The British Railway Series

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"The British Railway Series" is a model railway series currently shown on Youtube on the Copley Hill Works Channel. It is written and produced by Simon Alexander Martin, a student at Loughborough University.

The current series, "The End of the LNER" is set in the period 1950-1967, in Great Britain and on the Eastern Region of British Railways. Throughout the course of the series the look of the locomotives and rolling stock changes dramatically. This is due in part to the historical events such as British Railway's Modernization plan, and the replacing of steam traction with diesel locomotives.

The locomotives all live at an Eastern region yard, "Copley Hill", which has undergone and will continue to undergo changes in design.

Currently there have been 18 episodes, as well as 2 special episodes. 30 episodes were planned, but due to a format change, only 18 aired (in preparation for the relaunch).


  • N.B. Originally the series was conceived with just three central characters, Stephen, Allen and Sir Ralph. It has been debated as to which of the three engines is the "Thomas" character of the series, the one which the series revolves around. Either way, the trio of passenger locomotives have established themselves as the main characters in the series.

Main Characters

"Stephen" is a Holden B12 locomotive built in 1911  , and the oldest locomotive in the series. He is named for the designer of his class, Stephen Holden. Numbered 61572 (formerly 8752), Stephen currently wears British Railways mixed traffic black livery, though he has also appeared in LNER green, and BR Express Passenger blue. Wise and sensible, Stephen and sir ralph are  only character to have appeared in every episode of the series so far. He has established himself quite firmly as the fans' favorite character.

  • First Appearance: Episode One, A Great Problem Goes West!
  • Last Appearance: Episode Eighteen, The Last Run

"Allen" is a Peppercorn A1 pacific built at Doncaster in August 1948 and withdrawn in December 1964, and one of the youngest locomotives in the series. Numbered 60114, named "W.P Allen", Allen is the prototype of his class. He pulls the "Fair Maid" express regularly, and is a powerful performer. Young, cocky, but well meaning, Allen wore the British Railways Express Passenger Blue livery with pride from Episodes 1 to 15X, but he now carries BR brunswick green along with Sir Ralph, Herbert and Scott. Early on in the series, he was considered the "Thomas" character, but as the series progressed, Stephen appeared to take on that role more and more. In "The Ghosts of Engines Past", as Allen falls asleep, Gadwall's ghost appears next to the sheds, hinting that Allen's final day is approaching.

  • First Appearance: Episode One, A Great Problem Goes West!
  • Last Appearance: Episode Eighteen, The Last Run

"Sir Ralph Wedgwood" is a Gresley A4 pacific built in January 26, 1938 and withdrawn in September 3, 1965, and is a rather pompous character who has a good heart in his smokebox somewhere. Numbered 60006 (formerly 4466), and named "Sir Ralph Wedgwood" (formerly "Herring Gull"), he is now painted in BR brunswick green, although he carried British Railways Express Passenger Blue from Episode 1 to Episode 15X. Not everything is what it seems, and Sir Ralph is not quite the locomotive he appears to be - originally, his name was Herring Gull. He gained the name "Sir Ralph Wedgwood" after his friend, Gadwall (whom had been the first to be renamed after the Chief Officer of the LNER), was destroyed in the Baedeker Blitz on York in 1942. This caused some confusion amongst the engines, happily this has now been resolved (see episodes 8-10). His old friend, Gadwall, was seen as a ghost in the first scene of Episode 17, in a story told by Tavish. He also appears in 17x as the ghost who appears to Allen.

  • First Appearance: Episode One, A Great Problem Goes West!
  • Last Appearance: Episode Eighteen Tornado & The Last Run to the Cross

"Herbert" is a Gresley V2 locomotive built in March, 1940 and withdrawn in February, 1963, and is a nervous locomotive. Numbered 60903 (formerly 4874), and wearing British Railways Brunswick Green, Herbert is one of the few characters in the series to have his name or class included in the titles of episodes (namely "Veto a V2!" and "Nigel, Herbert and the Cows"). Although in reality 60903 was not named, the character of Herbert was named after his designer, Herbert Nigel Gresley (better known as Sir Nigel Gresley). Herbert's first appearance came in "Veto a V2!"

