Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
For other uses, see Oliver (disambiguation).

"Oliver, has resource!"
"And sagacity. He is an example to us all.”
Henry, James and Gordon remark about Oliver's escape from the scrapyard[src]

Oliver is a Great Western tank engine who was saved from scrap by Douglas. His daring escape made him popular with the other engines, which perhaps made him a little overconfident with the trucks. He now works on the Little Western with Duck. He has two Great Western autocoaches, named Isabel and Dulcie and a brake van named Toad.


The Railway Series

Oliver was built by the Great Western Railway at Swindon Works and was "push-pull" fitted for branch line work. He was originally numbered in the 48xx series, but along with the rest of his class, he was renumbered into the 14xx series in 1946, eventually becoming 1436. He worked as a passenger engine on a branch line in the West Country.

Oliver reached Sodor in 1967. With the rapid closure of West of England branch lines, Oliver's crew were appalled at the prospect of their engine being scrapped or left to rust away at Barry Scrapyard. Both were bachelors with no local ties, so they determined to take a chance and try to save their engine, along with his coach Isabel and Toad the brake van. An escape route was carefully worked out with the help of a chain of sympathetic signalmen. It was necessary to travel at night - often over "goods only" lines - and lie hidden by day. They had many narrow escapes, and the journey took longer than planned.

When control got wind of the runaways, they hid in an old quarry branch and had the cutting blocked by rubbish to avoid being spotted by the diesels outside. The runaways decided it was safe to leave at some point, but before they could reach the greener pastures of Sodor, Oliver ran out of coal in Barrow Yard. Luckily, Douglas was able to rescue Oliver and took him to Sodor, taking him to Crovan's Gate Works. The Fat Controller soon found out and arranged for the three to be repaired and painted in Great Western colours. Toad decided to be Douglas' brake van to thank him, and the Fat Controller rescued another auto coach named Dulcie and gave her to Oliver.

Oliver was then sent to work on the Tidmouth-Arlesburgh branch line but became conceited after the big engines gave him their respect in recognition of his adventures and pushed his weight around, prompting several ballast trucks to push him into a turntable well. Oliver received little respect from the trucks after the incident but got his own back by pulling the ringleader, S.C. Ruffey, apart. Oliver is now well-respected by the trucks; out of fear they will be pulled apart too.

Thomas & Friends

Much like in the Railway Series, Oliver and Toad were escaping from scrap when Douglas found, saved and brought them to the North Western Railway. The other engines were impressed by his adventures and the attention soon went to Oliver's smokebox, which led to him being so conceited that he ignored Duck and Donald's advice about trucks and several pushed him into a turntable well. Upon his return from the Works, Oliver regained his respect after pulling the ringleader of the trucks, S.C. Ruffey, apart.

Since then, (with the exception of running Thomas' Branch Line during the engines' trip to England) Oliver has worked at Callan Yard, also known as Oliver's Yard and the trucks have feared him, considering him to be dangerous and preferring Percy. Oliver missed the long runs and wanted to do more than simply push trucks onto the turntable, but he remained tight-lipped about his problem and grew unhappy as a result. He ended up roughly biffing the trucks into the turntable well, damaging it. The Fat Controller transferred him to the mail train in an attempt to have the night air clear his smokebox, but Oliver ended up getting lost, discovering an abandoned house (which was later turned into a teahouse) in the process. When Harold found him, Oliver concluded that being found is much nicer than being lost. His brake van Toad started feeling a similar problem when he was glum about always going backwards. Oliver tried to cheer him up by reminding him of his usefulness. When the trucks broke away from Oliver on the hill, taking Toad with them, Oliver determinedly chased after the runaway through Wellsworth and Crosby and all the way to the old stone bridge. Oliver could not help teasing Toad when all was said and done and assured him no harm was done in case of Toad causing Oliver an embarrassment.

When Emily took Annie and Clarabel, Oliver informed her that they belonged to Thomas, making her realize her mistake. He later broke down on the Intersection and was saved by Emily when he was about to be hit by Thomas. He also complained about the snow, but later crashed into a children's snowman in the village, in which he had to spend the night in the snowman's body. However, the children later decorated him to look like the snowman which made Oliver like the snow.

