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When Skarloey first appeared in the fourth season, he had not worked in some time, but soon proved his worth once more. Since then, he has been a dedicated worker and a very wise engine. However, from the seventh to twelfth seasons, Skarloey has acted like a very young engine and has tried to prove his bravery by getting hauled up the winch on the incline and by having a race with Rheneas and Freddie. He has also acted timid, being scared of an old wooden bridge, the wharf and storms.
At the Blue Mountain Quarry, Skarloey is still the respected leader of the narrow gauge engines.
In the eighteenth season, he once had to take an evening passenger train, but Duncan took his coaches so that a grumpy passenger would not complain about the train being crowded, but this only resulted in angering Skarloey and his stranded passengers. The next day, Skarloey was delayed by Duncan again when he refused to leave the platform until the same grumpy passenger had boarded his train. Later during the Christmas holidays, Skarloey was upset by Duncan's constant grumbling, so he, Rheneas and Rusty told the Thin Controller, who devised a plan to stop the grumpy engine from moaning all the time.
Skarloey is the sage of the Skarloey Railway and is an old, faithful little engine. Although once full of enthusiasm and his own ideas in his youth, Skarloey is now one of the oldest engines on the Island. He is a calm-natured, quaint, and mature engine and may often try to guide or watch over less experienced narrow gauge engines in his firm but fair and friendly manner. He acts kindly to engines and passengers alike and always enjoys a gentle, smooth journey through the woods by the lakeside and stopping at all the gates and stiles he remembers so well.
Skarloey is based on the Talyllyn Railway's Talyllyn, a Fletcher Jennings Class C 0-4-2ST built in 1864. In the Railway Series, Talyllyn is Skarloey's twin. Rusty's Ghost Engine shares the same basis.
Skarloey is painted crimson red with white and gold lining. He has red and gold name and number plates on the sides of his saddletank and coal bunkers respectively.