Rusty is a Diesel who does maintenance work on the Skarloey Railway.
Rusty was built by Ruston and Hornsby Ltd. in Lincoln, England. He was bought by Sir Handel Brown direct from the builders in 1957 to assist Sir Handel and Peter Sam. A generally reliable engine, Rusty is used for track maintenance and breakdowns. Rusty is also occasionally used in emergency for light passenger traffic.
When Sir Handel pretended to be ill, Rusty was asked to assist Peter Sam with the slate trucks and later that day had to perform a rescue operation at the quarry when Peter Sam had an accident on the incline.
Following the return of Skarloey, Rusty was put back on maintenance duties, but had an argument with Duncan about taking care on a "bad bit" of track south of Cros-ny-Cuirn. While initially refusing to help the conceited Duncan when he derailed, Skarloey reminded Rusty of his responsibility towards the passengers and he set out at once, later making up the quarrel with Duncan. Later that year, Rusty and Mr. Hugh were chosen to demonstrate to a television crew how they maintained the line at Quarry Siding.
In 1961, Rusty and Mr. Hugh discovered a washed out section of track south of the tunnel and the railway was closed temporarily while he and the workmen repaired the line. He was later present when Rheneas finally returned home.
In 1964, the Lakeside loop line extension was opened in a grand ceremony at Quarry Siding. Rusty was asked to bring visitors to celebrate the occasion.
In 1984, Rusty was in charge of carrying away tree branches and other cuttings, which were being trimmed from the line so that passengers could get a better view.
In 1995, Rusty was put in charge of the weedkiller train, a job he disliked because it required slow speeds. The weedkiller later created trouble for Rheneas, who could not get a firm grip on the wet, greasy rails. He later had to take Sir Handel's trains after Sir Handel had caused his firebars to collapse.
Rusty's initial depiction in the TV series was with a much more determined and brave personality. In the fourth season, Rusty helped saved Stepney, who was stranded on a siding in a scrapyard on the Other Railway, from scrap. When a Boulder went loose at the Quarry, Rusty narrowly escaped destruction after being chased by the giant stone. Along with Skarloey, Rheneas, and Elizabeth, Rusty saved the Skarloey Railway from abandonment. Rusty once saved Duncan from falling into a river from an old bridge.
Rusty is a trusty, tame, friendly little Diesel. He is a dedicated worker, often maintaining the line, while understanding and respecting the importance of his duties. He also has a rather distinctive two-tone horn. Rusty is quick to remind others with regards to proper conduct, particularly Duncan, who was initially very suspicious of the little Diesel. He has a good working relationship with both Skarloey and Peter Sam in particular. Caring, calm, and quick-thinking, Rusty is modestly a credit to the Skarloey Railway.
- The Little Old Engine - Trucks!, Home at Last (does not speak), Rock 'n' Roll and Little Old Twins (does not speak)
- Gallant Old Engine - Special Funnel (does not speak) and Steam Roller (not seen)
- Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine - Bluebells of England (mentioned)
- Very Old Engines - Duck and Dukes (does not speak)
- Great Little Engines - Peter Sam and the Prickly Problem (does not speak)
- New Little Engine - Speedkiller
- According to a New York Times article from 1995, Britt Allcroft intended to make Rusty gender neutral. Because of this, the episodes Trucks, Home at Last, and Rock 'n' Roll removed or changed any instance of Rusty being referred to in gender-specific pronouns, as he is referred to as male in the original stories. For example, Duncan's line "Send him packing! Send him packing!" is changed to "Send Rusty packing! Send Rusty packing!".
- Rusty is actually named after his makers, Ruston and Hornsby, not his orange colour.
- When the narrow gauge engines received large scale models in the fifth season, Rusty's face became larger.
- The original Wooden Railway model of Rusty was first released with a white cab roof. When he was re-released, he gained the correct black roof.
- Rusty has been through some modifications in the television series. These include:
- Season 5 (large scale model only):
- Larger face.
- His grey buffers became silver.
- Part of his radiation cap became black.
- Season 6:
- His silver buffers became black.
- Season 5 (large scale model only):
- ERTL (normal and metallic; discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (reissued in three-pack; coming soon, separate)
- Take-Along (three-pack and Faulty Whistles four-pack; discontinued)
- Bandai Tecs
- Brio (discontinued)
- Wind-up Trains