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Edward the Blue Engine

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Edward the Blue Engine
Thomas & Friends character
File:Thomas and Friends Edward.png
Edward's Model
First appearance
  • The Three Railway Engines (1945)
Created byRev. W. Awdry
Designed byW. F. Pettigrew
Voiced by
  • Keith Wickham (UK)
  • William Hope (US)

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Edward the Blue Engine is an anthropomorphic steam locomotive from The Railway Series children's books by the Rev W. Awdry, and the related TV Series Thomas & Friends[1]. He is a blue 4-4-0 tender engine with red lining out, about the same size as James the Red Engine, and has the number 2 on his tender. Like James and Henry, he is a mixed traffic engine, meaning that he is designed to pull both freight and passenger services. He is one of the principal characters in both the books and the television series.

Edward is a kind, easygoing engine, who is always keen to help a friend in need. The younger engines can always rely on him to lend a listening ear and sympathetic advice. He works hard and will always do his utmost to get a job done.

However, the big engines tend to see him as old-fashioned and slow. But the smaller engines such as Thomas, Percy, Toby, and Duck respect him greatly and will stick up for him at all times. It is true that he is one of the older engines on The Fat Controller's railway (indeed, he helped to build it), but he has proved time and time again that despite his age he is entirely capable of working as hard as any engine. Several of the stories revolving around him, both in the books and television series, have involved Edward proving his worth to the others. Two of the most notable were 'Old Iron', in which he earned himself an overhaul by capturing a runaway James, and 'Edward's Exploit', in which he brought home a special train despite a breakdown, caused by one of his coupling rods breaking.

Edward has a branch line which he runs with BoCo, a diesel engine. Edward is equally happy with coaches or trucks, but he has also been known to help other engines with heavy loads, pull special trains and even act as a pilot engine for the Royal Train.

Edward was first featured in The Three Railway Engines, Awdry's first book, in 1945. Edward featured in his own book, Edward the Blue Engine in 1954.

Edward is the only engine whose driver and fireman are named in The Railway Series (Henry's fireman was named in the annuals, being 'Ted'). In the foreword to 'Edward the Blue Engine', their names are given as Charlie Sand and Sidney Hever, and in the story 'Saved from Scrap', their names are mentioned.

These names are puns on their jobs. One of an engine driver's jobs is to sand the rails when they are slippery in order to allow the engine to grip. A fireman's job is to "heave" the coal from the tender or coal bunker to the engine's fire.

Their first names come from a real engine crew named Charlie and Sidney on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway (see Toby the Tram Engine).

Behind the scenes[edit]

Edward was the first character created for The Railway Series in 1943. The inspiration for the character came from the Rev. W. Awdry watching trains on the Great Western Railway as a child. He said in interviews with Brian Sibley that to him, the noise of the locomotives' exhaust almost sounded like dialogue. For instance, the larger engines having trouble climbing the hills would appear to be saying, "I can't do it, I can't do it," and the smaller engines helping them would sound like they were saying, "I will do it! I will do it! I will do it!" This was the direct inspiration for the second story in The Three Railway Engines, 'Edward and Gordon'. The first story was 'Edward's Day Out', which was an introduction to the character.

The Rev. W. Awdry has said that Edward is based on a heavily modified Sharp, Stewart & Co. "Larger Seagull" locomotive supplied to the Furness Railway in 1896, but this is a piece of retcon created for the book The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways. Martin Clutterbuck notes that Edward bears a closer resemblance to certain Scottish locomotives of the North British Railway, notably the D34.[2] Edward's double cabside windows are though a distinctively North Eastern feature, along with the shaped spectacle windows of the D21. It is likely that Awdry chose the Furness Railway locomotive because the Furness Railway was the closest mainland railway to Sodor.

The Furness origin for Edward is once again brought up in book 41 Thomas and Victoria, as Edward and Victoria are both from that area. Awdry used a model of a LMS Class 2P 4-4-0 to represent Edward on his model railway.

Edward on television[edit]

Edward is the one of the eight engines in the Steam Team, and is one of just twelve characters to appear in every series.

In recent episodes of the TV series, Edward has been portrayed as a bank engine, to help engines up Gordon's Hill – a reminiscent nod to the Season 1 story "Edward and Gordon".

In Season 10, Edward appears almost as cheeky and inexperienced as Thomas was in the first season, putting him completely out of character. This is especially evident in the episode "Edward Strikes Out", where he went as far as to call the new arrival Rocky "new-fangled nonsense", which caused some controversy among some long-time fans. However, in the more recent series, Edward has reverted to his original persona.

Edward didn't appear in Thomas and the Magic Railroad[3] as there was not enough screen time and opportunity to utilise him in a way that added any real value to the film. However, he did appear in the specials Calling All Engines, The Great Discovery, Hero of the Rails, Misty Island Rescue, Day of the Diesels, Blue Mountain Mystery, King of the Railway, Tale of the Brave, The Adventure Begins, Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, The Great Race, Journey Beyond Sodor, and Big World! Big Adventures!. Edward is now voiced by William Hope in the US, (who also voices Toby) and Keith Wickham in the UK, (who also voices Henry, Gordon, Harvey, Salty, Stafford, Bertie, Harold, The Fat Controller and other characters).

Voice Actors[edit]

  • Keith Wickham (UK; Hero of the Rails onwards)
  • William Hope (US; Hero of the Rails onwards)
  • Yasuhiro Takato (Japan; Season 1 – 8)
  • Nozomu Sasaki (Japan; Calling All Engines! onwards)


  1. https://play.thomasandfriends.com/en-us/engines/Edward.html
  2. Clutterbuck, Martin. "Edward". pegnsean.com. Archived from the original on 20 December 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2005. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. Jim Gratton; Ryan Healy. "Behind the Scenes of Magic Railroad". Sodor Island Forums – Magic Railroad Mini-site. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 22 February 2010. Unknown parameter |name-list-style= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

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