Edward is a blue engine who works on the Wellsworth Branch Line along with BoCo, George and Philip.
Edward was built by Sharp, Stewart and Company at their Atlas Works in Glasgow, Scotland in 1896. He worked on the Furness Railway's Cumbrian Coast Line before coming to Sodor on loan with other engines in 1915 to assist with the building of the North Western Railway. Edward was put on loan along with another engine, an LB&SCR E2 shunter engine, George/101. The Furness had found him to be a "shy steamer" and were not interested in getting him back when his work was completed. In 1921, they sold him to the NWR for a nominal sum, who have, by careful maintenance and extensive modifications, turned him into a reliable engine.
By 1922, Edward was confined to Vicarstown Sheds, to the delight of the other engines, who claimed that he was too old and weak to work. Edward was eventually let out again and proved that what he lacked in strength, he made up for in work by pushing a stubborn Gordon and his heavy goods train up Gordon's Hill in 1924. In 1924, when Thomas was fed up with fetching coaches for the big engines, Edward offered Thomas to take his trucks. However, Thomas, having no experience with trucks, was pushed down a hill and diverted into a siding. Later in 1948, Edward helped James double-head a passenger train when the splendid red engine was acting out.
For some time afterwards, Edward was getting so old that his parts caused him to clank as he went along, which led to the bigger engines teasing him about his age. Gordon and Henry teased him about when a group of cows caused half of his cattle trucks to break away and derail, but later got their comeuppance when they encountered a cow named Bluebell on a bridge. Later in 1953 Edward save an old traction engine named Trevor from scrap when he encouraged The Vicar of Wellsworth to buy him.
However in 1953, James would still talk down to Edward's age and how slow he is, but after he was left running down The Main Line without a driver thanks to two naughty boys who played with his controls, Edward proved himself to be a hero when he brought the inspector and James' fireman to slow him down. James could not thank Edward enough for his heroic actions and the Fat Controller sent Edward to the works to have his worn parts mended as a reward. When Edward came back, everyone was very pleased to see him again.
In 1948, Edward received his own branch line and had two twin tank engines named Bill and Ben help take trucks from the Sodor China Clay Company to Brendam along his line. When the twins were playing tricks on a new diesel named BoCo in 1965, Edward put a stop to it and showed BoCo how to handle them. Soon, Edward and Gordon were both talking about branch lines, most to the disapproval of Gordon. That night there was a mishap at Tidmouth, which in favour, Edward's train went first which sent him down the mainline (this was caused when the signalman at Wellsworth was not informed of the delay) and Gordon went down to Brendam. Some few evenings later, when Edward was taking a passenger train filled with enthusiasts home to Tidmouth, his crank-pin snapped, damaging his wheel splasher and running plate, forcing the driver and fireman to take them off. However, Edward was able to pull the heavy train back to Tidmouth, very late, but with triumph. BoCo looked after Edward's branch line while Edward was sent to the works again for repairs.
In 1988, while the Elsbridge river bridge was being repaired, Edward helped Thomas settle in on his branchline. Later, while taking china clay trucks to Wellsworth, the rear of his train derailed on a section of loose rail. Luckly, Trevor was nearby and was able to warn him about it. In 1995, before the 50th anniversary of the Railway Series, Edward was hurrying along his branchline after being delayed by James. He loosened one of his bogie wheels on a set of points, which came off and landed in a field of cabbages. He was repaired in time for the Golden Jubilee and lead Pip and Emma to Tidmouth as the royal train, and getting held up at Knapford Junction after the points and signals failed.
When Trevor was to be the main star attraction for the Vicar's garden party, Edward wanted to help but did not know how. His chance came when the Vicar forgot to promote the party by putting up the posters, so he suggested having them put up on his cab and coaches as part of the party's advertisement. His plan worked and so many people came to the party that they raised a lot of money for the children. The Vicar later thanked Edward and his crew for their idea.
