|This article is about the engine. You may be looking for the Railway Series book or the Story Library book.|
Bio in the Railway Series
Stepney was built at Brighton Works in Brighton, England in 1875 as an LB&SCR A1 class engine and later rebuilt as an A1X in 1912. He arrived on the Bluebell Railway on 17th May 1960, after the railway's founder Bernard Holden MBE helped to save the line for preservation. Stepney was the first engine to be rescued by the Bluebell Railway.
In 1962, Stepney came on loan to Sodor and worked briefly with Duck at Tidmouth before working on Thomas' Branch Line, which during the time he caught a cricket ball in one of his trucks while passing the Elsbridge Cricket Field. Towards the end of his stay, he returned to Tidmouth and on his last day double-headed the Express with Duck after the Diesel failed.
In June 2008, Stepney was withdrawn from service as his boiler certificate had expired. He has since had a fast-track overhaul so that he could be back in service for the "Bluebell 50th" gala in early August 2010. However, due to his "tired condition", Stepney was only being allowed to carry out light-duties. He was withdrawn from service in March 2014 and his current boiler certificate expired in April 2015. It is unknown if he will be given a major overhaul now that he has been withdrawn or will have to wait his turn in the Sheffield Park Engine Shed.
Bio in the Television Series
Stepney later wanted to have a change from his branch line and he was sent to help Toby and Mavis at Anopha Quarry. This excursion nearly ended in disaster after 'Arry and Bert tried to scrap Stepney, luckily without success, after Stepney accidentally ventured into the Sodor Ironworks. Stepney later helped Edward with the running of The Loop Line and when there was a Hot Air Balloon flying across the island, Duck accidentally ran into him due to gazing up at it. A while later, he was hit by a truck of sugar in an incident caused by Rosie.
Stepney is a bubbly, honest and humble chap who is busting with enthusiasm. He is very eager to please and is every engine's friend. Even if an engine might not like him at first, his personality wins them over. After being saved from scrap by Rusty and the Bluebell Railway, he now runs his own branch line, but loves helping out on the Fat Controller's Railway. He has an enthusiasm for learning and listening to advice, as well as keeping busy. Stepney can feel down in the dumps if he does not get enough work to do or if he does not get a good long run to stretch his wheels. Stepney is high-spirited, lively and is keen to see fair play. He is popular amongst the engines and is always game for more work.
Stepney is based on the real engine of the same name, an LB&SCR A1X Class "Terrier" 0-6-0T tank Locomotive.
Stepney is painted in the LB&SCR goldenrod livery, formally known as "Stroudley's Improved Engine Green", with green, red, white and black lining. His name is painted on his side tanks and the number "55" is painted on the sides of his bunker, both in white. The real Stepney has a brass funnel top and numberplates.
In 2010, he was painted in "Bluebell Black". On 14th January 2012, Stepney made an "only-morning" appearance in BR Lined Black with "cycling lion" crest and his BR number, 32655, for a special photographic charter. He carried the same BR Lined Black livery again on 17th April 2012 for another photographic charter; this time though with the later "ferret and dartboard" crest. He returned to "Bluebell Black" in time for his visit to the National Railway Museum's "Railfest" in the first week of June 2012.
As of August 2014, he has returned to his famous "Improved Engine Green" livery, officially being released to the public in May 2015.
- Stepney is, as of 29th March 2014, withdrawn from service, following the failure of his main steam pipe. He was repainted from his British Railways black livery with red lining, which replicates that which he carried upon his arrival at the Bluebell Railway in May 1960. He now carries his original London, Brighton and South Coast Railway "Improved Engine Green Livery". A future overhaul has not been entirely ruled out.
- Alec Baldwin gives Stepney a Cockney accent. This may have been intentional, as Stepney is a region of East London and the inhabitants of that area, amongst others, were known as Cockneys.
- The prototype of Stepney's 1996 Wooden Railway toy has the original face and magnets of Thomas.
- When the president of the Bluebell Railway Bernard Holden MBE died at age 104 on 4 October 2012, Stepney headed his funeral train on the 16th, due to being the first engine that the railway rescued. In 2014, Stepney also headed the funeral train for Jack Owen, who was his ex-driver.
- At one time, the Official Website incorrectly stated that Stepney was a narrow gauge engine. Stepney was also incorrectly stated to be narrow gauge in Railway Rhymes. He was also included in a Take Along Narrow Gauge Gift Pack. The narrow gauge engines' nameboards sequence also includes Stepney.
- In the Spanish dub of the show, he is known as the Hyacinth engine instead of the Bluebell engine. In the Dutch dub, he is known as the Violet engine.
- Both of Stepney's appearances in the seventh season were made up of stock footage.
- In the television series, Stepney has had several whistles. During most of his appearances in the fourth season, he had Rheneas' whistle sound; in one scene in Thomas and Stepney, he had Duke's whistle sound, he had Smudger's whistle sound in the episode's US narration, and he had a different one in Bowled Out. In the fifth-seventh seasons, he shared the same whistle sound with Skarloey. Then in Rosie's Funfair Special, it became Thomas' at one half-step higher in pitch.
- Stepney was featured in the music video for Tracy Ullman's "Move Over Darling" in 1983.
- According to Thomas-saurus Rex, he knew both Sir Topham Hatt and his grandfather prior to his arrival.
- In the fourth season episode Thomas and Stepney, in some illustrations in books, and for some of his merchandise models, Stepney is shown wearing two LNER lamps.
- From the sixth season onwards, the block under Stepney's smokebox became the same colour as his livery.
- A Wooden Railway toy of Stepney along with Thomas and a Fossil Truck's original ones cameo in the 2nd season of The Big Bang Theory, in the 13th episode "The Friendship Algorithm."
- One of Stepney's models are located at Drayton Manor in the UK.
- ERTL (discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (reissued in a three-pack; discontinued)
- Take Along (discontinued)
- Take-n-Play (discontinued)
- Motor Road and Rail (discontinued)
- TrackMaster (discontinued)
- Hornby (original release 2004; discontinued, re-released 2012; discontinued)
- Trading Cards (discontinued)
- My Thomas Story Library (discontinued)
- Thomas Engine Collection Series (discontinued)
- Thomas Town (discontinued)
- De Agostini (discontinued)
- Nakayoshi (discontinued)
- Wind-up Trains (Japan only)
- Pocket Fantasy (discontinued)
- Brio (discontinued)
Stepney on the Bluebell Railway website.