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“They were very pleased when our controller gave them names. Some say he was wrong to do it, it certainly made them cocky. But they do work hard, and I think our controller was right. All engines ought to have names!”

Bluebell and Primrose are tank engine twins who live on the Bluebell Railway.


The Railway Series

Bluebell and Primrose were brought for preservation by the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society. They arrived at the Bluebell in 1960 and 1961 respectively, and remained stalwarts in the Bluebell's locomotive fleet.

When Stepney visited the Island of Sodor, he mentioned Bluebell and Primrose in a conversation with Edward. According to Stepney, they had no names at first, so their Controller gave them names. He says it made them over-confident, but they still work hard.


Stepney describes Bluebell and Primrose as hard workers and being "as like as two peas". They were given the privilege of being named once they joined the Bluebell Railway, though this made them rather cocky.

Technical Details

Real-life History

Bluebell and Primrose are based upon the real Bluebell and Primrose, members of the South Eastern & Chatham Railway P Class built from 1909-1910 for lightweight passenger trains and later used for shunting.

At present, Bluebell is in service after an overhaul, returning in time for the Branch Line Weekend in March 2011; whilst Primrose is currently undergoing restoration, expecting to end in 2019.


Primrose, and Bluebell in her Railway Series appearance, is painted dark green with red and yellow lining. She has "SE&CR" written on the sides of her tanks and the number "27" written on the sides of her bunker in yellow.

Bluebell was painted blue with white lining with red nameplates with her name in gold when she was first acquired by the Bluebell Railway. In 1998, she was repainted in the livery she carried in World War I. As of March 2011, Bluebell is currently in a variant of the South Eastern and Chatham Railway pre-war livery, but with blue instead of green and "Bluebell" written in gold letters instead of "SE&CR".


The Railway Series

Companion volumes


  • Despite not having faces, Bluebell and Primrose were the first female steam engines to be introduced in the Railway Series.
  • Of the two engines, only Bluebell is currently operational. Primrose is undergoing restoration.
  • Bluebell's ERTL toy was in fact Thomas merely repainted and with a different smokebox. She was originally going to have her own toy. This prototype had a crew member leaning out of her door. This would have been the only ERTL toy to have this feature. Furthermore, on the back of Bluebell's ERTL packaging, it incorrectly says she is an LB&SCR E2 Class instead of a SE&CR P Class, and that The Fat Controller had given her and Primrose names.


  • ERTL (Bluebell only; discontinued)


Merchandise Gallery

* RWS only | ** T&F only

* RWS only | ** T&F only