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“You are a troublesome engine! You are rude, conceited, and much too big for your wheels!”
―The Thin Controller, Sir Handel, Four Little Engines

Sir Handel, named after the Skarloey Railway's first owner, Sir Handel Brown I - originally named Falcon, after the works where he was built - is a narrow gauge saddle tank engine.

Bio in the Railway Series

Falcon was built at Falcon Works in Loughborough, England in 1904 for the Mid Sodor Railway as an 0-4-0ST, which caused him to bounce. He was delivered by sea to Arlesburgh to replace a locomotive which was scrapped shortly afterwards. He returned to Loughborough in 1910 to have trailing wheels fitted as a cure for his unsteadiness in running.

When the Mid Sodor Railway closed in 1947, he and Stuart were sold to the Sodor Aluminium Company at Peel Godred for an expansion project. They worked there until 1951, at which time both engines were sheeted at the projects close for almost a year. They were purchased for a total of fifty pounds by the Skarloey Railway in 1952, overhauled and repainted at Crovan's Gate Works and renamed Sir Handel and Peter Sam respectively.

Sir Handel was not very well-behaved when he first came to the Skarloey Railway, as shown when he insulted the coaches by calling them "cattle trucks", which resulted in them holding him back on a hill and bumping him off the rails when he had to stop for some sheep that strayed on the line, and when he derailed himself on purpose when his driver planned for him to fetch trucks from the quarry. This led the Thin Controller to discipline him by leaving him in the shed until he was ready to behave. He also pretended to be ill to avoid going to the quarry, as advised by Gordon, which only led to Peter Sam to have an accident with trucks at the incline after they mistook him for Sir Handel, and to avoid getting televised by the BBC television producers, but the Thin Controller arranged for him to be taken apart instead in order to show the producers how an engine works.

Sir Handel did not cope well with the worn track on the railway and would often derail - sometimes deliberately, so he was given a pair of special wheels with broad tyres to cure this problem, dubbed "steamroller wheels" by the other engines. Skarloey later had Sir Handel meet his matches with a bad-tempered steamroller named George to teach him some sense, which resulted in him having an accident when George rammed his front roller into his train. Despite this, Sir Handel still took belief that he sent George packing, but he stopped talking about it after some children heard about his situation with George and teased him about it.

In 1982, Sir Handel visited the Talyllyn Railway to help tide over a locomotive crisis while Sir Haydn was being repaired. Sir Handel had plenty of adventures there, like pulling a wedding train and having to wear an eye-patch after colliding with a tree at Nant Gwernol. He spent two years in Wales before returning to Sodor in 1984 to take his share of the summer traffic.

When Peter Sam was brought back from the Talyllyn Railway early during a visit in 1995, Sir Handel became jealous and as a protest, deliberately knocked out his firebars. He was sent to the shed and began to fear that he would never come out after weeks went by and no one came to see him. When the Thin Controller came in one day Sir Handel confessed and asked for a second chance. Sir Handel got his firebars later that day - no one bothered to tell him that they had only just arrived.

Bio in the Television Series

As in the Railway Series, Falcon and Stuart lived with Duke until their line was closed and they were bought by the Skarloey Railway and were renamed Sir Handel and Peter Sam respectively.

Upon arriving, Sir Handel had many adventures, all of which were reprised from the Railway Series. He was derailed by his own coaches when he stopped too quickly in front of some sheep. Sir Handel was also very pompous and refused to do his job well when he arrived on the Skarloey Railway, so he was sent to the sheds for a while to repent. After coming back out, he got into a fight with George the steamroller, which ended in a race with George smashing Sir Handel's trucks. Once George had left, Sir Handel became even more conceited then ever and believed that he had made George go away.

Sir Handel did not reappear until years later, apparently because he was working in the stone quarry. When he returned, he had a much different attitude. He did his jobs without complaining and had trouble getting up hills. He is also wiser in most situations, but in some cases he is still pompous. He is generally of the opinion that he knows best and should be in charge. This can sometimes lead him into trouble with the other engines and the trucks. However, he always gets the job done. According to Mr. Perkins, Sir Handel can be cheeky sometimes.

When Samson was sent to the quarry to collect stone, he asked Sir Handel if the other trucks are meant to go to Brendam, with the little engine replying that they are, but he was not sure if Samson could pull all of them. Sir Handel and Peter Sam laughed at him for his actions by pulling the heavy trucks.

