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Porter is a dockside tank engine who works at Brendam Docks.
When Salty was experiencing engine trouble, the Fat Controller brought Porter to Sodor to work at Brendam Docks while he arranged for Salty to be mended at the Vicarstown Dieselworks. When Porter arrived to help out, Salty was convinced that Porter had been sent to replace him. After some mishaps, Porter managed to stop Salty from having an accident, then using his sand domes to sand the rails after Salty accidentally spilt oil on them. Later, the Fat Controller told Salty that he was to work with Porter and that he was not going to be replaced.
Later, Porter helped arrange the Flying Kipper for James after he made Henry late the previous night. When Bill and Ben teased Harvey about "going fishing" and made fun of Porter's three domes, Porter helped Harvey see the positive side of being both a crane and an engine.
On one foggy day, he warned Thomas, Salty and the dock workers of Percy's runaway trucks, teased James when he was collecting "The Flying Kipper" and witnessed Cranky almost falling into the sea while trying to stop Gator's ship.
Later, he told Gator, who was waiting for his ship to arrive, that nobody is worried about how Gator looks.
While Salty was working on the Mainland, Porter was left to do the work alone. Timothy arrived to help after Bill and Ben told Sir Topham Hatt that Timothy was no help at the Clay Pits. Porter and Timothy worked well together until Salty returned. When the Clay Pits became a mess due to Timothy's absence - and Bill and Ben's immaturity - he, Salty and Timothy helped Bill and Ben clear up.
Porter is a kind and helpful engine, with a good sense of self-confidence and does not worry about what other engines say about him, such as calling him a ‘camel’ because he has so many ‘humps’ (domes). Porter is not above engaging in a bit of friendly dockside banter himself, but when another engine is feeling low he can be very supportive. Porter’s easy-going manner makes him very popular. He is a hard worker, although he can be a bit of a perfectionist at times. He is also very brave and can keep his head cool in a crisis.
Porter is based on the H.K. Porter 0-6-0ST, built in Butler, Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh. These mainly worked in the dockyards on the east coast of the United States. The Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad, which served the dockyards in Brooklyn, New York, owned several examples of Porter's design, all of which were retired after the railroad started using diesel locomotives in 1963. One of these, B.E.D.T. 15, was rebuilt into an operating replica of Thomas by the Strasburg Railroad in 1998 for use during Day Out with Thomas events throughout the US. Porter appears to be directly based on B.E.D.T. 15 prior to its rebuild. Another engine, 14, is preserved at the Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society in Arkville, New York.
Porter is painted viridian with yellow stripes and lining, brass fittings and gold nameplates with black lettering. He has a gold star on each side of his lamp and red window frames.
- Steven Kynman (UK; seventeenth series onwards, excluding Pouty James and Cranky at the End of the Line)
- David Menkin (US; seventeenth series onwards - UK; Pouty James and Cranky at the End of the Line only)
- Oliver Hörner (Germany)
- Miłogost Reczek (Poland)
- Jun'ichi Kanemaru (Japan; seventeenth series onwards, excluding Thomas the Quarry Engine)
- Ryuzou Ishino (Japan; Thomas the Quarry Engine only)
- Moisés Iván Mora (Latin America; Away From the Sea and The Smelly Kipper; Pouty James onwards)
- Misael Martínez (Latin America; Gone Fishing - Henry Gets the Express)
- Anders Sundstedt (Norway; seventeenth series only)
- Simen Sand (Norway; Tale of the Brave only)
- Stan Limburg (The Netherlands)
- Nir Ron (Israel)
- Caio César Nunes (Brazil)
- Fernando Castro (Spain)
- Juha Paananen (Finland)
- David Menkin gives Porter a Brooklyn accent, reflecting his basis' origin.
- Porter has been modified for use on Sodor, given screwlink couplings with added buffers, and appears to have been significantly scaled down compared to his basis, to the point where even open trucks are taller than him. As a result, his buffers and couplings appear to be very low to the tracks, which in reality would make it difficult for him to be coupled to typical British rolling stock. In addition, his cab doors, as well as his cab in general, are too small for crew members to fit through comfortably.
- Porter is also the second engine in the television series to have three domes, the first being Rosie.
- In Spills and Thrills/No More Mr. Nice Engine! and in some merchandise inventory listings, Porter is referred to as "Baldwin".
- According to Sam Wilkinson, Porter was the initial name, but the staff went through different ones until it became finalised. Presumably the term originated from the Baldwin Locomotive Works, where Stanley, Hank, Victor, Caitlin, Rajinda and Carlos' basis were built. His final name comes from his builder, H. K. Porter.
- TrackMaster (discontinued)
- Take-n-Play (discontinued; normal and talking; cancelled)
- Wooden Railway (discontinued)
- Capsule Plarail
- Classic Minis
- Spooky Minis
- DC Super Friends Minis (as Captain Cold)
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- SpongeBob SquarePants (as Barnacle Boy)
- Insects Minis (Praying Mantis)