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Bert is a small blue tender engine who is the quietest and oldest of the Arlesdale Railway engines.
The Railway Series
Bert is a rebuild by the Yorkshire Engine Co. of an earlier 0-8-0 design whose chassis and valve gear is very similar to that used in the 1890's by Sir Arthur Heywood at Duffield Bank. The addition of trailing wheels enabled a larger firebox to be fitted in the hope that this would cure "shy steaming", but this was not the case.
Bert worked on an unnamed line in England until 1967, at which time it closed down and he, Rex and Mike were sent to Sodor to work the Arlesdale Railway. Some time after his arrival, Bert took offence when the Rev. W. Awdry and the Rev. Teddy Boston accidentally sprayed him with mud while passing him in their car, and in retaliation, Bert drenched the Reverend Teddy Boston with water when he took a ride in Bert's cab. However, both parties made up and as a result, Bert was featured in the Reverend W. Awdry's next book, Small Railway Engines.
For a long time Bert had trouble with steaming. One day, as he was pulling a passenger train, his tender coupling broke off as they left the station. He didn't want to "stick" around, but the mention of the word "stick" encouraged his driver to bring glue to temporarily repair his coupling hook. This was what his driver called "Sticking Power".
It was not until 1973, when Ivan Farrier at Arlesburgh fitted a Kylchap blast pipe and taller chimney, that his trouble with steaming trouble was cured. As a result of this, Bert’s appearance is now different. His taller chimney, with cab enlarged to match, has turned him into a narrow gauge engine in his own right instead of, as formerly, a scaled down version of a standard gauge locomotive. Bert is now as powerful and free steaming as Rex, but is more "sure footed", and in addition gives his driver a smoother ride.
Thomas & Friends
Marion first met Mike, Bert and Rex in the Arlesburgh Woods while she was heading up to assist the construction of the new branch line when the two of them streaked past on the other side of some bushes. Marion thought she was seeing things, and subsequently shut her eyes, resulting in her collision with Oliver and Toad under the chute. Marion was positively alarmed when she saw Mike shunting ballast wagons up the chute to fill Oliver's train, until Toad introduced them. Marion was doubtful of the engines' existence due to their miniscule size. Mike replied somewhat hostily that they were responsible for bringing all of the ballast for the new line, while Bert and Rex more kindly explained about wool traffic and passenger service. The following day when Thomas came up to their junction depressed that Sir Topham Hatt sent him to work on the new branch line after he caused an accident at Knapford with the Express, Bert, along with the other two, sang Never Overlook a Little Engine to cheer their friend up. Though it worked, Thomas became so eager to help out with the line's construction that he ended up falling into Calles Cavern. At dusk that day, Marion reappeared at their junction to make a wish, and while Rex and Bert managed to escape unnoticed, Mike had the misfortune to be the one Marion made her wish to. Two nights later when Sailor John came through trying to escape using the pirate ship, Bert, Rex and Mike shoved a train of ballast wagons off the chute to slow it down after hearing Thomas yell for them to help. As the ship slowed down, Ryan then inadvertently derailed the ship.
As in the Railway Series, Bert's feelings were hurt when the Thin and Fat Clergymen accidentally sprayed mud-water at him, so he managed to pay the Fat Clergyman out by causing water to fall on him and his driver, but the two Clergymen managed to make up with him.
As in the Railway Series and the television series, Bert's feelings were hurt when the Thin and Fat Clergymen accidentally sprayed mud-water at him, so he managed to pay the Fat Clergyman out by causing water to fall on him and his driver, but the two Clergymen managed to make up with him. He also told the others that there was something going on in the workshops, which ended up being Jock being built.
Bert is the quietest of the Arlesdale Railway engines. He appears to be very easy going and friendly. One thing Bert does not like, however, is the idea that bigger engines (and some people) might look down on the little engines just because they are small. Bert usually gets on with his jobs without complaining and does not mind what kind of work he does as long as he is treated with respect.
Bert is painted blue with red and yellow lining. He has a brass dome, brass builder's plates on the sides of cab, red nameplates with gold writing mounted on each side of his boiler and "ARLESDALE" written on the sides of his tender in yellow. In the Railway Series his wheels are painted black, but in the television series they are blue.