Oliver is a Great Western tank engine. He works on Duck's Branch Line with Duck and occasionally Donald and Douglas. He has two coaches called Isabel and Dulcie. He was saved from scrap by Douglas, along with Isabel and his brake van, Toad.
BioOliver worked on the other railway. He ran away in fear of being scrapped with his coach, Isabel, and a brakevan named Toad. The three were forced to hide between signalboxes and rely on the goodwill of signalmen to pass at safe times. When control got heard of the runaways, they hid in an old quarry branch and had the cutting blocked by rubbish to avoid being spotted by the Diesels outside. When they left, Oliver ran out of coal.
One night, Douglas was later taking a goods train to the Other Railway when the stranded steam engine, Oliver begs him to take him to the North Western Railway. Douglas is glad to help, and they manage to get to the works despite being stopped by an Other Railway foreman. The Fat Controller soon finds out, and arranges for Oliver, Isabel and Toad, to be mended and repainted in full Great Western colors. All three were sent to work on Duck's Branch Line. Toad decided to be Douglas' brakevan to thank him, and the Fat Controller rescued an autocoach named Dulcie and gave her to Oliver.
Oliver became conceited when Gordon, James and Henry said admiring things to him, after hear his stories. Oliver was told by the Fat Controller that he must learn how to handle trucks. Oliver became overconfident and ignored Duck and Donald's warnings. Oliver soon meets his match after some Troublesome Trucks full of ballast, push him into Donald and Douglas' turntable well. Duck was very concerned about Oliver's predicament, and Donald and Douglas will have to work without the use of the turntable. After The Fat Controller speaks to him sternly, Oliver is left feeling very silly. He was sent to the works to be mended.
When Oliver returned, the Troublesome Trucks, make rude songs about him, which is led by their ringleader, S.C. Ruffey. Toad the brakevan made a plan and asks Douglas if he can share it with Oliver. Duck is disagrees at first, but Oliver feels he must put things right. Oliver lines up the worst trucks, and starts. S.C. Ruffey, orders the Troublesome Trucks to hold back, but Oliver was so determined he pulls Scruffey apart. The Fat Controller lets Oliver off the hook, he whispers to Oliver to keep it a secret. The trucks are so afraid Oliver, that he might pull them apart and they never trouble him again.
Bank Holiday was being celebrated and many visitors traveled to Duck's Branch Line. Oliver met a double-decker bus, who was determined to scrap all railways. Oliver doesn't take him seriously and nicknames him, Bulgy. However he became worried when Bulgy's friend arrives, leaving Bulgy to take Duck and Oliver's passengers. Oliver told Duck all about it, and Duck was determined to teach Bulgy a lesson. Bulgy was wedged underneath a bridge and takes Duck takes the passengers home. Eventually Bulgy was turned into a henhouse, to Duck and Oliver's delight.
Oliver and Toad were enjoying their work in the big yard. However, Oliver was starting to miss the longer runs. He became more and more unhappy, his mood to the Troublesome Trucks lead to an accident in the turntable. Sir Topham Hatt transfers Oliver to the nightly mail train route so that he can clear his smokebox. He set off but was stopped by a red signal, the signalman had fallen asleep and forgotten to change the points. Oliver decide to proceed with caution and find out what the problem is at the signal box. They never reached the signal box, and were accidently switched onto an old branch line. He crash into a shed, and discovered an old abandoned house, this was later turned into a tea-house.
When Emily came to Sodor she accidently took Annie and Clarabel, Oliver tells her they are Thomas' coaches. So she went looking for Thomas, to apologize. On the way she met up with Oliver again. He had broken down and did not cleared the crossing, Thomas was heading towards Oliver and couldn't stop. Emily bravely pushed Oliver out of the way just in time, as a surprised Thomas puffed past. Later, Thomas and Oliver thanked Emily, for preventing a nasty accident and the Fat Controller rewarded Emily with the new two coaches.
Like most engines, Oliver always hated snow and thinks its messy and cold. Later, he sees some children building a huge snowman, Toad persuades Oliver to change his opinion about snow; but he doesn't. Unfortunately, Oliver slipped on the icy rails and they ended up crashing into the children's snowman. The next morning, the children see Oliver fast asleep, they think the snowman has grown eyes in its stomach. When Duck arrived with the breakdown train, Oliver didn't feel cold, and he didn't want to leave. Nowadays, Oliver appreciates the snow. Toad, on the other hand, has changed his mind.
Oliver is considered brave and a good role model by the engines. Iron 'Arry and Iron Bert wish to scrap him, because he escape from scrap. The Troublesome Trucks don't dare to pay tricks on him, because he might pull them apart, this happen to their ringleader S.C. Ruffey. However, Oliver is happy to put a smile on children's faces.
Oliver, is a Great Western engine. He was saved from being scrapped by Douglas and is very grateful to him. Oliver was given a new coat of green paint and now proudly works on Duck's branch line. The big engines are amazed at Oliver's adventures, this sometimes makes him conceited.
Behind the ScenesOliver had two different scales of models in the television series. Oliver's main model was Gauge One. It was able to blow smoke from its funnel and had over 20 faces, which were removable. He was Radio Controlled and was given moving eyes. He was giving the number eleven, however Oliver kept his original number in the Railway Series. One of Oliver's models is currently at display in Canada at Nitrogen Studios.
In order to interact with the large scale people, a large scale version of Oliver had been made since Season 5. It usually was featured in close-up scenes of Oliver's Cab, Oliver's Crew and Oliver's Whistle.
BasisOliver is based on a GWR 14xx 0-4-2T. The particular engine Oliver is based on, No. 1436, was built at Swindon Works in the August of 1934 and worked until it was withdrawn in 1958. It was scrapped the following year. These engines were fitted with a mechanical system allowing the driver to control the locomotive remotely from the cab of an 'autocoach', such as Isabel.
In the Railway Series, Oliver is painted in the GWR's green livery with yellow lining, black wheels and a brass GWR numberplate on his cab side. In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates on the sides of his cab.
In the television series, his paint had faded by the time he was rescued, leaving him a rusty-red colour. After his rescue, he was repainted green and has remained so since.
- In Wilbert the Forest Engine, Oliver was incorrectly depicted as an 0-6-0.
- In the story Oliver Gets the Bird, Oliver was incorrectly depicted as an 0-4-4.
- Oliver the Great Western engine should not be confused with the excavator Oliver.
- Oliver was named after Oliver Wicks – the Reverend Awdry's next door neighbour in Rodborough, Stroud – who was a much respected member of Stroud Baptist Church.