Oliver started repeatedly telling everyone about his "escape" from the scrapyard, even to the point of annoying Toad. After his brake van had an adventure without him, James told Oliver to listen to Toad's story for once. During a flood, he collided with Rocky and James who were rescuing Duck, who had stalled underwater. He also nearly collided with Duck who ran a red signal by mistake. Later, he broke down whilst on his way to the docks to deliver some trucks. When Gator arrived to take the train, Oliver was surprised by his unusual shape and wondered where Gator's lamp was, unaware it was not working properly.

Oliver began to get fed up of Toad singing during their journeys and explained to Duck that Toad is always like this when he is in a good mood. Later, Toad told Oliver that he saw a whale and he did not believe him at first until he saw the whale for himself. He then helped with rescuing the whale.

When the Harwick Branch Line was being built, Oliver helped with the line's construction. Marion believed that he had made a wish to turn himself into a digger and the Arlesdale engines had granted his wish. It was not until the branch line's opening ceremony that Marion discovered there was, in fact, two Olivers.

When a storm struck the Island, Oliver and Duck were responsible for taking people safely home. At Arlesburgh, the two met Skiff and warned him to get to safety, upsetting the rail boat. When he had finished his jobs, Oliver picked up Toad and headed for home. Unfortunately, neither they nor Duck (who was travelling to Tidmouth on the opposite track) were aware that a lightning strike had caused a tree to fall on the line. Thankfully, Skiff (who had been blown away by the storm) was able to warn them just in time. Oliver proclaimed him the bravest rail boat he had ever known. Another time, he found Judy and Jerome - the Breakdown Train - in Arlesburgh Harbour. He agreed to take the two to the countryside. He later informed Ryan that Duck had moved them again.


Despite his heroism and daring feats of escape, Oliver is an engine who is willing to admit every day is a learning curve. When he was still new to Sodor, he let the other engines' responses to his courage, resource and sagacity from his amazing recounts of daring escapes and adventures get to his smokebox and he became conceited. However, when the Troublesome Trucks pushed him into the turntable well, he grew into a much humbler, settled engine and was far warier of trucks. But later, with some help from his brake van Toad, he did gain much respect and authority among the trucks when he showed his strength with the ringleader of the trucks, S.C. Ruffey, a little more than he had perhaps been intending. Oliver still has gumption but is now a more obedient, sensible engine. He feels his responsibility on the railway deeply, is ever thankful for being aided in his escape from scrap by Douglas and is a trustworthy, tenacious, plucky engine. However, he can still be occasionally boastful or temperamental; despite this setback, Oliver is still one of the more really useful and well-behaved engines on Sodor.

Technical Details


Oliver is based on a Great Western Railway (GWR) 14xx Class 0-4-2T. These engines were fitted with a mechanical system allowing the driver to control the locomotive remotely from the cab of an 'Autocoach', such as Isabel. They were originally assigned numbers in the 48xx series but were renumbered into the 14xx series in 1946. Oliver's number comes from a real 14xx, No. 1436, which was built at Swindon Works in August 1934 as No. 4836 and worked in the West of England, West Midlands and West London until it was withdrawn in October 1958. It was scrapped at Morkot Ltd, Caerphilly on the 1st of October, 1958. According to The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways and Sodor: Reading Between the Lines, "It is doubtful whether this (1436) was the number actually allotted to him in 1946". Four engines of this class survive in preservation.


In The Railway Series, Oliver is painted in GWR Brunswick green with the 'shirtbutton' logo, black wheels, brass GWR number plates on the sides of his cab and a brass safety valve bonnet. Before he came to Sodor, he was painted in BR Brunswick green with a BR early crest painted on the sides of his tanks.

In the television series, Oliver's paint had faded by the time he was rescued, leaving him in a rusty red colour. After his rescue, he was painted in NWR unlined apple green with the 1934 GWR crest painted on the sides of his tanks and his number (11) painted on the sides of his cab in yellow. In between the sixth and twelfth series, he was painted in a slightly lighter shade of NWR unlined apple green. From Tale of the Brave to the Twenty-fourth series, he is painted in a slightly darker shade of green from his former green livery in between the third and fifth series. Unlike The Railway Series, Oliver's wheels were green in Thomas & Friends, presumably to distinguish him from Duck.


Thomas & Friends


Music Videos



Magazine Stories

Oliver also appeared in the magazine stories, A Long Way Up!, Bumpers and Buffers, Diesel's Nasty Turn, Do-Nothing Dennis, Letting off Steam!, Mountains and Mess!, Ride and Slide, Seal Passenger, Seeing Sails, Snow Engine and So Many Stories.

