Oliver is a Great Western tank engine, who works on Duck's Branch Line. He has two Great Western autocoaches named Isabel and Dulcie, and a Great Western brakevan named Toad. He was saved from scrap by Douglas and is very grateful to him.
The Railway Series
Oliver was built at Swindon Works, Wiltshire, United Kingdom on August 1934 and worked on the Great Western Railway. Sometime during the 1960s, he ran away for fear of being scrapped with his coach, Isabel, and a brakevan named Toad. The three were forced to hide between signalboxes and rely on the goodwill of signalmen to pass at safe times. When control got wind of the runaways, they hid in an old quarry branch and had the cutting blocked by rubbish to avoid being spotted by the diesels outside.
The runaways decided it was safe to leave at some point, but before they could reach the greener pastures of Sodor, Oliver ran out of coal. Luckily, Douglas was able to rescue Oliver and took him to Sodor, taking him to Crovan's Gate Works. The Fat Controller soon found out and arranged for the three to be repaired and painted in Great Western colours. Toad decided to be Douglas' brakevan to thank him, and the Fat Controller rescued an auto coach named Dulcie and gave her to Oliver. (RWS; Enterprising Engines)
Oliver was then sent to work on the Duck's branch line, but became conceited after the big engines gave him their respect in recognition of his adventures. He pushed his weight around, thus prompting several ballast trucks to push him into a turntable well. Oliver received little respect from the trucks after the incident, but got his own back by pulling the ringleader, S. C. Ruffey, apart. Oliver is now well-respected by the trucks, out of fear they will be pulled apart too. (RWS; Oliver the Western Engine)
Oliver is based on a GWR 14xx 0-4-2T. These engines were fitted with a mechanical system allowing the driver to control the locomotive remotely from the cab of an 'autocoach', such as Isabel. The particular engine Oliver is based on, No. 1436, was built at Swindon Works in the August of 1934 and worked until it was withdrawn in 1958. It was scrapped the following year.
In the Railway Series, Oliver is painted in the GWR's green livery with yellow lining, black wheels and a brass GWR numberplate on his cab side. In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates on the sides of his cab.
In the television series, his paint had faded by the time he was rescued, leaving him a rusty-red colour. After his rescue, he was repainted green with yellow lining, and has remained so since. In the sixth and seventh season, Oliver was painted with a much lighter shade of green.