Percy is a cheeky green saddletank engine who was brought to Sodor to help run the railway during the big engines' strike. His favourite job is to deliver the Post Train. He works on Thomas' Branch Line as a goods engine.
The Railway Series
Percy was most likely built by the Avonside Engine Company sometime around the 1900's and has gone through a subsequent rebuild in the before he was sold second-hand to the North Western Railway by a factory on the Mainland. He is said to have been found to contain Hunslet parts, among others, according to workers at Crovan's Gate.
When Gordon, James and Henry went on strike in protest of the extra work they had to do since Thomas left to run his branch line, the Fat Controller decided that the railway needed another tank engine. Going to the engine workshop, the Fat Controller saw a green saddle tank and when the engine confirmed he was willing to work hard, the Fat Controller bought him and named him Percy. Bringing him back to Sodor, Percy was charged with running the branch line while Thomas ran the Main Line with Edward and was allowed to stay after the big engines surrendered and returned to work. At first, Percy liked to annoy the big engines. Percy was later waiting at Tidmouth, but forgot to whistle to the signalman, and thus was startled when Gordon came running towards him with the express. Gordon managed to stop in time, but Percy was so frightened, he ran away and ended up stuck in a sandbank. He was rescued by Gordon and took up the duty of station pilot at Tidmouth.
Percy was still a cheeky engine and often liked to play jokes on Gordon and James, but one day the other engines got their revenge when Percy failed to recognise a "backing signal." After this, Percy was subject to bullying from the big engines until Duck arrived and helped Percy to put the big engines in their place, although Percy still received a reprimand from the Fat Controller for it.
With Duck's arrival, Percy was sent to Thomas' Branch Line to help build Knapford Harbour and has stayed there ever since as a goods engine. He met a self-centred white helicopter named Harold who said that railways were "slow and out-of-date," so he decided, to race him, of which he won. When Percy had to take the Sunday School children home, he came across a flooded paddock which swashed away his fire. Thankfully, with a little help from Harold, who had dropped supplies of hot drinks for his crew and the passengers, he was able to get the children home.
Despite being really useful, Percy was prone to having accidents, sometimes for acting naughty, and others for carelessness. He was naughty when he asked the trucks to push him past a danger notice, only to end up in the water until he could be lifted out and taken to the works by Henry. When a diesel railcar named Daisy came to look after Thomas' Branch Line, she constantly kept leaving behind the milk van every time Percy shunted it for her. Fed up with taking the milk for her, Percy offered to take Toby's trucks for him while he took the milk. However, the trucks were unfamiliar with Percy, and when he ordered them about, they decided to seek revenge by pushing him onto a line of stone trucks.
Thomas & Friends
One winter, the cold was severely getting to Percy, so he tried to think about warm things. As a result, his workday led to Percy obsessing over scarves and seeing everyone around him wearing them. Henry remarked on the silliness of an engine wanting a scarf, but Percy bit back with a comment about Henry's funnel size. The cold did not affect Percy's cheekiness however, as he planned on startling the coaches by coming in quietly. However, the porters didn't hear him either, and Percy crashed into their luggage trolley, ending up covered in jam with the Fat Controller's hat on Percy's lamp iron and his best trousers wrapped around Percy's funnel. James joked that Percy found a 'scarf' after all and ran off to tell Henry. That night, Thomas and a clean Percy prepared to go to sleep happy that the firelighter had agreed to arrive earlier the next day. Henry and Percy make up, and Henry assures Percy that the weather will be warmer the following day.
Thomas & the Magic Railroad
In the film, Percy overheard Mr. Conductor talking in his sleep. Later, he arrived at Knapford with his Mail Train, he told Thomas about Mr. Conductor and conclude that he travels on Sodor to the magic railroad. Thomas told Percy about the missing truck and realised that the buffers leading to the magic railroad and told Percy to guard the buffers to be a brave engine. Sometime afterwards, Percy found Splatter and Dodge at the magic buffers and raced to warn Thomas, telling him to get Lily back to Muffle Mountain before Diesel 10 destroyed the magic railroad.
Percy is a rather cheeky, but kind engine, and generally behaves well, except when he is getting into mishaps from being over-eager. He loves teasing the others, especially the bigger engines, such as Gordon and James, but is always brought down to earth in due course by anyone who gives him the moral to learn, especially the Fat Controller.
As the television series has progressed, Percy has been dumbed-down in order to teach viewers difficult words: he would say "dingy-fried" where anyone else would say "dignified". He is also shown to make silly mistakes, but then fix them upon realizing what he has done before further damage is caused.
Percy is incredibly accident-prone and holds the dubious record of the most accidents in one season - five, in the second season- crashing into some buffers, falling into the sea, being pushed onto a brakevan, colliding with a cart, and being hit by a falling crate of treacle. So far, his silliest accident yet was in the sixth season, when he slipped on oily rails, crashed through the chocolate factory, and emerged covered in chocolate. Despite this, he is always tries to do his best, learn from his mistakes, and get his jobs done--a loyalty which Sir Topham Hatt has praised him for on several occasions
Although their friendship has been turbulent at times, Thomas is generally portrayed as Percy's best friend, he is also good friends with Toby as well.
