The North Western Railway Co.
North Western Railway Coat of Arms

Per saltire azure and vert, Two gloves argent saltirewise
in fess a rose of Lancaster proper
1st Azure a wheel or winged of same
dexter vert a fleece argent, sinister vert a mattock argent hafted or
base azure herrings naiant argent

Motto: "Nil Unquam Simile"
- "There's Nothing Quite Like It"

Tidmouth Coat of Arms
Suddery Coat of Arms
Crovan's Gate Coat of Arms

Quarterly Azure and vert
1st Azure, a lymphad argent
2nd tenure vert Smith's hammer & tongs saltirewise argent
3rd vert, a wheel argent
4th azure 3 herrings naiant

Motto: "Industry and Progress"

In base three closets wavy azure
charged at nombril point with coracle
therein a monk erect dexter hand raised in blessing, in sinister hand a crozier, all proper

Motto: "Luoc Sodoris Lux"
- "Luoc the Light of Sodor"

Vert, a gateway kernelled or with portcullis closed of the same
In base a glove dexter argent

Motto: "Ave Amicos Cave Hostes"
- "Welcome Friends, Beware Enemies"

Blazons from a handwritten leaf in "Sodor History", a typescript book by the Rev W Awdry, and source for the published "History of Sodor" from which notes are taken below. This is part of the "Awdry Study" at the Narrow Gauge Railway Museum in Tywyn, Wales. With many thanks to Secretary Chris White, Trustee Winston McCanna and Attendant Ron Whitaker, and all other helpful TRPS members.
Many thanks also to fellow SiF members, and especially Jim Gratton for helping decipher the text, and Tom Wright for translation of the Latin mottoes.
Shields drawn by the Webmaster from the original blazons. © Martin Clutterbuck 2006

And here are several versions of the blazons above plus one, brilliantly rendered by Rhys Davies, to whom we are grateful for his permission to post them here. The 4th blazon on the right is of the Sodor Regiment of the Territorial Army. The Regiment's colors are described by the Rev. Awdry in The Island of Sodor as follows in heraldric terms: Sable two gloves argent saltairewise, charged in fess with the Rose of Lancaster proper. Click any of the images below to view them in greater detail.

Crovan's Gate
Sodor Regiment
Crovan's Gate
Sodor Regiment

Below, the Rev. Awdry's handwritten book chronicling Sodor's history
The Rev. Awdry's History of Sodor

Sodor Timeline

The following notes from "The Island of Sodor" by the Rev. W. Awdry were excellently compiled by Tony Griggs, to whom many thanks.


About half the land is cultivated; oats, barley and turnips are the chief crops. Fishing is important, and the Tidmouth Kipper is a much prized breakfast delicacy. Lead, zinc and silver is mined, and the island stone has excellent weather-resisting properties. The language, Sudric, is fast dying out and is akin to Manx and Gaelic. The rugged and beautiful scenery, and the fishing, particularly in the mountain lakes, attract holidaymakers from all parts. Aluminium ore (bauxite) is mined at Peel Godred by the British Aluminium Company, and as this process requires a large amount of electricity, a hydroelectric power station was opened nearby in 1923. Tidmouth - once the haunt of smugglers - now contributes to the country's revenues by being an excellent port. The Docks are owned by the N.W.R. As it is nearer to Douglas and Belfast, many travellers prefer to embark there rather than Liverpool or Fleetwood.

A Brief History Of Sodor

Canon Dreswick's History of Sodor, 4 vols. (Chatter & Windows, Suddery 1899-1912), is the standard history of the island, and still recognised as a masterpiece of scholarship and research. Its bulk makes it appear somewhat daunting; but it is written with such lightness of touch and subtle humour as to grip the general reader. It was written at Cronk Abbey following a severe illness.

Early History - Conversion to Christianity

The Romans apparently did not bother with Sodor, they looked at it from their camp at Lancaster, made a landing at what is now Ballahoo, but were driven off, and retired, The inhabitants gave no trouble and so were left alone.

