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For other uses, see Rusty (disambiguation).

Rusty is the first narrow gauge diesel engine. Rusty carries out maintenance work and odd jobs around the Skarloey Railway.


The Railway Series

Rusty was built by Ruston and Hornsby Ltd. in Lincoln, England. He was bought by Sir Handel Brown direct from the builders in 1957 to assist Sir Handel and Peter Sam. A generally reliable engine, Rusty is used for track maintenance and breakdowns. Rusty is also occasionally used in an emergency for light passenger traffic.

When Sir Handel pretended to be ill, Rusty was asked to assist Peter Sam with the slate trucks and later that day had to perform a rescue operation at the quarry when Peter Sam had an accident on the incline.

Following the return of Skarloey, Rusty was put back on maintenance duties but had an argument with Duncan about taking care of a "bad bit" of track south of Cros-ny-Cuirn. While initially refusing to help the conceited Duncan when he derailed, Skarloey reminded Rusty of his responsibility towards the passengers and he set out at once, later making up the quarrel with Duncan. Later that year, Rusty and Mr. Hugh were chosen to demonstrate to a television crew how they maintained the line at Quarry Siding.

In 1961, Rusty and Mr. Hugh discovered a washed-out section of track south of the tunnel and the railway was closed temporarily while he and the workmen repaired the line. He was later present when Rheneas finally returned home.

In 1965, the Lakeside loop line extension was opened in a grand ceremony at Quarry Siding. Rusty was asked to bring visitors to celebrate the occasion.

In 1982, Rusty was in charge of carrying away tree branches and other cuttings, which were being trimmed from the line so that passengers could get a better view.

In 1996, Rusty was put in charge of the weedkiller train, a job he disliked because it required slow speeds. The weedkiller later created trouble for Rheneas, who could not get a firm grip on the wet, greasy rails. He later had to take Sir Handel's trains after Sir Handel's fire bars collapsed. For unknown reasons, he and Fred did not attend Ivo Hugh's naming party in 1996.

Thomas & Friends

Rusty's initial depiction in the TV series was with a much more determined and brave personality. In the fourth series, Rusty helped saved Stepney, who was stranded on a siding in a scrapyard on the Other Railway, from scrap, and brought him to his branchline. When a Boulder went loose at the Quarry, Rusty and his driver narrowly escaped after being chased by the giant stone. Skarloey, Rheneas and Percy also escaped the chaos of Boulder. Along with Skarloey, Rheneas, and Elizabeth, Rusty saved the Skarloey Railway from abandonment. Rusty once saved Duncan from falling into a river from an old bridge after he refused to listen.

In a dream, Thomas saw Rusty working with Lady.

One Christmas, when Duncan began complaining more than ever, Rusty had the idea of telling the Thin Controller, who devised a plan. Rusty later saw Duncan lose his temper with Luke, who was blocking the track in front of him. But when Duncan felt sorry and helped Luke carry on his way, Rusty saw this too and told the Thin Controller.

He was later seen in a queue of engines at Ulfstead Castle after Percy told the latter there was to be a railway show there.

He is currently working at the Skarloey Railway, along with the other narrow gauge engines.


Rusty is a trusty, tame, friendly little diesel. He is a dedicated worker, often maintaining the line, while understanding and respecting the importance of his duties. He also has a rather distinctive two-tone horn. Rusty is quick to remind others with regards to proper conduct, particularly Duncan, who was initially very suspicious of the little diesel. But despite their arguments they both seem to make amends in the end, because of how kind and tolerant Rusty is. He has a good working relationship with both Skarloey and Peter Sam in particular. Caring, calm, and quick-thinking, Rusty is modestly a credit to the Skarloey Railway.

Sometimes, Rusty had an occasional habit of being prone to procrastination, impatient and careless but he has managed to contain his good work ethic, especially while working at the Blue Mountain Quarry and the railway.


Rusty is based on the Talyllyn Railway's Midlander, a Ruston 44/48HP diesel. Unlike his counterpart Rusty was never rebuilt with a different shaped radiator.


In The Railway Series, Rusty is painted charcoal-black with yellow lining around his windows and lettering. In the television series, he is painted orange with yellow lining around his windows and white lettering. His radiator cap is brass.

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


  • Rusty's name is a portmanteau of his builder Ruston and Hornsby.
  • According to a New York Times article from 1995, Britt Allcroft intended to make Rusty gender-neutral due to the lack of female characters in the series.[1] Because of this, the episodes Trucks, Home at Last and Rock 'n' Roll removed or changed any instance of Rusty being referred to in gender-specific pronouns, as the original stories refer to him as male. For example, Duncan's line "Send him packing! Send him packing!" is changed to "Send Rusty packing! Send Rusty packing!" The first two times in the television series that Rusty was referred to in gender-specific pronouns were Tuneful Toots and Duncan and the Old Mine, the US dubs of which referred to Rusty as female. They were edited for their DVD releases, now identifying Rusty as male.
  • In the television series, Rusty is near twice the size of his basis. This was so his eye mechanism and the motor could be accommodated. When he received a large scale model and later returned in CGI, he was the same larger size for continuity reasons.
  • Nitrogen Studios went to the Talyllyn Railway and took measurements of Rusty's basis in order to accurately render him in CGI. This was also the case with Skarloey, Rheneas, Sir Handel and Peter Sam.
  • Rusty is the only narrow gauge diesel to ever be seen in the entire television series.
  • Rusty was called Zlatko in the Slovenian dub.
  • The horn Rusty uses during the Hit Entertainment model era is the same horn as Brum has in the British childrens show, Brum.