The Thomas Week at the Watercress line
Donald and Douglas were built by John F. McIntosh at St. Rollox Works in 1899 and worked on the Caledonian Railway in Scotland, a large network that extended along that country’s east coast, as well as the central and south-western regions. Despite being limited to Caledonian metals, they appeared to have a familiarity with other railways, as they were familiar with the locomotives and livery of the Highland Railway.
Giving long and stalwart service, Donald and Douglas eventually became 57646 and 57647 on the Scottish Region of British Railways. In 1959 Sir Topham Hatt needed a freight engine, and by his request BR transferred 57646 (Donald) to Sodor.
To Hatt’s surprise though, two engines arrived. Donald’s twin Douglas (57647) could not stand to be separated from his brother, and was smart enough to realise he would eventually be scrapped if he stayed in Scotland. Neither engine could be told apart: both claimed to have forgotten their numbers, and indeed their numberplates had “slyly slipped off” in the journey from Scotland, forcing Hatt to keep both until he could determine which engine was freeloading on his hospitality. It was later revealed that this piece of skullduggery had been planned not only by the two engines, but also by their drivers and firemen, who were all related.