Thomas Made up Characters and Episodes Wiki

Dodger is a tank engine from the Great Northern Railway that works at Vicarstown Coal Mines.





GNR Class J23/LNER Class J50/51


Sir Nigel Gresley


Doncaster Works

Arrived on Sodor

January 1961


Dodger was built at Doncaster in 1914, entering service on 30 April of that year. He was originally numbered 167 and was allocated to Ardsley. At Grouping in 1923, he was re-numbered 3167 under the LNER and classified from J23 to J51. He was fitted with a sixteen element Robinson super-heater which was removed in October 1930 when he was rebuilt into a J50. During his time at Ardsley, he mainly acted as pilot engine and as a banker in the steeply graded lines of the West Riding which in particular explains his aptitude for his work at the Coal Mines. With the outbreak of the Second World War, No. 3167 soon found himself across various places. Not much is known of him during this time but Dodger mentions that he was at York during the Baedeker Raid. Records have confirmed this and it is assumed that he was used around the Northern and Eastern Regions of England. After the war, he returned to Ardsley but at Nationalisation, was re-allocated to Doncaster in 1948 and also received his BR number 68899, which he still carries. There, he met Flying Scotsman before being moved to Norwich Thrope in May 1949. Withdrawals of his brothers started in 1958 and things looked bleak when he was transferred to Stratford in April 1960. When it seemed he would be withdrawn he was bought by the Fat Controller for work at the Vicarstown Coal Mines.

The following year, he was buried in an avalanche and was rewarded an overhaul, and a permanent stay at the Mines. He has since then become a valuable member of the Fat Controller's Railway bringing coal trucks to the stations or arranging trains at Vicarstown. Such work at the Mines began to tax him which is why Molly was brought in to help alleviate some of the work load. There was another notable avalanche in 1991 and thanks to Dodger's brave efforts, many lives were saved.

On Christmas Eve 2013, he bravely took on a task to bring the needy their baked puddings to Cronk, whilst on one piston. He was taken to Crovan's Gate on Boxing Day, where he had a long heavy overhaul until 15 April, when he was back into working order, just in time to celebrate his 100th birthday along with Thomas and Toby.

He is usually stationed at Vicarstown Coal Mines, but also shunts at Vicarstown, and other places on the Main Line and has acted as a banker on a number of occasions.


Dodger is a very cheery tank engine who does not mind how dirty his work he is, and always struggles to get the job done. He enjoys working with trucks, something most of the other engines do not understand. He is a good friend to everyone, and is glad to help them in any situation. He is well respected, because he does provide the steam engines with the coal they need, though sometimes he is looked down at, and doesn't necessarily get the appreciation he should. He is very playful and enjoys teasing the other engines, James, in particular, although he does get along with him very well. He is also considered brave among the engines.


He is currently in NWR black with white lining and the number 68899 on his bunker sides and the BR "cycling lion" logo on his tanks. Before, arriving on Sodor, he was painted BR unlined black. During the war he was painted in war time unlined black and "NE" on his tanks in white, and his number, 3167, in white on the sides of his bunker. Prior to Grouping, he was in the Great Northern Railway's unlined dark grey, GNR in white on his tanks and his number 167 in white on both sides of his bunker.


He is based on a Gresley J50 (GNR Class J23) 0-6-0T engines. He was a smaller prototype J51/1 until 1930.

Behind the Scenes

In real life

The ideas of an engine named Dodger existed as far back as 2010. When developing Vicarstown Coal Mines, I needed an engine to satisfy such role. Browsing through photos, the J50 definitely caught my eye and then doing some further research revealed these engines were indeed built for shunting and coal works and as such, Dodger the Gresley J50 became a character in the series. I had originally intended him to work at both the Coal Mines and the Quarry, however, I soon found that the Coal Mines were the most suitable place for him and thus kept him there as his main work place.

In the series

How Dodger arrived on Sodor has been established in Real Engines. There has been a question on his exact number since he carries his old BR number, 68899. With him arriving in 1961, that puts him behind Donald and Douglas who arrived two years prior in 1959 so his number should be 11, but as it turns out, transaction and paperwork were not completed until 1969, after Oliver's had been completed. He is officially NWR No. 15. It is most likely that he chose this number himself as one of his brothers was J50 Departmental No. 15.


Adventures on Rails


The New Adventures on Rails


  • Unlike most characters in Adventures on Rails, Dodger's number was real. The engine possessing this number was scrapped in 1961 at Stratford Works.
  • Dodger has joint ownership with the North Western Railway and Vicarstown Coal Mines.



  • Thanks to The LNER Encyclopedia, Rail UK, and BR Date Base for information on BR No. 68899. Also thanks to The LNER encyclopedia for GNR No. 167 at Doncaster.