In the year of 1961, in the UK, during the Beeching Axe, the plan to close railway lines, one branch line that runs from a town called Falford to a bigger town called Granburry faces closure due to a lack of passengers. Most of the engines that work on the line have given up hope, but one old engine has lived on the branch line ever since the day he first entered service and is determined to make sure that the branch line does not close down…
John: The main protagonist. John is the oldest tender engine on the line, and he has worked on the Falford Branch Line ever since he was first built, in 1899, and he is wise, kind, and has a lot of determination when it comes to saving the branch line.
John also likes to help other engines that are in trouble, even if they decline help. He is based on a Dugald Drummond London and South Western Railway T9 Class, in particular, engine number 30300.
Charlie: A tank engine that was built for the Great Western Railway in 1935. He pulls the auto-coach trains on the branch line. Charlie was built at Swindon, but unlike Duck the Great Western Engine from Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, he does not constantly talk about the Great Western Railway. In fact, he is often a coward when it comes to new jobs. He is based on a GWR Class 1400 Tank Engine, in particular, engine number 1435.
Albert and Kelly: A pair of Saddle-Tank engine twins. They are 0-4-0STs built by Peckett, but resemble Percy the Small Engine from Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends. Albert is painted black, while Kelsey is painted orange.
In addition, they were both built for the railway in 1896, so like Theo and Otto from The Dark Railway Series, they are the oldest engines on the line, even older than John.
But unlike Theo and Otto, they are never cheeky, and they don't mind being apart if they have to. Albert is smart, but has a hard time with math. Kelly, on the other hand, is smarter and has no problems when it comes to math, so the other engines can turn to her when it comes to predicting the odds of something occurring.
Both tank engines are also helpful, and give out advice to any engine that needs it. They are also helpful in keeping John's spirits up and giving him the confidence so he gets more determined to save the line.
Alex: A GWR 5700 Class Pannier Tank Engine, he is very proud of being Great Western, even though he is now painted in British Railways Black Livery. He can talk endlessly about it, but knows when to stop. He is a hard worker too and is 100 percent serious: he never stands nonsense, though he can take a joke sometimes.
His advice, however, is never non-sensical. His number is 5742, and he was transferred from Tyseley in 1956.
Fred: An LMS Fowler 3f tank engine. Unlike Alex, he is very cheeky and while he is a hard worker, he also loves to have fun and often plays practical jokes on the other engines, which sometimes leads him into trouble. Alex is his best friend, but sometimes, due to the fact that they came from former rival railway companies, they don't always get along. His number is 47368.
King Edward VII: A GWR King Class Locomotive, and the most powerful engine on the line. However, he does not boast about it and is actually very kind, wise, and is always 100 percent serious, as Alex has been known to pull practical jokes sometimes. Edward, as he prefers to be called, pulls the first train of the day on the branch line, and also pulls a train that is unique to the branch line: an express train that runs non-stop from Falford to Granburry. His number is 6001.
G. J. Churchward: A GWR Castle Class Locomotive, number 7017, smaller and younger than Edward, as he was built in 1948. Churchward, as he likes to be called, also pulls express trains on the branch line, but unlike Edward, he is very pompous, boastful, and often puts power before common sense. But like Bluenose the Naval Tug from TUGS, who always puts orders before common sense, this can sometimes lead him to unintentionally cause a disaster. As said before, he is younger than Edward, but being stubborn, he refuses to take advice from the King Class engine.
Sophie: A GWR 2251 Class, number 3201, Sophie is used mainly for the freight trains. She is a kind, helpful, and wise engine and also one of the few girl engines on the railway. Sometimes, Sophie pulls passenger trains, but she loves pulling freight trains most of all.
Collet: A 56xx 0-6-2 tank engine, number 6688, named after his designer, Charles Collet.
Despite being under British Railways ownership, he is still painted in Great Western green. Collet is very proud of being Great Western, even more than Alex, and unlike Alex, never knows when to stop talking about being Great Western. He is, however, a hard worker. His sole duty on the branch line is pulling stopping passenger trains, trains that stop at every station on the line.
Stanley: A Fowler 4f locomotive, number 43893, built for the Midland Railway in 1919, he is an engine that does freight work and never pulls passenger trains. As a result, he is the engine on the branch line that has the most experience when it comes to hauling freight trains. He is wise and kind, always willing to help a friend, although sometimes, he can have a lack of confidence. But he always regains it in the end.