He currently works on the Skarloey Railway with Skarloey, Rheneas, Peter Sam, Rusty, Duncan and Luke.


Sir Handel, named Falcon and under the supervision of Duke in his younger days, has been prone to moody tantrums and thinking that he knows better than others, and at times, is arrogant, pompous, rude, stubborn, naughty, and bad-tempered. When he was given broad wheels which hold well to the rails and has been said to give a smooth ride, this contributed to his arrogant self-importance and his belief that he is a grand engine. He is not known for being a well-behaved engine since he has been known in the past to take a disliking to the narrow gauge coaches (often referring to them as "cattle trucks/cars"), feigning illness to avoid jobs he doesn't want to do, bumping trucks even if they behaved themselves which gives him a bad reputation with them, derailing himself and damaging his firebars deliberately, and believing that he should be in charge and he has a tendency to get too big for his wheels.

Sir Handel can be quite impressionable when it comes to engines who he views as important, express engines, or "the best engines in the world", such as Gordon, Duke or Skarloey. However, when the advice he is given results in him getting into trouble, as shown from Gordon, he can have second thoughts and want to give them a piece of his mind. He once claimed to be an express engine himself.

Despite all this, Sir Handel means well, and he always works to get things done. He is proud to be a reliable, helpful and good-hearted engine.

From the tenth season of the television series onward, Sir Handel had been portrayed as a steady, thoughtful and more mature engine who is ready to offer advice. He is ready to be put in charge and keep other engines in order, but ironically regained his original personality whenever this chance occurred. Like anyone else, Sir Handel enjoys being helpful and reliable.


Sir Handel is based on the Talyllyn Railway's Sir Haydn, a Hughes Falcon 0-4-2ST that originally worked on the Corris Railway. Albert and Proteus share the same basis. The Corris Railway is currently building another "Falcon" locomotive.


In the Railway Series, Sir Handel was painted dark blue until coming to work on the Skarloey Railway, where he was painted in the Skarloey Railway's standard red livery with blue and yellow lining, and with his name painted on the sides of his saddle tank in yellow. In the television series, he is painted dark blue with red lining and brass fittings. He has red and gold name and number plates on the sides of his saddle tank and coal bunkers respectively.

In The Thomas Way DVD, the Mr. Perkins segment features a re-illustrated version of Trucks! In this, Sir Handel is painted dark blue, like in the television series.


Railway Series

Television Series


He also made cameos in two fifth season songs, Accidents Will Happen and Come for the Ride and the two sixth season songs, James the Really Splendid Engine and Little Engines.

Magazine Stories

Sir Handel also appeared in the magazine stories, Duncan Gets Upset, Hello, Skarloey!, Skarloey and Santa, Smoke Signals and The Cliff Railway.

