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- “You're a gallant little engine!”
- ―Mr Peter Sam, Gallant Old Engine
Bio in the Railway Series
Rheneas was built by Fletcher, Jennings & Co. at Whitehaven and was delivered by sea to Kirk Ronan in time to haul the train carrying the Board of Trade Inspector in October 1865. Unlike Skarloey, Rheneas was stern and thoughtful and fell out with Skarloey after the latter called him a "stick-in-the-mud" following an argument over cabs. The two reconciled after Rheneas saved Skarloey from a landslide in 1867.
Rheneas’ long wheelbase enabled him to ride steadily, but it also made him hard on the track and this, together with the initial absence of a cab, made Skarloey the more heavily used of the two. Unlike Skarloey (and Dolgoch), Rheneas never returned to Whitehaven. Such repairs as were needed, including the fabrication of a cab at an unknown date, were done at the Skarloey Railway workshops. In 1937, and again in 1943, he was overhauled at the NWR Works at Crovan's Gate. Like Dolgoch, Rheneas enjoys "peculiar motion", which did not make life any easier for the workshop staff.
Rheneas saved the railway by keeping services going through a very lean period in the late 1940s. By 1945, Skarloey was in need of desprate repairs, leaving Rheneas to run the line alone. He managed to pull a full train home one rainy day despite having a jammed valve gear and was rewarded with an overhaul. When Sir Handel and Peter Sam arrived to the railway in 1952, he was sent to England for a heavy overhaul. While there, he was reunited with his twin Dolgoch, money, however, was tight on both their railways and neithers repairs could be completed immediately. Skarloey often felt lonely to know he wasn't there, but he often used his story of when he saved the railway to teach younger engines how to behave, like Duncan. His overhaul was finished in 1961, putting him back into fettle, and he returned to the Skarloey Railway soon after. Because of his bravery, he earned the nickname "Gallant Old Engine" by railway staff.
While Rusty was spreading weedkiller spray on the tracks with a special truck, Rheneas had to fetch another coach when there were more visitors than usual. He wasn't happy about this because this meant he would be late, and it didn't get any better when he had to slow down for hedgecutters, and to make matters worse, because of the weedkiller spray, he ended up slipping down the hill and grinds to a halt. As his crew sanded the rails, he managed to make his way, but his passengers had a limited view of the countryside. They didn't mind this however, as they were more pleased with Rheneas' brave efforts.
He underwent another heavy overhaul at Crovan’s Gate Works in 2002.
Bio in the Television Series
Rheneas has generally been depicted as a gallant engine. In the fifth season, he, Skarloey, and Rusty were chased by a boulder when it had rolled off from its cliff. In the sixth season he was able to save the Skarloey Railway from near abandonment with the help of Elizabeth, Rusty, and Skarloey. In the seventh season, he worried about how he could make a school trip special, but after being sent down the wrong track, Rheneas gave the children the time of their lives.
However, between the ninth and twelfth seasons, he acted more like a young engine; he became careless and silly. Some examples of this include the time he thought he could pull a dinosaur skeleton without Skarloey's help; when he and Skarloey raced Freddie down the mountains (causing him to derail), and the time he and Skarloey had a contest to see who was stronger.
While working at the Blue Mountain Quarry, his paintwork was severely damaged after becoming a runaway; this was the result of having gone too fast over the collapsing Blondin Bridge. This resulted in the brief period when he was painted yellow with blue lining.
Rheneas has been called a "gallant old engine" before and deserves such a title. Rheneas is highly determined, brave, courageous, and a long-time friend and brother of Skarloey. He is a tough, committed worker despite his age and takes great responsibility in his work. He is keen to keep his friends smiling and, although he is a level-headed engine, he can be a bit of an adventurer too. Though he may often try to struggle on alone, Rheneas knows when it is time to call on the help of his friends. Nevertheless, Rheneas is always highly dedicated to the task at hand.
In the Railway Series Rheneas is painted in the Skarloey Railway's standard red livery with blue and yellow lining, with his name on the sides of his boiler in yellow.
In the television series, Rheneas is painted vermilion with black lining and brass fittings. He has black and brass name and number plates on the sides of his boiler and coal bunkers respectively. In early magazine illustrations, he was painted carmine. This carried over to nearly all his merchandise. In Blue Mountain Mystery, he was repainted yellow with blue lining to play a joke on Thomas. He was painted back into his original livery soon afterwards.
- Four Little Engines - Skarloey Remembers (does not speak)
- Gallant Old Engine - Passengers and Polish (mentioned) and Gallant Old Engine
- Mountain Engines - Mountain Engine and Bad Look-Out
- Very Old Engines - Crosspatch (does not speak), Bucking Bronco, Stick-in-the-Mud and Duck and Dukes
- Duke the Lost Engine - Granpuff (mentioned), Bulldog (does not speak) and Sleeping Beauty (cameo)
- Great Little Engines - Patience is a Virtue and Sir Handel Comes Home (cameo)
- New Little Engine - Speedkiller and I Name this Engine...
