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Edward is a blue mixed-traffic tender engine. He runs his own branch line with BoCo. Edward is one of the oldest engines on Sodor and is occasionally made fun of for his age. Despite this setback, he is also very wise and optimistic, and spreads his knowledge and encouraging attitude toward the other engines.
The Railway Series
Edward was built by Sharp, Stewart and Company at their Atlas Works in Glasgow, Scotland in 1896. He worked on the Furness Railway's Cumbrian Coast Line before coming to Sodor on loan with other engines in 1915 to assist with the building of the North Western Railway. The Furness had found him to be a "shy steamer," and were not interested in getting him back when his work was completed. In 1921, they sold him to the NWR for a nominal sum, who have, by careful maintenance and extensive modifications, turned him into a reliable engine.
By 1923, Edward was confined to Vicarstown Sheds, to the delight of the other engines, who claimed that he was too old and weak to work. Edward was eventually let out again and proved that what he lacked in strength, he made up for in work by pushing a stubborn Gordon and his heavy goods train up Gordon's Hill in 1923.
In 1923, when Thomas was fed up with fetching coaches for the big engines, Edward offered Thomas to take his trucks. However, Thomas, having no experience with trucks, was pushed down a hill and diverted into a siding. Later in 1925, Edward helped James double-head a passenger train when the splendid red engine was acting out.
For some time afterwards, Edward was getting so old that his parts caused him to clank as he went along, which led to the bigger engines teasing him about his age. Gordon and Henry teased him about when a group of cows caused half of his cattle trucks to break away and derail, but later got their comeuppance when they encountered a cow named Bluebell on a bridge. Later in 1953 Edward save an old traction engine named Trevor from scrap when he encouraged The Vicar of Wellsworth to buy him.
However in 1954, James would still talk down to Edward's age and how slow he is, but after he was left running down The Main Line without a driver thanks to two naughty boys who played with his controls, Edward proved himself to be a hero when he brought the inspector and James' fireman to slow him down. James could not thank Edward enough for his heroic actions and the Fat Controller sent Edward to the works to have his worn parts mended as a reward. When Edward came back, everyone was very pleased to see him again.
Some time afterwards, (perhaps around 1940-1950) Edward received his own branch line and had two twin tank engines named Bill and Ben help take trucks from the Sodor China Clay Company to Brendam along his line. When the twins were playing tricks on a new diesel named BoCo in 1965, Edward put a stop to it and showed BoCo how to handle them. Soon, Edward and Gordon were both talking about branch lines, most to the disapproval of Gordon. That night there was a mishap at Tidmouth, which in favour, Edward's train went first which sent him down the mainline (this was caused when the signalman at Wellsworth was not informed of the delay) and Gordon went down to Brendam. Some few evenings later, when Edward was taking a passenger train filled with enthusiasts home to Tidmouth, his crank-pin snapped, damaging his wheel splasher and running plate, forcing the driver and fireman to take them off. However, Edward was able to pull the heavy train back to Tidmouth, very late, but with triumph. BoCo looked after Edward's branch line while Edward was sent to the works again for repairs.
In 2007, when an old coach named Victoria was being restored, Edward quickly recognised her from the Furness Railway and listened to her story about when she worked with a tank engine named Albert on his branch line, alongside another coach named Helena. Edward later took her to Knapford Junction for Thomas to take to Toby.
Thomas & Friends
When Trevor was to be the main star attraction for the Vicar's garden party, Edward wanted to help but did not know how. His chance came when the Vicar forgot to promote the party by putting up the posters, so he suggested having them put up on his cab and coaches as part of the party's advertisement. His plan worked and so many people came to the party that they raised a lot of money for the children. The Vicar later thanked Edward and his crew for their idea.
In the fifth season episode Haunted Henry, it is revealed that Edward has a penchant for telling spooky stories on Halloween that the other engines enjoy. Edward told Henry that whenever an owl hoots, a mist rolls in and when the mist is about, there is a ghost about too. In the sixth season episode Scaredy Engines, he told them a story of a ghost engine that returns to the smelters in search of his lost whistle every Halloween.
