Stepney, named after a district in London, is a tank engine from the Bluebell Railway.
Bio in the Railway Series
Stepney was built at Brighton Works in Brighton, England in 1875 and later rebuilt in 1912. He arrived on the Bluebell Railway on May 17th, 1960, after the railway's founder Bernard Holden MBE helped to save the line for preservation. Stepney was the first engine to be rescued by the Bluebell Railway.
In 1963, Stepney came on loan to Sodor and worked briefly with Duck at Tidmouth before working on Thomas' Branch Line, during which time he caught a cricket ball in a truck while passing the Elsbridge cricket field. Towards the end of his stay, he returned to Tidmouth, and on his last day double-headed the Express with Duck after The Diesel failed.
In June 2008, Stepney was withdrawn from service as his boiler certificate had expired. He has since had a fast-track overhaul so that he could be back in service for the "Bluebell 50th" gala in early August 2010. However, due to his "tired condition", Stepney is only being allowed to carry out light-duties. His current boiler certificate will expire in April 2015. It is unknown if he will be given a major overhaul once he's withdrawn or wait his turn in the Sheffield Park Engine Shed.
Bio in the television series
Stepney later visited Sodor to have a change from his line, and again to help Toby and Mavis at the quarry. This excursion nearly ended in disaster after 'Arry and Bert tried to scrap Stepney, luckily without success, after Stepney accidentally ventured into the scrapyards. Stepney later visited for unknown reasons in one episode, apparently to help Duck again, and was later helped by Edward with the running of a new loop line.
Stepney is a bubbly, honest, and humble chap who is busting with enthusiasm. He is very eager to please and is every engine's friend. Even if an engine might not like him at first, his personality wins them over. After being saved from scrap by Rusty and the Bluebell Railway, he now runs his own branch line, but loves helping out on the Fat Controller's Railway. He has an enthusiasm for learning and listening to advice, as well as keeping busy. Stepney can feel down in the dumps if he does not get enough work to do or if he does not get a good long run to stretch his wheels. Stepney is high-spirited, lively, and is keen to see fair play. He is popular amongst the engines and is always game for more work.
Stepney was built by Brighton Works in 1875, and was rebuilt into an A1X in 1912. During his final working years, Stepney worked on the Hayling Island branch line, until he was taken out of service in 1960 and placed on an out-of-use siding. He was bought by the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society and arrived on the railway on 17th May, making him the first standard gauge steam locomotive in the United Kingdom to be preserved.
Since his first appearance in the Railway Series and Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, Stepney has become one of the most popular engines on the railway, with children all across the country coming to see him. Stepney has even participated in "Day Out with Thomas" events, and has carried a face for these events.
Stepney was taken out of service in 2008, after his boiler ticket expired, but underwent a fast-track overhaul and returned to working order in 2010, just in time for the line's 50th Anniversary. In March 2014, Stepney was withdrawn from service following the failure of his main steam pipe. He is currently awaiting new cylinders and significant work on his frames and boiler.
Stepney is based on the real engine of the same name, an LB&SCR A1x Class "Terrier" 0-6-0T tank locomotive. He is Boxhill's brother.
Stepney was painted in the ochre locomotive livery of the LB&SCR, formally known as "Stroudley's Improved Engine Green". He is currently painted in "Bluebell Black". On January 14th, 2012, Stepney made an "only-morning" appearance in BR Lined Black with "cycling lion" crest and his BR number, 32655, for a special photographic charter. He carried the same BR Lined Black livery again on April 17th, 2012 for another photographic charter; this time though with the later "ferret and dartboard" crest. He returned to "Bluebell Black" in time for his visit to the National Railway Museum's "Railfest" in the first week of June 2012.
- Stepney is now back under his own steam as of May 17th, 2010, which, 50 years ago, was when Stepney first came to the (then) newly-born Bluebell Railway.
- Alec Baldwin gives Stepney a Cockney accent. This may have been intentional, as Stepney is a region of East London, and the inhabitants of that area, amongst others, were known as Cockneys.
- When the president of the Bluebell Railway Bernard Holden MBE died, aged 104 on October 4th, 2012, Stepney headed his funeral train on the 16th, due to his being the first engine that the railway rescued.
- The Official Website incorrectly stated that Stepney was a narrow gauge engine.
- In the third illustration of Bluebells of England, Stepney is seen without a face. This is because the Rev. W. Awdry intended that engines must not have faces unless they are on Sodor.
Stepney on the Bluebell Railway website.