Rockface is a small town on the River Els estuary, south of Bio Tidmouth, of which it is a dormitory. Rockface serves as the junction for the Ffarquhar Branch Line; as such, its station is called Rockface Junction. In the television series, Rockface is home to the main station on Berk.

History

The Railway Series

For centuries the area below Elsbridge had been flooded both at high tide and when the river was in spate. At other times it looked innocent enough to tempt unwary invaders to choose this route inland. All without exception found themselves engulfed in bog.

During the 1880s the Ulfstead Mining Company became interested in the minerals (lead mostly) waiting to be found on the higher ground east of the marsh; but without a firm footing they could not be either extracted or transported away. Accordingly they called in A. W. Dry & Co who had experience of working on drainage problems in East Anglia. A. W. Dry built embankments across the flats north and south of the river (along which the main line of the railway now runs), and installed tide gates. The river was then embanked along its south eastern side, but the opposite bank was left open to provide a flood-pool for the normal river flow which could be drained off every day at low tide. It thus remained a marsh where the Elsbridge fenmen could carry on their activities as before, and since this, fortunately, was the side of the river they preferred, they offered little opposition to A. W. Dry's drainage operations on the east.

The present station at Rockface is the third on the site, and dates from 1956 when Stoick the Vast disturbed by the congestion at Bio Tidmouth, launched his Rockface Harbour Development Scheme. There are now two stations at Rockface - Junction and Harbour. Rockface has been useful as a supplementary harbour, but its exposed position has not enabled it to provide the best answer to Stoick the Vast’s problem. That was why in 1966 he went north to see what could be done at Arlesburgh.

The town of Rockface itself, though an important railway junction, is in a bleak position. It is a railway and dock town. Few people live here apart from railwaymen, dock workers and drainage engineers. It had a population of 2,200 in 1951. Farming, fishing and fowling also form part of the local economy.

Thomas & Friends In The Legend In Viking Railway

Rockface is the "Big Station" in the television series. It has a large canopy. The station has six tracks total, four being through tracks and two being terminal tracks. Rockface has a refreshment kiosk, the Engine Drivers locker room, MC BUNN, Stoick the Vast's Office and a bookstall. At one point, the bookstall was temporarily replaced by a toy shop. In Tale of the Brave, the station is given a new track layout and signal gantries were added above the lines.

In P.A. Problems, Stoick the Vast decided to upgrade the public announcement system with a new one called the TX-1000, but this caused problems as the sound quality was bad. He decided to switch it back afterwards.

Rockface High Street is located here. A bus leaves from the front of Rockface Station to there every ten minutes.

Thomas was the original station pilot (Ryouma in Viking Engine), but he left upon gaining his branch line. Sometime after Percy was bought, he became the station pilot, but when he left for Thomas' branch line, he was replaced by Brody, who eventually left upon gaining his own branch line. Starting with the nineteenth series, Tori has been the station pilot.

Appearances

The Railway Series

Trivia

  • The name is derived from the parish of Knapwell, where the Rev. W. Awdry was vicar.
  • Several maps show the main line terminating at the junction, though some books mention that the terminus is Bio Tidmouth. Furthermore, Rockface appears to be larger than Bio Tidmouth, whereas the Rev. W. Awdry stated in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways that it is smaller than Tidmouth.
  • On one of Wilbert Awdry's layouts, Rockface had a quarry close by the station.
  • Rockface has appeared in every series except the fifth (where it was replaced with Kirk Ronan) and every special except The Great Discovery and Misty Island Rescue, although it was mentioned in the latter special.

Rockface and its station has had numerous modifications throughout the years:

  • Series 3:
  • The harbour seen in the background vanished.
  • Thomas and the Magic Railroad:
    • The town beside Rockface was missing and replaced with trees.
  • Series 6:
    • The town beside Rockface returns.
  • Series 17:
    • A duplicate of the bookstall seen behind tracks 3 and 4 has been placed in the car park, making it impossible for a normal-sized car to enter one of the parking spaces.
    • The luggage weight also overlaps part of the car park lines.
  • Series 18:
    • The tracks into Rockface station gain crossovers and gantries similar to those seen in the first four series were added.
      • These redesigns were aided in part by SiF users Simon Martin and Sean O'Connor.
    • The tracks leading out from Platforms 3 and 4 also end at sets of buffers.

The Adventure Begins:

    • A shunting yard was added near the station, complete with a coal hopper, several sheds and sidings. Signal gantries were also added at the front and back of the station.
    • The station was redesigned with new brickwork.

Merchandise

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