- “I only have one thing to say to such a really useful engine - welcome, Stafford!”
- ―Sir Topham Hatt
When Stafford first arrived on the Island, Spencer was given the job of showing him around. Spencer failed to listen to a warning about Stafford's battery running out and when it did, Spencer did not notice. Spencer later ran out of coal and Stafford had to shunt him to Knapford. There the Fat Controller called Stafford a really useful engine and welcomed him to Sodor.
He then became jealous of the steam engines because of the noises they made, and tried to be like them, but only caused confusion and delay when he did a job that was meant to be done quietly. In the end, he decided he was happy to be quiet Stafford the Electric Shunting Engine.
Stafford once shunted a wagon filled with the Entertainers' luggage for Daisy, but she pulled away as she didn't want to pull it and he couldn't catch up as his batteries wouldn't get him as far as Harwick.
Stafford is a humble, courteous little chap with a Yorkshire accent. He is a very different sort of engine from any other on the North Western Railway. This is because Stafford is an electric battery engine; he is not a steam engine or a diesel engine. Stafford is fuelled by recharging his battery, which needs to be done frequently so he can go about his work as a shunting engine. Stafford is very patient, calm and mannerly. He does not let the antics of the bigger, haughtier engines bother him too much, keeps level-headed as he goes about his day, and brushes off any troubles without much fuss. He is more than content with taking things slow and not having to travel long distances and he is more than proud to work on the Fat Controller's railway.
Stafford is based on the North Staffordshire Railway's battery-electric No. 1. No. 1 was built at Stoke Railway Works in 1917 according to the specification of the NSR’s Locomotive Superintendent J.A. Hookham and Electrical Engineer A.F. Rock. It was designed to be able to contend with the narrow internal railway of Thomas Bolton & Sons Ltd. Copper Works. It was one of only two battery electric locomotives to be employed by a British main line company and, on one charge, could run for up to six hours and haul a load of more than four times its weight at 11mph. It was retired in 1963, having had only two drivers in its entire career. Since 1975, No. 1 has been preserved at the National Railway Museum.
Stafford is made of veneered wood with yellow lining. The number "1917" and gold nameplates are on his sides.
- Keith Wickham (UK/US)
- Marios Gavrilis (Germany)
- Tokuyoshi Kawashima (Japan; sixteenth season onwards, excluding All in Vain and The Great Race)
- Kunihiro Kawamoto (Japan; All in Vain only)
- Nozomu Sasaki (Japan; The Great Race only)
- Waldemar Barwiński (Poland)
- Christian Greger Strøm (Norway; sixteenth - seventeenth seasons)
- Alan Prieto (Latin America; sixteenth season onwards)
- Miguel Ángel Poison (Spain)
- Nir Ron (Israel)
- Stafford is the first electric engine introduced in the television series and the first ever named.
- Stafford's number comes from the year his basis was built and his name comes from where his basis worked.
- Stafford's basis was made for shunting only. Despite that, he has been seen pulling goods trains on the main and branch lines.
- This also goes along with the inconsistency of his battery. In both his debut story and The Way She Does It, he can't go very far, yet he doesn't have this problem in other episodes.
- Stafford's Wooden Railway prototype incorrectly depicts him of having six wheels instead of four.