Brendam is a town located at the extreme south of the western shore of Suddery Bay with a population of 4,500 and is home to Brendam Docks. It is the top station for Edward's Branch Line and an important harbour.
The “white mountains” visible some two to three miles to the northwest of Brendam are spoil heaps of quartz and sand from the china clay pits. The clay is used in making porcelain, paper, paint, plastics, medicines and cosmetics. It is shipped from Brendam all over the world.
This is a recent development. Until 1949 Brendam was a quiet fishing village where apparently nothing much ever happened. In the early 1900s the Wellsworth and Suddery Railway extended to Brendam, and built jetties here intending to use it as a port, but after a few years they abandoned the project and transferred to Tidmouth in 1912. The fishermen were glad of the jetties and the railway, but carried on as before.
The village had grown up around the mouth of a small river. St. Brendan's Church (the only church on the island dedicated to the 6th century missionary), though small, has a conspicuous 15th Century tower standing slightly apart from the main building. It was erected as a landmark to guide boats along the only safe channel by which to enter the harbour.
Now the pattern of life has changed. Fishing has declined, and the majority of the (now) 4,500 inhabitants are employed in one way or another by the Sodor China Clay Company. The clay beds were discovered in 1948, and the Company was formed to work them. A new harbour, capable of accommodating ocean-going vessels, was built some one and a half miles south of the old one, and a private railway laid down to link the Workings with the harbour and the North Western Railway. This line is worked by the Clay Company’s own locomotives, Bill and Ben.
There has naturally been considerable housing development, not only round the harbour area, but also on the hillside above the old village. Great care has been taken to ensure that the new buildings shall harmonise with the old. The Clay Company and their architects have succeeded admirably in this. Much more difficult has been the establishment of a harmonious relationship between the two communities - ”the Villagers and the Clayboys”, the old inhabitants and the new; but now after over fifty years there are welcome signs that the two communities are at last fusing into one. There has been a Girl's School in the hills above Brendam since 1873
In the Television Series
In the television series, Brendam Docks has been portrayed as the biggest and busiest dockyard on the Island of Sodor since the fifth season. Cranky is stationed here and he always loads and unloads cargo to and from the dock. Salty, who loves to work at the Docks and tell tales of the sea, was bought by Sir Topham Hatt to work here shunting trucks. Some years later, Porter arrived to assist Salty with the heavy workloads. The station of Upper Brendam serves the town itself.
A coastal branch line runs from the port and is mainly used for fish traffic. It also appears that the Express stops here on its way to Barrow-in-Furness, to collect passengers from the many ocean liners that come in here. In the fifth and sixth seasons, there was a large goods shed nearby Cranky, but after he accidentally knocked it over, it has not been rebuilt or seen since. The mail barge also docks here. The Docks here are large and extensive, with many warehouses, cranes, rail yards and canals.
- Although it is mentioned in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways that the village of Brendam had developed round the mouth of a small river it has never been depicted on any of the various maps of Sodor.
- In Main Line Engines and the second season, it is stated that the track and bridges on Edward's Branch Line do not support the heavier weight of the Main Line engines such as Gordon or Henry. However, in Wrong Road, Gordon and the Express were switched onto the Branch Line and ended up at Brendam Docks, though this was done by mistake. Ever since the fifth season, engines like Gordon, Henry, Murdoch, Spencer, Hiro, and Caitlin have appeared travelling regularly to Brendam Docks, despite Edward's Branch Line not being able to hold their weight regularly. In the CGI Series, Brendam Docks has been portrayed as a main line station and Gordon, pulling the Express, is seen regularly delivering passengers to the Docks.
- The Sodor Shipping Company has at least one large warehouse located here.
- Brendam is often misspelt "Brendham", particularly in merchandise and in the subtitles of DVDs.
- Since the fifth season, Brendam Docks has been portrayed as a main line station and also since the same season, Big Mickey and S.S. Vienna's models from TUGS can be seen here.
- In Baa!, Percy says that the docks are his favourite station, albeit while "too tired to think properly."
- In Really Useful Around the World, a siding with buffers is placed by Cranky, and the Sodor Shipping Company is moved slightly to another track.
- As of the ninth season, the only areas of Brendam shown is the area that Cranky is situated at and the area where SS. Vienna is usually located.
- A behind the scenes image reveals that the set of Brendam Docks is placed on a floor.
- Brendam Docks has had numerous modifications throughout the years:
- Season 6:
- A warehouse was added in the middle of both the yard and the main dock, replacing the washdown seen in its place in the fifth season.
- Cranky was moved from the middle of the yard to near the edge of the main dock.
- Big Mickey was also moved from in front of SS. Vienna to the other end of the main dock from Cranky.
- The large goods shed was moved from the near edge of the dock to the middle of the dock, the shed however disappeared after No Sleep for Cranky, since it was knocked over by Cranky in the same episode.
- A lot of the sheds and workmen's houses were either moved around or removed completely.
- Season 13:
- The overall layout of the docks became consistent.
- The rails all end at buffers on the side where SS. Vienna normally docks. However, a goof is that the engines still arrive at the docks from that side even though there are buffers.
- There is no longer ballast under the rails.
- A siding was added beside the warehouse which did not connect to any other line, making it inaccessible.
- King of the Railway:
- There are points near Cranky so the engines can switch tracks.
- Season 20:
- A ferry dock was added and another set of points were added nearby.
- A whole set of sidings around the corner from Cranky were added. Two switch tracks were added nearby.
- The inaccessible siding was made accessible again by a set of points.
- Season 21:
- Gantry tracks were added between Big Mickey and Cranky, in order to accommodate Carly.
- Season 6: