Duck the Great Western Engine

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Duck the Great Western Engine
Thomas & Friends character
File:Montague Duck 1986.jpg
Duck's first appearance in the model series, as seen in the Series 2 episode, "Duck Takes Charge" (1986)
First appearancePercy the Small Engine (1956)
Created byRev. W. Awdry
Voiced bySteven Kynman (UK/US)
Number8 (previously 5741)
GenderMale Logo.png Search Duck the Great Western Engine on Amazon.

Duck the Great Western Engine is a fictional anthropomorphic steam engine from The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry and the spin-off television series Thomas & Friends. He is a green 0-6-0T pannier tank locomotive and lives and works on the Island of Sodor.[1] Duck had originally worked at Paddington station as a Station pilot.

Sir Topham Hatt, also known as The Fat Controller, bought Duck from The Other Railway in 1955 to take Percy's place as station pilot at Tidmouth.[2] Since the Fat Controller had been apprenticed at GWR's Swindon Works, he allowed Duck to return to his original Great Western Railway livery, and retain his number '5741', which Duck wears proudly on cast brass numberplates on his cab sides.

Duck is not actually his real name. When he first arrived, he explained that his real name is Montague, but he was usually called Duck because everyone said that he waddled. Although he claims this was not true, he prefers Duck to Montague and now that is what everyone calls him.

The arrival of Duck allowed Percy to move to Thomas' branch line so he can help Thomas with his goods traffic.

Despite an incident when a devious engine called Diesel framing him, the Fat Controller realized what a useful engine he had in Duck, and eventually gave him a branch line of his very own.

Duck's branch line runs between Tidmouth and Arlesburgh and is nicknamed The Little Western as all the locomotives and coaches have been restored to their Great Western Railway livery. Duck shares the passenger duties with Oliver, but has his own two autocoaches: Alice and Mirabel.

Duck sometimes helps on other lines. He makes friends easily, and the Fat Controller says that he makes everything run like clockwork. "There are two ways of doing things," Duck says, "the Great Western Way or the wrong way." This has been known to annoy the other engines.

Duck in the Television Series[edit]

In the Thomas and Friends Television Series, when he arrived on Sodor, Duck was given the number 8, which was his official North Western Railway number. The number is already worn when he first appears, and his original number (5741) is never seen or mentioned. He was repainted in the livery of the Great Western Railway, although the shade of green used was the same as that of Percy.

He worked as a shunter, among other duties, until he received his branch line in the episode "Donald's Duck" (set before the arrival of Oliver).

Duck first appeared in the second season of the series in the episode "Duck Takes Charge", and appeared fairly regularly up to, and including the seventh season. During this time, he was often treated as a part of the main cast alongside Thomas, Percy, James, Gordon, Henry, Edward, and Toby. Duck was absent between the eighth and eleventh seasons, except for an brief appearance in the song Navigation which was broadcast alongside the tenth season. In the twelfth season, Duck played a significant supporting role in several episodes. Again, Duck was absent in the series between the thirteenth season and the sixteenth season. He reappeared in the seventeenth season episode, Henry's Hero and played lead (with Thomas and Harold) in The Thomas Way.

During the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-second seasons he played various co-lead and supporting roles, and made a cameo appearance in Tale of the Brave, Journey Beyond Sodor and Big World! Big Adventures!. He also had supporting roles in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure and The Great Race.

Voice actors[edit]

  • Steven Kynman (UK/US; Season 17 onwards)
  • Kozo Shioya (Japan; Season 2 – 7)
  • Kiyonobu Suzuki (Japan; Season 12 onwards)
  • Shōto Kashii (Japan; Ryan and Daisy only)


The nickname "Duck" comes from Rev. W. V. Awdry's OO scale model railway. He had bought a GWR Pannier tank engine manufactured by Gaiety as a spare engine for his model railway, but one of its wheels was crooked, and the model had a pronounced waddle, earning the nickname "Duck" which stuck long after new wheels had been fitted.

Duck is based on the 57xx class built by the Great Western Railway and still carries the colours of the GWR. These engines were designed to shunt and to work branch lines, and many were still working beyond the end of steam on British Railways. Sixteen members of that class are preserved on steam railways up and down the United Kingdom, where they have proved as useful and versatile as Duck himself.

In the biographical work The Thomas the Tank Engine Man, Rev. W. Awdry recalls seeing pannier tanks at work on the Great Western Railway at Box in Wiltshire, where he lived as a child. These would not have been 57xx tanks, but might have been an early influence nonetheless. The real No. 5741 had been cut up for scrap at Swindon in 1958[3], so classmates will often masquerade as "Duck" for Day out with Thomas galas.


Commercial models of Duck character
Model range Type
Bachmann Trains HO gauge plastic model
Ertl die-cast metal
Hornby OO gauge model: plastic body, metal chassis
Take Along/Take n Play die-cast metal
Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway wooden
Tomy/TrackMaster plastic motorized



  • Dawson, Anthony (2018). A Day in the Life of an Engine Driver. Amberley Publishing. ISBN 978-1445669229. Search this book on Logo.png

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