Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
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The Railway Series

This article is about the engine. You may be looking for the Railway Series book or the Story Library Book.

Bluebells forever!”
―Stepney[src]

Stepney, named after a district in London, is a "Bluebell" engine who lives and works on the Bluebell Railway. He is Boxhill's and Fenchurch's brother. His friendly, enthusiastic attitude makes him a welcome visitor on Sir Topham Hatt's railway.

Biography

Stepney was built at Brighton Works in Brighton, England in 1875 as an LB&SCR A1 class engine and later rebuilt as an A1X in 1912. He arrived on the Bluebell Railway on 17th May 1960, after the railway's founder Bernard Holden MBE helped to save the line for preservation. Stepney was the first engine to be rescued by the Bluebell Railway.

In 1962, Stepney came on loan to Sodor and worked briefly with Duck at Tidmouth before working on Thomas' Branch Line, which during the time he caught a cricket ball in one of his trucks while passing the Elsbridge Cricket Field. Towards the end of his stay, he returned to Tidmouth and on his last day double-headed the Express with Duck after Class 40 had failed.

Technical Details

Real-life History

Stepney was built by Brighton Works in 1875 and was rebuilt into an A1X in 1912. During his last working years, Stepney worked on the Hayling Island branch line, until he was taken out of service in 1960 and placed on an out-of-use siding. He was bought by the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society and arrived on the railway on 17th May, making him the first standard gauge steam locomotive to be saved for the Bluebell Railway..

Since his first appearance in the Railway Series and Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, Stepney has become one of the most popular engines on the railway, with children all across the country coming to see him. Stepney has even participated in "Day Out with Thomas" events and has carried a face for these events.

Stepney was taken out of service in 2008, after his boiler ticket expired; but underwent a fast-track overhaul and returned to working order in 2010, just in time for the line's 50th Anniversary. In March 2014, Stepney was withdrawn from service following the failure of his main steam pipe. As of 2020, whilst he awaits to go into the workshop for new cylinders and significant work on his frames and boiler, Stepney is currently on display inside the Bluebell Railway's new 'Steam Works!' shed complete with his signature face from the former "Day Out with Thomas" events.

Livery

Stepney is painted in LB&SCR ochre gold, formally known as "Stroudley's Improved Engine Green", with green, red, white and black lining. His name is painted on his side tanks and the number "55" is painted on the sides of his bunker, both in white.

The real Stepney has a brass funnel top and brass number plates with a blue ground. He carries two builder's plates on the sides of his splashers. In 2010, he was painted in "Bluebell Black". On 14th January 2012, Stepney made an "only-morning" appearance in BR Lined Black with "cycling lion" crest and his BR number, 32655, for a special photographic charter. He carried the same BR Lined Black livery again on 17th April 2012 for another photographic charter; this time though with the later "ferret and dartboard" crest. He returned to "Bluebell Black" in time for his visit to the National Railway Museum's "Railfest" in the first week of June 2012. As of August 2014, he has returned to his famous "Improved Engine Green" livery, officially being released to the public in May 2015.

Appearances

Trivia

  • Stepney is currently withdrawn from service, following the failure of his main steam pipe. He was repainted from his British Railways black livery with red lining, which replicates that which he carried upon his arrival at the Bluebell Railway in May 1960. He now carries his original London, Brighton and South Coast Railway "Improved Engine Green Livery". A future overhaul has not been entirely ruled out.
  • In 1997, Britt Allcroft attempted to sue the Bluebell Railway for ripping off the character of Stepney, despite the fact he was built 88 years before being introduced in the franchise. This lawsuit attempt failed.
  • When the president of the Bluebell Railway Bernard Holden MBE died at the age of 104 on 4th October 2012, Stepney headed his funeral train on the 16th, due to being the first engine that the railway rescued. In 2014, Stepney also headed the funeral train for Jack Owen, who was his ex-driver.
  • Stepney was featured in the music video for Tracey Ullman's "Move Over Darling" in 1983.

External Link

Stepney on the Bluebell Railway website.

References



* RWS only | ** T&F only
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