Sir Handel, named after the Skarloey Railway's first owner, Sir Handel Brown I - originally named Falcon, after the works where he was built - is a narrow gauge saddle tank engine.


The Railway Series

Falcon was built at Falcon Works in Loughborough, England in 1904 for the Mid Sodor Railway as an 0-4-0ST, which caused him to bounce. He was delivered by sea to Arlesburgh to replace a locomotive which was scrapped shortly afterwards. He returned to Loughborough in 1910 to have trailing wheels fitted as a cure for his unsteadiness in running. When he was new, Falcon had to learn the line by double heading with Duke. While on The Mountain Road, they exited the tunnel and Falcon derailed over a cliff. It was Duke's willingness and quick thinking that saved him. Despite his gratitude, he occasionally made fun of Duke until he was told about what happened to Stanley.

When the Mid Sodor Railway closed in 1947, he and Stuart were sold to the Sodor Aluminium Company at Peel Godred for an expansion project. Following the project's completion in 1951, they were oiled, greased and sheeted under tarpaulins ready for disposal and stood for a year in the Company's yard. In 1952, they were purchased for the knockdown price of £50 (£25 each) by Sir Handel Lloyd Brown for service on the Skarloey Railway, overhauled and repainted in SR livery at Crovan's Gate Works and renamed Sir Handel and Peter Sam respectively.[2]

Sir Handel was not very well-behaved when he first came to the Skarloey Railway, as shown when he insulted the coaches by calling them "cattle trucks", which resulted in them holding him back on a hill and bumping him off the rails when he had to stop for some sheep that strayed on the line. He derailed himself on purpose when his driver planned for him to fetch trucks from the quarry. This led the Thin Controller to discipline him by leaving him in the shed until he was ready to behave. He also pretended to be ill to avoid going to the quarry, as advised by Gordon, which only led to Peter Sam to have an accident with trucks at the incline after they mistook him for Sir Handel and to avoid getting televised by the BBC television producers, but the Thin Controller arranged for him to be taken apart instead in order to show the producers how an engine works.

Sir Handel did not cope well with the worn track on the railway and would often derail - sometimes deliberately, so he was given a pair of special wheels with broad tyres to cure this problem, dubbed "steamroller wheels" by the other engines. Skarloey later had Sir Handel meet his match with a bad-tempered steamroller named George to teach him some sense, which resulted in him having an accident when George rammed his front roller into his train. Despite this, Sir Handel still took belief that he sent George packing, but he stopped talking about it after some children heard about his situation with George and teased him about it.

In 1982, Sir Handel visited the Talyllyn Railway to help tide over a locomotive crisis while Sir Haydn was being repaired. Sir Handel had plenty of adventures there, like pulling a wedding train and having to wear an eye-patch after colliding with a tree at Nant Gwernol. He spent two years in Wales before returning to Sodor in 1984 to take his share of the summer traffic.

When Peter Sam was brought back from the Talyllyn Railway early during a visit in 1995, Sir Handel became jealous and as a protest, deliberately knocked out his firebars. He was sent to the shed and began to fear that he would never come out after weeks went by and no one came to see him. When the Thin Controller came in one day Sir Handel confessed, asked for a second chance and got his firebars later that day (although no one bothered to tell him that they had only just arrived).

Thomas & Friends

As in the Railway Series, Falcon and Stuart lived with Duke until their line was closed and they were bought by the Skarloey Railway and were renamed Sir Handel and Peter Sam respectively.

Upon arriving, Sir Handel had many adventures, all of which were reprised from the Railway Series. He was derailed by his own coaches when he stopped too quickly in front of some sheep. Sir Handel was also very pompous and refused to do his job well when he arrived on the Skarloey Railway, so he was sent to the sheds for a while to repent. After coming back out, he got into a fight with George the steamroller, which ended in a race with George smashing Sir Handel's trucks. Once George had left, Sir Handel became even more conceited than ever and believed that he had made George go away.

