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Stepney, named after a district in London, is a preserved tank engine who is based on the Bluebell Railway in East and West Sussex, England. He is the brother of Boxhill.

Biography

The Railway Series

Stepney visited the Island of Sodor in 1962, along with the controller of the Bluebell Railway, when he was on loan to the North Western Railway. He originally worked alongside Duck at Tidmouth and got along with him well, but his fame made Thomas jealous. When an important visitor missed his train, Stepney offered to take him home, but made Thomas cross when his train was shunted to allow him to pass. The following morning, Stepney apologized to Thomas for delaying him, and the two soon got along quite well.

Stepney soon began working on the Ffarquhar Branch Line with Thomas, Percy and Toby, and told him how much he missed working with trucks. When Percy allowed Stepney to take his morning train, Stepney took his train to the harbour and went back to Ffarquhar with a train of empties, when a cricket ball fell into one of his trucks when he stopped near a cricket field. The cricketers chased after Stepney in their old car named Caroline, but both his driver and fireman thought they wanted a race, and Stepney raced the cricket team all the way to Ffarquhar, when they explained the situation. When Caroline overheated as a result of going too fast, Stepney took her on a flatbed back to the cricket field, where they both watched the game.

Stepney and Duck were both present when a new diesel who was going to pull the express broke down. With the Diesel out of service, Stepney double-headed the express with Duck to Cronk, where Gordon took over after they had arrived. The following day, Stepney left Sodor and returned to the Bluebell Railway with his controller. (RWS; Stepney the Bluebell Engine)

Television Series

Stepney used to work for the Other Railway on the Mainland, but was eventually withdrawn from service and placed in a siding at the Vicarstown Goods Depot, where he would he eventually be scrapped. Fortunately, he was found by Rusty, who was looking for an engine who could run the Bluebell Branch Line. Stepney was rescued and taken back to Sodor, where he was purchased by the manager of the branch line. (TVS; Rusty to the Rescue)

Stepney soon became popular, and was invited by the Fat Controller to visit more of his railway. There, he took a special visitor when he missed his train, had a race against a cricket team and double-headed the express with Duck when the Diesel failed. Stepney then returned back to his branch line.

When Stepney was in need of a change, the Fat Controller sent him to Ffarquhar Quarry to help Toby and Mavis, much to Stepney's delight. He worked tirelessly shunting trucks around the quarry, when the foreman requested that he and his crew take a train of stone to a new branch line that was being built. Stepney took the train, though neither he nor his crew consulted the Fat Controller first. After delivering the train, Stepney became lost in the mist and ventured into the Sodor Ironworks by mistake, where he was caught by 'Arry and Bert. The two diesels took Stepney to the smelter's shed and very nearly succeeded in scrapping him, but fortunately he was rescued by the Fat Controller, who was visiting the scrapyard. (TVS; Stepney Gets Lost)

Stepney was later seen at Tidmouth Sheds, when Duck bumped into him by mistake when he was amazed by the sight of the red balloon. (TVS; James and the Red Balloon) When the new loop line was completed, Stepney worked on the line alongside Edward, who was demonstrating the line to him. (TVS; Edward the Very Useful Engine)

Later, Stepney was sitting on a siding on the Main Line, when Rosie passed by him with the funfair train. Unbeknownst to Rosie, the truck of sugar had been uncoupled from the train and rolled down Stepney's siding, smashing into him and covering him in pink sugar. (TVS; Rosie's Funfair Special)

Real-life History

Stepney was built in 1875, and was later rebuilt in 1912. He used to work on the Hayling Island branch line, until he was withdrawn from service. He was bought by the Bluebell Railway and arrived there on May 17th, 1960. He was the first engine to be preserved by the line, and is considered to be highly popular with children who visit the railway.

Stepney was withdrawn from service in 2008 after his boiler ticket expired, but managed to re-enter service in 2010 after undergoing a fast track overhaul, just in time for the line's 50th Anniversary. Stepney remained in service afterwards, and was used for limited services until his main steam pipe failed in 2014. He is currently awaiting new cylinders and significant work on his frames and boiler.

Technical Details

Stepney is a real locomotive who lives on the Bluebell Railway; an LB&SCR A1x "Terrier" 0-6-0T class.

In the Railway Series and the television series, Stepney was painted in the goldenrod livery of the LBSCR, known as "Stroudley Improved Engine Green"; he is painted a golden ochre with dark green and red lining, golden boiler bands, a white cab roof, red siderods, and silver buffers. His name and number are painted on the sides of his tanks and cab in white. In the Railway Series, his running board was painted black, but in the television series it is painted ochre.

When Stepney re-entered service in 2010, he was painted in the Bluebell Railway's black livery with red lining. On January 14th, 2012, Stepney was repainted in BR lined black with the "cycling lion" logo and his original BR number, 32655, for a special photographic charter. He carried the same livery again, this time with the "ferret and dartboard" crest, for another photographic charter on April 17th, 2012. He returned to Bluebell Black in time for the National Railway Museum's Railfest on the first week of June 2012. Stepney was painted back into his Improved Engine Green livery in 2014.

Trivia

  • Many merchandise lines and descriptions of Stepney have incorrectly referred to him as being a narrow gauge engine.
  • In the television series, Stepney has had many different whistle sounds; in Thomas and Stepney, he used Smudger's whistle sound; the same whistle sound was reused for Ryan in later seasons. In Bowled Out, he had his own unique whistle sound. In Stepney Gets Lost, he used the same whistle sound as Skarloey. His current whistle sound is a high-pitched version of Thomas' whistle.

External Links

Bluebell Railway page

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