- Engines 9 and 10 on Sir Topham Hatt's/The Fat Controller's railway are strong and able workers. They're practical, peppery, and proud."
- — The Narrator, Love Me Tender, twentieth season
Bio in the Railway Series
Donald and Douglas were designed by John F. McIntosh and built by the St. Rollox Works for the Caledonian Railway. Upon nationalisation, they became part of the Scottish Region of British Railways, where they were renumbered 57646 and 57647. In 1959, Sir Topham Hatt needed a goods engine and by his request, BR decided to transfer 57646 (Donald) to Sodor.
To Sir Topham Hatt's surprise though, two engines arrived. Donald's twin Douglas (57647) could not stand to be separated from his brother, and was smart enough to realise he would eventually be scrapped if he stayed in Scotland. Unfortunately for Sir Topham Hatt and any other worker, neither engine could be told apart: both claimed to have forgotten their numbers, and indeed their numberplates had "slyly slipped off" during the journey from Scotland. This caused the Fat Controller to keep both until he could determine which engine was freeloading on his hospitality. It was later revealed that this piece of skulduggery had been planned not only by the two engines, but also by their drivers and firemen, who were related as well.
The Fat Controller was unaware of Douglas' motive and threatened the two that whichever engine he found out to be the truant would be sent home. Both engines resolved to give outstanding service so that Hatt would want to keep both of them. This plan quickly went to pieces, however, after Douglas accidentally shunted Thomas' special coach, full of passengers, into a siding at Tidmouth, causing a great deal of fury for the passengers. Things were more complicated when Donald crashed into a signalbox at Tidmouth and Douglas accidentally destroyed The Spiteful Brake Van.
Despite all this grief, the twins' professionalism, competency, strong work ethic, and personable natures had begun to win them support, particularly when they demonstrated an aptitude for snowplough work that they had learned in Scotland. After rescuing Henry from just such a snowy ordeal, the other engines came over to Donald and Douglas' side which ultimately led to the engines of Sodor taking industrial action. After a suggestion by Edward, and being pushed into it by Gordon, Percy was presented to the Fat Controller as a deputation, arguing the twins' case on their behalf and pleading that, if sent away, they would be scrapped. Hatt's reaction to this was mixed - though he did not approve or appreciate them trying to interfere with his decision-making, he understood the engines' feelings upon the matters of saving steam engines and scrapping in general. In the end, Percy's statement and the twins' excellent performance was enough for Hatt to take pity on the twins and keep both. He demonstrated this intent with an offer of a fresh coat of paint for both engines, as well as giving them both nameplates to avoid any more confusion. By their request they were painted NWR blue, in honour of their Caledonian heritage.
In 1967, Douglas helped save Oliver, Isabel and Toad from the prospect of scrap. The Fat Controller soon found out and arranged for the three to be repaired and painted in Great Western colours. Toad asked to be Douglas' brake van as a show of gratitude.
Since then, the twins have, by all accounts, "transformed" goods traffic on the main line. Such is their versatility that they regularly see service on the Little Western and Edward's Branch Line, as well as duties as station-pilots at Tidmouth. A turntable has been provided for them at Arlesburgh, although briefly decommissioned after Oliver was pushed into it by some trucks.
After Donald teased Duck about his "quacking", Duck's crew got a humourous payback by slipping a small duckling into Donald's tender. When discovered, the duckling became friends with Donald and his crew, and eventually settled down at Haultraugh, where a small pond was nearby. She was named Dilly by the stationmaster, but she is known to everyone else as Donald's duck.
Such a demanding work-load has begun to tax them, however, and in 1993 the Fat Controller borrowed a navy saddletank named Wilbert from the Dean Forest Railway to deputise for them on the Arlesburgh branch, with the intention of obtaining another engine of Wilbert's class to permanently fill that role.
Bio in the Television Series
Donald and Douglas work together nearly all the time, but they sometimes have a falling out. This was proven when the two crashed into Trevor's hay cart. Donald accused Douglas of pushing him into the cart while Douglas accused Donald of pulling him. The twins refused speak to each other. When Duck needed help at the Sodor Ironworks, Donald took the opportunity to get away from Douglas. While Douglas missed his twin and was ready to make up, Donald began to experience lapses in competence and demanded an apology. Eventually, Donald wasn't looking where he was going and crashed through some buffers into a ditch. As soon as Douglas heard from Duck that Donald was in trouble, he immediately rushed over to help his twin, and the two made up.
