Tuesday, 28 January 2014

"Character profile: Violet"


So who is this?

She appears in one illustration in Tale of the Unnamed Engine. 

She appears on several occasions, unnamed and unspeaking, in the YouTube editions of The British Railway Stories.

She even has her name mentioned in the Trainspotting section at the back of the aforementioned children's book.

So who is Violet?

Violet, as I will now explain, is a character whose genesis goes back to the earliest days of The British Railway Stories. Back when it wasn't actually known as either the latter, or the earlier The British Railway Series.

No, she goes back to a time when there wasn't a name for the stories, and all there was were names on a crib sheet, and vague ramblings about talking trains from the history of Britain, "real railways, real stories" underlined firmly in biro.

Violet is a member of the Gresley N2 class of steam locomotives, as seen below.


Rather handsome locomotive, no? This is the preserved locomotive, 1744 (later 4744) in its original Great Northern Railway livery, whilst visiting the Mid Hants Railway a few years back.

Violet was named for Violet Gresley, one of Sir Nigel Gresley's daughters, and one who was frequently photographed with her father at many of his locomotive launches, particularly after the sad passing of his wife in the 1930s.

The character was intended to help balance up a vague idea of a locomotive roster, which originally comprised classes A2, A4, B12 and J37 but ended up being A1, A4, B12, J39, V2, V3 and a few others…and one solitary Gresley N2 in the background on several occasions in the films.

The real locomotive was unlikely to have worked anywhere near Copley Hill, and most were seen working the Metropolitan and Great Northern suburban and mainlines out of London. Hence why Violet can be seen on page 63 in Tale of the Unnamed Engine…

As a character, she was intended to be supportive, loving, loyal and wise (true to her namesake) and would have had more lines, were it not for the frankly awful voice acting from yours truly…can you imagine how bad that would have been?!

Fear not however. Violet, along with a whole host of new and returning characters, will appear next in Gresley's Goliaths…which is shaping up to be something special and more of which will be written on it during 2014.

Until next time, goodnight!

1 comment:

Henrythegreen said...

I remember liking Violet when I saw her illustrated in my copy of "Tale of the Unnamed Engine" and I'm glad to hear we'll be seeing more of her!