Annual Stories

Voice Actors


  • In the Railway Series, Sir Handel along with Peter Sam did not have buffers in Duke the Lost Engine and Four Little Engines but later received oval shaped ones by the time of The Little Old Engine.
  • In the Railway Series, along with his ERTL and 1997-2005 Wooden Railway toys, Sir Handel is depicted with Sir Haydn's original cab design, which meant his cab was only open on his right side until Great Little Engines and his coal bunkers were not visible until New Little Engine. In the latter book, while his coal bunkers became visible, he retained the old cab design. In the television series, he is depicted with Sir Haydn's post-1968, and current, cab design.
  • The Reverend W. Awdry's model of Falcon was at the Reverend Teddy Boston's Cadeby Light Railway, before the railway finally closed in 2005. It is unknown what happened to it.
  • In various merchandise and books, Sir Handel's name is often misspelt as "Sir Handle".
  • Despite Sir Handel being a narrow gauge engine, his TrackMaster toy comes with updated versions of the red branch line coaches which are standard gauge.
  • During production on the fourth season, Sir Handel had Rheneas' face and vice-versa.
  • Keith Wickham gives Sir Handel a Welsh accent; reflecting his basis' origins.
  • Sir Handel's large scale television series model is currently on display in the Hara Model Railway Museum in Japan.
  • Nitrogen Studios went to the Talyllyn Railway and took measurements of Sir Handel's basis, Sir Haydn, so that his CGI render would resemble Sir Haydn as closely as possible. This was also done with Skarloey, Rheneas, Peter Sam, and Rusty.
  • Sir Handel's whistle sound from the eleventh season onwards was used from the Disney Pixar Movie, "Cars" in a deleted scene, "Community Service" before it was used in the show.
  • Sir Handel's derailments in both the Railway Series and television series were inspired from his basis Sir Haydn, who was seldomly used due to the precarious state of the track that caused it to derail during its early days on the Talyllyn Railway. His punishment of being left in the shed for misbehaving is also inspired from Sir Haydn's disuse due to its derailment problem.
  • Sir Handel's happy face mask for his small scale model (used in the fourth season) is now in possession of ThomasTankMerch on Twitter.
  • Sir Handel has been through many changes through the series. These include:
    • Season 10:
      • Darker blue livery.
      • Black trailing wheels and buffers.
      • No visible whistle and his whistle sound changed.
      • His smokebox, boiler and saddle tanks were raised up and a stand under his smokebox was added.
      • His square buffer housings changed to round ones.
      • His nose was not as pointed.
      • Permanent tail lamp.
      • He increased in size. 
      • His saddle tank became wider.
      • His eyebrows changed shape.
    • Blue Mountain Mystery:
      • His blue livery became a more vibrant shade than it was in the tenth season.
      • Grey buffers and trailing wheels.
      • His buffer housings became square again and more accurate to his basis.
      • A visible whistle.
      • Dark brass handrails along his saddle tank were added.
      • His cutout windows gained brass frames and contained glass.
      • His sandboxes gain lids on top and brass 'taps' on the sides.
      • His tail lamp was positioned higher and changed to a removable Talyllyn-styled lamp.
      • Sanding gear under his cab.
      • Rivets were added to his bufferbeam and cab.
      • He gained angle brackets on the back of his cab.
      • Black siderod guards.
      • Brass pipes under his saddle tank.
    • Season 18:
      • Permanent lamp and lamp irons.
    • Season 20:
      • His trailing wheels and saddle tank hand rails became silver (or more reflective).


The new engines looked very smart. One was called Sir Handel and the other Peter Sam.
"What a small shed!" grumbled Sir Handel. "This won't do at all! We're much too smart for this old shack!"
"I think its nice", said Peter Sam.
"Humpf!" grunted Sir Handel. "What's that rubbish?"
"Shh!" said Peter Sam. "That's Skarloey the famous old engine. I'm sorry, Skarloey", he whispered. "Sir Handel's upset now, but he's quite nice really".
Skarloey felt sorry for Peter Sam.

- Sir Handel and Peter Sam arrive at the Skarloey Railway, "Sir Handel", "Four Little Engines".

Peter Sam told them about the television as well. And they were pleased and excited too, all except Sir Handel.
"I don't hold with it!" he grumbled. "Vulgar, I call it. Fancy traipsing about making an exhibition of yourselves. I won't do it, I tell you! Telly something indeed. Just let the Thin Controller come here, I'll tell him something!"
Skarloey said nothing, he just winked at Peter Sam. But next day, when the Thin Controller did come to explain about the television, Sir Handel kept strangely quiet.
"Now", said the Thin Controller at last. "I want every engine to take part".
"I..I..I don't feel well", quavered Sir Handel.
"You poor engine", said the Thin Controller gravely. "You can stay in the shed".
Sir Handel smiled broadly.
"And your driver and firemen can take you to pieces. That would make a very interesting picture. Just what we need!"
Sir Handel's feelings were beyond words.

- Sir Handel complaining about television, "Little Old Twins", "The Little Old Engine".

Next day, the workmen put up a fence between road and railway and went away taking George with them. This was because they had finished their work, but Sir Handel thought he had made George go away. He was more conceited than ever and talked ever lastingly about steamrollers.
"Oh dear!" whispered Skarloey one evening. "He's worse than ever, I'm sorry my plan was no good".
"Never mind", said Rusty. "We'll think of something else!"
But they had no need to do that, for some boys came and asked Mr. Hugh if they could look at the engines. Almost at once, one called out...
"...Look! Here's Sir Handel. He raced a steamroller last week, but the roller nearly beat him too! It was most exciting!"
Sir Handel never mentions Steamrollers now!

- Sir Handel thinks he sent George the Steamroller packing, "Steam Roller", "Gallant Old Engine".



* RWS only | ** T&F only