Annual Stories

Audio Stories


Audio Files



In Series 3 only, Oliver reused Gordon's whistle at four steps higher-pitched. It would later be reused for Neville, but at a step higher-pitched.

First used Last used Sound Effect
Series 3 Series 3

In Bulgy, Oliver is incorrectly portrayed with Edward's whistle.

First used Last used Sound Effect
Bulgy Bulgy

In Series 4 and onwards, Oliver reuses Duck's whistle, but at two steps lower-pitched.

First used Last used Sound Effect
Series 4 Series 24

In Thomas and the Special Letter, Oliver is incorrectly portrayed with Ben's whistle.

First used Last used Sound Effect
Thomas and the Special Letter Thomas and the Special Letter

In The World's Strongest Engine and Percy's Chocolate Crunch, Oliver is incorrectly portrayed with Duck's whistle in its original pitch.

First used Last used Sound Effect
The World's Strongest Engine Percy's Chocolate Crunch

In Bulgy Rides Again, Oliver is incorrectly portrayed with Percy's whistle.

First used Last used Sound Effect
Bulgy Rides Again Bulgy Rides Again

In The Whistle Song, Oliver is incorrectly portrayed with Emily's original whistle.

First used Last used Sound Effect
The Whistle Song The Whistle Song

In one scene in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, Oliver is incorrectly portrayed with Douglas' current whistle.

First used Last used Sound Effect
Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure

In the mobile game Race On!, Oliver is incorrectly portrayed with a different whistle sound, which sounds very similar to his usual one.

First used Last used Sound Effect
Race On! Race On!


  • Oliver's television series model was on display at Nitrogen Studios, but is now on display at the Hara Model Railway Museum in Japan wearing his content face.
  • Oliver's cross face is now owned by Twitter user TomsProps.
  • Oliver's theme first heard in the third series is a musical variation on the theme from the 1963 film, The Great Escape. It is also reminiscent to a portion of the TUGS Danger theme. Some fans have also considered it similar to John Williams' theme for Indiana Jones as well.
  • Some of Oliver's earlier merchandise had black wheels, indicating he was based off of how he looked in the Railway Series.
  • In the French dub from the third to seventh series, Oliver was called Olivier.
  • In the second Polish dub, narrated by Stefan Knothe, he is called 'Olek', which is a Polish diminutive for Alexander.
  • Oliver has been portrayed with different accents through the years:
    • Willie Rushton gave him a Yorkshire accent in his narration of Enterprising Engines and Oliver the Western Engine.
    • George Carlin gave him a Brooklyn accent in the US dub of the third series.
    • Alec Baldwin gave him a British accent in the US dub of the fifth series.
    • Michael Brandon gave him a Southern accent in the US dub of the seventh series.
    • Joe Mills gives him a Cornish accent in both the UK and US dubs from the eighteenth series to the twentieth series.
  • Oliver's original whistle sound from the third series is Gordon's whistle, but four steps higher-pitched. It was then reused for Neville, but a step higher in pitch. Neville's whistle was then reused for Flying Scotsman, but at a slightly lower pitch.
  • Oliver's current whistle sound from the fourth series onwards is Duck's, but two steps lower-pitched. It was reused for Edward in Trouble on the Tracks and it was also used for Duck himself, but only at the beginning of Edward the Very Useful Engine.
  • Oliver had a total of seven facial expressions during the model series era, all of which were used on-screen.
  • Oliver was the first character not to have a model made out of perspex. His model was made of brass, which would be used more extensively in the following series.
  • The official Thomas & Friends Twitter page made a post on November 11th, 2011 where they mistakenly pointed out that there was no #11 engine on the Island of Sodor. This was likely due to Oliver not being present in the show when the post was made as he did not appear in the fifteenth series.
  • Oliver is one of the four engines to be saved from scrap. The others being Stepney, Hiro and Glynn.


“Yon's an enterprising engine. I won away here with Donald; but I'd have been feared to do it on my own.”
―Douglas, Enterprising Engines
“Oliver's no use at all; thinks he's very clever
Says that he can manage us; that's the best joke ever
When he orders us about, with the greatest folly,
We just push him down the well...Pop goes old Ollie!”
―The Troublesome Trucks and S.C. Ruffey teasing Oliver with a song, Oliver the Western Engine
“I'm a Great Western engine, I shouldn't have to shiver!”
―Oliver, Snow Engine, seventh series



* RWS only | ** T&F only | --- Dropped