service to the line in 2007. Despite nearing 70, he was still hale and hearty, claiming, "Good for another decade", but has let it be known that he plans to retire on achieving that landmark, likely set for 2017, being an end to his 50 years as General Manager of the Arlesdale Railway.


The Small Controller is very passionate about his work and never married. He preferred instead to devote his life entirely to work on his railway.

Like every other controller of their own railway on Sodor, he acts as a fatherly figure to his engines and always knows when to be stern with them should they misbehave.


Fergus Duncan's attire consists of a yellow waistcoat over a white shirt with a red tie and a brown jacket over it, with mustard windowpane chequered trousers. He wears a yellow flower on his jacket.


Voice Actors


  • In Sodor: Reading Between the Lines, he is referred to as Francis Duncan.
  • Unlike Sir Topham Hatt and Mr. Percival, he is referred to by his nickname in the US version of the television series.
  • The Small Controller is based on Douglas Ferreira, who was the General Manager of the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway from 1961 to 1994, in which a diesel locomotive was built and named in his honour in 2005.
  • He is the only railway controller on the Island of Sodor to be a direct transplant from The Railway Series, as Sir Topham Hatt was a loose adaptation of the three from the books, while Mr. Percival was original to the television series. Additionally, Walter Richards never appeared in the television series.
  • Although it is unintentional, he shares his first name with a standard gauge engine and he shares his last name with a narrow gauge engine.