For other uses, see Fred (disambiguation).

Fred is a narrow gauge diesel engine who works on the Skarloey Railway. He is the railway's No. 9 engine.


The Railway Series

In the 1980s, the Skarloey Railway bought two worn out Hunslet Diesels from the National Coal Board and using parts from both engines, constructed one good engine; Fred. He was put into service in 1989 as a secondary diesel (to Rusty) and is used exclusively for maintenance and engineering work.[1]

Once a year, Rusty and Fred have to pull a slow train that spreads weedkillers on the tracks. One holiday weekend, Fred was supposed to pull the weedkilling train, but claimed he felt ill, forcing Rusty to do the job instead. For unknown reasons, he and Rusty did not attend Ivo Hugh's naming party in 1996.[2]


Very little is known about Fred. It is assumed he is lazy and tries to stay out of work by pretending to be ill, but it is possible that he legitimately does fall ill often. Rusty once had to pay the price for this and was not pleased with Fred.

Technical Details


Fred is based on the Talyllyn Railway's No.9 locomotive "Alf", an 0-4-0 diesel engine with a maximum speed of 9mph. The diesel locomotive was constructed in 1950. Like Fred, Alf was built out of parts from another diesel engine, the spare engine being stored at Brynglas.

It has often been seen disguised running as Fred for Skarloey Railway related events at the Talyllyn Railway.


As all the Skarloey Railway steam engines (bar Duke) share the same livery in The Railway Series, it is assumed Fred is painted in the same livery as the only other diesel, Rusty. Rusty is painted charcoal-black with yellow lining and lettering.



  • It is probable that Fred, like Alf, was named after Lord Alfred Robens, a politician and Chairman of the National Coal Board between 1961 and 1971.
  • In the magazines, there is a fogman who works for the Skarloey Railway who shares the same name, Fred.
  • Fred is the only Skarloey Railway character in the Railway Series who is not created by the Rev. W. Awdry.


The weedkiller train was only used once a year, but that was once too often for Rusty. He had hoped that Fred, the other diesel, would pull the train today. But Fred was ill.
"So he says!"
mutted Rusty darkly.
―Rusty, "Speedkiller, "New Little Engine"


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