"Shh, shh! That's Skarloey, he's famous!"
- Sir Handel and Peter Sam, A Bad Day for Sir Handel
Skarloey, a narrow gauge saddletank engine, is the oldest engine on the Skarloey Railway. Talyllyn, from the Talyllyn Railway, is his twin, and Rheneas is his brother.
Bio in the Railway Series
Skarloey was built at Fletcher, Jennings & Co., Whitehaven in 1864 as a 0-4-0ST with no cab, which later caused him to bounce a lot, alongside his twin, Talyllyn. He was the first engine to arrive on the newly developed Skarloey Railway in May 1865, arriving by steam ship at Kirk Ronan Harbour, before being delivered to Crovan's Gate by Neil. His young antics proved bothersome but he soon matured when he received his cab and trailing wheels.
Skarloey was put aside in 1945, fit for steam only in extreme emergency. On one such occasion, he damaged his springs whilst bringing home Sir Handel's train, resulting in receiving a much-needed overhaul.
Since returning to service, he has been very much a voice of reason on the Skarloey Railway: he was responsible for Sir Handel's comeuppance when the latter became boastful about his new wheels, and changed Duncan's views about passengers by telling him about the time when Rheneas saved the Railway.
At the celebrations for his and Rheneas' 100th birthday, he collected the Duke of Sodor (much to Peter Sam's confusion) and took him around the new loop line.
He later attended Ivo Hugh's naming ceremony, and brought along a special train with important guests. However, he had to stop when a sow and her piglets strayed onto the line. His passengers had to come out to catch the pigs and return them to their field, and Skarloey was late but arrived in time for the naming ceremony.
Bio in the Television Series
When Skarloey first appeared in the fourth season, he had not worked in some time, but soon proved his worth once more. Since then, he has been a dedicated worker and a very wise engine. However, from the seventh to twelfth seasons, Skarloey has acted like a very young engine and has tried to prove his bravery by getting hauled up the winch on the incline and by having a race with Rheneas and Freddie. He has also acted timid, being scared of an old wooden bridge, the wharf and storms.
At the Blue Mountain Quarry, Skarloey is still the respected leader of the narrow gauge engines.
In the eighteenth season, he once had to take an evening passenger train, but Duncan took his coaches so that a grumpy passenger would not complain about the train being crowded, but this only resulted in angering Skarloey and his stranded passengers. The next day, Skarloey was delayed by Duncan again when he refused to leave the platform until the same grumpy passenger had boarded his train. Later during the Christmas holidays, Skarloey was upset by Duncan's constant grumbling, so he, Rheneas and Rusty told the Thin Controller, who devised a plan to stop the grumpy engine from moaning all the time.
Skarloey is the sage of the Skarloey Railway and is an old, faithful little engine. Although once full of enthusiasm and his own ideas in his youth, Skarloey is now one of the oldest engines on the Island. He is a calm-natured, quaint, and mature engine and may often try to guide or watch over less experienced narrow gauge engines in his firm but fair and friendly manner. He acts kindly to engines and passengers alike and always enjoys a gentle, smooth journey through the woods by the lakeside and stopping at all the gates and stiles he remembers so well.
Skarloey is based on the Talyllyn Railway's Talyllyn, a Fletcher Jennings Class C 0-4-2ST built in 1864. In the Railway Series, Talyllyn is Skarloey's twin. The Ghost Engine shares the same basis.
In the Railway Series, Skarloey is painted in the Skarloey Railway's standard red livery with blue and yellow lining and with his name painted in yellow on the sides of his saddletank, and a brass dome. In the television series, Skarloey was painted red with white lining. From Season 9 onwards, he is painted crimson red with white and gold lining. He has red and gold name and number plates on the sides of his saddletank and coal bunkers respectively.