Sir Handel did not reappear until years later, apparently because he was working in the Blue Mountain Quarry. When he returned, he had a much different attitude. He did his jobs without complaining, but had trouble getting up hills. He is wiser in most situations, but in some cases, he is still pompous. He is generally of the opinion that he knows best and should be in charge. This can sometimes lead him into trouble with the other engines and the trucks. However, he always gets the job done. According to Mr. Perkins, Sir Handel can be cheeky sometimes.

When Samson was sent to the quarry to collect stone, he asked Sir Handel if the other trucks were meant to go to Brendam, with the little engine replying that they were, but he was not sure if Samson could pull all of them. Sir Handel and Peter Sam laughed at him for his actions by pulling the heavy trucks.

He currently works on the Skarloey Railway with Skarloey, Rheneas, Peter Sam, Rusty, Duncan and Luke.


Sir Handel, named Falcon and under the supervision of Duke in his younger days, has been prone to fussy tantrums and thinking that he knows better than others, suggesting a superiority complex. He has been known for being impulsive, arrogant, pompous, rude, stubborn, naughty and bad-tempered, as he took a disliking to the narrow gauge coaches (often referring to them as "cattle trucks/cars", which gave him a bad reputation with them), feigned illnesses to avoid jobs he hated, bumped trucks even if they behaved themselves and deliberately derailed himself. He believed that he should be in charge and had a tendency to get too big for his wheels. When he was given broad wheels which hold well to the rails and has been said to give a smooth ride, this contributed to his self-importance and his belief that he is a grand engine. He once claimed to be an express engine himself.

Sir Handel can be quite impressionable when it comes to engines who he views as important, such as Gordon, Duke or Skarloey. However, when the advice he is given results in him getting into trouble, as shown from Gordon, he can have second thoughts and wish to get revenge, much like Peter Sam, and in fact many other locomotives.

Despite all of this, Sir Handel means well, always works to get things done and is proud to be a reliable and goodhearted engine.

After many years in the quarry, Sir Handel has been portrayed as a steady, thoughtful and mature engine who is ready to offer advice and be put in charge. Although he remains as a stubborn sort, he now enjoys helping others.

On top of that, Sir Handel, however, still has his cheeky side, as he and Peter Sam teased Samson on how many trucks he was capable of pulling.

Technical Details


Sir Handel is based on the Talyllyn Railway's Sir Haydn, a Hughes Falcon 0-4-2ST that originally worked on the Corris Railway. Albert and Proteus share the same basis. The Corris Railway is currently building another "Falcon" locomotive.

Sir Handel's basis, Sir Haydn

Sir Haydn dressed up as Sir Handel


In the Railway Series, Sir Handel was painted dark blue until coming to work on the Skarloey Railway, where he was painted in SR standard red with blue and yellow lining and with his name painted on the sides of his saddle tank in yellow. In the television series, he is painted dark blue with red lining and brass fittings (the same colours from when he was formerly Falcon on the Mid Sodor Railway). He has red and gold name and number plates on the sides of his saddle tank and coal bunkers respectively.

In The Thomas Way DVD, the Mr. Perkins segment features a re-illustrated version of Trucks! In this, Sir Handel is painted dark blue, like in the television series.


The Railway Series

  • Four Little Engines - Skarloey Remembers (not named; does not speak), Sir Handel, Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady and Old Faithful
  • The Little Old Engine - Trucks!, Home at Last (does not speak), Rock 'n' Roll (mentioned) and Little Old Twins
  • Gallant Old Engine - Special Funnel (not seen), Steam Roller, Passengers and Polish (mentioned) and Gallant Old Engine (mentioned; not named)
  • Mountain Engines - Mountain Engine and Bad Look-Out
  • Very Old Engines - Duck and Dukes (does not speak)
  • Duke the Lost Engine - Granpuff, Bulldog, You Can't Win! and Sleeping Beauty
  • Great Little Engines - Patience is a Virtue, Peter Sam and the Prickly Problem (mentioned) and Sir Handel Comes Home
  • New Little Engine - Sir Handel's Plan and I Name this Engine...

