Duke, named after the Duke of Sodor and originally The Duke, is considered a hero amongst the engines.
Duke was built at Boston Lodge in Minffordd, Wales to the order of John Arnold Norramby, Earl of Sodor and Chairman of the MSR, in 1879 for the opening of the Mid Sodor Railway in 1880. The Board of Directors named him in honour of the Earl and rostered him to haul the Opening Train. He worked with several other engines on the Mid Sodor, including Falcon and Stuart (later named Sir Handel and Peter Sam, respectively).
Soundly built, Duke was well maintained and kept in service until 1947 when the railway closed. While Stuart and Falcon were sold, no buyers were interested in him, so he was left oiled, greased and sheeted up in Arlesdale Sheds, where he was all but forgotten. He believed that the Earl would come to rescue him, but as time went on, he did not show, and Duke began to have doubts which grew stronger and stronger. He was unaware the Earl he knew had been killed during the Second World War, and that his successor was just a boy, who did not know of Duke.
He was later discovered by Mr. Fergus Duncan, the Rev. Teddy Boston and the Rev. W. Awdry in 1969 and taken by road and rail to Crovan's Gate Works. There Duke was restored and rebuilt, through the kindness and generosity of Sir Topham Hatt and the present Earl of Sodor, who shared the cost with Sir Handel Lloyd Brown. He was finally re-united with Sir Handel and Peter Sam and for the first time in his history the Skarloey Railway had motive power to spare, which allowed Sir Handel to be lent to the Talyllyn Railway in 1982, while Sir Haydn was out of service for repairs.
He attended Ivo Hugh's naming ceremony in 1996.
Duke, when one first meets him, appears to be pedantic and strict and in a sense both are true about him. However, Duke was sheeted up in a shed for more than two decades, so Duke possibly did not know how things have changed.
Duke is wise from experience, and sees it as his duty to live up to his name's reputation.
The story of Duke being rediscovered was based upon a true story about an engine abandoned in the Brazilian rainforest. Duke himself is based on Prince, a tender engine from the Ffestiniog Railway at Porthmadog, North Wales.
- Tim Whitnall (UK/US; coming soon)
- Duke was nicknamed Granpuff by Falcon and Stuart because of his long service to the railway.
- The official website states that Duke is the oldest of the narrow gauge engines. However, Skarloey and Rheneas are older.
- On the Reverend W. Awdry's model railway, he had "The Duke" written on his sides and "MS" written on his tender. In the Railway Series, Duke was painted dark brown with red lining. On the Mid-Sodor Railway, Duke was numbered one.
|Skarloey • Rheneas • Sir Handel • Peter Sam • Rusty • Duncan • Ivo Hugh • Duke • Fred • Mark V • Ministry of Defence Engine|
|Bertram • Mighty Mac • Freddie • Proteus • Luke|