Later, Castle Loch was to be reopened by Lord Callan, so Donald and Douglas took some equipment up to the castle. The two argued whether or not the monster inside the lake existed or not. Unfortunately for the twins, a landslide occurs and the two became stranded. The Fat Controller promised help, but soon night came. The twins saw a shape moving towards them on the causeway. Donald and Douglas were petrified until they realised it was only Harvey who had come to help. Soon, the twins got their equipment to the castle on time and Lord Callan called them Really Useful engines.
In the eleventh season, some points were jammed and Gordon was sent to pick up the engineer to mend them, but instead picked up the carpenter. Gordon reversed to Abbey hoping to collect the engineer, but Douglas was in the way. Gordon decided that Douglas should go to Wellsworth and Donald to go to Maron to collect the engineer, and Donald bring him to Douglas, and Douglas bring him back to Gordon. The plan was carried out and the points were fixed; Gordon thanked the twins for helping him.
Afterwards, Harvey was sent to help the twins after a tree had been knocked down. Thomas, however, misunderstood the situation and accidentally sent Harvey the wrong way. Thomas was proud of himself for being so helpful until he saw that Donald and Douglas were stuck and needed Harvey's help. He found Harvey and gave him the correct directions needed to help the twins. Thanks to Thomas and Harvey, the line was cleared and the twins were on their way.
In Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, they helped with the construction of the Harwick Branch Line, delivering most of the heavy construction materials. When Douglas went over the unstable track bed that hides the tunnel into Calles Cavern it began to crack, and the workmen only just stopped Donald from going over it. The twins witnessed Rocky lifting The Pirate Ship out of the cavern, and helped deliver it to Arlesburgh Harbour. They later attended the branch line's opening ceremony.
In the twentieth season, they worked together to clear snow from the tracks during winter, but they kept arguing over which tracks to clear next. Douglas was accidentally separated from his tender and left behind by Donald, who eventually found him in a siding with some help from Toby.
Donald and Douglas were among the engines who asked The Fat Controller to take them to The Great Railway Show, but they were not chosen.
Donald and Douglas are Scottish twin engines. They are practical, peppery, proud and level-minded, but, despite their maturity, they enjoy playing practical jokes and have been known to impersonate one another in the past. They were fitted with nameplates to specifically end this element of their humour.
Donald and Douglas are very able workers, strong performers, and handle any task well. They are fully capable of being firm with the other big engines, such as Gordon and Henry, and even the troublesome trucks know better than to try their tricks on them. They are both used to harsh winter conditions too. Coupled back to back, with a coach between their tenders, they are very capable of patrolling the lines, clearing them of the snow. The twins both pull their weight on the Main Line and both Duck and Edward's branch lines. They can enjoy a joke with any engine. They are happy to act as the brawn of the Fat Controller's steam-driven goods haulers. Between the two, Donald tends to be the charming, witty joker whereas Douglas is the smart, quick-thinker, calmer-natured one of the pair. Both display a keen sense of wit and the pair usually get to have the last laugh, more often taking the moral high ground. But that does not mean they will not be just a little bit smug about it when a deserving engine meets their comeuppance.
Donald and Douglas hate to be parted from each other, but, like most twins, they often have their arguments among themselves and can squabble with one another. Also, Donald and Douglas used to have a strong dislike of diesels. But over time their dislike for diesels has softened and they appeared to have grown accustomed to their diesel companions.
Donald and Douglas are both based on the Caledonian Railway "McIntosh 812" Class 0-6-0 goods engine.
Edward's Ghost Engine is another member of this class minus the tender and nameplate.
According to the Railway Series, Donald and Douglas were painted black from construction and arrived on Sodor in the BR's black goods livery with red-and-white lining on their tenders. They remained as such (with the addition of numbers on their tenders in yellow with red borders) until it was decided that both engines could stay, at which point they requested to be repainted in the North Western Railway's sky blue livery with red-and-yellow lining. They apparently like the colour, as it reminds them of the Caledonian Railway, where many of their shedmates carried a similar shade of blue. They received red nameplates with their names in gold at the same time.
In the Railway Series, they carry two builder's plates on the sides of their cabs.
In the Television Series, the twins arrived in BR lined black and have remained in this livery ever since.