Duke, named after the Duke of Sodor and originally called The Duke, is a narrow gauge tank-tender engine, who is considered a hero amongst all the engines. He is also one of the oldest engines on Sodor. Duke, named after the Duke of Sodor and originally The Duke, is considered a hero amongst the engines.
The Railway Series
Duke was built at Boston Lodge in Minffordd, Wales to the order of John Arnold Norramby, Earl of Sodor and Chairman of the MSR, in 1879 for the opening of the Mid Sodor Railway in 1880. The Board of Directors named him in honour of the Earl and rostered him to haul the Opening Train. He worked with several other engines on the Mid Sodor, including Falcon and Stuart (later named Sir Handel and Peter Sam, respectively).
Soundly built, Duke was well maintained and kept in service until 1947 when the railway closed. While Stuart and Falcon were sold, no buyers were interested in him, so he was left oiled, greased and sheeted up in Arlesdale Sheds, where he was all but forgotten. He believed that the Earl would come to rescue him, but as time went on, he did not show, and Duke began to have doubts which grew stronger and stronger. He was unaware the Earl he knew had been killed during the Second World War, and that his successor was just a boy, who did not know of Duke.
He was later discovered by Mr. Fergus Duncan, the Reverend Teddy Boston and the Reverend W. Awdry in 1969 and taken by road and rail to Crovan's Gate. There Duke was restored and rebuilt, through the kindness and generosity of Sir Topham Hatt and the present Earl of Sodor, who shared the cost with Sir Handel Lloyd Brown. He was finally re-united with Sir Handel and Peter Sam and for the first time in its history the Skarloey Railway had motive power to spare. Over a period of weeks in 1982, Duke received another overhaul, which when completed allowed Sir Handel to be lent to the Talyllyn Railway while Sir Haydn was out of service.
He attended Ivo Hugh's naming ceremony in 1996.
Thomas & Friends
Duke lived on the Mid Sodor Railway with several engines including Stuart, Falcon, and briefly Smudger, until the line went bankrupt and Stuart and Falcon were sold. Duke, however, was sheeted until a group of adventurers found his shed, buried under soil that had washed down from the mountains. Skarloey and Rheneas took him back to the Skarloey Railway, where he was soon returned to service.
Duke, when one first meets him, appears to be pedantic and strict and in a sense both are true about him. However, Duke was sheeted up in a shed for more than two decades, so Duke possibly did not know how things have changed.
Duke is wise from experience and sees it as his duty to live up to his name's reputation.
The story of Duke being rediscovered was based upon a true story about an engine abandoned in the Brazilian rainforest. Duke himself is based on Prince, a tender engine from the Ffestiniog Railway at Porthmadog, North Wales.
Duke is painted brown with yellow lining in the television series and has two red plaques on either side of his saddletank with his name written in gold. On the Reverend W. Awdry's model railway, he had "The Duke" written on his sides and "MS" written on his tender. In the Railway Series, Duke was painted dark brown with red lining. On the Mid-Sodor Railway, Duke was numbered one.
- Duke's current grace is Richard Robert Norramby.
- The Official Website and the 1986 annual states that Duke is the oldest of the narrow gauge engines. However, Skarloey and Rheneas are older, having been built in 1864 and 1865/6, respectively, while Duke was built in 1879. The mistake likely comes from Duke's basis being older than all three of them, having been built in 1863.
- Duke's model and Smudger's face were used to create Bertram as a last minute resort due to financial difficulties, which is why Duke never appeared after the fourth season (excluding portraits and stock footage cameos).
- The Reverend W. Awdry's model of "The Duke" was at the Reverend Teddy Boston's Cadeby Light Railway, before the railway finally closed in 2005.
- Duke was the first narrow gauge engine on the Skarloey Railway to not be based on an engine from the Talyllyn Railway.
- Duke's affectionate nickname of "Granpuff" that was given to him by Stuart and Falcon was the same affectionate nickname Wilbert Awdry was given by his grandchildren due to their observation of smoke coming from his pipe looking like that of a steam engine.
- Sometimes they would wink at each other and chant solemnly. "Engines come and engines go, Granpuff 'goes on' forever!"
- "You imprudent scallywags." Duke would say indignantly. "Whatever are young engines coming to nowadays?!"
- "Never mind Granpuff, we're only young once."
- "Well you better mind, unless you want to end up like No.2...."
- Stuart and Falcon teasing Duke, "Granpuff", "Duke the Lost Engine".
- Duke was alone locked up in the shed.
- "Where's His Grace?" he wondered. "Its not like him to forget me."
- But his grace had been killed in the war. And the new Duke, a boy, hadn't heard of his little engine.
- "Oh well," said Duke to himself. "I'll go to sleep. It will help to pass the time."
- Years passed, winter torrents washed soils from the hills over the shed. Trees and bushes grew around. You wouldn't have known a shed was there, let alone a little engine asleep inside it.
- Duke alone locked up in his shed, "Granpuff", "Duke the Lost Engine".
- ERTL (normal and metallic; discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (two versions; coming soon)
- Take-Along (discontinued)
- Bandai Tecs
- Brio (discontinued)
- Wind-up Trains
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