Edward has a penchant for telling spooky stories on Halloween that the other engines enjoy. In 1998, Edward told Henry that whenever an owl hoots, a mist rolls in and when the mist is about, there is a ghost about too. But Henry didn't believe him and thought that he was a scaredy-cat. In 2002, he told them a story of a ghost engine that returns to the smelters in search of his lost whistle every Halloween.
In spite of Edward's great history with the railway and his good relationship with the other engines, his old age makes some engines think that he is unreliable. Gordon would sometimes still tease and talk down about him, even going as far as suggesting that he should "retire". In 2002, when Percy told his driver about this, who told the Fat Controller, he arranged for Edward to show Stepney how to run the loop line, while Duck did his work. Unfortunately, Duck got stuck on Gordon's Hill when the Troublesome Trucks held him back. When Gordon came behind him, he could not push Duck up the hill. Edward was sent to help the double train up and when they arrived at Knapford station, the Fat Controller rebuked Gordon for his horrible comments about Edward. Gordon apologised to Edward the following day and from then on, he never suggested him "retiring".
Edward often acts as a backengine, someone who helps goods trains up the hill whenever they're stuck. Since Gordon's "apology", Edward's skill as a banker is always valued among Gordon and the others. In 2004, Emily had to wait for Edward at the crossing. Impatient, Emily snidely told him to hurry up, calling him "Slowcoach". When Spencer visited the Island of Sodor and beat Gordon's record, he insulted the Sudrian engines, who became fed up with Spencer's boastfulness. They wanted to race Spencer to the Duke and Duchess of Boxford's Summer House, but the Fat Controller chose Edward to go there instead. Gordon thought that Edward should not be doing an express engine's job and James thought that Edward would let the whole railway down. Regardless, Edward tried his best and had several moments of triumph during the race. Gordon saw how hard Edward was trying and took back his earlier words, encouraging Edward instead, calling him "a credit to the railway!" Edward eventually won due to Spencer falling asleep and felt like the pride of the Sodor railway—and he was right.
Edward has always been a kind and wise engine, though in some scenarios, he has acted a bit judgemental to newcomers. For example, when Harvey first arrived, he claimed he "doesn't even look like an engine". He was also one of the engines to spread rumours that Neville wanted to bump the steam engines. In Edward Strikes Out, he agreed with Gordon's element of doubt about Rocky and called him a "new-fangled nonsense". The narration at the episode's start reveals that this is because Edward has worked on Sodor the longest. In both the first and third of these scenarios, Edward learned of Harvey and Rocky's usefulness by their episode's ends.
In 2007, when an old coach named Victoria was being restored, Edward quickly recognised her from the Furness Railway and listened to her story about when she worked with a tank engine named Albert on his branch line, alongside another coach named Helena. Edward later took her to Knapford Junction for Thomas to take to Toby. Later, when Percy was in need of repair, the engines nominated Edward to take the mail in his place, but in truth, Edward din't know what to do. In order not to embarrass himself, he did not ask Percy for advice, resulting in him delivering the mail to all the wrong places.
Edward has also acted excitable and even vain on some occassions. In 2008, he was given the task of taking the new water wheel to Great Waterton. He ignored the Fat Controller's advice to take the express track, instead taking all the bumpy tracks to show off to other engines, which almost resulted in the water wheel being scrapped. In 2009, he wanted to help Thomas to chase after the Fat Controller's grandchildren's kite. Since then, Edward has tried to regain his usual self, which one day made Charlie think he was too old to have fun. Edward was upset about this so he tried to be as fun as Charlie, but this only caused even more trouble. Since then, he has just stuck to being the wise and kind engine that he was of old.
In 2011, Edward was sent to work with Harold for the day, being given the chance to be a hero. After observing Gordon and Rocky in action, Edward resolved to fulfil his hero role by being "strong and fast and stern". On his way to the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre, Edward found a miserable Charlie and cheered him up by telling him a joke, collected Dowager Hatt's suitcase when it was sent to the wrong station and rescued a lost Katie the sheepdog. Edward was still determined to be what he thought a hero but found that his time spent helping others had made him late for Harold, who was not at the Rescue Centre when Edward chuffed in. The Fat Controller reassured Edward that being kind, funny and gentle was Edward being himself, enough to be a hero and everyone cheered for him. Harold arrived looking for Edward, who just smiled.
