Percy

An Avonside Percy, correct in having smokebox protruding from saddle tank, 0-4-0 wheel arrangement, external cylinders and motion. Like Percy, this loco also has sandboxes underneath the tanks on the footplate. The one missing item, hard to find on this kind of small shunter, is the coal bunker, despite many industrial Avonsides coming into GWR ownership being “Swindonised” with a bunker. Unlike the similar NBR Y9 of 1882, we can see a familiar vermillion buffer beam and capped chimney.

Probably the best candidate for Percy in the UK, this fine little locomotive is Avonside Class SS no 1340 “Trojan”, preserved at The Didcot Railway Centre (for great pics of “Trojan”, click here). The engine has had a varied history, being built in 1897 and starting at Alexandra Docks and Railway until that line was absorbed into the GWR. Sold to a colliery in 1932 and subsequently a paper mill. Preserved in 1968, he became subsumed into Didcot's collection.

From Tony Grigg's notes on “The Island of Sodor”:
Number 6 “Percy”
Percy is an Avonside 0-4-0ST of unknown origin, but is almost certainly second hand, with “Hunslet parts”. Percy arrived o Sodor in 1949 and was first used as Tidmouth Pilot, then to help rebuild Knapford Harbour. Percy is now based at Ffarquhar.

Percy arrived in “Troublesome Engines” (1949), the only loco whose acquisition from a workshop is actually described. His own book “Percy the Small Engine” dates from 1956. C. Reginald Dalby quit as illustrator after the Rev W described his portrayal of Percy in “Percy the Small Engine” as a “caterpillar”. Amends were made in “Tramway Engines”(1972) when Percy's accident with treacle and straw obligingly made him look like a real caterpillar.

The Rev. Awdry's Model of Percy

Here are two views of Rev W Awdry's model of Percy on the Ffarquar Branch line, taken from the 1979 annual with thanks again to Ryan Healy. In the tale of how he came about, note that "the artist didn't pay much attention, so my Percy –– the proper one –– looks different from the Percy in the books"!! the Rev also describes his "Spare Percy" for use during emergencies.

Rev. Awdry's model of Percy
Another view of Percy
And here is a view of this same Percy from the December 1959 Railway Modeller:

"I built PERCY in 1949 (the year I wrote “Troublesome Engines” - the book in which Percy first appears), and I soldered him together out of brass and other parts cut and filed to shape. I wanted another engine - Thomas was then the only one I had - and I also wanted a model of Percy to help our then artist draw his pictures; but the artist didn't pay much attention, so my Percy -- the proper one -- looks different from the Percy in the books. Stewart Reidpath made a chassis for me and fitted it with one of his motors, so Percy is sometimes as temperamental as Thomas, and for the same reason. He will run and shunt beautifully for weeks on end and the suddenly, and for no apparent reason, decide to be 'Awkward'. This can be exasperating, especially at exhibitions. He did this at Nottingham Exhibition 1978, and the only thing to do then was to use my 'Spare Percy' which I had made for just such an emergency.

"To make 'Spare Percy' I cut out the boiler and side tanks from a Triang 'Nellie' and filled the resulting space between cap and smokebox with a section of saddletank cut from an Airfix kit. The outside cylinders came from another Airfix kit, and were cemented to 'Nellie's' metal frames with with Evostick. I fitted scale wheels in place of 'Nellie's' rather clumsy ones, and filled up the body with plasticine. The good wheels and extra weight has made 'Spare Percy' into a smooth running engine almost as good as the real Percy in his best moments."


Martin's Showcase: Here is a kiddy toy, but one with a special story to tell
Believe it or not folks, this was the ONLY Thomas-related plastic train toy you could get in the 1960s, with this model appearing in 1967. It is distinguished as the last O Gauge train to be made at Meccano's famous Binns Road factory in Liverpool, though not tinplate or using the "Hornby" name. By this date, Meccano and Hornby had been aquired by Lines Brothers, makers of Tri-ang and later Triang-Hornby trains. This was available in two versions - this one with a face, and one with the smokebox covered in red. With thanks to Debra on eBay for this shot. . More information about this unique set can be found on the page for pre-TV merchandise
Meccano Percy

Modeler's Corner

Meanwhile, Hornby's later 00 gauge Percy was made from a brand new tool after initial thoughts to use their Caledonian Railway "Pug" were rejected, although Percy eventually came to share many of its parts:

Hornby's model of Percy is available from Amazon.co.uk

Hornby model of Percy
Avonside 0-6-0ST

The very wonderful Agenoria Models specializes in brass kits of small industrial shunters. Their beautiful model of "Trojan" contrasts interestingly with their equally beautiful model of the late Avonside 0-6-0ST "Kidwelly", differing from Percy only in wheel arrangement. This pic shows "Trojan" being hypothetically "Swindonised" with Kidwelly's bunker.

Bachmann's HO model of Percy (with rolling eyes) closely resembles its television counterpart.

Available from Amazon.com (U.S.)

Bachmann model of Percy
Lionel 0-27 model of Percy

Lionel's 0-27 version of Percy, which includes 3 additional facial expressions.

Lionel Percy 0-27 faces

Available from Amazon.com (US)

Bachmann Large Scale (G) set of Percy with Troublesome Trucks
Bachmann Large Scale (G) set of Percy with Troublesome Trucks available from Amazon UK and US
Bachmann Large Scale (G) model of Percy
Bachmann Large Scale (G) model of Percy available from Amazon UK and US

Collector's Corner
Classic ERTL model of Percy TOMY Percy set: Available from Amazon's UK website
ERTL Percy TOMY Model of Percy
LC Wooden Percy: Available from Amazon UK and US LC take-along Percy: Available from Amazon UK and US
Learning Curve Wooden Percy Learning Curve take-along Percy

James<----

---->Toby