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The Railway Series
Rheneas was built by Fletcher, Jennings & Co. in Whitehaven and was delivered by sea to Kirk Ronan in time to haul the train carrying the Board of Trade Inspector in October 1865. Unlike Skarloey, Rheneas was stern and thoughtful and fell out with Skarloey after the latter called him a "stick-in-the-mud" following an argument over cabs. The two reconciled after Rheneas saved Skarloey from a landslide in 1867.
Rheneas’ long wheelbase enabled him to ride steadily, but it also made him hard on the track and this, together with the initial absence of a cab, made Skarloey the more heavily used of the two. Unlike Skarloey (and Dolgoch), Rheneas never returned to Whitehaven. Such repairs as were needed, including the fabrication of a cab at an unknown date, were done at the Skarloey Railway workshops. In 1937 and again in 1943, he was overhauled at the NWR Works at Crovan's Gate. Like Dolgoch, Rheneas enjoys "peculiar motion", which did not make life any easier for the workshop staff.
Rheneas saved the railway by keeping services going through a very lean period in the late 1940s. By 1945, Skarloey was in need of desperate repairs, leaving Rheneas to run the line alone. He managed to pull a full train home one windy day despite having a jammed valve gear and was rewarded with an overhaul. When Sir Handel and Peter Sam arrived to the railway in 1952, he was sent to England for a heavy overhaul. While there, he was reunited with his twin Dolgoch. Money, however, was tight on both their railways and their repairs could not be completed immediately. Skarloey often felt lonely to know he was not there, but he often used his story of when he saved the railway to teach younger engines how to behave, like Duncan. His overhaul was finished in 1961, putting him back into good condition and he returned to the Skarloey Railway soon after. Because of his bravery, he earned the nickname "Gallant Old Engine" by the railway staff.
While Rusty was spreading weedkiller spray on the tracks with a special truck, Rheneas had to fetch another coach when there were more visitors than usual. He was not happy about this because this meant he would be late and it did not get any better when he had to slow down for hedgecutters. To make matters worse, because of the weedkiller spray, he ended up slipping down the hill and grinds to a halt. As his crew sanded the rails, he managed to make his way, but his passengers had a limited view of the countryside. They did not mind this however, as they were more pleased with Rheneas' brave efforts.
He underwent another heavy overhaul at Crovan’s Gate Works in 2002.
Thomas & Friends
When Rheneas first appeared in the fourth season, he was one of many engines who came and went on the Mid Sodor Railway and were outlasted by Duke. When Skarloey took visitors into the mountains to search for Duke and they found him, Rheneas helped Skarloey transport Duke back down to the Skarloey Railway for restoration. In the meantime, the two engines were feeling their age and easily tiring, so the manager sent two engines, Sir Handel and Peter Sam, to help and the older engines promised to give them a big welcome.
Despite being fond of Peter Sam, Rheneas would join in the other engines' mockingly saying, "You and your special funnel!" when Peter Sam was impatiently waiting for his new one. When he got it and demonstrably performed better than everyone, Rheneas and the others stopped teasing him and instead wished they had a funnel like it. Likewise, Sir Handel's broad tyres were a source of mockery as Rheneas would join in on shouting, "Look at his steamroller wheels!" After Sir Handel caused George the steamroller to go away, Rheneas became visibly annoyed at the blue engine's newfound source of incessant bragging.
When Duncan was complaining about the passengers, Skarloey decided to tell him the story of how Rheneas saved the railway on his own with a full train and jammed valve gear on a rainy day to teach Duncan the importance of not stopping in the wrong place. Rheneas came home from the works the next day and was greeted to a chorus of whistles by engines large and small. He told Skarloey that this makes a little engine to feel that at last he has really come home.
Rheneas and Skarloey are Rusty's best friends and they are best friends with each other as well. The three of them were chased by a boulder when it had rolled off from its cliff. While Rusty had to outmanoeuvre the boulder and Skarloey needed to get himself out of the boulder's rampaging path, Rheneas' line did not have any points, so he was forced to try and outrun it once the boulder came dangerously close to colliding with him head-on. He did so, speeding across a viaduct and ended up derailing. The boulder passed by, which Rheneas' driver found preferable to getting squashed.