Companion Volumes

  • 1970 - Twelve Happy Engines (does not speak)
  • 1972 - The Railway Series: Surprise Packet
  • 1976 - Famous Engines and Railway Map of the Island of Sodor
  • 1987 - The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways (mentioned)
  • 1995 - The Thomas the Tank Engine Man
  • 1996 - Thomas the Tank Engine: The Complete Collection
  • 2005 - Sodor: Reading Between the Lines (mentioned)
  • 2007 - Thomas the Tank Engine: The New Collection

Thomas & Friends

  • Series 4 - Granpuff, Sleeping Beauty, Bulldog, You Can't Win, Four Little Engines (does not speak), A Bad Day for Sir Handel, Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady, Trucks, Rock 'n' Roll (cameo), Special Funnel, Steam Roller, Passengers and Polish (mentioned), Gallant Old Engine (cameo) and Bowled Out (cameo)
  • Series 10 - Follow that Flour (cameo), A Smooth Ride, Duncan Drops a Clanger, Thomas' Tricky Tree, Fearless Freddie, Which Way Now? (cameo) and Missing Trucks (does not speak)
  • Series 11 - Thomas and the Big Bang, Cool Truckings (cameo), Wash Behind Your Buffers (cameo), Duncan Does it All and Sir Handel in Charge
  • Series 12 - Mountain Marvel (cameo), Henry Gets it Wrong (mentioned), The Party Surprise (cameo) and The Man in the Hills
  • Series 15 - Kevin the Steamie (original concept only)
  • Series 16 - Don't Bother Victor! and The Christmas Tree Express (cameo)
  • Series 17 - Luke's New Friend
  • Series 18 - Disappearing Diesels (cameo) and Long Lost Friend (cameo)
  • Series 20 - Bradford the Brake Van (cameo), Saving Time, Engine of the Future and The Missing Breakdown Train (cameo)
  • Series 21 - Runaway Engine (cameo)
  • Series 23 - Diesel Do Right (cameo)


  • 2008 - The Great Discovery
  • 2009 - Hero of the Rails (mentioned; not named)
  • 2012 - Blue Mountain Mystery
  • 2016 - The Great Race

Music Videos

  • Series 4 - Thomas' Anthem Grand Finale, Let's Have a Race and The Island Song
  • Series 5 - Accidents Will Happen and Come for the Ride
  • Series 6 - James the Really Splendid Engine and Little Engines
  • Series 10 - Navigation (short version), Responsibility and Jingle Bells
  • Series 11 - The Narrow Gauge Engines
  • The Great Discovery - Where, oh Where is Thomas? and Thomas, You're the Leader
  • Blue Mountain Mystery - Working Together and Blue Mountain Mystery
  • Thomas' YouTube World Tour - Never, Never, Never Give Up
  • The Great Race - Will You Won't You

Magazine Stories

  • 1997 - Duncan and The Flower Train
  • 1998 - Duncan Has a Spill (mentioned)
  • 2000 - Wet Wheels (cameo)
  • 2001 - The Hairy Black Run, Sir Handel and A Special Story About Sir Handel
  • 2009 - Thomas and the Big Bang (does not speak)
  • 2011 - Reindeer Rescue (does not speak)
  • 2012 - Blue Mountain Mystery (speaks in speech bubble only)
  • 2013 - Don't Bother Victor! (does not speak)
  • 2014 - Edward the Helpful Engine

Sir Handel also appeared in the magazine stories, Duncan Gets Upset, Hello, Skarloey!, Skarloey and Santa, Smoke Signals and The Cliff Railway.

Annual Stories

  • 1985 - Whistle Trouble
  • 1997 - Percy in Print (not seen), Skarloey Gets a Scare! (not seen) and Edward Saves the Day
  • 2001 - The Good Old Days (does not speak)


  • Will You Won't You (partially performed)

Audio Files


First used Last used Sound Effect
Series 4 Series 4
First used Last used Sound Effect
Series 10 Active