A more successful conquering was done by the 5th century when there was an Irish missionary from the "St Patrick's school" named Luoc. He and companions set out for Man in coracles but Luoc fell asleep, was blown off course and ended up on the shore in Suddery bay. The natives treated him kindly and he built a "keeill". He preached to the locals and a church was built on the site, which later became Suddery Cathedral. He is remembered in the city's motto Luoc Sodoris Lux (Luoc the light of Sodor), and the coat of arms which shows him dressed as a bishop, standing in a coracle holding a crozier. Suddery also became the ancient capital of Sodor.

The Island was christianised by men of the "Iona School", who arrived on Sodor at different times during the 6th Century such as Saint Abban, Saint Ronan, and Saint Brendan, and settled in the populated South. Saint Machan however settled in a cave in the north near Culdee Fell (Hill of holy men). People came from far around to be baptised the lake that now bears his name There is a legend of how a Viking warband who planned to plunder from where they landed at Harwick, were converted by St Machan on meeting him due to his fearlessness. This is probably untrue however as Viking raids did not begin on the island until the 8th century, Machan living in the 6th century. St Machan has been adopted as the patron saint of Sodor and St Machan's day is 30 April. His cave has become a place of pilgrimage and although during the Norse period the faith was wiped out in Man, it was never quite extinguished in Sodor.

Norse invasions (10th Century AD)

Godred MacHarold, known in Sudrian legend as King Orry or Starstrider, was King of Sodor and Man 979-989. He was the younger son of Harold, the Danish king of Limerick. Taking advantage of the defeat of the Norse by the Irish, he harried Wales, then landed at Jurdy, IOM on a starlit night.

Godred spoke to the unfamiliar locals and pointed to the stars reflecting in the water and said "there is the path running from my county to this place. That is my road to fame and fortune". Godred gave Sodor and Man ten years of security and his reign is therefore remembered as a golden age. He is remembered affectionately as King Orry in Sodor. Godred fought off attempts by Earl Sigurd of Orkney to reclaim the islands, in Man in 982 and Sodor in 984 at a ford near Peel Godred (named after him) which has now been replaced by a bridge and known as King Orry's bridge.

Sigurd however was not captured during the battles and five years later he returned. In a battle on Man, Godred and his two elder sons were killed. However, his wife, a Manx girl, his daughter Gudrun and his youngest son Harold escaped to Islay.

In 1014 however Sigurd fell at the battle of Clontarf in Ireland. Sigurd's heir, Thorfinn was only a baby at this time and Harold saw his opportunity and claimed Sodor and Man. He ruled for 20 years before Torfinn was able to drive him out. Harold's son was killed in battle, but Harold escaped to Iceland where he married again in 1044. A son, Godred was born in 1045; but Harold died in an affray in 1047.

Ogmund was the son of Sigurd of Cronk and born in Iceland in 1045, to Sigurd's wife Helga. They returned from Iceland with young Godred Crovan and his mother Gerda. The two lads were bought up together, and later as step brothers -- as on Helga's death, Sigurd married Gerda. Sigurd was the leading man in Sodor on his death in 1063 and Ogmund succeeded him in this position.

By the time Thorfinn's power was waning, Godred set about regaining his father's former kingdom, leaving Ogmund in Sodor. Ogmund welcomed Thorkell of Norwich to Sodor and settled his men around the island, squeezing the last of Fingall's soldiers from the island. With Sodor secure, Godred could continue his quest to conquer The Isles, Dublin and finally Man at the battle of Sky Hill in 1079. Ogmund fell in this battle and the Ogmund saga was sung at his funeral. It now also describes events after his death such as the Norman invasions of the island in 1089 and 1094.

The Kingdom Of Sodor (1099 - 1263)

After two unprovoked invasions, Sudrians began to regard Norman England as the Arch Enemy to be resisted at all costs. Following Godred Crovan's death, the regency of Dublin decided with Manx approval, to send Olaf (Godred's child heir) to be brought up at the court of King Henry I. Sudrians took a poor view of this and decided to break away.

There move was approved by Magnus Barford, King of Norway, whose fleet, deployed in the area, was sufficient to intimidate against any reprisals from Dublin.

Sigmund was elected first King of an independent Sodor. He was crowned at Peel Godred, but chose to make Cronk his capital. He reigned until 1116 and was succeeded by his son Gunnar. Sigmund's dynasty ruled in Sodor for some 160 years till in 1263 both king Andreas and his son Peter were killed in battle against Alexander III of Scotland at Largs.

