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Salty is a diesel shunter who works at Brendam Docks.
Salty worked on an unnamed coastal railway for many years, where he acquired his vast collection of stories and songs and possibly his sailor's accent, before coming to Sodor to work at Anopha Quarry with Mavis, Bill and Ben. Salty was upset, being used to working near the sea, but he soon won the trucks over with his tales and sea shanties, and as a reward for his hard work was sent to work at Brendam Docks.
Salty's presence at the docks led to Cranky having a huge distaste for Salty's stories. Cranky snapped at Salty when he pulled up, and when Salty thinks that Cranky needs company, this made him recall a story about a lonely old Grand Banks lighthouse keeper. He starts to tell this story to Bill and Ben (who have not heard it before), infuriating Cranky. Salty, Bill and Ben being trapped at Brendam Docks led to Salty telling the twins many stories all night, making Cranky very grateful when Harvey arrived to clear their line.
Gordon once told Salty to keep his distance in case he made his paint sooty, but Salty pointed out that his job requires him to get sooty and Gordon only does not know because he is too full of himself. When Gordon had to pull trucks, he decided to "show Salty how an express engine pulls trucks", but he ended up ignoring a "Go slow" sign and had a horrific accident. Salty apologised for teasing him, and Gordon apologised for being too full of himself.
Salty has shared many stories with his fellow engines that have often come into play later on. He told Percy that the carpet he was delivering might be magic, and odd happenings convinced Percy and Gordon that it was.
Once, he accidentally ran over a flagpole that Henry was meant to deliver to the Scottish Castle.
He later introduced Thomas to Billy, was one of the first engines to meet Stanley, looked at the docks for Thomas when he was missing, cheered at the docks when Thomas was found, and tried to take some woodsmen into the forest, but was blocked by trucks.
Salty later told the engines about the "strange engines" (Bash, Dash, and Ferdinand) that lived on Misty Island, a mysterious island not far from Sodor. He also told Thomas that the Star of Knapford could be magical.
He later told Percy about the "Monster of Brendam" and Edward tried to find him a present.
When Kevin was sent to work at Brendam Docks, Salty tried to make him feel better about working with Cranky. Later, Salty started experiencing engine trouble, but refused to go to the Dieselworks, as he was worried that the Fat Controller might send him back to the quarry if he was not useful. This concern was strengthened with the arrival of Porter. Salty went to the Dieselworks, but ended up crashing into a flatbed of fuel cans in his hurry to return to the Docks. The fuel made his wheels slip, and he ended up colliding with a shipment of party decorations. Salty was now certain that he would be sent away, but, to his relief, the Fat Controller told him that he was meant to work with Porter, who had been sent to help him.
One foggy day, he told the engines about the flatbeds of fear, then he encouraged Percy when he was missing Gator, along with Porter, almost had a collision with Bill and Ben and also helped Timothy to play a trick on the twins.
Much later, Salty had been sent to work on the Mainland as they were short of an engine, but he was afraid to go on a ship and travel by sea. However, he overcame his fears thanks to Thomas, who reminded him of his past tall tales which scared the other engines, he later pretended to be the Ghost of Christmas Past to frighten Diesel, and reminded him of his past mistakes.
Salty, along with Porter and Cranky were among the few who mistook Henry for a ghost, when he was accidentally given "glow-in-the-dark" paint at the Sodor Steamworks.
When the Great Railway Show was being held, Salty, amongst the other engines, wanted to compete in the events, but he was not chosen. He was also at the docks when twelve international engines came to Sodor by mistake on the ferry, and then when one international engine bumped into Thomas, causing him to dangle over the ferry and she saved him, Thomas was too speechless to say anything because of how beautiful the engine looked, so Salty introduced Thomas to the engine, who introduced herself as Ashima.
