Wilbert The Forest Engine

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Wilbert, formerly "G. B. Keeling", is a navy saddletank named after the Reverend W. Awdry, who was at one time president of the Dean Forest Railway.


Wilbert was manufactured by the Hunslet Engine Company in Hunslet, Leeds, England, in 1953 and worked as a shunter at a colliery in Staffordshire. He was purchased by the Dean Forest Railway in 1976 and given the name "G. B. Keeling" in August 1981, but was renamed "Wilbert" on September the 13th, 1987, after the Reverend W. Awdry, who was then the president of the railway.

On November the 8th, 1983, Wilbert was honoured to haul a royal train for the Duke of Gloucester, and on September the 8th, 1991, attended the opening of the line to Lydney Lakeside with City of Truro.

When Donald and Douglas needed help on the branchlines in 1993, the Fat Controller borrowed him from his railway in Gloucestershire - the railway's controller was a friend of his - to give the twins some assistance. However, after Percy had an accident with some sacks of oatmeal, Wilbert was redirected to Thomas' Branch Line to do Percy's work. After Percy's return, Wilbert went to help Duck and Oliver on the Tidmouth-Arlesburgh branch.

In 2010, Wilbert was nearing the end of his major overhaul. Once his overhauled boiler returned in August 2010, he was partially-completed for a re-dedication by Reverend W. Awdry's two daughters during a Day Out with Thomas event. However, following the ceremony, Wilbert was put back into the workshop and dismantled to allow his overhaul to continue.

Following completion of his overhaul, Wilbert returned to service in April 2012, very appropriately on the Dean Forest Railway's Day Out with Thomas event. He is to be made available for hire to other heritage railways.


Wilbert is sensible and polite, and does his best to work well. He is also clever and inventive, as seen when he suggested that signal-wire might be used to act as a coupling for a truck.


Wilbert is based on the engine of the same name - a Hunslet WD 0-6-0ST - from the Dean Forest Railway in Gloucestershire, England.


Wilbert is painted navy with red lining and black wheels. He also has red nameplates with gold writing. His nameplate has the words "Rev. W. Awdry" underneath "Wilbert".

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