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Skarloey, a narrow gauge saddletank engine, is the oldest engine on the Skarloey Railway.
Skarloey was built at Fletcher, Jennings & Co., Whitehaven in 1864 as a 0-4-0ST with no cab, which later caused him to bounce a lot, alongside his twin, Talyllyn. He was the first engine to arrive on the newly developed Skarloey Railway in May 1865, arriving by steam ship at Kirk Ronan Harbour, before being delivered to Crovan's Gate by Neil. His young antics proved bothersome but he soon matured when he received his cab and trailing wheels. He received these when he returned to Whitehaven in 1867, where he was briefly reunited with Talyllyn.
The trailing wheels improved his running greatly, and this together with the cab made him a favourite with the men in spite of his shy steaming. In consequence Skarloey was always worked harder than Rheneas, and in 1897 he returned to Whitehaven a second, and final, time for heavy repairs. No further overhauls were done to him apart from general maintenance in the SR workshop; the result being that by 1945 his boiler and firebox were in such a poor state that he could only be steamed in dire emergency. On one such occasion in 1952, he damaged his springs whilst bringing home Sir Handel's train, resulting in him receiving a much-needed overhaul.
He was sent to Gibbons Bros. Ltd. in England for this, where he met his twin Talyllyn, who was there for the same purpose, for the first time in some 60 years. He returned almost as new in 1958, but was still somewhat shy in steaming. After many experiments, however, Mr. Ivo Hugh finally cured this fault by fitting a brick arch in his firebox and a "Kylchap" cowl on his blast pipe. This work was done in the SR's workshop with no outside help at all.
Since returning to service, he has been very much a voice of reason on the Skarloey Railway: he was responsible for Sir Handel's comeuppance when the latter became boastful about his new wheels, and changed Duncan's views about passengers by telling him about the time when Rheneas saved the Railway.
At the celebrations for his and Rheneas' 100th birthday, he collected the Duke of Sodor (much to Peter Sam's confusion) and took him around the new loop line. He underwent another heavy overhaul at Crovan's Gate Works in 1985, returning to service in May of that year.
He later attended Ivo Hugh's naming ceremony, and brought along a special train with important guests. However, he had to stop when a sow and her piglets strayed onto the line. His passengers had to come out to catch the pigs and return them to their field, and Skarloey was late but arrived in time for the naming ceremony.
When Skarloey first appeared in the fourth season, he brought people to the closed Mid Sodor Railway to buy the engines, taking Stuart and Falcon but leaving Duke behind. When a group of visitors planned on following the old line into the mountains to find Duke, they used Skarloey. He carried them into the mountains, searching for Duke for several days. Once Duke was found, Skarloey and Rheneas transported him back down to the Skarloey Railway for restoration.
Edward found Skarloey sitting in the shed where he had been sent for a rest. Skarloey told Edward about Rheneas going away to be mended and that he wishes he could be mended too and pull coaches again. He received his chance when the coaches derailed Sir Handel, at which point he volunteered to pull the visitors' train in Sir Handel's stead. He scolded the coaches and set off, trying his best as he approached the hill. Downhill, one of his weak springs gave out and left Skarloey crooked. Determined to not let his passengers down, Skarloey limped to the station and got the passengers home. The driver promised to have him mended, saying that Skarloey deserves it. When Skarloey came home, Rusty helped him to the sheds, where the fireman lit Skarloey's fire. He declared his excitement to be like that of a young engine.
However, from the seventh season, Skarloey has acted like a very young engine. He has also acted timid, being scared of an old wooden bridge.
Skarloey is the sage of the Skarloey Railway and is an old, faithful little engine. Although once full of enthusiasm and his own ideas in his youth, Skarloey is now one of the oldest engines on the Island. He is a calm-natured, quaint, and mature engine and may often try to guide or watch over less experienced narrow gauge engines in his firm but fair and friendly manner. He acts kindly to engines and passengers alike and always enjoys a gentle, smooth journey through the woods by the lakeside and stopping at all the gates and stiles he remembers so well.
In the Railway Series, Skarloey is painted in the Skarloey Railway's red livery and blue-and-yellow lining with his name painted in gold on his saddletank. In the television series, Skarloey is painted red with white and gold lining.
- Skarloey was built at Fletcher, Jennings & Co. at Whitehaven, the same place as Rheneas, Captain Baxter, Talyllyn and Dolgoch.
- His name is Sudric for "Lake in the Woods".
- Skarloey's name on the Japanese Thomas website is backwards.
- Skarloey's large scale model was used as The Ghost Engine in Duncan Gets Spooked.
- The Reverend W. Awdry's model of Skarloey is currently on display at the Narrow Gauge Museum in Tywyn.
- Nitrogen Studios went to the Talyllyn Railway and took measurements of Skarloey's basis, Talyllyn, so that his CGI render would resemble Talyllyn as closely as possible. This was also done with Rheneas, Sir Handel, Peter Sam, and Rusty.
- Skarloey has gone through many modifications through the TV Series. These include:
- Season 5:
- Cab handrails disappeared (large scale model only).
- His buffers changed from grey to silver.
- His whistle sound changed pitch.
- Season 6:
- The brass ring around his funnel and his buffers were painted black.
- His model is significantly less weathered.
- Season 5:
- As the men at the Works could not mend him at once, Edward asked them to put him on a siding close to Skarloey. Skarloey was pleased to see Edward.
- "The Owner has just bought two more engines," he said. "He told me I was a very old engine, and deserved a good rest. He gave me this shed so that I could see everything and not be lonely. But I'am lonely all the same," he continued sadly. "I miss Rheneas very much. Yesterday one of the new engines pushed him onto a truck, and now he's gone to be mended. I wish I could be mended too, and pull coaches again."
- Skarloey talking to Edward, "Skarloey Remembers", "Four Little Engines"
- "You were right, Sir," said Skarloey to the Owner, that evening. "Old engines can't pull trains like the young ones can!"
- The Owner smiled. "They can if they're mended, Old Faithful," he said. "And that's what will happen to you, you deserve it!"
- Skarloey and the Owner, "Old Faithful", "Four Little Engines"
- "I'm ashamed of you, Duncan," said Skarloey. "You should think of your passengers!"
- "Passengers are just nuisances, they're always complaining!"
- Skarloey was shocked. "That's no way to talk," he said. "Passengers are our coal and water. No passengers means no trains. No trains means no railway. And then we'd be on the scrapheap, my engine, and don't you forget it! Thank goodness Rheneas is coming home soon. Perhaps he'll teach you some sense before its too late!"
- Skarloey lecturing Duncan about passengers, "The Gallant Old Engine", "Gallant Old Engine"
- Rheneas chuckled. "It cheered him too much! And those silly coaches made him worse. 'Such a handsome engine', they twitted. Six wheels and a cab, so distinguished my dears! Its a pleasure to see him. He soon got too big for his wheels."
- Rheneas, "Stick-in-the-Mud", "Very Old Engines"
- ERTL (metallic and regular; discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (reintroduced)
- Bandai Tecs
- Brio (discontinued)
- Wind-up Trains (regular and metallic)