Duke, originally named The Duke and named after his Grace, the Duke of Sodor, is an old and wise narrow gauge tender engine, who is considered to be a hero by many. He previously worked on the Mid Sodor Railway, but now resides on the Skarloey Railway.
The Railway SeriesEdit
Duke was built at Boston Lodge in Minffordd, Wales in 1879 for the Mid Sodor Railway, and arrived to Sodor for the opening of the railway in 1880. He was the first engine to work on the railway, and was named after the Duke of Sodor, which he was very proud of.
Duke used to work on the Mid Sodor Railway alongside Stanley, a rough American engine who derailed frequently and paid no attention to Duke's warnings. When Stanley refused to heed to Duke's advice, he was turned into a pumping engine behind the sheds at Arlesdale.
Later on, when Falcon was a new engine to the railway, the Manager put Duke in charge of double-heading the train and teaching Falcon about the Mountain Road, much to Falcon's annoyance. The journey started off normally, but as they exited the tunnel, Falcon derailed and hung dangerously over the edge of a cliff. As Duke was low on water, the passengers and his crew had to refill his tank, using a nearby cottage to collect water for him. When his tank was full, Duke managed to pull Falcon back onto the rails.
Overtime, Duke's old age began to show itself, as he found himself struggling to pull the "Picnic" train, which Stuart teased him about. As he was taking the train back to Arlesburgh, Duke's valves began leaking, forcing Falcon and Stuart to come to his aid; Falcon took Duke's passengers to Arlesburgh, while Stuart and Duke both took Falcon's train to Arlesdale. Hearing Stuart's triumphant chortles, Duke and his driver both made a plan to get back at him, and as they went uphill, Duke, using the last of his strength, pushed Stuart up the hill with great effort.
Duke worked with Falcon and Stuart for many years, until their line was closed in 1947. Stuart and Falcon were bought, but nobody wanted Duke, as they thought he was too old. Duke's crew sheeted him inside the shed at Arlesdale, then left to find work. Duke hoped that the Duke of Sodor would come and rescue him, but was not aware that his Grace had been killed, and the new Duke, a boy, did not know of his special engine. Duke was left inside the shed for many years, which was buried under trees and soil.
In 1969, the Small Controller, the Reverend Teddy Boston and the Rev. W. Awdry heard of Duke's tale and decided to look for him. They searched through the hills of Arlesdale for days, until Boston fell into Duke's shed by accident when he was standing atop of the engine shed roof. Duke was removed from his shed and was taken to Crovan's Gate by both road and rail, where he reunited with Stuart and Falcon, now known as Peter Sam and Sir Handel respectively. He underwent a major overhaul, and returned to service in 1982. He now lives on the Skarloey Railway. (RWS; Duke the Lost Engine)
Duke used to work on the Mid Sodor Railway alongside Stuart and Falcon, until their line was closed down. Stuart and Falcon were bought, but Duke was left in his shed, as nobody wanted to buy him. For many years he was left abandoned, until a group of explorers found him in his shed. Duke was taken back to the Skarloey Railway by Skarloey and Rheneas, where he was restored and returned to service. (TVS; Granpuff/Sleeping Beauty)
Duke is based on the Ffestiniog Railway's "Prince", a George England tender engine who works at Porthmadog, North Wales. Unlike his basis, Duke has chain couplings and runs on 2ft 3in gauge tracks instead of the 1 ft 11 1⁄2 gauge used by the Ffestiniog Railway.
The story of Duke being rediscovered was based upon a true story of an engine that had been abandoned in the Brazilian rain forest.
In the Railway Series, Duke was painted dark brown with red lining, and carried the crest of the Mid Sodor Railway on his tender when he worked there. When he came to the Skarloey Railway, the crest on his tender was removed. On the Mid Sodor Railway, he was numbered 1, but was renumbered to 8 when he came to the Skarloey Railway; for unknown reasons, he does not carry his number on his side like the other engines. Awdry's original model of Duke depicted him with "The Duke" written on the sides of his saddle tank in yellow, his number was painted on his cab, and the initials "M S" were painted on his tender in yellow.
In the television series, Duke is painted light brown with yellow lining. His handrails were silver, and his bufferbeams were red. He carries his name on two red nameplates with gold lettering.