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- “Where are you, Thomas? We miss you!”
- ―Stanley searching for Thomas, The Great Discovery
Stanley is a silver saddletank engine. He works as both a shunting engine and a mixed traffic engine.
Stanley's popularity caused Thomas to feel jealous and later neglected. Thomas felt that Stanley was newer, bigger, and stronger than he - and would take over his place on the railway. Thomas then planned to make Stanley look weak - the trick backfired and caused Thomas' friends to consider him mean and incompetent.
When Thomas later went missing, Stanley was the first to realise Thomas' feelings. He searched for Thomas until he finally managed to find him in a ditch and rescue him. Then, both became friends and with a combined effort made it back to Great Waterton in time to prepare for the opening celebrations.
Stanley later worked in the yards with Thomas and James during the winter and helped with the rebuilding of the Sodor River Bridge. Also, he went to Great Waterton with Gordon to pick up passengers, and when Gordon bumps into a flatbed being pushed by Ben, he warns Stanley about the fallen logs and is able to warn him just in time.
Stanley was amongst the engines at Knapford who were worried about Percy's whereabouts when Percy was spending his time with the Diesels at the Dieselworks. Later on in the winter, he suffered from a faulty firebox and Thomas came to his aid once again.
In more recent seasons, Stanley can be seen working at the Shunting Yards, the China Clay Works and Ffarquhar Quarry. Salty also mentioned that Stanley, in one of his spooky stories, was an old engine who lost his flatbeds while climbing a hill, and ever since then his flatbeds haunt the rails.
In The Great Race, Stanley was one of the many engines who wanted to go to the Great Railway Show. Like most engines, however, he was not chosen and was left on Sodor.
Stanley is the "boy-next-door" of Sir Topham Hatt's Railway. Cool, courteous, and cheery, he is a little bit bigger, a little bit newer, and a little bit stronger than Thomas, which, at first, made Thomas jealous when all focus seemed to be on this shiny, new arrival, especially when he began helping with the restoration of Great Waterton. However, even Thomas was soon won over by Stanley's positive attitude, charm, and friendliness and came to see why he was so popular and well-liked among the other engines. As such, Thomas and Stanley are now firm friends.
Stanley is incredibly compassionate and empathic: there is nothing he would not do for another engine. And if he could not do it, he would find someone who could. He is sleek, smart, and stylish, and his silver and light grey appearance, with striking red wheels and a shining smoke box certainly makes him look the part as he eagerly goes about his work.
Stanley is based on a hybrid cross of a Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST engine and Kitson's No. 5459 "Austin I", but with a taller funnel.
Stanley is painted in a silver grey livery with a metallic silver smoke box, red wheels and lining. He has a red running plate with a dark grey basecoat, and has red nameplates with his name in silver on each side of his saddletank.
- Matt Wilkinson (UK; Day of the Diesels onwards, excluding the nineteenth season)
- Ben Small (US; Day of the Diesels - eighteenth season)
- David Menkin (UK/US; nineteenth season)
- Rob Rackstraw (US; Saving Time and The Great Race)
- John Schwab (US; Pouty James)
- Hiroshi Tsuchida (Japan; The Great Discovery onwards, excluding The Great Race)
- Nozomu Sasaki (Japan; The Great Race only)
- Benjamin Morik (Germany; Day of the Diesels onwards)
- Stig Krogstad (Norway; Day of the Diesels only)
- Christoffer Staib (Norway; fifteenth season only)
- Adrian Perdjon (Poland; Day of the Diesels - fifteenth season)
- Piotr Warszawski (Poland; eighteenth season onwards)
- José Luis Rivera (Latin America; Day of the Diesels onwards)
- Tony Marot (France and French speaking Canada)
- Mercedes Espinosa (Spain; Day of the Diesels onwards)
- Anton Savenkov (Russia; Samson at Your Service onwards)
- Petteri Hynönen (Finland; Day of the Diesels onwards)
- Haris Grigoropoulos (Greece)
- One of Stanley's models used to be on display in Canada at Nitrogen Studios.
- Stanley's popularity with the public has grown following an online video called "A Toy Train in Space", in which a Wooden Railway toy of him was sent into space. As a result, Take-n-Play, Collectible Railway, and Thomas and Friends Adventures "Stanley in Space" toys have been released.
- Stanley's whistle sound is Thomas' at a lower pitch.
- Stanley's TrackMaster toy features wheel arches.
- Stanley has had a different voice actor in the US dub for almost every single one of his appearances.
- This therefore makes him the first character to not have a consistent voice actor in one of the English dubs.
- Stanley has had several modifications throughout the television series. These include:
- Season 12:
- His CGI face does not match his model counterpart.
- His whistle sound changed to a higher-pitched variant of Thomas'.
- Misty Island Rescue:
- His face reflects back to his model counterpart.
- His smokebox became shorter in height.
- Season 15:
- He gained back his original whistle sound from The Great Discovery.
- Season 19:
- He gains front and rear brakepipes.
- He received permanent head and tail lamps.
- He gains a lamp-iron.
- He received front and rear brake-pipe outlets.
- Season 12:
- Wooden Railway (5 versions, 4 discontinued)
- Take Along (discontinued)
- Take-n-Play (normal and with space helmet)
- Motor Road and Rail (discontinued)
- TrackMaster (normal and remote-control, remote-control model discontinued)
- Classic Minis
- DC Super Friends Minis (as Black Hand)
- Creatures Minis
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Minis (as the White Ranger)
- Slime (Exclusive to the 2017 30-pack)
- My First Thomas (talking; discontinued)
- My Thomas Story Library (discontinued)
- LEGO (discontinued)
- Mega Bloks (discontinued)
- Wind-up (normal and metallic; Japan and Australia only)
- Boss (with grey tanker; discontinued)
- Bath Toys
- Collectible Railway (normal, space helmet and glow racers)
- Adventures (normal, glow racers and "in space")