In addition to running his branch line, Edward often acts as a banker for other engines up Gordon's Hill when their trains are too heavy. In spite of Edward's great history with the railway and his good relationship with the other engines, his old age makes some engines think that he is unreliable. Gordon would always still tease and talk down about him, even going as far as suggesting that he should "retire." When Percy told his driver about this, who told the Fat Controller, he arranged for Edward to show Stepney how to run the loop line, while Duck did his work. Unfortunately, Duck got stuck on Gordon's Hill when the Troublesome Trucks held him back. When Gordon came behind him, he could not push Duck up the hill. Edward was sent to help the double train up and when they arrived at Knapford station, the Fat Controller rebuked Gordon for his horrible comments about Edward. Gordon apologised to Edward the following day and from then on, he never suggested him "retiring."
Edward is kindhearted, very wise, and always keen to help a friend in need. The small engines trust him to lend a listening ear and sympathetic advice. He is a hard worker too and always does his best to finish a job. If ever an engine misbehaves or acts out, it is Edward that the Fat Controller turns to in order to soothe things out.
The big engines, especially Gordon, often see Edward as old-fashioned and slow. While it is true he is one of the oldest engines on the North Western Railway - it must be noted he helped build it - he has proved time and time again that he is more than capable of working as hard as any engine. He and BoCo were the only engines who looked after Bill and Ben and knew how to put them in their place should they misbehave. Like any other wise old engine, he stands for no nonsense from anyone, especially from the bigger engines.
The Reverend W. Awdry stated that Edward is based on a heavily modified Sharp, Stewart and Co. "Larger Seagull" K2 Class, supplied to the Furness Railway in 1896.
Sodor "historian" Martin Clutterbuck notes that Edward bears a close resemblance to an LNER D3/4 "Glen" (NBR Reid Class K) 4-4-0 from the London and North Eastern Railway. At any rate, the Reverend W. Awdry used an engine of this class to represent Edward on his model railway.
Visible Crovan's Gate Works modifications are: making the rear splashers flush with the cab, removal of the coupling rod splashers, new cab windows as opposed to cutaways in his cab side sheets and square cab lookouts as opposed to the original round ones. In both the Railway Series and television series, Edward is depicted with a Fowler tender.
Edward is painted in the North Western Railway's sky blue livery with red and yellow lining and the number "2" painted on his tender sides in bright yellow with a red border.
In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates on the sides of his cab.
It can be assumed that, before arriving on Sodor, Edward was painted in the Furness Railway's Indian red livery with black lining, the letters "FR" written in yellow on his tender sides and black wheels.
The inspiration for Edward himself came from the Reverend W. Awdry's watching trains on the Great Western Railway as a child. He said in an interview with Brian Sibley for The Thomas the Tank Engine Man that, to him, the noise of the locomotives' exhaust almost sounded like dialogue - for example, the larger engine having trouble climbing the hills would appear to be saying, "I can't do it, I can't do it," and the smaller engine helping them would sound like it were saying, "I will do it! I will do it! I will do it!" Later, Reverend Awdry told his son a bedtime story about an engine who was sad because he was never taken out of the shed for being old. Upon being asked what the engine's name was by his son, the Reverend Awdry picked the name Edward out of thin air.
- Edward was the very first character created for the Railway Series, in 1943.
- Edward is the only engine whose crew has been named in the Railway Series. In the foreword of "Edward the Blue Engine" their names were given as Charlie Sand (driver) and Sidney Hever (fireman). Their surnames came from their duties (one of the driver's jobs is to sand the rails when they are slippery to let the engine's wheels grip, while the fireman "heaves" coal to the firebox); their Christian names came from an engine crew from the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway.
- Edward was not seen in Thomas and the Magic Railroad as his model was not finished in time.
- Edward went through several aesthetic changes in the television series:
- Season 4:
- The lining on his wheel arches became slightly thinner and moved outward.
- His whistle was at a lower pitch.
- Season 5:
- In Happy Ever After, his whistle returned to its original pitch.
- Season 6:
- His safety valve disappeared.
- His stepladder became longer.
- The gap at the back of his tender became smaller.
- His eyebrows become smaller and longer and are raised up slightly.
- Season 4:
- ERTL (normal and Gold Rail; discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (several versions)
- Take-Along (normal and metallic; discontinued)
- Bandai Tecs
- Brio (discontinued)
- ↑ 1984 Annual