- "People say I'm old fashioned. But I don't care. The Fat Controller says I'm a useful engine."
- — Edward, Saved from Scrap, second season
Edward is a blue Furness Railway K2 class mixed-traffic engine. He runs his own branch line with BoCo. Edward is one of the oldest engines on Sodor, and is occasionally made fun of for his age. Despite this setback, he is also very wise and optimistic, and spreads his knowledge and encouraging attitude toward the other engines.
Bio in the Railway Series
Edward was built by Sharp Stewart and Company in Glasgow, Scotland in 1896. He worked on the Furness Railway's Cumbrian Coast Line before coming to Sodor on loan with other engines in 1915 to assist with the building of the North Western Railway. The Furness had found him to be a "shy steamer", and were not interested in getting him back when his work was completed. They sold him to the NWR for a nominal sum, who have, by careful maintenance and extensive modifications, turned him into a reliable engine.
At some point prior to 1923, Edward was confined to a shed, to the delight of the other engines, who claimed that he was too old and weak to work. Edward was eventually let out again and proved that what he lacked in strength, he made up for in work by pushing a stubborn Gordon and his heavy goods train up Gordon's Hill in 1923.
In 1923, when Thomas was fed up with fetching coaches for the big engines, Edward offered Thomas to take his trucks. However, Thomas, having no experience with trucks, was pushed down a hill and diverted into a siding. Later in 1925, Edward helped James double-head a passenger train when the splendid red engine was acting out.
For some time afterwards, Edward was getting so old that his parts caused him to clank as he went along, which led to the bigger engines teasing him about his age. Gordon and Henry teased him about when a group of cows caused half of his cattle trucks to break away and derail, but later got their comeuppance when they encountered a cow named Bluebell on a bridge. Edward would later save an old traction engine named Trevor from scrap when he encouraged The Vicar of Wellsworth to buy him.
However, James would still talk down to Edward's age and how slow he is, but after he was left running down The Main Line without a driver thanks to two naughty boys who played with his controls, Edward proved himself to be a hero when he brought the inspector and James' fireman to slow him down. James could not thank Edward enough for his heroic actions and the Fat Controller sent Edward to the works to have his worn parts mended as a reward. When Edward came back, everyone was very pleased to see him again.
Some time afterwards, Edward received his own branch line and had two twin tank engines named Bill and Benhelp take trucks from the Sodor China Clay Company to Brendam along his line. When the twins were playing tricks on a new diesel named BoCo, Edward put a stop to it and showed BoCo how to handle them. Soon, Edward and Gordon were both talking about branch lines, most to the disapproval of Gordon. That night there was a mishap at Tidmouth, which in favour, Edward's train went first which sent him down the mainline (this was caused when the signalman at Wellsworth was not informed of the delay) and Gordon went down to Brendam. Some few evenings later, when Edward was taking a passenger train filled with enthusiasts home to Tidmouth, his crank-pin snapped, damaging his wheel splasher and running plate, forcing the driver and fireman to take them off. However, Edward was able to pull the heavy train back to Tidmouth, very late, but with triumph. BoCo looked after Edward's branch line while Edward was sent to the works again for repairs.
In 2007, when an old coach named Victoria was being restored, Edward quickly recognised her from the Furness Railway and listened to her story about when she worked with a tank engine named Albert on his branch line, alongside another coach named Helena. Edward later took her to Knapford Junction for Thomas to take to Toby.
Bio in the Television Series
When Trevor was to be the main star attraction for the Vicar's garden party, Edward wanted to help, but did not know how. His chance came when the Vicar forgot to promote the party by putting up the posters, so he suggested having them put up on his cab and coaches as part of the party's advertisement. His plan worked and so many people came to the party that they raised a lot of money for the children. The Vicar later thanked Edward and his crew for their idea.
In the fifth season episode Haunted Henry, it is revealed that Edward has a penchant for telling spooky stories on Halloween that the other engines enjoy. Edward told Henry that whenever an owl hoots, a mist rolls in and when the mist is about, there is a ghost about too. In the sixth season episode Scaredy Engines, he told them a story of a ghost engine that returns to the Smelters in search of his lost whistle every Halloween.
