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Sir Handel is a fictional steam locomotive from The Railway Series children's books by the Rev. W. Awdry and its spin-off TV series, Thomas & Friends. Sir Handel lives and works on the Skarloey Railway on the Island of Sodor as Engine No.3. Sir Handel is named after the owner of the Skarloey Railway, Sir Handel Brown.

Sir Handel
Thomas & Friends character
Sir Handel 1995.jpg
Sir Handel's Model
First appearanceFour Little Engines (1955)
Created byRev. W. Awdry
Voiced byKeith Wickham (UK/US)


Railway Series historyEdit

Sir Handel can be badly behaved at times and is very prone to temper tantrums when he does not get his own way. He has also been known on at least two occasions to pretend to be ill in order to avoid work, but this usually backfires on him. He is not popular with the trucks because he always bumps them regardless of how they behave, and they often play tricks on him. Generally, he feels that he should only pull coaches with bogies.

He was originally called Falcon and lived on the Mid Sodor Railway with Duke and Stuart. When the railway closed, he and Stuart were sold to the Sodor Aluminium Company, and then later to the Skarloey Railway, where he was renamed and given a red coat of paint.

He had problems with staying on the track, so he was fitted with a set of wheels with wide tyres, nicknamed "steamroller wheels" by the other engines. He was taken to pieces for a television programme when he pretended to be ill. Later, he was sent to the Talyllyn Railway in Wales when one of their engines needed repairs. Most recently, he caused trouble for the Thin Controller by deliberately damaging his firebox.

Sir Handel was renamed after the founding member of the Skarloey Railway, and does not get on well with either trucks or coaches (although he eventually befriended some in the original books and TV series).

Sir Handel in the TV SeriesEdit

Sir Handel made his first appearance in Season 4 of the TV series, along with the other engines from the Skarloey Railway. He was introduced as Falcon on the Mid Sodor Railway, and kept his blue colour when he came to the Skarloey Railway. He did not appear again until the show's 10th series in 2006. He was not seen in Series 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9. The reason given for his absence was that he had been working in the quarry all summer. Upon returning, he adopted a more mature persona compared to his former pompous personality from Series 4.

Like the other narrow-gauge engines, Sir Handel received a larger-scale model when he returned in Season 10. While being superficially the same, the two models may be differentiated by the level of detail. On the new model: the front of the saddle tank is completely smooth; the smokebox is smaller and raised on a saddle; the buffer mounting plates, which were square, are now round; and the whistle has been omitted (however, it can still be heard; the sound is shared with Mighty Mac). The new model also appears to have the same body as Proteus, who appeared in Season 9.

In Season 16, Sir Handel has shown that he is patient and selfless, in the special, Blue Mountain Mystery, he showed that he is humble and kind, helping Luke to keep his secret, but all was ruined by Diesel and Paxton. But he has proved he has a good side.

From Spring 2012 onwards, Sir Handel is now currently voiced by Keith Wickham (UK/US) (who also voices Skarloey) in the CGI version of the series in both sides of the atlantic, respectively.

Sir Handel appeared in the specials The Great Discovery, Blue Mountain Mystery, and The Great Race.


Commercial models of Sir Handel character
Model range Type Color
Ertl die-cast metal Normal, Metallic and Falcon
Take Along/Take n Play die-cast metal Normal
Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway wood Normal
Tomy/TrackMaster plastic motorized Normal & "Greatest Moments"


Sir Haydn in 1953
Talyllyn No. 3 in the guise of Sir Handel at Tywyn Wharf

Sir Handel is based on the locomotive Sir Haydn who works at the Talyllyn Railway in Gwynedd, Wales. This locomotive was built by Henry Hughes & Co at the Falcon Works in Loughborough in 1878, one of three identical locomotives for the 2 ft 3 in (686 mm) gauge Corris Railway in Merionethshire. Nos. 1 and 2 were scrapped in 1930 and No.3 worked until the Corris Railway closed in 1948, hauling the last train on 20 August that year. After three years covered by a tarpaulin at Machynlleth Station No. 3 was purchased (and named) by the nearby Talyllyn Railway in 1951. The original cab was replaced in the 1960s, and this change can be seen in the TV version of Sir Handel. Sir Haydn the real locomotive is named after Sir Henry Haydn Jones former owner of the Talyllyn Railway and the person upon whom the owner of the Skarloey railway is based. The Corris Railway is currently building a new locomotive to the same design.

Sir Haydn in 2018

In the 1980s, the Talyllyn Railway repainted Sir Haydn to represent Sir Handel. Christopher Awdry wrote this into the 1985 book Great Little Engines, explaining that Sir Handel was visiting the line to help out. An incident in which Sir Haydn ran into a tree branch and was given a bandage and eyepatch was turned into a story in the book, with almost no alteration from the real event.