|This article is about the engine. You may be looking for the Railway Series book or the Story Library book.|
- “Bluebells forever!”
In the Railway Series, Stepney lives on the Mainland and works on the Bluebell Railway. In Thomas & Friends, Stepney works on a branch line neighbouring the Skarloey Railway, also known as the "Bluebell Railway".
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 had failed.
Thomas & Friends
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 full 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 visiting and 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 was built by Brighton Works in 1875, and was rebuilt into an A1X in 1912. During his final working years, Stepney worked on the Hayling Island branch line, until he was taken out of service in 1960 and placed on an out-of-use siding. He was bought by the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society and arrived on the railway on 17th May, making him the first standard gauge steam locomotive in the United Kingdom to be preserved.
Since his first appearance in the Railway Series and Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, Stepney has become one of the most popular engines on the railway, with children all across the country coming to see him. Stepney has even participated in "Day Out with Thomas" events, and has carried a face for these events.
Stepney was taken out of service in 2008, after his boiler ticket expired, but underwent a fast-track overhaul and returned to working order in 2010, just in time for the line's 50th Anniversary. In March 2014, Stepney was withdrawn from service following the failure of his main steam pipe. He is currently awaiting new cylinders and significant work on his frames and boiler.
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 brass numberplates with a blue ground. He carries two builder's plates on the sides of his splashers.
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.
In some promotional artwork and TVS tie-in book illustrations, he is seen often wearing the express headcode lamps.
- 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 in the US dub. 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 the age of 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 fourth season, Stepney's driver wore the same uniform that the narrow gauge engines' drivers wore.
- 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. He had Rheneas' whistle sound during most of his appearances in the fourth season, he had Duke's whistle sound in one scene in Thomas and Stepney, and he had Smudger's whistle sound in the episode's US narration. 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, cameos in the 2nd season of The Big Bang Theory, in the 13th episode "The Friendship Algorithm."
- Stepney's television series model is on display at Drayton Manor in the UK.
Stepney on the Bluebell Railway website.