|This article is about 'the mountain engine'. You may be looking for 'Godred MacHarold, Godred Crovan or King Godred'.|
The Railway Series
Godred was built by the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works in Winterthur, Switzerland in 1900, and arrived on Sodor alongside the other four engines in time for the railway's inspection and opening. He was named after Godred MacHarold, a famed Sudrian king, which was believed by Culdee to be the cause of his arrogance; Godred believed that nothing bad could happen to him, and that should he be in trouble, his automatic brakes would save him. Despite being looked over by his crew and the manager, Godred continued acting on in his pompous ways.
On 4th June, just over a month after the railway had officially opened, Godred was coming back down the mountain with his coach, when he derailed on Devil's Back and rolled down the mountain. Nobody was hurt in the accident, but Godred was destroyed. When he was recovered the following day, Godred was found to be beyond repair, and he was scrapped. His remains were scavenged to help keep the other engines going until newer engines could arrive and they could go to Switzerland for overhauls.
Culdee later told the story of Godred to Skarloey, Rheneas, Sir Handel and Duncan during his brief stay at Crovan's Gate. He also told No. 6 about Godred when he was sent to the back of the shed for being naughty.
Godred was arrogant, supercilious and reckless; Culdee speculated that this was due to the nature of his naming. He believed that nothing bad could ever happen to him and put too much faith into his automatic brakes, believing that they would save him if he was ever in the face of danger. Despite all warnings, Godred never learned sense, and paid the price when he met his fate on the mountain.
Godred was based on the Snowdon Mountain Railway's No. 1 “L.A.D.A.S.”, an 0-4-2 rack-equipped tank locomotive built by the Swiss Locomotive and Machine Works in 1895. The locomotive was named after Laura Alice Duff Assheton-Smith, the daughter of a major landowner, and was the railway's only locomotive to carry the number one.
On 6th April, 1896, L.A.D.A.S. was pulling the railway's first public passenger train, when she derailed while coming down the line and fell down the mountain, the fall destroying the locomotive. A passenger died from loss of blood after jumping from the carriage. L.A.D.A.S. was found to be beyond repair, so she was scrapped. To this day, the Snowdon Mountain Railway has never replaced her with another engine carrying her number.
Godred was painted in the Culdee Fell Railway's standard purple livery with orange lining. His number was painted on the sides of his cab in yellow, and he carried two red nameplates with gold writing, one on each side of his tanks.
In a magazine story, Godred was painted red with yellow lining and a grey bufferbeam. Among other changes, Godred was depicted with arch-shaped windows, regular buffers and a straightened boiler.
Godred's actual existence has been the source of some confusion since his debut. At the end of Bad Look-Out, it is said that Culdee had only made both the story and Godred up. However, no other engine carrying his number was seen in any of the stories. Furthermore, both The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways and Sodor: Reading Between the Lines confirm that Godred did indeed fall down the mountain.
The most likely explanation is that the Rev. W. Awdry wanted his fictional railway to mirror its real-life counterpart as close as possible. However, as this would result in the “death” of a character, he chose to end the story the way he did so as to avoid upsetting his readers.
Cause of the Accident
The exact cause of Godred's accident has never been determined or confirmed by either Wilbert or Christopher Awdry.
L.A.D.A.S.'s accident was caused by subsidence of the track, leading to the pinion wheel disengaging; this was amended by fitting guard-bars to the rack-rail. As the Culdee Fell Railway opened four years after L.A.D.A.S.'s accident, it seems likely that the guard-rails would have been required by the Board of Trade from the outset, meaning that a different chain of events would have had to occur to cause the derailment, somehow disengaging both the pinion wheels and the gripper connecting to the engine, which connects with the guard-bars to prevent such an accident from happening.
- Like the other Culdee Fell Railway engines, Godred had two faces, one on each end.