In addition to running his branch line, Edward often acts as a banker for other engines up Gordon's Hill when their trains are too heavy. In spite of Edward's great history with the railway and his good relationship with the other engines, his old age makes some engines think that he is unreliable. Gordon would always still tease and talk down about him, even going as far as suggesting that he should "retire". When Percy told his driver about this, who told the Fat Controller, he arranged for Edward to show Stepney how to run the loop line, while Duck did his work. Unfortunately, Duck got stuck on Gordon's Hill when the Troublesome Trucks held him back. When Gordon came behind him, he could not push Duck up the hill. Edward was sent to help the double train up and when they arrived at Knapford station, the Fat Controller rebuked Gordon for his horrible comments about Edward. Gordon apologised to Edward the following day and from then on, he never suggested him "retiring."
Since then, Edward's skill as a banker is always valued among Gordon and the others, as seen in Edward the Great and You Can Do it, Toby!; in Chickens to School, Edward exclaimed, "I'm always helping Gordon up the hill!" However, his speed left a lot to be desired. In As Good as Gordon, Emily had to wait for Edward at the crossing. Impatient, Emily snidely told him to hurry up, calling him "Slowcoach". When Spencer visited the Island of Sodor and beat Gordon's record, he insulted the Sudrian engines, who became fed up with Spencer's boastfulness. They wanted to race Spencer to The Duke and Duchess of Boxford's Summer House, but the Fat Controller chose Edward to go there instead. Gordon thought that Edward should not be doing an express engine's job and James thought that Edward would let the whole railway down. Regardless, Edward tried his best and had several moments of triumph during the race. Gordon saw how hard Edward was trying and took back his earlier words, encouraging Edward instead, calling him "a credit to the railway!" Edward eventually won due to Spencer falling asleep and felt like the pride of the Sodor railway—and he was right.
Edward has always been a kind and wise engine, though in some scenarios, he has acted a bit judgemental to newcomers. For example, in Harvey to the Rescue, he claimed that Harvey "doesn't even look like an engine". In Calling All Engines, Edward acted so discriminate towards Diesel, 'Arry and Bert and blamed them for collecting the wrong building material for the new Tidmouth Sheds. In Thomas and the New Engine, he was one of the engines to spread rumours that Neville wanted to bump the steam engines. In Edward Strikes Out, he agreed with Gordon's element of doubt about Rocky and called him a "new-fangled nonsense". The narration at the episode's start reveals that this is because Edward has worked on Sodor the longest. In both the first and third of these scenarios, Edward learned of Harvey and Rocky's usefulness by their episode's ends.
In Edward and the Mail, he did not want to embarrass himself in front of the other engines, so he tried to take the mail train without asking Percy, who was in need of repairs, for advice, resulting in him delivering the mail to all the wrong places.
Edward has also acted excitable in some episodes. In the twelfth season episode, Steady Eddie, he was given a task of taking the new water wheel to Great Waterton. He ignored the Fat Controller's advice to take the express track, took all the bumpy tracks to show off and resulted in the water wheel almost being scrapped. In Thomas and the Runaway Kite, he wanted to help Thomas to chase after the Fat Controller's grandchildren's kite. Since then, Edward has tried to regain his usual self, which one day made Charlie think he was too old to have fun in Charlie and Eddie. Edward was upset about this so he tried to be as fun as Charlie, but this only caused even more trouble. Since then, he has just stuck to being the wise and kind engine that he was of old.
In the fifteenth season, Edward was sent to work with Harold for the day, being given the chance to be a hero. After observing Gordon and Rocky in action, Edward resolved to fulfil his hero role by being "strong and fast and stern". On his way to the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre, Edward found a miserable Charlie and cheered him up by telling him a joke, collected Dowager Hatt's suitcase when it was sent to the wrong station and rescued a lost Katie the sheepdog. Edward was still determined to be what he thought a hero, but found that his time spent helping others had made him late for Harold, who was not at the Rescue Centre when Edward chuffed in. The Fat Controller reassured Edward that being kind, funny and gentle was Edward being himself, enough to be a hero and everyone cheered for him. Harold arrived looking for Edward, who just smiled.
