Brad is a tank engine.
Brad was bought by the Fat Controller in 1965 from the Longmoor Military Railway, and became the subject of a long-term lease to a Heritage Railway, who overhauled him completely with salvaged parts from a previously scrapped USA Dock Tank. He remained there for 30 years, however, became surplus to use and went into storage toward the end of the leasing period with no prospect of overhaul. The Fat Controller seized the opportunity to put Brad back to work, and overhauled him completely at Crovans Gate with a view to putting him to work on the expansion of Knapford Harbour. Upon completion of the work, Brad returned to the Mainland, but returned shortly after when the volume of work at the Harbour necessitated his return to the Branch Line. He was an invaluable assett to the building of the Ulfstead extension and now runs a third tier passenger service alongside the other USA Dock Tank, Rosie.
Cool, calm and collected – with a very slick attitude to boot, Brad was one of the first batch of USA S100 Dock Tanks built in 1943 for the impending British invasion of Mainland Europe. He was initially requisitioned for use at Longmoor, but did not become property of the Military Railway. It was here that he met Rosie, a fellow S100 Tank who would become a Longmoor resident, and later, a Sodor one through her affiliations with Charles Hatt. Following the D Day Landings in 1944, Brad was shipped out to the European front, where he saw service, returning to Britain following the war he was acquired by the Longmoor Military Railway and given the name General Bradley Nelson Omar (Longmoor had a policy of naming engines after military leaders), which unknown to official sources was part of a good-natured scam by Matthew Kyndley to allow Brad and Rosie to retain ‘their’ names. In 1965, Brad was sold off from Longmoor and bought by Sir Charles Topham Hatt (The 2nd Fat Controller), becoming one of the first engines in his ‘Hatt Steam Preservation Trust’. He was placed on a long-term lease to a Heritage Railway, who overhauled him and put him in the green livery of a USA Dock Shunter. He grew to like the colour and still retains it to this day.
After nearly 30 years of active service for the Heritage Railway, he was laid aside in the overhaul queue awaiting his turn. However, as his lease was coming to an end in 1995, the Fat Controller seized the opportunity to bring Brad to Sodor, along with Jinty. Initially, the plan involved sending one engine back to the Mainland – while at the same time, solving the problems of expanding Knapford Harbour and providing the Main Line engines with a reliable shunting engine. Brad was chosen for the task of expanding the Harbour, and upon its completion in 1997, he was sent back to the Mainland. However, Brad soon proved surplus to their needs and when the increasing goods work on the Branch Line became too much for Percy and Toby to manage alone, Brad was sent for and returned at once, this time becoming a permanent member of the Ffarquhar Branch Line. And in 2000, Brad was reunited with Rosie after 35 years apart. The two USA Tanks were to play a pivotal and important role in the Ulfstead extension by playing an active role in the construction. Following construction at Ulfstead, Brad has seen service on the Little Western Branch, and has appeared in the Pemberton Films production – The Tidmouth Lightningbolt.
Brad is based on the USATC (United States Army Transportation Corps) S100 0-6-0 steam locomotive, built in 1942-43 by Davenport Locomotive Works in Iowa, H K Porter Inc of Pittsburgh and Vulcan Iron Works of Pennsylvania. They were shipped to Great Britain in 1943 where they were stored until 1944, when they were shipped to Mainland Europe following the D Day landings. Following the war, many of the class were bought by the Southern Railway for dock shunting use at Southampton
- Brad carries the NWR number 56.