  • First Appearance: Episode Two, Veto a V2!
  • Last Appearance: Episode Thirty, Tornado & The Last Run to the Cross

"Nigel" is a Gresley V3 locomotive, and is a powerful mixed traffic tank engine. Numbered 67673 (formerly 8673) and wearing plain black with a cycling lion crest, Nigel is, like Herbert, named after his designer, Herbert Nigel Gresley. He is known to listen to the cricket matches on his driver's old wireless set. His first appearance came in episode 4, "Nigel, Herbert and the Cows".

  • First Appearance: Episode Four, Nigel, Herbert and the Cows
  • Last Appearance: Episode Thirty, Tornado & The Last Run to the Cross

"Tavish" is a Gresley J39 locomotive built at Darlington Works in October 17, 1935 and withdrawn in December 3, 1962, numbered 64897, and is the only six coupled tender engine in the series so far. Scottish in origin, Tavish has a strong Scottish accent and a hardworking nature. Tavish first appeared in Episode 6, and has been a firm fans favourite ever since. As the series progressed, Tavish phased out of the series, and nearly stopped appearing completely in Episode 9. However, he appeared in the credits of Episode 14, and cameoed in 15, was prominently featured in 15x and 16, and played a major role in Episode 17. Episode 18, Tale of the Tay, will give him the chance to finally tell a story. An interesting note is that the last J39 was used as a stationary boiler until 1967; that engine was Tavish's number, which will be the subject of a a future episode.

  • First Appearance: Episode Six, Goodbye, Stephen the Green Engine
  • Last Appearance: Episode Thirty, Tornado & The Last Run to the Cross

"Scott" is a Gresley A3 pacific built at Doncaster Works in February 1923, rebuilt in September 1945 and withdrawn in November 16, 1962, better known as Flying Scotsman. Numbered 60103 (formerly more famous, 4472), Scott made his full debut in Episode 8 "Scott and the Herring Gull!" although he has appeared in the background of other episodes. Scott was a very tense, angry character, and has been portrayed as being similar to Sir Ralph in terms of character, although there appear to be some more devious tendencies than the haughty A4 pacific. Scott has been the subject of an ongoing trilogy in which he accused Sir Ralph of being an impostor - happily it has been resolved, and the two engines are friends once more. In Episode 16, Scott is overhauled with a new coat of brunswick green paint and double chimney, which he despised dreadfully. His face, which was Sir Ralph's original face, has appeared several times on other engines. The double tender Flying Scotsman wears it in some of the black and white openings, the midland engine from Episode 6 wore it, and George wore it in Episode 6.

  • First Appearance: Episode Eight, Scott & The Herring Gull
  • Last Appearance: Episode Thirty, Tornado & The Last Run to the Cross

"Hawk" is an ex Great Western Railways "Hawksworth" pannier tank built in Swindon in 1947, specifically the 94XX class and is numbered 9400. He is quiet, and hard working individual with a great sense of right and wrong, and not afraid to speak his mind when it is needed. He returned to the series in episode 11, "Hawk Eyed" and left again in episode 14, "Silent Night". He also appears in episode 15X, "The Parting of Ways". Geoffrey wore his face in Episode 7. Simon Martin has said that he is planning a new series for The British Railway Series; "Great Western Glory", which will feature Hawk.

  • First Appearance: Episode Three, Hawk Aye!
  • Last Appearance: Episode Thirty, Tornado & The Last Run to the Cross

"Thompson" is a B1 locomotive built in February 24, 1947, withdrawn in September 16, 1962, numbered 61130 (formerly 1130), and is the grumpiest locomotive at Copley Hill shed. Rumour has it that he's bitter because of his designer's bad rap with the railwaymen of the old London & North Eastern Railway...

"Stewart" is a British Railways Standard class 6 pacific locomotive built at Crewe Works in March 31, 1952 and withdrawn in August 28, 1965 who appeared very briefly in episode 5 (as a background engine), however he is the other Scottish locomotive who will have a very significant role to play within the episodes to come. He is numbered 72009 and his full name is Clan Stewart. He is named for the first time in "Day of the Deltic" when it is revealed that Nigel was moved to the Out of Use line so he could pick him up. Stewart was set to speak in the episode "Tale of the Tay" but then the episode was scrapped and insted Simon A.C. Martin filmed "The Last Run" to make it more historical.