When Harvey's crane stopped working completely when he was at Brendam Docks, he was too shy to ask Salty or Cranky for help, so to settle things, he decided to play a game of I-Spy while attempting to sneak out of the docks, and when Harvey derailed at a tunnel, Salty almost collided into him, while finally being able to figure out what Harvey had spied. He also told the story of the Sea Serpents, who eventually worked together to get what they wanted, this convinces Cranky and Carly to start working together.
Salty is easy-going, friendly and very practical. He also enjoys telling stories revolving around the sea and fantasy. His seafaring ways and accent are sometimes ridiculed by the other engines (though Percy and Thomas imitated his accent due to them thinking he was cool), but his usefulness almost always helps the others overlook that. He can work with trucks like no other engine; this is due to his enjoyment of working to a musical rhythm like the trucks and it may also be due to his vast collection of sea shanties. He loves the sea so much that he pines for it when he is away from it for long periods of time. He was once afraid to travel by ocean due to his knowledge of sea tales, but he overcame that.
Salty is based on a BR Class 07 diesel shunter. The number he has, 2991, is a real BR number belonging to a member of the class; built in 1962, this locomotive escaped the cutter's torch by becoming a static generator at Eastleigh Railway Works and is still working there under the ownership of Knights Rail Services as of March 2007. This class of locomotives worked at Southampton Docks, where they replaced the older SR USA (Rosie's class) and LB&SCR E2 (Thomas's class) tank engines.
Salty is painted crimson with pink warning stripes along his body, yellow and black hazard stripes on his front and rear and yellow buffer beams with signs of rust. At the top of his forehead, he has the brim of a skipper's hat. His name is painted on his rear section and his number is painted on his cab sides, both in black.
In Salty's Surprise, it is revealed that due to a shortage of red paint, he was once painted green.
- Salty differs slightly from his basis. Most Class 07s have a crankshaft at the end of their siderods. Salty lacks this feature.
- Salty speaks with a West Country accent, which matches his bio and his deep love for the sea.
- Some Nitrogen Studios promos of Salty lack the rust on his bufferbeams.
- One of Salty's models used to be on display at Nitrogen Studios.
- A production-made face of Salty is preserved by the Coffey Man Preservation from the Prop Gallery.
- One of Salty's happy face masks is now in possesion of Twitter user ThomasTankMerch.
- Salty has gone several modifications throughout the Television Series. These include:
- Season 7:
- His horn sound changed.
- Season 8:
- His horn sound changed again.
- Season 9
- His horn changed back to how it sounded in Season 7.
- Season 10
- His horn changed again.
- His eyebrows became thicker.
- Misty Island Rescue:
- His cap brim became shorter
- He gained a permanent tail-lamp.
- His buffers became less rusty and weathered.
- His face became larger.
- Day of the Diesels:
- His horn sound changed to Derek's at regular pitch.
- Tale of the Brave:
- He gained a permanent lamp.
- Season 19:
- His cap brim became longer again.
- Season 7:
- In certain regions during the Days Out with Thomas events, he had Mavis's face.
- “Here comes 'Mr. Showoff'!" grouched Ben.
"You have to admit, he's got a knack with those Trucks!" said Mavis.
"Driver say's he'll bore the bolts off us with his stories!" huffed Bill.
But Salty didn't say a word. He didn't come near the shed. Mavis was worried, she rolled alongside and asked him what he was doing on his own.
"Oh I thought I might catch a bit of sea breeze."
"You really do miss the sea, don't you?" asked Mavis.
"Aye, I do.”
- ―Mavis shows sympathy for Salty, Salty's Secret, sixth season
- “Don't take me away from the sea boys... Don't take me away from the sea!”
- ―Salty and Porter singing, Away From The Sea, seventeenth season
- “Clattering Columbus! The world is heading straight for us!”
- ―Salty, Emily Saves the World, eighteenth season
- “We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas and a Salty new year!”
- ―Salty singing, A Cranky Christmas, nineteenth season
- “Every creak is another step near the scrap yard.”