Very Old Engines
Author Wilbert Awdry
Illustrator Peter and Gunvor Edwards
Publication date 1965-Present
Published by Edmund Ward
Egmont Publishing
Publication Order
Preceded by
Mountain Engines
Followed by
Main Line Engines
Very Old Engines is the twentieth book in the Railway Series.


Dear Friends,

One hundred years ago, when Skarloey and Rheneas first arrived on their Railway, they were young and silly. Skarloey was sulky and bouncy. He and Rheneas quarelled.... But they learnt sense, and the Owner has just given them a lovely 100th birthday.

Talyllyn and Dolgoch, at Towyn, are 100 too. How about going to wish them "Many Happy Returns"?.

The Author



Skarloey tells Nancy the time he was sent to the Island of Sodor. He wasn't sure of being on the North Western Railway when being lifted off from a ship at Kirk Ronan Harbour, but bekinded a friendly sometimes ugly engine named Neil. When he was told to shunt trucks by the workmen, he asked for nice new coaches after coming out of Crovans Gate. Mr. Mack, the manager tried to make him steam with some workmen but Skarloey blew steam on them and refused to move an inch. Day after day and co-operation from Skarloey tried nothing, so Mr. Mack used the workmen to cover Skarloey with a tarpaulin to sulk all day. Nancy knew it was right for Skarloey to not sulk at the manager without working hard all day long.

Bucking BroncoEdit

Mr. Mack came over and Skarloey said sorry to him. Mr. Bobbie came to help Skarloey build the line all day which was Queen Victoria's most successful day in Sodor's history. If Skarloey sulked at Mr. Mack again, the workmen would use the last rope to cover him with that tarpaulin, tied up properly and send the engine back to the Talyllyn Railway in Wales by ship. Rheneas had arrived and Skarloey was chosen to pull a train of directors led by Mr. Mack for inspecting the railway. Unfortunately, Mr. Mack tumbled over after the coaches bumped him and was angry with Skarloey all day.

The directors were taken by Rheneas, but the manager apologises to the first Skarloey Railway Engine and following that, the directors were glad to Skarloey getting a new set of wheels in an exhibition. The manager says at the end of the story, known as "GOOD DAY".


Skarloey's wheels and cab have been built following his disappointment, the manager said to him near the carriage shed. Unfortunately, things don't go to plan when an argument breaks out between he and Rheneas causing a fallout, turning around and not talking to each other. One rainy morning, Skarloey got cross when he takes a trainload of workmen to the Slate Quarry. Then, his Train conductor came back and called on Rheneas to take Skarloey out of a horrific landslide. The second Skarloey Railway engine helped since refusing to get Skarloey out of the mud. The overall achievement in this was a clean for Skarloey to rid the mud off for good.

Duck and DukesEdit

At Crovans Gate, Duck tells Peter Sam that Dukes are no longer existing and such is a terrible danger to everyone on the Skarloey Railway that the Duke of Sodor won't come to the railway. On the morning of Skarloey and Rheneas' one hundredth birthday, whistles and dancing began until Sir Handel Brown says it is enough to do that. The Skarloey Railway was created in the time of one hundred years on that momentum. Rheneas is filmed by the BBC television train that Peter Sam once again hauled from the 1959 book called The Little Old Engine.

The Duke of Sodor, Richard Robert Norramby who was sent by British Prime Minister Wilson made the new loop line open and created a speech with the slightest interruption by Peter Sam. Rheneas tells the Duke of Sodor and everyone about Talyllyn and Dolgoch celebrating their one hundredth birthday on the Talyllyn Railway as the twin brothers of both Rheneas and Skarloey.



  • The first three stories take place on the Talyllyn Railway from 1864 to 1866. The last one is in the present year of 1965.
  • Mr. Bobbie is actually a real-life engineer that worked for Fletcher Jennings and Co.
  • The Reverend acknowledged the help given by members of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society in the preparation of this book.

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