- Ben Small (UK/US; Blue Mountain Mystery - eighteenth season)
- John Hasler (UK/US; twentieth season onwards)
- Ryōtarō Okiayu (Japan; fourth - seventh seasons)
- Daiki Nakamura (Japan; ninth season onwards, excluding The Great Race)
- Kunihiro Kawamoto (Japan; The Great Race only)
- Jesse Grimm (Germany)
- Gadi Levy (Israel; King of the Railway - twentieth season)
- Zvika Fohrman (Israel; twentieth season onwards)
- Stan Limburg (The Netherlands)
- Stig Krogstad (Norway; Blue Mountain Mystery and King of the Railway)
- Anders Sundstedt (Norway; sixteenth season only)
- Sigbjørn Solheim (Norway; seventeenth season only)
- Sergio Morel (Latin America; Blue Mountain Mystery onwards)
- Bartosz Martyna (Poland; Blue Mountain Mystery - seventeenth season)
- Artur Pontek (Poland; eighteenth season onwards, excluding Emily Saves the World and Samson at Your Service)
- Józef Pawłowski (Poland; Emily Saves the World and Samson at Your Service)
- Juan Navarro Torelló (Spain)
- Prokhor Chekhovskoy (Russia; sixteenth season only)
- Alexander Kotov (Russia; Duncan and the Grumpy Passenger and Duncan the Humbug)
- Anton Savenkov (Russia; Emily Saves the World onwards)
- Petteri Hynönen (Finland; Blue Mountain Mystery onwards)
- Loukas Frangoulis (Greece)
- His build year is given as 1865 in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways and 1866 in Sodor: Reading Between the Lines. This difference arises due to uncertainty about Dolgoch's build date. However, since Rheneas was stated in "Very Old Engines" to arrive shortly after the opening of the Skarloey Railway, and that was in 1865, making Rheneas a year older than Dolgoch.
- In New Little Engine, Rheneas is depicted as an 0-4-2.
- His 2004 Wooden Railway model had a face that resembled Sir Handel's face.
- His name is Sudric for "Divided Waterfall".
- During production on the fourth season, Rheneas had Sir Handel's face and vice-versa.
- One of Rheneas' models is currently on display at the Hara Model Railway Museum in Japan (previously at Nitrogen Studios).
- The Reverend W. Awdry's model of Rheneas is currently on display at the Narrow Gauge Museum in Tywyn.
- Rheneas was built at Fletcher, Jennings & Co. at Whitehaven, the same place where Skarloey, Captain Baxter, Talyllyn, Dolgoch and Smudger were built.
- Ben Small and John Hasler both give Rheneas a Welsh accent; reflecting his basis' origins.
- Rheneas was featured on the 1986 single cover along with Percy of Oh L'amour, a song by English synthpop duo Erasure.
- Nitrogen Studios went to the Talyllyn Railway and took measurements of Rheneas's basis, Dolgoch, so that his CGI render would resemble Dolgoch as closely as possible. This was also done with Skarloey, Sir Handel, Peter Sam, and Rusty.
- Rheneas had a happy face mask for his small scale model that was never shown on screen in the television series. It is now owned by Twitter user Thomas Merchandise.
- Rheneas has had many modifications throughout the television series. These include:
- Season 5:
- Silver buffers as opposed to grey ones. (large scale model only)
- Slightly bigger eyes and nose. (large scale model only)
- Season 6:
- Black buffers as opposed to silver ones.
- His whistle is the same as Peter Sam's.
- His model is significantly less weathered.
- Gained slightly thicker eyebrows.
- Season 9:
- A permanent tail-lamp.
- His pupils became slightly larger.
- Blue Mountain Mystery:
- Accurate bufferbeam to his basis.
- Differently designed wheel-arches.
- Lining was added to his wheel-arches.
- Longer wheelbase.
- Added a visible whistle on his steam dome.
- His cutout windows gained brass frames and contained glass.
- His tail lamp changed to a removable Talyllyn-styled lamp.
- The portholes on the side of his cab became larger.
- Added handrail on top of his boiler as in the Railway Series.
- Riveting detail on the cab and smokebox.
- Added sanding gear.
- Slightly thinner funnel.
- He gained a new whistle sound.
- Pupils went back to small.
- Season 17:
- Permanent lamp and lamp irons.
- Season 5:
- "I tried hard, but I couldn't do much."
- "Its my turn now, you've done more than your share of hard work."
- Skarloey telling Peter Sam and Duncan about Rheneas, "Gallant Old Engine", "Gallant Old Engine".
- "The Thin Controller is relying on me! If I fail the railway will close! It mustn't, it mustn't. I'll get there or burst!"
- "...I've got there at last!"
- Rheneas bravely pulls his train home, "Gallant Old Engine", "Gallant Old Engine".
- ERTL (normal and metallic; both discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (normal and repainted versions)
- Take Along (discontinued)
- Take-n-Play (normal and repainted)
- TrackMaster (normal and repainted versions; both discontinued)
- My Thomas Story Library (discontinued)
- Thomas Engine Collection Series (discontinued)
- Mini Die Cast Collection (discontinued)
- Departing Now (discontinued)
- Trading Cards (discontinued)
- Nakayoshi (discontinued)
- Wind-up Trains (normal and metallic)
- Pocket Fantasy (discontinued)
- Waku Waku