Douglas is a Scottish mixed-traffic tender engine and the twin brother of Donald. He arrived on Sodor with his twin out of fear that he would be scrapped if he was left behind, even though Donald was the only engine expected. After proving himself to be Really Useful, Douglas was allowed to stay with his twin.
Douglas works with Donald on the Little Western, and handles most of the ballast trains with him, but sometimes works on Edward's Branch Line and the Main Line when extra help is needed. He has also had several adventures, such as the time he saved Oliver from being scrapped.
Douglas was built at St. Rollox Works in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1899, with his twin brother, Donald. He worked on the Caledonian Railway with his twin, and worked as a mixed-traffic engine. Upon nationalization, Douglas became part of the Scottish Region of British Railways, and was renumbered to 57647.
In 1959, Donald was transferred to the North Western Railway when the railway needed a goods engine. However, Douglas was smart enough to know that he would be scrapped if he stayed behind, so he tagged along with his twin on his journey to Sodor. When the two engines arrived, neither could be told apart; they claimed to have lost their numbers and gave each-other names, but told the Fat Controller that their previous controller was not aware of this. This trickery was also planned by his crew, who just so happened to be related to Donald's own crew.
Until he could determine which of the two engines was the fraud, the Fat Controller had both engines undergo some tests, and gave them numbers to avoid confusion. The twins vowed to give the Fat Controller the best service they could to convince him to keep both, but, when he was lost in thought, Douglas accidentally shunted Thomas' special coach, full of passengers, into a siding. In order to get away from the whole ordeal, Douglas swapped tenders with Donald and left with his goods train, but the Fat Controller was wise enough to know that it was a trick.
After Donald had an accident with the signal box at Tidmouth, the Fat Controller decided to keep him and send Douglas away. While waiting at Wellsworth, Douglas helped James out and worked as his back engine when the trucks were causing trouble, but he accidentally destroyed the Spiteful Brake Van when the trucks were pulling back on Gordon's Hill. After the accident, the Fat Controller was left unsure as to which engine he should send away.
During the winter season, Douglas worked with Donald to clear snow from the tracks, and helped to rescue Henry when he became stuck in a snowdrift. This won them the support of the other engines, who agreed that both twins should stay on the Island and that something must be done to ensure this. After a suggestion by Edward, Percy was presented to the Fat Controller as a deputation, and told him that, should he send both twins away, they would be scrapped. After some consideration, the Fat Controller became to feel sympathy for the twins, and allowed both engines to stay. The twins were given nameplates, and were offered a new coat of paint; Douglas chose NWR Blue, as it reminded him of the livery his shedmates in Scotland wore. After this, both engines became permanent members of the North Western Railway's fleet of engines.
When the Little Western was reopened, Donald and Douglas were put in charge of bringing the trains of ballast down from Arlesburgh to Tidmouth. They often told the engines that "verra wee engines" brought the ballast down from the hills, which piqued their curiosity.
In 1967, Douglas delivered the "Midnight Goods" train to the Other Railway, when he came across a tank engine named Oliver, who was running away to Sodor with his autocoach, Isabell, and a brake van, Toad, as they were due to be scrapped. Douglas agreed to help the trio out and took them to Sodor, where he kept them hidden at Crovan's Gate Works. When the Fat Controller found out about Oliver, he agreed to have him and the rolling stock restored, and praised Douglas for rescuing Oliver, as he needed a new engine for the Little Western.
Although Douglas was a hard-working engine, he and Donald were both becoming overworked, and by 1993, they were becoming worn-out and exhausted. To ease their workload, the Fat Controller brought Wilbert to Sodor to help the twins until he could afford a tank engine like him.
In 2011, Donald and Douglas were kept busy bringing extra ballast down from Arlesburgh to help with track maintenance on the Main Line. As he went onto a siding to rest, Douglas slipped on the rails and accidentally crashed into and destroyed a buffer stop, which had been recently rebuilt and repainted. The Foreman angrily splashed a drop of red paint on Douglas' nose, which the Fat Controller left on him as a reminder to take more care in sidings.
Douglas stowed away to Sodor with his twin, Donald, knowing that he would be scrapped if he stayed behind. The two got off to a rough start, however, and Douglas accidentally destroyed the Spiteful Brake Van when he tried helping James up Gordon's Hill.
However, Douglas and his twin got the support of the other engines when they proved their skill in snow-clearing work, and helped to rescue Henry from a snowdrift. After a suggestion by Edward, Percy was presented to the Fat Controller as a deputation, and argued that the twins would be scrapped if he sent them away. After some consideration, the Fat Controller allowed both engines to stay.
After an accident involving a hay cart, Douglas was blamed by his twin for causing the accident. The two engines began quarreling and refused to speak to each-other, and Douglas began working alone as a shunting engine at Callan while Donald worked with Duck. Douglas tried to reconcile with his twin, but was angered when Donald continued to pin the blame on him. After Donald derailed in a ditch, Douglas immediately came to his rescue, and the two apologized to each-other and made up for their quarrel.
When Castle Loch was being reopened, Douglas and Donald were given the job of delivering the decorations and instruments to the castle for the grand opening. Douglas teased Percy by claiming there was a monster at the loch, and argued with Donald about the monster's existence. During the journey to the castle, the twins' path was blocked by a tree, and their brake van was derailed by a landslide. Until help could arrive, the twins were forced to stay in their place, and when Harvey arrived with the Breakdown Train, the twins believed he was the monster. Harvey cleared the track, and the twins managed to reach Castle Loch safely.
During the construction of the Harwick Branch Line, Douglas worked with his twin to handle the heavy goods duties, such as delivering the construction materials needed for the line. When the pirate ship was uncovered, the twins took it down to Arlesburgh Harbour, where it would be put on display. Douglas later attended the opening ceremony of the new branch line after it was completed.
Personality and Traits
Douglas is based on the Caledonian Railway 812 class. These 0-6-0 tender engines were used as mixed-traffic engines, and were used for shunting in yards in Glasgow as well as pulling goods and suburban passenger trains. The lone survivor of this class, 828, works on the Strathspey Railway in Scotland, and is the oldest engine on the line. Donald and Edward's Ghost Engine also share this basis.
In the Railway Series, Douglas was painted in the British Rail black good livery with red and white lining. When he arrived on Sodor, his number was painted on his tender to avoid confusion between him and Donald. After he was allowed to stay on Sodor, Douglas was painted in the North Western Railway's blue livery with red lining. He carries two red nameplates with gold writing on each side of his smokebox, and carries a gold builder's plate on his cab.
In the television series, Douglas has always been painted in the British Rail black livery with white and red lining. His number is painted on the sides of his tender in yellow with red lining, and he carries two red nameplates with gold writing on his smokebox. Between the third and twelfth seasons, the nameplates were fixated on his boiler, but starting with his return to CGI, they were placed back on his smokebox.
- The Rev. W. Awdry never made a model of Douglas; he only made one of Donald.
- Douglas' television series model is currently on display at the Hara Model Railway Museum in Yokohama, Japan. His eye mechanism was damaged during shipping, so as a quick fix, he was given a new pair of eyes.
|The Douglas article has a Photo Gallery.|