"Gronk" is a British Railways Class 08 Diesel/Electric shunter built in 1953. He has been Copley Hill's yard shunter since Episode 11. Timid, but hard working, Gronk tries his best to please everyone, however there are some characters who look to take advantage of his good nature. He was the engine that moved Nigel to the out of use and when the other engines found out they turned on him. (Actually, when Allen revealed a second time that he only did it because he was ordered to, Nigel wondered if he would've done the same, and so did Sir Ralph, but Geoffery didn't agree.) Stephen helped him by saying that he could shunt at Leeds Central instead.

  • First Appearance: Episode Eleven, Hawk Eyed!
  • Last Appearance: Episode Thirty, Tornado & The Last Run to the Cross

Recurring Characters

"George" is an Ivatt 2MT 2-6-2T built at Crewe Works in September 30, 1949, numbered 41241. His first official appearance came in episode 6 where he was loaned to Copley Hill from the Midland Region after Stephen's accident. He soon became friends with Nigel after finding out that they both like cricket. He remained at Copley Hill until episode 9, where he left the yard to return to the Midland Region. He made a cameo before his first official appearance in episode 5 and also appeared in the opening of episode 10. He wore Scott's face in his first appearance.

"Jerry" is a Standard Class 4MT 4-6-0 built in May 1951 who first appeared in episode 6, talking to Stephen about the Modernisation Plan before leaving. In episode 15X, Stephen came to visit him at the diesel depot where Gronk had been sent. Jerry tells Stephen that he is just waiting for his crew to take him home, unlike the many other steam engines awaiting scrapping. Jerry also tells Stephen that he saw a ghost engine (Fowler's Ghost) after a shunter was scrapped. Stephen says that he has seen the engine as well, but hopes he'll never see it again, before leaving. Jerry, confused at Stephen's sudden departure, shrugs it off. Jerry is named after Simon Martin's father, who worked on the layout.

"Samson" is a Royal Scot 8P 4-6-0 built in 1927 who appeared in episode 6. He is the engine who was pulling the train that Stephen crashed into. The next morning, he tells Allen and Sir Ralph about the accident, and then leaves. He has since made a cameo in episode 7.

"Arthur" is an Ex-LNER Peppercorn A2 Pacific built in December 1947 and withdrawn in March 1963, numbered 60525 (formerly 525). His full name is "A.H. Peppercorn", after his designer. He first appears in episode 9 as the engine who takes Sir Ralph's train after he is diverted onto the wrong line because of a wrong headcode. He then appears in episode 10's opening before making an official appearance in episode 12. He is helping move things to the Copley Hill carriage works before overhaul at Ardsley. He is found by Hawk after he follows him after seeing him take another van. He is then sent to Ardsley and returns in episode 14 in a new coat of brunswick green. He has developed a rivalry with Allen.

  • First Appearance: Episode Twelve, Hawk the Hunter!
  • Last Appearance: Episode Thirty, Tornado & The Last Run to the Cross

"Geoffrey" is an Ex-LNER J50 0-6-0 tank engine built in 1913, numbered 68952. He is rather grouchy and is the leader of the small tank engines. He first officially appears in episode 13, shunting Nigel into the shed for repairs to his cylinder. He made a cameo beforehand in episode 7. His main appearance is episode 15, where he is angry at Gronk for moving Nigel to the Out of Use line, and insists that Gronk is thrown out. He wears the face of the Old Western Engine from Episode 1, although, interestingly, he wore Hawk's face in his cameo from Episode 7. In Episode 17X, his regulator breaks, and the engines sadly speculate that he will be scrapped.

"Holden" is an Ex-LNER J83 0-6-0 tank engine built in 1901, numbered 68463, who has made a number of cameos in the series starting with episode 10.

