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This article is about 'the narrow gauge engine'. You may be looking for 'the station or the Story Library book'.
“Old engines can't pull trains like young ones."
"They can if they're mended, Old Faithful, and that's what will happen to you. You deserve it!”
―Skarloey and the Owner, Old Faithful, Four Little Engines

Skarloey, a narrow gauge saddletank engine, is the oldest engine on the Skarloey Railway. Talyllyn, from the Talyllyn Railway, is his twin, and Rheneas is his brother.

Bio in the Railway Series

Skarloey was built at Fletcher, Jennings & Co., Whitehaven in 1864 as a 0-4-0ST with no cab, which later caused him to bounce a lot, alongside his twin, Talyllyn. He was the first engine to arrive on the newly developed Skarloey Railway in May 1865, arriving by steam ship at Kirk Ronan Harbour, before being delivered to Crovan's Gate by Neil. His young antics proved bothersome but he soon matured when he received his cab and trailing wheels. He received these when he returned to Whitehaven in 1867, where he was briefly reunited with Talyllyn.

The trailing wheels improved his running greatly, and this together with the cab made him a favourite with the men in spite of his shy steaming. In consequence Skarloey was always worked harder than Rheneas, and in 1897 he returned to Whitehaven a second, and final, time for heavy repairs. No further overhauls were done to him apart from general maintenance in the SR workshop; the result being that by 1945 his boiler and firebox were in such a poor state that he could only be steamed in dire emergency. On one such occasion in 1952, he damaged his springs whilst bringing home Sir Handel's train, resulting in him receiving a much-needed overhaul.

He was sent to Gibbons Bros. Ltd. in England for this, where he met his twin Talyllyn, who was there for the same purpose, for the first time in some 60 years. He returned almost as new in 1958, but was still somewhat shy in steaming. After many experiments, however, Mr. Ivo Hugh finally cured this fault by fitting a brick arch in his firebox and a "Kylchap" cowl on his blast pipe. This work was done in the SR's workshop with no outside help at all.

Since returning to service, he has been very much a voice of reason on the Skarloey Railway: he was responsible for Sir Handel's comeuppance when the latter became boastful about his new wheels, and changed Duncan's views about passengers by telling him about the time when Rheneas saved the Railway.

At the celebrations for his and Rheneas' 100th birthday, he collected the Duke of Sodor (much to Peter Sam's confusion) and took him around the new loop line. He underwent another heavy overhaul at Crovan's Gate Works in 1985, returning to service in May of that year.

He later attended Ivo Hugh's naming ceremony, and brought along a special train with important guests. However, he had to stop when a sow and her piglets strayed onto the line. His passengers had to come out to catch the pigs and return them to their field, and Skarloey was late but arrived in time for the naming ceremony.

Bio in the Television Series

When Skarloey first appeared in the fourth season, he had not worked in some time, but soon proved his worth once more. Since then, he has been a dedicated worker and a very wise engine. However, from the seventh to twelfth seasons, Skarloey has acted like a very young engine and has tried to prove his bravery by getting hauled up the winch on the incline and by having a race with Rheneas and Freddie. He has also acted timid, being scared of an old wooden bridge, the wharf and storms.

At the Blue Mountain Quarry, Skarloey is still the respected leader of the narrow gauge engines.

In the eighteenth season, he once had to take an evening passenger train, but Duncan took his coaches so that a grumpy passenger would not complain about the train being crowded, but this only resulted in angering Skarloey and his stranded passengers. The next day, Skarloey was delayed by Duncan again when he refused to leave the platform until the same grumpy passenger had boarded his train. Later during the Christmas holidays, Skarloey was upset by Duncan's constant grumbling, so he, Rheneas and Rusty told the Thin Controller, who devised a plan to stop the grumpy engine from moaning all the time.


Skarloey is the sage of the Skarloey Railway and is an old, faithful little engine. Although once full of enthusiasm and his own ideas in his youth, Skarloey is now one of the oldest engines on the Island. He is a calm-natured, quaint, and mature engine and may often try to guide or watch over less experienced narrow gauge engines in his firm but fair and friendly manner. He acts kindly to engines and passengers alike and always enjoys a gentle, smooth journey through the woods by the lakeside and stopping at all the gates and stiles he remembers so well.


Skarloey is based on the Talyllyn Railway's Talyllyn, a Fletcher Jennings Class C 0-4-2ST built in 1864. In the Railway Series, Talyllyn is Skarloey's twin. Rusty's Ghost Engine shares the same basis.