The Regency (1263-1404)

Peter, aged 23, left no legitimate heir. The Scots claimed Sodor and invaded. The Sudrians fought them off, but the Scots were one of Sodor's predatory neighbours who had designs on the island. The next 140 years are known as the Regency or Resistance. With the possibility of Scottish attack, a successor with ability rather than royal descent was needed. This came in the form of Sir Harold Marown. His claim to the throne was weak and could therefore only be a regency.

In 1263 Alexander III claimed Sodor and in 1267 he bought Man from its last king, with the power struggle between England and Scotland between 1290 and 1333 the land changed hands many times according to who was uppermost at the time. Edward III finally annexed them in 1333, and gave them to the Monatacutes who fifty years later sold them to William le Scrope. Henry IV beheaded Scrope in 1399 and gave them to the Percy Family. The annexation of Sodor did not imply possession of occupation, but usually that the new owners had a large scale rebellion on their hands, with locals retreating to the hills and periodically attacking the triangle between Brendam, Cronk and Rolf's Castle, which was usually occupied.

As the result of a rebellion in 1404, Henry IV gave Man to the Stanley Family. Sudrians had never acknowledged the Percys and took delight in expelling them under the leadership of Sir Arnold de Normanby, their regent. Sir Peter de Rigby was Henry IV's commander, and during the campaign he and Sir Arnold developed a considerable liking and respect for each other.

On Sir Arnold's surrender of the Island and his Regency, Henry showed wisdom and recommitted its government to those who effectively had it before, i.e. Sir Arnold and the Abbot of Cronk. Some Sudrians were a little reluctant to accept the new order, but Henry created Sir Arnold, Earl of Sodor and showed Sudrians that he respected their former regent, whilst bringing the resistance to an end and attaching Sodor to the English Crown.

The Reformation (1540-1600)

Michael Colden, Abbot of Cronk and Sir Geoffrey Regaby had made realisations about the possibility of the reformation and both saw it as undesirable or allow people to be harassed or persecuted. They were also aware of King Henry's wishes and of Cromwell's thievish plans and were determined to ensure that the former Abbey revenues were retained and for the benefit of the Church and the island, and not filched away by Cromwell's rapacious friends. To this period - 1540 onwards - many churches and schools were built on the island where they were most needed and in many of these the former brethren of the Abbey, both lay and otherwise, found employment.

Their policy of "no pressure" ensured that during the reign of Edward VI, relations between the Roman Catholics and Church of England were uniformly good, and the Roman Catholic reaction which swept horrifically through England during Queen Mary's reign, hardly touched Sodor. Colden died in 1565 but his policy was continued by Timothy Smeale, allowing Roman Catholics to worship at their parish Churches. It was in 1570 - when Pope Pius' Bull excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I - that some felt reluctantly that they must be recusants and worship separately. They made it clearly understood that while in matters of religion they could not accept Queen Elizabeth as Head of the Church, this in no way affected their loyalty to her as head of state. By 1600 most of the older generation had gone and as children gravitated to the C. of E., there remained no ill feeling.

The Modern Era (1715 - present)

The Earldom was extinguished by Attainder in 1715; but on the conclusion of his first term of office as Lieut. Governor in 1873 Her Majesty Queen Victoria was gracious enough to respond to popular petition and restored to John Arnold Norramby the Earldom of Sodor and the estates of Ulfstead Castle. The earls of Sodor are active on the Council of the Duchy of Lancaster, and as there is no Duke of Lancaster, the Earl is referred to as a Duke by Sudrians.

The next major chapter in Sodor's History was the coming of the railways which began which "The Railroad" from Ward Fell to Balladswail in 1806. The further rail investment in the island, such as the building in 1914/15 of The North Western Railway as a strategic railway to protect the Mersey and Liverpool during the first World War, later led to the island's growth and prosperity as a tourist area, as well as for the local industries.

