Stafford is a small battery-electric shunting engine, who spends most of his time in the shunting yards arranging trains for the other engines.
When Stafford first came to Sodor, Spencer was put in charge of showing him around the North Western Railway. Unfortunately, Spencer neglected to pay attention to any warnings about Stafford's battery, and many times during the journey, Stafford's battery would run low, forcing him to wait for it to recharge. After Spencer ran out of coal, Stafford shunted him all the way to Knapford, where the Fat Controller welcomed him to his railway. (TVS; Welcome Stafford)
After noticing that the steam engines were receiving much more attention than he was because of the noises they made, Stafford became jealous and, with the help of Thomas and Percy, decided to imitate the sounds of a steam engine to gain more attention. This, however, only served to cause trouble when he was given a job that required him to be quiet, so Stafford dropped the act and managed to his job safely and with no noise. In the end, Stafford learned to accept who he was, and became much happier. (TVS; Steamie Stafford)
Stafford is based on the North Staffordshire Railway's battery-electric No. 1, a small four-wheeled engine that was built in 1917 for shunting duties. It ran on a battery rather than an overhead wire, and could work for up to six hours on one charge. This engine worked up until 1963, when it was withdrawn from service. It currently resides at the National Railway Museum in York, England.
Stafford's livery is similar to that of his basis. He is made of veneered wood with yellow lining, his bufferbeam is red, and his roof and headlamps are painted black. His number, 1917, is painted on his sides in yellow writing, and he carries two brass nameplates with his name on them. His wheels are painted black with brown rims.
- Stafford's name and number are both references to the number and working location of his basis, which was built in 1917 and worked on the North Staffordshire Railway.
- Contrary to his basis, Stafford has been seen pulling many trains along the Main Line and branch lines. His basis was only built for shunting.