  • In the Railway Series, Sir Handel along with Peter Sam did not have buffers in Duke the Lost Engine and Four Little Engines but later received oval shaped ones by the time of The Little Old Engine.
  • In the Railway Series, along with his ERTL and 1997-2005 Wooden Railway toys, Sir Handel is depicted with Sir Haydn's original cab design, which meant his cab was only open on his right side until Great Little Engines and his coal bunkers were not visible until New Little Engine. In the latter book, while his coal bunkers became visible, he retained the old cab design. In the television series, he is depicted with Sir Haydn's post-1968 and current, cab design.
  • In various merchandise and books, Sir Handel's name is often misspelt as "Sir Handle".
  • Sir Handel's original Motor Road and Rail toy had grey wheels.
  • Despite Sir Handel being a narrow gauge engine, his TrackMaster toy comes with updated versions of the red branch line coaches which are standard gauge.
  • In the Norwegian television dub of the fourth series, he was simply referred to as Handle. 
  • Sir Handel's whistle sound from the tenth series onwards was used from the Disney Pixar film, Cars in a deleted scene, "Community Service" before it was used in the show.
    • His Series 4 whistle is also used for The Friendship Express in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.


The new engines looked very smart. One was called Sir Handel and the other Peter Sam.
"What a small shed!" grumbled Sir Handel. "This won't do at all! We're much too smart for this old shack!"
"I think its nice", said Peter Sam.
"Humpf!" grunted Sir Handel. "What's that rubbish?"
"Shh!" said Peter Sam. "That's Skarloey the famous old engine. I'm sorry, Skarloey", he whispered. "Sir Handel's upset now, but he's quite nice really".
Skarloey felt sorry for Peter Sam.

- Sir Handel and Peter Sam arrive at the Skarloey Railway, "Sir Handel", "Four Little Engines".

Peter Sam told them about the television as well. And they were pleased and excited too, all except Sir Handel.
"I don't hold with it!" he grumbled. "Vulgar, I call it. Fancy traipsing about making an exhibition of yourselves. I won't do it, I tell you! Telly something indeed. Just let the Thin Controller come here, I'll tell him something!"
Skarloey said nothing, he just winked at Peter Sam. But next day, when the Thin Controller did come to explain about the television, Sir Handel kept strangely quiet.
"Now", said the Thin Controller at last. "I want every engine to take part".
"I..I..I don't feel well", quavered Sir Handel.
"You poor engine", said the Thin Controller gravely. "You can stay in the shed".
Sir Handel smiled broadly.
"And your driver and firemen can take you to pieces. That would make a very interesting picture. Just what we need!"
Sir Handel's feelings were beyond words.

- Sir Handel complaining about television, "Little Old Twins", "The Little Old Engine".

Next day, the workmen put up a fence between road and railway and went away taking George with them. This was because they had finished their work, but Sir Handel thought he had made George go away. He was more conceited than ever and talked ever lastingly about steamrollers.
"Oh dear!" whispered Skarloey one evening. "He's worse than ever, I'm sorry my plan was no good".
"Never mind", said Rusty. "We'll think of something else!"
But they had no need to do that, for some boys came and asked Mr. Hugh if they could look at the engines. Almost at once, one called out...
"...Look! Here's Sir Handel. He raced a steamroller last week, but the roller nearly beat him too! It was most exciting!"
Sir Handel never mentions Steamrollers now!

- Sir Handel thinks he sent George the Steamroller packing, "Steam Roller", "Gallant Old Engine".


  • ERTL (normal, Falcon and metallic; discontinued)
  • Wooden Railway (reintroduced 2005 with Ice Cream Factory, 2008 and 2012; all discontinued)
  • Take Along (discontinued)
  • Take-n-Play (discontinued)
  • Nakayoshi (discontinued)
  • Wind-up (Japan only)
  • Pocket Fantasy (discontinued)
  • Motor Road and Rail (discontinued)
  • TrackMaster (normal and "Sir Handel in Charge"; both discontinued)
  • My Thomas Story Library (discontinued)
  • Thomas Engine Collection Series (discontinued)
  • Mini Die Cast Collection (discontinued)
  • Departing Now (discontinued)
  • Trading Cards (discontinued)
  • De Agostini (discontinued)
  • Brio (discontinued)
  • Waku Waku (discontinued)


  1. ↑ T&F "Sir Handel (Story Library Book)"
  2. ↑ "The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways" p.82 & p.135
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