Gallant Old Engine
Author Wilbert Awdry
Illustrator John T. Kenney
Publication date 1962-Present
Published by Edmund Ward
Egmont Publishing
Publication Order
Preceded by
Branch Line Engines
Followed by
Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine
Gallant Old Engine is the seventeenth book in the Railway Series.


Dear Friends,

On the second page of Four Little Engines Rheneas was taken away to be mended. He was away for a long time, but now has come home.

All the Little Engines are together at last. They are delighted Rheneas is their hero. He had saved the Railway...

There is a real engine like Rheneas. His name is Dolgoch and his home is at Towyn in Wales.

Some years ago he saved the Talyllyn Railway. We are very proud of our gallant old engine.

The Author


Special FunnelEdit

Peter Sam's funnel had never been the same since his accident in The Little Old Engine by some Slate Trucks in 1959. Winter came and a torrent was sweeping through the stream which Mr. Hugh and Rusty helped building a new bridge over it. Peter Sam took a market train through the tunnel until a hanging icicle broke his funnel after his driver noticed something hanging on the tunnel's roof. They find an old drain pipe to use and the engines laughed when he came home with Sir Handel making up his rhyme. A Giesl ejector was then fixed to his funnel calling it special, but both Duncan and Sir Handel were not pleased with it because how could the fourth narrow-gauge engine had sat on his new funnel.


Sir Handel is given new wheels with broad tyres because of his slips. The engines try to tease him, but to no eviction. One day, he meets a steamroller named George who then races him causing a nasty crash into the Train conductor's van because there was no fence between road and railway. George and Sir Handel's drivers were about to throw punches at each other until a policeman stops them and investigates the accident. Rusty and Mr. Hugh clear the mess up and have a fence between road and rail for now. At the sheds, some boys were joking about the "race" and the engines laugh with Sir Handel not feeling very happy indeed.

Passengers and PolishEdit

The Train conductor's good daughter, Nancy was cleaning Skarloey one day with a polish on her yellow rag. She tells him that Rheneas is coming home tomorrow after seven years being mended by British Railways and Skarloey gets a fright about the ceremonial preparations which were not ready. She is unable to polish Duncan because she needs to help the lovely Refreshment Lady with stuff for Skarloey's train. The Scottish engine was about to sulk when he brang The Breakdown Train to help with a derailment of Skarloey's coaches and to do his own train afterwards.

He makes a standoff on the Viaduct after his driver tells him to have a drink at the next station. Skarloey takes him to the station and every passenger onboard Duncan's train were furious with the delay and protest against it. The Thin Controller wasn't happy either and said no polish for the next morning to Duncan who was bragging on about the passenger work every time.

Gallant Old EngineEdit

Duncan's frustration kept continuing next day, causing Skarloey to take his advice and offer an explanation of once or twice. Duncan still refuses to co-operate to the engines, so Skarloey tells the story about Rheneas when he saved the Skarloey Railway from being closed forever. It was one year before Peter Sam and Sir Handel came that Rheneas tried to take a train full of passengers and when his valve gear jammed, he stopped in the wrong place. The Thin Controller who was a Train conductor at the time made an effort by sanding on the rails as Mr. Hugh the Driver had to move the train forward.

Rheneas said to himself if he bursts now, the Skarloey Railway will close down and could mean Four Little Engines won't be the tenth title of the Railway Series leaving the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, C. Reginald Dalby and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill lost to the railway's heart in decades.

He managed on one valve gear to reach Crovans Gate and was called as a " gallant old engine". Next day, Edward brought Rheneas to join Skarloey and celebrations ensured around the sheds. The railway is happy that Rheneas joined the team after seven years on repair with Duncan being wrong about his frustration on passengers and Prime Minister MacMillan bringing Rheneas home in his own life.



  • This was the final Railway Series book illustrated by John T. Kenney.
  • In the sixth illustration of  "Steamroller", John T. Kenney's name is referenced on the numberplate of his car. It also has the number 62 based on this book's publishing date of 1962.
  • The Reverend acknowledged the help given by members of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society in preparation of this book.
  • The Reverend also acknowledged the help for two stories to be illustrated in the book. They were from a Mr. P.B. Whitehouse and a Mr. L.T.C. Rolt.


  • Throughout the book, the lampirons on each engine keep disappearing and reappearing.
  • In "Passengers and Polish", Skarloey is missing his brass dome.

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