In the sixth season, the three engines were headed to the quarry to help Duncan. Their fascination of the incline's mechanics quickly became soured with an impatient Duncan telling them what to do. Rusty tried to mollify the vocally displeased red engines, but even Rusty and also Rheneas had enough when the "Bossy Boots" engine told them they are as slow as snails and Rheneas crossly chuffed that no more than four slate trucks could be sent up at a time. Eventually realising that Duncan would not listen, the three best friends left with their slate. They helped clear up after Duncan's crash, after which Duncan owed them an apology.
The three best friends have worked the Skarloey Railway for each of their entire lives, but work at the quarry clashed with Rusty's maintenance work, causing the line to fall into disrepair and be shut down and forcing Rheneas and Skarloey to work at the quarry with Rusty. A period of blasting gave the engines two weeks to attempt to repair the line and Rheneas determinedly worked harder than ever with a hopeless Skarloey, a clever Rusty and an initially derisive Elizabeth. The railway was restored in the allotted time and the two tank engines were very happy at this turn of events.
In the seventh season, Rheneas saved Skarloey from his state of dangling from a broken bridge. Because Skarloey was too scared to cross the bridge again, Rheneas would collect both of their trains every morning. Eventually, this caused Rheneas to run out of water right on the bridge. Skarloey forced himself to cross the bridge to save his best friend and Rheneas thanked him for his bravery.
Rheneas' own bravery would become important when he was tasked with making a school trip special and his doubt in his own best made him really feel his small size. Rusty assured Rheneas that he knows the mountains better than any engine, which Rheneas did not deny, but none of the everyday locations that his driver pointed out felt exciting, important or even special. Rusty's workmen carelessly sent Rheneas down a closed and bumpy mountain track. Rheneas was frightened at the dangerous turn the trip was taking, but his driver did not stop him racing through the mountains with all his might like a roller coaster. Though tired at the end of it, Rheneas had given the children the time of their lives and thus felt really useful instead of his size.
In the ninth season, when Mr. Percival needed two careful engines to transport a dinosaur skeleton to the Sodor Museum, Rheneas offered to have himself and Skarloey demonstrate how careful they can be. Rheneas did better than Skarloey, whose excitement got the better of him and offered to try again following the mishap. Mr. Percival gave him one last chance, so Rheneas decided to prove that he could take the dinosaur on his own. He did so by delivering a long and heavy line of coal trucks. He gained the job, but he could not make it up Culdee Fell Hill. Skarloey, still upset, found his way blocked and Rheneas apologised for what happened, declaring that he will always want the two of them to work together. This cheered up Skarloey and the two happily transported the skeleton the rest of the way.
The height of the Skarloey Coal Yard's incline frightens Rheneas, so when he brought empty trucks there, he backed away quickly, much to Skarloey's amusement. Rheneas came back to the incline the next day with Duncan and found Skarloey, still coupled to his trucks, being hauled up the incline. They were surprised and awestruck at this supposedly brave act before Skarloey's weight promptly broke the incline and sent him flying down the track, much to Rheneas' shock and into a snowbank, which Rheneas helped him out of. Rheneas and Duncan brought supplies to repair the winch, excited to see Skarloey take the coal trucks down the incline himself. Rheneas looked happy at Skarloey instead doing the right thing in contrast to Duncan's disappointment. Rheneas also tried to tell Duncan that he would be late when Duncan was going back and forth on some bumpy tracks for fun. Rheneas left without Duncan listening.
