Duke, originally known as The Duke, is a narrow gauge tender engine, who is considered a hero amongst the other engines.
Duke was built in 1879 at Boston Lodge Works. The MSR's Chairman, Lord John Arnold Norramby was assigned the task of aquiring locomotives for the railway. While he initially approached Sodor's original narrow gauge railway, he decided locomotives of the types used their would be unsuitable for the MSR. The Skarloey was however able to point him in the direction of the Ffestiniog Railway in Wales. The Ffestiniog had only just built the first locomotive at its works, but was open to Lord Norramby's business offer. While he decided against ordering a engine of the type the Ffestiniog had just built, he did decide to order one of the same design to the Ffestiniog's original engines, choosing the "Small" variant. While the reasons he choose the "Small" type over the newer "Large" type are lost to history, many believe the Ffestiniog wanted to test modifications they planed to implement to their "Small Englands" , and offered the Earl generous rates in exchange for going with the design. The locomotive was complete before the year's end, well ahead of schedule, as such it wasn't delivered to Sodor until the following year. Some speculate the reason for the speedy construction was that the Ffestiniog used parts from the recently scrapped "Mountaineer", though their is no known proof. The locomotive was named "The Duke" in honour of Lord John's nickname by the Board of Directors, though it was not revealed until the Grand Opening in October. After the railways opening, "The Duke", or simply "Duke" became the railways main engine, pulling its Express Service and even became something of a local hero. For a while, he was assisted in running the MSR by several older tramway engines, though these were gradually replaced by newer engines. In 1890s, the Ffestiniog had designed further improvements to the "Small England" design, incorporating many features of the "Larges". The Ffestiniog offered to rebuild Duke to this new shape, though traffic levels on the MSR meant Duke could not by spared. In 1904 he was joined by a saddle tank engine named "Falcon". Falcon was a rough rider, not to mention stubborn, and when Duke was told to teach him "The Mountain Road" he almost pulled them both down the side of the mountain. Fortunately, Duke was able to pull Falcon back on to the rails. The following year a second engine of Falcon's design, Albert arrived on the MSR, and Duke was finally able to return to Boston Lodge for rebuilding. Upon his return in 1908, he decided to take the two engines under his wheels and teach them the way that would suit His Grace. While Albert was receptive to Duke's teaching, Falcon was not.
Duke is one of the oldest and most experienced engines of the Skarloey Railway. He is also the mentor of Peter Sam and Sir Handel, from their younger days on the Mid Sodor Railway, when they were called Stuart and Falcon respectively. He may have a head teacher attitude and maintain his authority at all times, but can be quick to apply his knowledge and years of experience to help guide and correct any younger engine. He is proud of his name and keen to uphold the respect it merits. He can often be heard to say "That would never suit his Grace!" upon hearing or seeing something that he takes a disapproval to, or pedantically stating how he thinks someone would have adhered to the rules and regulations in his young days. Despite their teasing ways, Sir Handel and Peter Sam in particular have grown to become very fond of Duke and dearly nicknamed him "Granpuff" for his long service to the railway. He, in turn, commonly refers to them by their old names.
Duke is painted brown with yellow lining. His tender bears the MSR crest and he has red and gold name and number plates on the sides of his saddletank and cab respectively. While on the Mid Sodor Railway, he lacked lining.
- He is the brother of Bertram.
|Mid Sodor Railway|
|Duke • Bertram • Smudger • Stanley • Falcon • Stuart • Albert • Jim • Tim • Jerry • Atlas • Alfred • John • Jennings|