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Bio in the Railway Series
Rheneas was built by Fletcher, Jennings & Co. at Whitehaven and was delivered by sea to Kirk Ronan in time to haul the train carrying the Board of Trade Inspector in October 1865. Unlike Skarloey, Rheneas was stern and thoughtful and fell out with Skarloey after the latter called him a "stick-in-the-mud" following an argument over cabs. The two reconciled after Rheneas saved Skarloey from a landslide in 1867.
Rheneas’ long wheelbase enabled him to ride steadily, but it also made him hard on the track and this, together with the initial absence of a cab, made Skarloey the more heavily used of the two. Unlike Skarloey (and Dolgoch), Rheneas never returned to Whitehaven. Such repairs as were needed, including the fabrication of a cab at an unknown date, were done at the Skarloey Railway workshops. In 1937, and again in 1943, he was overhauled at the NWR Works at Crovan's Gate. Like Dolgoch, Rheneas enjoys "peculiar motion", which did not make life any easier for the workshop staff.
Rheneas saved the railway by keeping services going through a very lean period in the late 1940s. By 1945, Skarloey was in need of desprate repairs, leaving Rheneas to run the line alone. He managed to pull a full train home one rainy day despite having a jammed valve gear and was rewarded with an overhaul. When Sir Handel and Peter Sam arrived to the railway in 1952, he was sent to England for a heavy overhaul. While there, he was reunited with his twin Dolgoch, money, however, was tight on both their railways and neithers repairs could be completed immediately. Skarloey often felt lonely to know he wasn't there, but he often used his story of when he saved the railway to teach younger engines how to behave, like Duncan. His overhaul was finished in 1961, putting him back into fettle, and he returned to the Skarloey Railway soon after. Because of his bravery, he earned the nickname "Gallant Old Engine" by railway staff.
While Rusty was spreading weedkiller spray on the tracks with a special truck, Rheneas had to fetch another coach when there were more visitors than usual. He wasn't happy about this because this meant he would be late, and it didn't get any better when he had to slow down for hedgecutters, and to make matters worse, because of the weedkiller spray, he ended up slipping down the hill and grinds to a halt. As his crew sanded the rails, he managed to make his way, but his passengers had a limited view of the countryside. They didn't mind this however, as they were more pleased with Rheneas' brave efforts.
He underwent another heavy overhaul at Crovan’s Gate Works in 2002.
Bio in the Television Series
Rheneas has generally been depicted as a gallant engine. In the fifth season, he, Skarloey, and Rusty were chased by a boulder when it had rolled off from its cliff. In the sixth season he was able to save the Skarloey Railway from near abandonment with the help of Elizabeth, Rusty, and Skarloey. In the seventh season, he worried about how he could make a school trip special, but after being sent down the wrong track, Rheneas gave the children the time of their lives.
Rheneas has been called a "gallant old engine" before and deserves such a title. Rheneas is highly determined, brave, courageous, and long-time friend of Skarloey. He is a tough, committed worker despite his age and takes great responsibility in his work. He is keen to keep his friends smiling and, although he is a level-headed engine, he can be a bit of an adventurer too. Though he may often try to struggle on alone, Rheneas knows when it is time to call on the help of his friends. Nevertheless, Rheneas is always highly dedicated to the task at hand.
In the Railway Series Rheneas is painted in the Skarloey Railway's standard red livery with blue and yellow lining, with his name on the sides of his boiler in yellow.
In the television series, Rheneas is painted vermilion with black lining and brass fittings. He has black and brass name and number plates on the sides of his boiler and coal bunkers respectively. In early magazine illustrations, he was painted carmine. This carried over to nearly all his merchandise.
- Four Little Engines - Skarloey Remembers (does not speak)
- Gallant Old Engine - Passengers and Polish (mentioned) and Gallant Old Engine
- Mountain Engines - Mountain Engine and Bad Look-Out
- Very Old Engines - Crosspatch (does not speak), Bucking Bronco, Stick-in-the-Mud and Duck and Dukes
- Duke the Lost Engine - Granpuff (mentioned), Bulldog (does not speak) and Sleeping Beauty (cameo)
- Great Little Engines - Patience is a Virtue and Sir Handel Comes Home (cameo)
- New Little Engine - Speedkiller and I Name this Engine...
- ERTL (normal and metallic; discontinued)
- Wooden Railway
- Take-Along (discontinued)
- Bandai Tecs
- Wind-up Trains (normal and metallic)