Rheneas and Skarloey like to race each other and they introduced themselves to Freddie as the fastest engines in the hills. They became excited at Freddie's offer to race them and prove he is the fastest. As Rheneas and Skarloey raced, their age did not hinder them, whereas Freddie's did, so right as they were about to catch up, they did not notice Freddie go a different way. Rheneas expressed his admiration at how fast Freddie supposedly went and the three of them raced again. Rheneas decided that they would race down the opposite, steeper side of the mountain. A determined Rheneas ended up derailing and rolling down a hill. Freddie used his knowledge of the old tracks to find Rheneas and helped him back onto the rails. Freddie apologised for cheating and admitted that Rheneas and Skarloey are much faster than him. Rheneas did not mind and instead wanted to hear about Freddie's tales of the old tracks.
Skarloey saved Rheneas from some logs tumbling down a hill, denting himself in the process. A grateful Rheneas noticed Skarloey's sad demeanour and asked what the matter was. Rheneas was surprised at Skarloey's fear of the wharf, having heard from Rusty about Skarloey braving the old wooden bridge for him and the stream for Duncan and said that Skarloey is the bravest engine he knows. Rheneas also brought up how disastrous the log incident would have been for him had Skarloey not saved him.
Later, he decided to help an overworked Skarloey by secretly taking his coal trucks to the wharf for him. Coupled with his own trucks, Rheneas found the train too heavy to pull up the hill and decided to take his own trucks up first and then take the coal trucks. When he returned to the hill, he found that the coal trucks were not where he had left them. Knowing that Skarloey will get into trouble, Rheneas forwent the secret and started planning to have the engines search for the trucks, but this was not needed as Rheneas quickly explained everything to Mr. Percival. Rheneas was happy, knowing he had given Skarloey a well-earned rest.
In the eleventh season, Rheneas was surprised by Thomas's loud whistle, bumping into his flatbeds and spilling the pilings on it as a result. This amused Skarloey, Sir Handel and even Rheneas himself. Rheneas and Skarloey hid and watched as Thomas decided to surprise Rusty next, which the three best friends found very funny. Rheneas playfully chased after Rusty, leaving the scattered bricks behind. He did this again after they all surprised Sir Handel, leaving flour all over the warehouse. Lastly, they surprised Peter Sam, who pushed his logs into the canal. Only then did the engines realise what their playfulness had done, but Rheneas still wanted to play and Thomas insisted that they must get their work down now.
During a thunderstorm, Rheneas and Peter Sam were informed by Skarloey about stranded sheep up in the hills that needed to be brought down to the farms. Unlike Skarloey, the other two were brave. Rheneas and Peter Sam could not wait to get started and Rheneas eagerly went up the hill first. Rheneas and Peter Sam made so many uphill and downhill trips through the storm, bringing many sheep down in the process, that they ran out of coal. This forced Skarloey to brave the storm himself to finish the job and Rheneas and Peter Sam congratulated their friend.
Whilst working at the Blue Mountain Quarry, his paintwork was severely scraped after becoming a runaway; this was the result of having gone too fast over the collapsing Blondin Bridge. This resulted in the brief period when he was painted yellow with blue lining.
He currently works on the Skarloey Railway, along with Skarloey, Sir Handel, Peter Sam, Rusty, Duncan and Luke.
Rheneas has been called a "gallant old engine" before and deserves such a title. Rheneas is highly determined, brave and courageous. He is a tough, committed worker despite his age and takes great responsibility in his work. He is keen to keep his friends smiling and, although he is a level-headed engine, he can be a bit of an adventurer too. Though he may often try to struggle on alone, Rheneas knows when it is time to call on the help of his friends. Nevertheless, Rheneas is always highly dedicated to the task at hand.
Rheneas is based on the Talyllyn Railway's Dolgoch, a Fletcher Jennings Class Bb 0-4-0WT. In the Railway Series, Dolgoch is Rheneas' twin. Smudger is another member of this class.
In the Railway Series, Rheneas is painted in SR standard red with blue and yellow lining, with his name on the sides of his boiler in yellow.
In the television series, Rheneas is painted vermilion with black and gold lining and brass fittings. He has black and brass name and number plates on the sides of his boiler and coal bunkers respectively.