"Deltic" is the English Electric Prototype Diesel-Electric Express Locomotive, the DP1 built in 1955. He is the first major villain in the series and is very keen on the Modernisation Plan. He turns up unexpected in episode 15, and shows up around the yard many times after in the same episode. He interrogates Gronk about him moving Nigel and he tells him of the Modenisation Plan. He also tells the engines about Gronk before threatening Allen, who stands up to him. When he is pulling an express afterwards he suddenly fails, leaving Allen to take his train. The next day, he is about to be taken away, when he apologises to Gronk before falling unconcious. He is then taken away. Simon Martin has said that he will return in another episode, as this was not the 1961 failure that ended the DP1's real working life as the year was 1959 in episode 15. He first made a cameo in episode 11.

  • First Appearance: Episode Fifteen, Day of the Deltic
  • Last Appearance: Episode Thirty, Tornado & The Last Run to the Cross

"Tornado is the first Peppercorn A1 Locomotive built in 50 years. Tornado was finished in 2008, 40 years after the end of British mainline steam. Simon Martin recently custom built a Tornado model; it cameoed in the credits of Episode 12 and 14, and made a rather obvious cameo in Episode 16 in the yard from the flashbacks (many fans think that he found a TARDIS with a very large door!). Tornado will be featured in Episode 30, Tornado and the Last Run to the Cross, the Series Finale for "The End of the LNER".

List of episodes

1. A Great Problem Goes West!

2. Veto a V2!

3. Hawk, Aye!

4. Nigel, Herbert and the Cows

5. Hand of the Fair Maid!

6. Goodbye, Stephen the Green Engine

7. Christmas, 1952

8. Scott and the Herring Gull!

9. Birds of a Feather!

10. The Legacy of Gadwall

11. Hawk Eyed!

12. Hawk the Hunter!

13. Suburban Tank

14. Silent Night

15. The Day of the Deltic

15X. The Parting of Ways - Includes "Diesel Depot", "Night Hawk" and "Jerry's Ghost".

16. Great Scott!

17. Fowler's Ghost

17X. The Ghosts of Engines Past

18. The Last Run (last episode before the CGI relaunch)

Final Episode: 18. The Last Run


In the special video, "The Making of The British Railway Series", there were three special "shorts" which continued the story of Episode 15.

The names of the shorts are:

  1. Diesel Depot
  2. Night Hawk
  3. Jerry's Ghost

Predominantly, the main character in the shorts is Stephen, though he is joined by Gronk, Hawk, Tavish, Jerry (Episode 6's standard 4MT character), and the first appearance of the class 47 diesel, "Brush" (who was unusually nice for a diesel).

These shorts were later merged together into a special episode for Youtube numbered/named Episode 15X, "The Parting of Ways". It was intended to bridge the gap between Episode 15 and Episode 16. It is considered canonical in the series, though not being an episode in its own right.

  • Plans are afoot to release a special DVD to help fund the building of sets and new camera equipment. The DVD will contain, for the first time, the full Episode 15, a full hour special named "The Day of the Deltic & The Parting of Ways".

Episode 17x, while having a similar title to 15x, was not broadcast as shorts. The plot features Wensley (3rd place winner of the Character Competition) talking about Alf (1st place winner) being privately preserved, leaving the engines pondering their fate. Stephen also remembers talking to Harry (2nd) one of his last brothers, about the end of steam. In the final scene, the engines leave the shed, with the exception of Allen. But as Allen goes to sleep, the ghost of Gadwall the A4 Pacific appears next to the sheds...

N.B. Updates and behind the scenes pictures can be viewed on the new dedicated website:, where there are complete episode guides, character profiles, interviews, a guestbook and many other features!


The series has had three hiatus' altogether, the first one was after "Hawk Eyed", stopping in August 2008 and returning that December, and the second was after "Day of the Deltic" in May 2009. The series returned in September 2009. A third hiatus ran from October 2009 after "Fowler's Ghost and ended in November 2010.

This wiki scratchpad section is regularly checked by the author for inaccuracies posted by well meaning fans. He asks that people do not edit this scratchpad, as he prefers to update it himself at the earliest available opportunites.


The author asks (with a slight weariness) that people do not randomly add characters/numbers and so on that are not in the series, and have never been/nor will be in the series. Having written this specifically to be 26 episodes long, it is also tiring to read that someone keeps adding "series finale" to each new episode. I'll tell you all when its the series finale, I promise!

Last checked by the author: 06/11/10

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