History Of Sudrian Railways


A government-sponsored amalgamation of the standard gauge railways in the Island occurred in 1914 as a strategic railway for coastal defence. The railways concerned were:
• The Sodor & Mainland (1853-1914) Ballahoo - Kirkronan
• The Tidmouth Knapford & Elsbridge (1883-1914) Tidmouth - Elsbridge
(Knapford & Elsbridge till 1908 when line extended to Tidmouth)
• The Wellsworth and Suddery (1870-1914) Crosby - Brendam with extension from Crosby to Knapford in 1912 to amalgamate with TK&E. In 1948 it became the North Western Region of BR but this term is never used as the railway kept its operating independence and with privatisation in the early 1990s it is once again officially the North Western Railway! The track is not owned by a separate concern, but by the same company as on the Isle of Wight.



The NWR have had running powers into Barrow Central Station since the agreement with the LMS in 1925. For through trains, engines from the NWR are detached and BR engines take over. Since 1925 the NWR has also had its own loco shed, turntable and servicing facility here. There is also a joint goods yard for exchange traffic.

There is a Schertzer Rolling lift Bridge of 120ft Span and double track, designed by Mr Topham Hatt and erected in 1915. Until the construction of the Jubilee Road Bridge in 1977 The NWR had rights of car-ferry and worked an intensive and profitable service.

BR have running powers over the Bridge to operate the joint NWR/BR suburban Service to Norramby as agreed with LMS in 1925.

In 1915 the NWR built their Headquarters here; but in after the 1925 agreement there was no longer need of it and in 1927/8 it was closed and a much smaller replacement was built for the locomotives operating the car ferry service. The turntable was relocated at Barrow.

The NWR was built as a strategic Railway in time of emergency (1915). Speed and cheapness of construction were important and so a single bore was cut . During construction a mid section collapsed leaving 2 tunnels (the western 1 mile and the Eastern 450 yards). In 1922 a second bore was cut to provide a double track.

In 1915 the NWR established repair shops here. They have been expanded since 1925 and are now able to tackle any locomotive rebuilding or overhaul.

Junction for Kirkronan Branch

Junction For Peel Godred Branch. Since the building of the railway, Killdane is virtually a suburb of Cronk. An hourly (half hourly at peak times) service is provided. Four passenger trains a day continue along the Peel Godred Branch, hauled by electric locomotives. In 1967 a ballast processing plant and distribution centre was set up by the Arlesdale Ballast & Granite Co. A Motorail Terminal was opened here in 1977.

Busy town.

The station is a compulsory stop for all Down, loose coupled and unfitted goods trains for brakes to be pinned down. Banking engines use the station cross over for the run back to Wellsworth.

Cronk and Maron are 280ft above Suddery Junction and so there are 5 miles with a ruling gradient of 1 in 75. A new loco named Gordon stalled here in 1922 and thus the name.

Gordon's Hill linked the two main standard gauge lines in the area. The Sodor & Mainland (S&M) and the Tidmouth Wellsworth and Suddery (TW&S).
The TW&S was a coastal line, often no more than 20 ft above sea level.
The signal box here controls entry to and from the Branch to Suddery and Brendam.

Village; Pop 550. St Tibba's Nunnery, 1150. Large modern hospital which serves whole Island, a pleasant Seaside town .

Similar to Wellsworth, a quiet seaside town.

One mile in length. Opened in 1912 following the agreement made in that year to amalgamate the Tidmouth Knapford and Elsbridge Railway (TK&E) to form the Tidmouth Wellsworth and Suddery Railway. Doubled in 1915 for opening of the NWR

Small Town; Pop 2,000 Farming, fishing, fowling. Former lead mines. Now Junction for Ffarquhar, extensive Stone Traffic by Ffarquhar Quarry Company. Dormitory For Tidmouth.
The present station is the third on the site and dates from 1956 when the Knapford Harbour development scheme was launched after congestion at Tidmouth. There are two stations - Knapford Junction and Knapford Harbour. There have been two others, the previous ones were south of the river.
Knapford is a useful supplementary harbour but not an ideal one which is why the Arlesburgh Branch reopened in 1966 as another alternative.

Borough Pop 35,000 Port for I.o.M. & N.Ireland. H.Q. of NWR Royal Charter 1918. Shipbuilding, factories, kippers, heavy industry. The railway reached Tidmouth in 1905 by means of a road-side tramway from Knapford; however a gale in the autumn of 1908 destroyed it. In 1910 a treasury grant was obtained and a single tunnel was built by the TK&E light railway. In 1916 the NWR completed a double track tunnel and Tidmouth's usefulness as a harbour started to be exploited.
The passenger station has four terminal roads and one through road spanned by a glass roof. The through road leads to the Arlesburgh Branch.
There is a locomotive shed, and turntable and also the Headquarters of The NWR are here

Barrow dormitory town served by Joint BR NWR Service from Barrow (Hourly, half-hourly at peak times).