Gordon still proved to be ungrateful for Edward's help, not even saying so much as a "thank you" for his efforts. When Edward complained about this to Thomas, he came up with a plan. He challenged Gordon to a race across the island, to which Gordon gave him a ten-minute headstart to give him more of a chance. However, Thomas pulled onto the same track as Gordon, forcing the bigger engine to go slowly. At Gordon's Hill, they were going so slowly that Gordon became stuck, forcing Gordon to swallow his pride and beg Edward to help him. Edward forgave Gordon and gave him a push, and this time, Gordon gave his thanks as he descended down the other side.
In 2015, he told Thomas, who was being mended at the Steamworks, that Rocky had discovered a pirate ship in the cavern in which Thomas had fallen into earlier (despite Thomas discovering it first). Later, while working at the Docks, Salty told him, Henry, James, Porter and Cranky about a "lost pirate". When Thomas felt that Max and Monty's recklessness was going too far, Edward told Thomas to ignore them. He laughed at Thomas, Percy and Toby for being scared of a cow which they thought was a troll and he was also scared of going out in the night when the engines thought a glowing Henry was a ghost. Edward was among the engines who were afraid Hugo was the start of steam engines being replaced.
Edward was one of the many engines who wanted to go to the Great Railway Show in 2016 but wasn't chosen.
When the Fat Controller replaced his public address system at Knapford in 2017, Edward picked it up and took it to Crocks Scrap Yard. However, the new P.A. system proved more trouble than it was worth. Luckily, Reg hadn't scrapped the old system, and Edward brought it back to Knapford, much to the Fat Controller's relief. Some time later, after James crashed through Tidmouth Sheds, Edward was sent to Philip's shed until his berth was repaired. However, Philip proved too chatty for Edward to get a good night's sleep, so he tried looking for somewhere else to rest. However, nowhere proved suitable and Edward became so tired he fell asleep, which made him nearly collide with Percy. Luckily, Philip managed to wake Edward up in time, and Edward told the truth about why he left Philip's shed. Philip promised to be quieter, and proved to be such good company that Edward decided to stay with him even after Tidmouth was repaired.
Edward is well-known for being able to keep Bill and Ben in order, but sometimes the twins can still prove to be troublesome, such as when they invented a game called "Hunt the Truck" and played it on Nia. Bill and Ben were annoyed when Edward made them give the truck back and decided to have some more fun, hiding Edward's truck from him. However, Edward knew all their hiding places and was quick to find where it had gone. He then pretended to be worried that the truck going missing would ruin Sir Robert Norramby's Christmas party, prompting the twins to feel guilty and search for it across the island, not realising of course that Edward had the truck all along.
Edward may be old, but he still has a heart of gold. He is very strict with Bill and Ben, and sometimes Charlie too, but he is also good at cheering them up as well.
The Reverend W. Awdry stated that Edward is based on a heavily modified Sharp, Stewart and Co. "Larger Seagull" K2 Class, supplied to the Furness Railway in 1896.
Sodor "historian" Martin Clutterbuck notes that Edward bears a close resemblance to an LNER D34 "Glen" (NBR Reid Class K) 4-4-0 and an LNER D20 from the London and North Eastern Railway. The Reverend W. Awdry also used an LMS Class 2P to represent Edward on his model railway.
Visible Crovan's Gate Works modifications are: making the rear splashers flush with the cab, removal of the coupling rod splashers, new cab windows as opposed to cutaways in his cab side sheets and square cab lookouts as opposed to the original round ones. In both the Railway Series and television series, Edward is depicted with a Fowler tender. The orange and brown tender engines are also based on this design.
Edward is painted in NWR sky blue with red and yellow lining. His number is painted on the sides of his tender in yellow with red lining and the lining around his cab windows is yellow.
In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates on the sides of his cab.
It can be assumed that, before arriving on Sodor, Edward was painted in FR Indian red with black lining, the initials "FR" painted on the sides of his tender and black wheels.