The "Coffee Pots" were four small tank engines with vertical boilers, built by Sir Topham Hatt for the Tidmouth, Knapford and Elsbridge Railway.


The Railway Series

The "Coffee Pots" were all built at Tidmouth between 1905 and 1908 by a young Sir Topham Hatt when he was an engineer for the Tidmouth, Knapford and Elsbridge Railway. They each had four wheels and vertical boilers, and were nicknamed "Coffee Pots" due to their resemblance to one and because they were prone to cough up dirty brown water.

When the Tidmouth, Knapford and Elsbridge Railway formed into the North Western Railway, the "Coffee Pots" were relegated to only operate between Elsbridge and the east side of the bay platform at Knapford. In 1924-5, the branch line was extended to Ffarquhar and Anopha Quarry, but as the "Coffee Pots" were deemed too insufficient, Thomas was transferred to take charge of their branch line. The "Coffee Pots" were kept on the branch line as backup engines, but their poor quality brakes on the steep quarry tramroad sometimes led to the heavy trains of stone to run out of control.

The "Coffee Pots" were eventually withdrawn from service and scrapped, though the actual date of their scrapping is unknown. They were not well-documented and were never even photographed prior to being scrapped, but reference is made to them by former Ffarquhar stationmaster, Kevin Volley. In his letter, he confirmed that one or more of the "Coffee Pots" were still in service when Thomas and his crew were fined for illegally operating on the tramroad.

Television Series

The "Coffee Pots" used to work on the North Western Railway before the other engines arrived, and looked after the Ffarquhar Branch Line. However, they were withdrawn from service as newer and stronger engines were brought to the line, and it can be assumed that most of them were scrapped. However, one of the "Coffee Pots", Glynn, was seen at Ffarquhar, having been left to rust in a siding. To date, he is the only "Coffee Pot" engine to have ever been seen. (TVS; The Adventure Begins)

Technical Details


It is unknown what the "Coffee Pots" ever looked like, as they were never shown in any illustrations. However, it has been said that they have an 0-4-0 wheel arrangement and have vertical boilers, giving them the nickname of "Coffee Pots".

Although Glynn is meant to be one of the "Coffee Pots" built by Sir Topham Hatt, he shares his design with the Dorking Greystone vertical boiler locomotive of 1871 at the Beamish Museum.