Attractive Seaside town, terminus of suburban Service.

Rolf's castle began as merely a fortified church, and a curtain wall is a relatively late addition.
Castle of Bishop of Sodor and Man 1070-79

In 1865 the Sodor and Mainland (S&M) reached this fishing port. They hoped to start a steamer service to Dublin. This failed but ore from Crovan's Gate began to be transported for shipment. Dublin sailings ran daily 1920-1925, which worried LMS, but part of the agreement of 1925 meant that they would run on Tuesdays & Fridays only.

Act of 1853 by S&M obtained powers but never built. These powers passed to the NWR. In 1923 the Peel Godred Power Company was formed to build a hydro-electric power station; the line was built to transport equipment and they paid for half the cost. It leaves the main line at Killdane and there is electric traction with power supplied from the power station. Traffic is mainly freight. There are eight trains a day to Killdane, four of which continue (by steam) to Cronk.

Opened as private Station in 1923 serving Cronk Abbey School. Normally unstaffed except at beginning and end of school terms.

Property of Culdee Fell Railway and opened in 1900. The Peel Branch Trains call at the eastern face of the platform and must pay rent. Unstaffed in winter when mountain Railway does not operate. There is a passing loop and exchange siding with CFR

The station is reached after the line has passed through a tunnel. A mile beyond the town is The Sodor Aluminium Works where there are a fan of sidings. Alumna is carried from Tidmouth to Peel Godred and the ingots to Barrow & England.

This branch was originally part of the main line of the Wellsworth & Suddery (W&S) opened in 1870, running from Crosby to Brendam. The eastern end was demoted to a branch line in 1915 when the NWR opened.
There is extensive china clay traffic from Brendam. There are peak through trains to and from Tidmouth, at other times there is a local service from Wellsworth to Brendam.

As Suddery , the ancient capital, was once the seat of a Bishop, it still claims to be a city. It was also a fortified town, but the castle was relatively late. This is the only Norman castle and was always held by the city and not by a Baron. The site was refortified in Napoleonic times, but the batteries built then have not spoilt its appearance.
The port originally had a rail connection but as the harbour was too poor they have now been removed. There were three Bishops of Sodor during the twelfth century but due to disputes between the Bishop of Trondheim, Argyll and the Archbishop of York as to who should chose him, it was decided that a Bishop would be shared with the Isle of Man.

Home of The Sodor China clay company since the discovery of the beds in 1948. There is a private railway from the Station and Harbour to the China Clay works

There are seven passenger trains daily between Knapford and Ffarquhar

The Harbour line from Elsbridge to Knapford was opened in 1885 and used horse traction. In 1905 the firm of A W Dry and Co. extended the line to the better port of Tidmouth as means of a road side tramway with "coffee pot" engines. This line was destroyed in 1908 and a new tunnel made in 1910. Amalgamation came in 1912 with the Wellsworth and Suddery Railway and the connection line built from Knapford to Crosby. When the NWR opened the Coffee pot engines remained in service but a bay platform was used at Knapford. Toryreck mines closed in 1925 but there was possibilities of new stone traffic from Ffarquhar and the line was extended. In 1956 the Knapford Harbour improvement scheme was started. The branch was rebuilt on an easier gradient and the stations moved to the North side of the river. The original line is now only used as freight.

Dryaw has two stations; the original one on the harbour line is now only a freight depot, the new one being used for passengers, even though it is less convenient for the Village.

There were originally lead mines here but these closed in 1930. The main branch joins the harbour line just to the west of the station. There is a little used passing loop but only one platform. There is a goods shed and cattle dock too.

Village; Pop 500. Ancient Church and bridge. Market farming, fishing, boating.
From 1910 to 1925 Elsbridge was the terminus of the branch but when the Ffarquhar quarry opened the line was extended. The Quarry company supplied stone and half the cost of the Hackenbeck Tunnel

The railhead for Ulfstead after further extension to Ulfstead was abandoned.
There is one passenger platform, milk dock, cattle dock, and an oil depot.
There are ten trains a day and these connect with Sodor Roadway bus services which run from the Station Forecourt.