Herbert: A J39, number 64841, built by Herbert Nigel Gresley in 1932, and named after his designer. Herbert is used for both freight and passenger trains.
Herbert is friendly, but he's often nervous and stutters a lot, something he has in common with the Herbert of Simon Martin's The British Railway Stories.
Brush: A Class 31 diesel, number D5505. Brush is capable of pulling both freight and passenger trains. Brush likes steam trains, and hates diesels that hate steam trains. Brush is also very wise, despite being only 3 years old, and he is painted in BR two-tone green livery.
Daniel: A Class 08 diesel shunter, number D3952, that lives at Falford Yard. He is the yard shunter at Falford and organizes freight trains for the other engines. Daniel is cheeky, but really smart, able to figure out very quickly that a pair of lorries who arrive at Falford one morning can never be trusted to take loads.
Rupert: A Class 03 diesel shunter, number D2000, who is the station pilot at Falford Station. A station pilot is an engine that is used to bring coaches to the station platforms.
Rupert is older than Daniel, but it seems that both are smart. Rupert, however, is 100% serious, but he can still play a practical joke when the time is right.
Alpine: A Class 10 diesel shunter, number D3138, built in 1955. Alpine is called Alpine because he has a huge resistance to cold weather, as though he was born in the Swiss Alps. Alpine is the oldest diesel in the yard and as a result, never pulls practical jokes and always gives helpful advice to the other diesels. Alpine shares station pilot duties at Falford station with Rupert and also helps Daniel with yard shunting at Falford yard.
Greg: An 0-4-0 tank engine shunter who was built in 1925, and also works in Falford Yard as the yard shunter. Like Simon from the Jimmy the Jinty Series, Greg is friendly and wise, but he is also bubbly and excitable, often acting like he was built only recently, and he only shows his age when he is grumpy and/or angered.
Allen: The first member of the Peppercorn A1 Class, number 60114 W. P. Allen, briefly appears in the story, arriving at Granburry to pick up passengers from Edward's express train. He is a kind and friendly engine, but is slightly cocky. Allen also loves to pull practical jokes if the time is right.
Bronsky: A bus who is a great friend of the engines, especially John. Unlike many buses, he likes the branch line and will do anything to keep it from shutting down, even if he risks getting scrapped and/or replaced while doing so.
The Trio of Taxis: The trio of taxis don't like the railway, but neither do they hate it: they have neutral feelings towards it. For example, they love taking passengers around the town of Falford, and sometimes taunt the engines when they fail to get any passengers to travel by train, and they completely enjoy doing so, as it is a hobby.
But when a passenger or a group of passengers wants to travel to another town, they immediately refuse, break down on purpose, and tell the passenger or passengers to take the train instead, as they are not built for long-distance travel. In reality, they are built for long-distance travel; they just think trains can get the people to other towns faster. One, Jake, is a mini-van, the other two, Ron and Harry, are simply taxi cars.
Wilbert: The main antagonist. Wilbert is a double-decker bus who hates the branch line 100% and thinks it would be better for it to be shut down. He also taunts the engines when nobody travels on the train, and unlike the taxis, is willing to take people to other towns. Unlike other villains, he is aware that if he gets overconfident, his evil plans will fail. He also knows that while he is smart, he is not smart enough to come up with a good evil plan that won't fail, so he turns to his trusty sidekicks Ball and Bark when making evil plans. For this reason, he seems to be impossible to defeat. But like all antagonists, he gets defeated eventually…
Ball and Bark: Wilbert's loyal sidekicks, who go with everything he says. However, they are smarter than him, so when coming up with an evil plan to get rid of the branch line, Wilbert turns to them. Ball and Bark are both lorries and love causing trouble. They also like stealing freight from the trains of the Falford Branch Line. Ball is the smarter of the two and also the mastermind behind the evil plots.
Bark, on the other hand, is dumber than Ball and Wilbert, although he is a little bit smarter than Wilbert. Both of them are 100% loyal to the boss, and will do anything to get him out of trouble, although sometimes, they find themselves too busy with other jobs to help Wilbert. Wilbert, however, doesn't mind: as long as they come up with a plan for him to carry out alone, he knows he'll be fine without them. But all three fear one thing, although they hate to admit it: ghosts.