Sir Ralph Wedgwood (II) (formerly Herring Gull) is an A4 Pacific who lives at Copley Hill.
Sir Ralph was built at Doncaster Works in South Yorkshire on January 26th, 1938. Back then, his name was Herring Gull. He was allocated to King's Cross, where he became good friends with his brother, Gadwall, and his cousin an A3 Pacific, Flying Scotsman. Just before the war, Gadwall was renamed "Sir Ralph Wedgwood", after the chief officer of the LNER.
When the Second World War broke out, Herring Gull, Sir Ralph Wedgwood, and Stephen were reallocated to York. Despite the air raids and bombings going on, Herring Gull and Sir Ralph were still good friends. One night however, in 1942, Sir Ralph was destroyed at York Station when the Baedeker Blitz hit the city of York. Herring Gull was very upset about his friend's destruction, but one day in 1944, he told Stephen that he wanted to keep Sir Ralph's memory alive. Stephen thought that this was a noble thought, and the two engines became firm friends after that.
On that same day, Herring Gull was given the opportunity to be renamed "Sir Ralph Wedgwood", as a tribute to both the man and Gadwall. Herring Gull gladly accepted the offer, believing that this was the way to keep Gadwall's memory alive.
Unfortunately, over the years, Sir Ralph became haughty, boastful and mean. In 1948, he met Allen for the first time at King's Cross station, teasing Allen about being unnamed. He quickly met his comeuppance when he derailed at the shed, resulting in Allen taking his train back to Leeds Central. At some point later that year, he was reallocated to Copley Hill, where his haughty attitude became worse over time, particularly when Herbert came to the yard. However, when he failed at Market Harborough with hot axleboxes, Herbert came to rescue his train and made the run in good time, proving that Sir Ralph was wrong about him. Sir Ralph had to wait at Marker Harborough for a week, before he was taken to Doncaster Works for repairs.
Whilst there, he was taken into the workshops, and saw, hanging on the wall, both his old nameplates, and Gadwall's nameplates. He realised that he had betrayed his friend's legacy by acting so haughty, and he vowed to do his best in everything he did after that.
His new behaviour surprised many engines, particularly Allen and Stephen, after the Fair Maid competition. However, when Scott, the A3 Pacific, arrived in the yard, Sir Ralph was scared to go near him, until Scott managed to confront him, saying that his secret was safe with him. Despite this, Scott told everyone in the yard that Sir Ralph was an impostor, who had stolen his friend's memory. Thankfully, Stephen managed to reveal the truth about Sir Ralph, and he and Scott became firm friends once again.
As more time passed, however, Sir Ralph once again became boastful, and even accused Gronk, the diesel shunter, of moving Nigel to the Out of Use line on purpose, although after being reminded by Allen that Gronk had moved Nigel due to orders, he had a change of heart. When Stephen warned the engines about the Modernisation Plan, Sir Ralph was convinced that he would survive, and began boasting that he was the best of the best.
In 1964, when Copley Hill was closed down, Sir Ralph, Allen, and Herbert were reallocated to King's Cross. When the engines were talking about the upcoming closure, and when Herbert told them to remember the good times, Sir Ralph surprised everyone by suddenly saying a speech on how great Copley Hill was. Afterwards, Nigel joked that Sir Ralph had been listening to William Shakespeare again. Sir Ralph saw Allen one final time when the A1 Pacific pulled his final express passenger train. Sir Ralph was later withdrawn on September 3rd, 1965 and was cut up at Motherwell Machinery & Scrap Ltd Scrapyard on October 31st, 1965.
Gadwall (Brother, destroyed)
Mallard (Brother, preserved)
Flying Scotsman (Cousin, preserved)
Sir Nigel Gresley (Brother, preserved)
Union of South Africa (Brother, preserved)
Dwight D. Esenhower (Brother, preserved)
Dominion of Canada (Brother, preserved)
Bittern (Brother, preserved)
Green Arrow (Cousin, preserved)
Herbert (Cousin, scrapped)
Charlotte (Cousin, scrapped)
Sir Ralph was shown to be haughty and arrogant for the first few episodes, but soon turned more kind and friendly. However, over the later episodes, he is shown to be boastful again.
Sir Ralph is based on the real No. 60006 Sir Ralph Wedgwood, a LNER A4 Pacific which was built in 1938 and scrapped in 1965. His background story is real, as the original Sir Ralph I (No. 4469 Gadwall') was destroyed in the Badeker Blitz. Herring Gull (the current Sir Ralph ) adopted the name there onwards. The actual engine was never allocated to Copley Hill (Copley Hill only hosted a few A4s). Happily, the 4466 has six brothers that carry on his legacy. So it would be fair to say that 4466 and 4469's Class is still well represented.
Sir Ralph was originally painted in LNER garter blue, but was repainted into wartime black during the war. After 1948, he was repainted into British Railways Express Passenger blue, a livery that he wore until 1959, when he was repainted into BR brunswick green.
- A Great Problem Goes West!
- Veto a V2!
- Hawk, Aye! (does not speak)
- Nigel, Herbert and the Cows
- Hand of the Fair Maid!
- Goodbye, Stephen the Green Engine!
- Christmas, 1952
- Scott and the Herring Gull
- Birds of a Feather
- The Legacy of Gadwall
- Hawk Eyed!
- Hawk the Hunter
- Suburban Tank (does not speak)
- Silent Night
- Day of the Deltic
- The Parting of Ways (cameo)
- Great Scott!
- Fowler's Ghost
- The Ghosts of Engines Past
- The Last Run
- According to Simon Martin, Sir Ralph was originally going to be No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, so he would also be preserved, but after learning about Herring Gull taking on its classmate's name, he decided to make him No. 60006.
- As per above, No. 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley was the model purchased for Sir Ralph, even after the decision was made to feature No. 60006 was made. Hence, from episodes 1 to 9, the nameplates read Sir Nigel Gresley. Due to testing by the original team, his nameplates read Dominion of Canada in episode 1.
- Sir Ralph originally had a circular face, which later became the face of Scott and several background engines.
- Along with Stephen, Sir Ralph is one of the only characters to appear in every episode.
- According to Simon and many other people, they got the name Sir Ralph Wedgwood between Gadwall and Herring Gull wrong many times.