There are four passenger trains a day from Ffarquhar for workers at the quarry and freight trains when required. At the quarry there is a shunting loco owned by the Ffarquhar Quarry Company and sidings. There is only a platform and waiting shelter at the quarry. The stone is used widely on Sodor and on the mainland for buildings because of its hardness.

Ulfstead was established as a fortress, but once the Scots were out it fell into decay. Archaeologists find it especially interesting as it is all of one period.

Single line extension of the mainline built in 1916 after a Government order, originally intended to reach Harwick, but by the time Arlesburgh was reached there was no longer a need for further extension. Material from the Arlesdale mines was needed for the war effort, but when the mines closed in 1947 there was not enough traffic. Permission was requested to close the line, but this being refused, a minimal service only was operated.

In 1964/5 There was need for a new harbour and the line was reinstated. There is an hourly passenger service to Tidmouth with ballast from the Arlesdale mines also being carried.

Intermediate station on branch with an island platform allowing passing of trains.

An Ancient Port, stockaded by King Orry. The Mid Sodor Railway operated a steamer service to Douglas but the Mid Sodor Railway ceased its passenger service in 1936 and closed completely in 1947.

A small town, Pop 5869 (1981). There is a light house, lifeboat, and coastguard. It remains a fishing port and there is a ferry service to Ramsey. It attracts tourists who want peace and quiet.

It began as a plate way from Ward Fell to Balladswail and was worked by gravity. It opened in 1806. It carried mineral traffic that was shipped from Balladswail. Following the Festiniog's lead in 1863 James Spooner was engaged to survey a line for steam locomotives. It was also planned to develop passenger traffic for tourists to the Springs at Skarloey where there would be hotels and guest houses. Two steam locomotives were ordered in joint batch with the Tallylyn Railway from Fletcher Jennings of Whitehaven and carriages from Brown Marshall. The summer visitor numbers fell, with signs that the copper in the mines was beginning to wear thin when slate was found, giving a new source of traffic. After World War II things were in a dreadful state, and the old mines had become ammunition dumps. After the War tourist traffic increased and two replacement engines were bought second hand. This was due to the discovery of The Book of Sir Harold at Ulfstead Castle which revealed that Skarloey was his secret sanctuary and archaeological evidence backed this. Also the slate was pure and free from metallic impurities which meant it was in demand as other slate demand fell.

In 1963 a new lake loop line was opened around Skarloey lake for tourists and to celebrate the centenary. This was paid for mainly by the sale of the mines at Ward Fell to the Ministry of Defence in 1960.

This was the brainchild of the tourist Mid Sodor Railway. It is a rack and pinion railway that climbs to the summit of Culdee Fell. It was began in 1897 on the success of the Snowdon Mountain Railway opened shortly before. The line was inspected in March 1900 and opened to the public on Whit Monday, but after just a month one of the locomotives fell down the hill side and the line remained closed until the following season whilst improvements were made. The locomotives are Swiss, and although the first were built in 1900, several more have been built since. It is popular with tourists and runs from Easter to Michaelmas, maintenance being undertaken in the winter.

This is a 15 inch gauge railway running from Arlesburgh along the route of the Mid Sodor Railway to Arlesdale. It opened in Easter 1967. As well as the conveyance of tourists by 1/3 scale replica steam locomotives, the intention of the line was also for the movement of waste materials from some of the abandoned mines in the Arlesdale area for use as ballast. For information on the route of the Line see Mid Sodor Notes.


Dictionary Of Sudric Phrases

Nagh Beurla I have no English
Keeill-y-Deighan Church Of the Devil
Cronk-ny-Braaid Hill in The Valley
Croshbyr Cross farm
Traugh Sandy Beach
Gob-y-Deighan Devil's Mouth
Wick Inlet or Creek
Gleih Blue
Knock Hill
Rheneas Divided Waterfall
Scaca Wooded Hillside
Loey Lake
Hawin River
Faarkey Sea
Sudragh (Sudric) Sodor
Sodoris (Latin) Sodor