In the eighteenth season, he was still being teased by Gordon, who thought he was unreliable for breaking down frequently, but Edward claimed that he had not broken down in ages. When Gordon later got stuck on his hill, Edward came to push him. As they reached the top of the hill, Gordon just carried on without saying "thank you". Edward complained about Gordon's ungratefulness to Thomas, who came up with a plan. Thomas challenged Gordon to a race across the island. As Gordon nearly caught him up, Thomas pulled onto the same track which meant Gordon had no choice but to follow him. At Gordon's Hill, the two engines were going so slowly that Gordon stopped and got stuck again. As Thomas carried on his way, Edward arrived. This time, it was Edward's turn to call Gordon unreliable for always getting stuck on his own hill. Edward then began to carry on his way too, but Gordon begged him to help. Gordon promised to never call him old and unreliable again. Edward forgave Gordon and gave him a push. The big blue engine even said "thank you" once they had reached the top of the hill.
In Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, he told Thomas, who was being mended at the Steamworks, that Rocky had discovered a pirate ship in the cavern in which Thomas had fallen into earlier (despite Thomas discovering it first). Later, while working at the Docks, Salty told him, Henry, James, Porter and Cranky about a "lost pirate".
When Thomas felt that Max and Monty's recklessness was going too far, Edward told Thomas to ignore them. He laughed at Thomas, Percy and Toby for being scared of a cow which they thought was a troll, and he was also scared of going out in the night when the engines thought a glowing Henry was a ghost. Edward was among the engines who were afraid Hugo was the start of steamies being replaced.
In The Great Race, Edward was one of the many engines who wanted to go to The Great Railway Show but instead was left on Sodor.
Edward is kindhearted and always keen to help a friend in need. The small engines trust him to lend a listening ear and sympathetic advice. He is a hard worker too and always does his best to finish a job. If ever an engine misbehaves or acts out, it is Edward that the Fat Controller turns to in order to soothe things out.
Sadly, the big engines often see Edward as old-fashioned and slow. While it is true he is the oldest engine on the North Western Railway - it must be noted he helped build it - he has proved time and time again that he is more than capable of working as hard as any engine, and he is a much cleverer and wiser engine, too. In fact, for a time, he and BoCo were the only engines who looked after Bill and Ben and knew how to put them in their place should they misbehave. Like any other wise old engine, he stands for no nonsense from anyone, especially from the bigger engines.
From Calling All Engines! to the sixteenth season, Edward had occasionally expressed insecurity in himself by keeping secrets from the other engines and Sir Topham Hatt, when he was once leaking steam and likewise when he was told to pull the post train whilst Percy was being repaired.
Since the seventeenth season, Edward has been portrayed with his original personality, such as when he gave Thomas advice to ignore Max and Monty and accepted James' request to bring the Mayor of Sodor to Callan Castle.
BasisFurness Railway K2 class
The Reverend W. Awdry stated that Edward is based on a heavily modified Sharp, Stewart and Co. "Larger Seagull" K2 Class, supplied to the Furness Railway in 1896.
Sodor "historian" Martin Clutterbuck notes that Edward bears a close resemblance to an LNER D3/4 "Glen" (NBR Reid Class K) 4-4-0 from the London and North Eastern Railway. At any rate, the Reverend W. Awdry used an engine of this class to represent Edward on his model railway.
Visible Crovan's Gate Works modifications are: making the rear splashers flush with the cab, removal of the coupling rod splashers, new cab windows as opposed to cutaways in his cab side sheets and square cab lookouts as opposed to the original round ones. In both the Railway Series and television series, Edward is depicted with a Fowler tender.
Edward is painted in the North Western Railway's sky blue livery with red and yellow lining and the number "2" painted on his tender sides in bright yellow with a red border.
In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates on the sides of his cab.
It can be assumed that, before arriving on Sodor, Edward was painted in the Furness Railway's Indian red livery with black lining, the letters "FR" written in yellow on his tender sides and black wheels.
The inspiration for Edward himself came from the Reverend W. Awdry's watching trains on the Great Western Railway as a child. He said in an interview with Brian Sibley for The Thomas the Tank Engine Man that, to him, the noise of the locomotives' exhaust almost sounded like dialogue - for example, the larger engine having trouble climbing the hills would appear to be saying, "I can't do it, I can't do it" and the smaller engine helping them would sound like it was saying, "I will do it! I will do it! I will do it!" Later, the Reverend Awdry told his son a bedtime story about an engine who was sad because he was never taken out of the shed for being old. Upon being asked what the engine's name was by his son, the Reverend Awdry picked the name Edward out of thin air.