Since the second season, Percy has had a small rivalry with Harold, stemming from their race. However, they are always willing to help each other when in trouble.
He also had held a grudge from the big engines about their tricking him into misinterpreting a signal, but silenced this with some help from Duck. This shows that, when nonsense goes too far, Percy will not stand for it and seek help to settle the matter for good, even if he faces a reprimanding from Sir Topham Hatt for it.
Percy is primarily based on an Avonside 0-4-0ST with the body of GWR 1340 Trojan, the bunker of GWR 1361, Hunslet underframes and valve gear, a smokebox protruding from his saddletank, external cylinders and motion, and sandboxes underneath the tanks on his footplate.
Modifications made to Percy's shape include the angled smokebox supports and the cab being cut down slightly from the back for the bunker.
Percy is painted NWR green with NWR red-and-yellow lining and a "6" painted on his bunker sides in yellow.
In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates, one on either side of his cab.
The Reverend W. Awdry and C. Reginald Dalby did not get along very well. Awdry considered Dalby's drawings "toy-like"; this relationship was worsened by the creation of Percy, who was depicted as an Avonside 0-4-0ST/GWR 1340 Trojan with a bunker.
When Percy the Small Engine was published, Awdry wrote to Dalby, criticising his illustrations and claiming Percy resembled "a green caterpillar with red stripes". This was too much for Dalby and he promptly resigned. However, the insult was not forgotten: Thomas called Percy "a green caterpillar with red stripes" in Tramway Engines as well as the televised episode Woolly Bear.
It is debated as to what year Percy arrived. The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways states that Percy was made the station pilot at Tidmouth in 1949, somewhat implying that he arrived on Sodor in that year. However, Henry is said to have been rebuilt in 1935 and Percy makes several appearances in the presence of the pre-rebuild Henry, suggesting that either Henry was rebuilt later on or that Percy arrived before 1935. A post on SiF states that Christopher Awdry affirmed the arrival date in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways to be incorrect and that Percy came to Sodor before 1935.
- One of Percy's models is currently on display in Japan at the Hara Model Railway Museum (previously on display at Nitrogen Studios). His large scale model used for the spin-off series, The Pack, is also on display in Japan at the Hara Model Railway Museum (previously on display at Thomas Town).
- Percy is the only engine who is known to have been named by the Fat Controller.
- In the Greek narration of the Classic Series, Percy is called "Jerry". From the thirteenth season onwards, Percy has been referred to with his original name.
- According to Abi Grant on her website, Percy is her favourite character.
- Britt Allcroft stated he was also her favourite (due to him being green and cheeky).
- One of Percy's original face masks is owned by Twitter user ThomasTankMerch.
- Percy went through several aesthetic changes in the television series:
- Season 2 (only):
- His right side piston was loose and would shake violently when moving.
- His center lamp iron was heavily glued in.
- Season 3:
- His whistle changed shape (now being more of a cylinder shape).
- His whistle became one tone lower later in the season.
- Season 4:
- His whistle changes back to its original tone.
- In some episodes towards the end of the season, one of the two black sections extending from under his smokebox to the end of the footplate is missing.
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad:
- He gained a permanent lamp/
- A stand underneath his smokebox.
- His eyebrows change shape.
- Season 6:
- His cab was blacked out (except for cab shots filmed on a larger model).
- Jack and the Sodor Construction Company (large scale model only):
- The step ladders on his running board are painted red.
- His whistle is taller than his cab.
- His dome is painted green.
- Season 2 (only):
- "Do you know what?" asked Percy.
- "What?" grunted Gordon.
- "Do you know what?"
- "Silly," said Gordon crossly, "Of course I don't know what, if you don't tell me what 'what' is."
- A conversation between Percy and Gordon, "Percy the Small Engine"
- "Nobody listens to me now! They think I'm a silly little engine, and order me about. I'll show them."
- Percy, "Percy the Small Engine"
- "Wheesh!" Percy gave his ghostly whistle. "Don't be frightened, Thomas," he laughed, "it's only me!"
- "Your ugly fizz is enough to frighten anyone," said Thomas crossly. "You're like - "
- "Ugly indeed! I'm - "
- "- a green caterpillar with red stripes," continued Thomas firmly. "You crawl like one too."
- "I don't."
- "Who's been late every afternoon this week?"
- "It's the hay."
- "I can't help that," said Thomas. "Time's time, and the Fat Controller relies on me to keep it. I can't if you crawl in the hay till all hours."
- An argument between Percy and Thomas, Tramway Engines
- "Harold told me you where uh.....a wizard. He told me he could beat you at somethings but not at being a submarine. I don't know what you two get up to sometimes but I do know you are a really, useful engine." - Sir Topham Hat, after Percy taking a swim in Percy's Promise
- "I can't see any," said Percy. "Where are they?"
- "Any what?" said Gordon.
- "Ideas above the station - the sky's empty."
- "Like your smokebox, Percy!" laughed James.
- ERTL (normal, Gold Rail, and metallic; discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (normal, silver, metallic, talking, and in three-pack)
- Take-Along (normal, metallic, and lights and sounds; discontinued)
- TOMY/TrackMaster (normal, flip-face, talking, chocolate-covered, and remote-controlled)
- Bandai Tecs
- Wind-up Trains
- Brio (discontinued)