In the Railway Series, Skarloey is painted in the Skarloey Railway's standard red livery with blue and yellow lining and with his name painted in yellow on the sides of his saddletank, and a brass dome. In the television series, Skarloey was painted red with white lining. From Season 9 onwards, he is painted crimson red with white and gold lining. He has red and gold name and number plates on the sides of his saddletank and coal bunkers respectively.



Voice Actors


  • Skarloey was built at Fletcher, Jennings & Co. at Whitehaven, the same place as Rheneas, Captain Baxter, Talyllyn and Dolgoch.
  • His name is Sudric for "Lake in the Woods".
  • Skarloey's name on the Japanese Thomas website is backwards.
  • In the Polish narration, Skarloey's name is Sławek, which is coincidentally Stephen's name in the same narration.
  • Skarloey's large scale model was used as Rusty's Ghost Engine in Duncan Gets Spooked.
  • Keith Wickham gives Skarloey a Welsh accent; reflecting his basis' origins.
  • The Reverend W. Awdry's model of Skarloey is currently on display at the Narrow Gauge Museum in Tywyn.
  • Nitrogen Studios went to the Talyllyn Railway and took measurements of Skarloey's basis, Talyllyn, so that his CGI render would resemble Talyllyn as closely as possible. This was also done with Rheneas, Sir Handel, Peter Sam, and Rusty.
  • Skarloey's wooden railway model was among the models that were part of the lead paint crisis in 2005.
  • Skarloey has gone through many modifications through the TV Series. These include:
    • Season 5:
      • Cab handrails disappeared (large scale model only).
      • His buffers changed from grey to silver (large scale model only).
      • His whistle sound changed pitch.
    • Season 6:
      • The brass ring around his funnel and his buffers were painted black.
      • His model is significantly less weathered.
    • Season 9:
      • A tail lamp was added.
      • His whistle sound went back to its original pitch.
      • His livery became a dark crimson colour.
    • Season 12:
      • His pupils became bigger.
    • Blue Mountain Mystery:
      • His pupils became smaller.
      • Accurate bufferbeam to his basis.
      • His boiler is painted black instead of red.
      • His lining became a more metallic hue.
      • Handrails across the top of his smokebox and saddle tank like his basis.
      • His cab handrails returned, but now gold instead of red.
      • His cutout windows gained brass frames and contained glass.
      • Sanding gear.
      • Black siderod guards.
      • Extra lining on his cab.
      • Differently designed front sandboxes.
      • Footsteps underneath his cab.
      • He gained a new whistle sound.
      • A number plate on the back of his cab, similar to Talyllyn.


As the men at the Works could not mend him at once, Edward asked them to put him on a siding close to Skarloey. Skarloey was pleased to see Edward.
"The Owner has just bought two more engines," he said. "He told me I was a very old engine, and deserved a good rest. He gave me this shed so that I could see everything and not be lonely. But I'am lonely all the same," he continued sadly. "I miss Rheneas very much. Yesterday one of the new engines pushed him onto a truck, and now he's gone to be mended. I wish I could be mended too, and pull coaches again."

- Skarloey talking to Edward, "Skarloey Remembers", "Four Little Engines"

"You were right, Sir," said Skarloey to the Owner, that evening. "Old engines can't pull trains like the young ones can!"
The Owner smiled. "They can if they're mended, Old Faithful," he said. "And that's what will happen to you, you deserve it!"

- Skarloey and the Owner, "Old Faithful", "Four Little Engines"

"I'm ashamed of you, Duncan," said Skarloey. "You should think of your passengers!"
"Passengers are just nuisances, they're always complaining!"
Skarloey was shocked. "That's no way to talk," he said. "Passengers are our coal and water. No passengers means no trains. No trains means no railway. And then we'd be on the scrapheap, my engine, and don't you forget it! Thank goodness Rheneas is coming home soon. Perhaps he'll teach you some sense before its too late!"

- Skarloey lecturing Duncan about passengers, "The Gallant Old Engine", "Gallant Old Engine"

Rheneas chuckled. "It cheered him too much! And those silly coaches made him worse. 'Such a handsome engine', they twitted. Six wheels and a cab, so distinguished my dears! Its a pleasure to see him. He soon got too big for his wheels."

- Rheneas, "Stick-in-the-Mud", "Very Old Engines"



  1. T&F "Skarloey (Story Library book)"

* RWS only | ** T&F only

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