Stephen, nicknamed "The Rocket", is an old and wise engine who works on the estate railway at Ulfstead Castle, where he takes visitors around the park as well as the rest of Sodor. He is the oldest engine on the Island.
Stephen was built by Robert Stephenson in 1829, and competed in a series of races against several other engines. Many of the engines he raced against were experimental and broke down, but Stephen had no problems and won the race. Stephen worked in the Docks and in the mines, but as newer and faster engines were being built, he was taken out of service and was left to rust. He later met Sir Robert Norramby, who brought him back to Sodor to undergo an extensive overhaul at the Steamworks.
Norramby planned to have Stephen restored that he could take visitors around the estate railway at Ulfstead Castle, but wanted to keep this a surprise for him until the castle was rebuilt, but when Stephen became depressed when he had no work to do, Thomas decided to tell Stephen that the Earl had a surprise for him to cheer him up. Stephen became too excited to stay put in the Steamworks any longer, and set off to find a job he could do. However, Stephen found out that he was too weak and slow for most of the jobs on the Island, as the goods traffic had become increasingly heavier since the last time he was in service. Stephen went to the mine beneath Ulfstead Castle to find work, but became trapped in the mine when the entrance caved in.
Stephen tried to find his way out of the mine, but no matter where he looked, he could not find a way out, and was beginning to run low on steam. While he was trapped in the mine, he rediscovered King Godred's crown, which had gone missing for centuries. After running out of steam at the mine's entrance, Stephen was rescued by Thomas, and was repainted and given a new funnel, as his old one was knocked off in the mine. When Ulfstead Castle was reopened, Stephen became working as a tour guide, taking visitors around the park. (TVS; King of the Railway)
When James became teasing Percy for being afraid of the "Phantom Express", Stephen tried to reassure Percy that there were no such things as ghosts. However, as he was patrolling the castle, Stephen became frightened when James made an eerie whistle sound, and ran through a barrier and into the castle moat. When Percy fell into the moat after being scared, Stephen helped him scare James into believing that they were the Phantom Express. (TVS; The Phantom Express) When Percy believed that he was having bad luck, Stephen gave him his lucky horseshoe to help him out, but Percy lost the horseshoe before he left the castle. (TVS; Percy's Lucky Day)
Stephen was among the engines who asked the Fat Controller to take him to the Great Railway Show. He did not participate in any of the events, but instead took the Brass Band around the venue for the Best Decorated Engine Parade. (TVS; The Great Race)
Personality and Traits
- Stephen may have been originally designed with a cab, as a few of the prototypes for his merchandise depict him with one.
- Stephen is depicted with the Ulfstead Castle crest on his tender in several of the merchandise ranges. However, he does not carry this crest in the television series.