Bio in the Railway Series
Oliver worked on the Great Western Railway. Sometime during the 1960s, he ran away for 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 wind 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. The runaways decided it was safe to leave at some point, but before they could reach the greener pastures of Sodor, Oliver ran out of coal. Luckily, Douglas was able to rescue Oliver and hid him on a siding at The Other Railway. The Fat Controller soon found out and arranged for the three to be repaired and painted in Great Western colours. Toad decided to be Douglas' brakevan to thank him, and the Fat Controller rescued an auto coach named Dulcie and gave her to Oliver.
Oliver was then sent to work on the Tidmouth-Arlesburgh branch line, but became conceited after the big engines gave him their respect in recognition of his adventures and pushed his weight around, prompting several ballast trucks to push him into a turntable well. Oliver received little respect from the trucks after the incident, but got his own back by pulling the ringleader, S. C. Ruffey, apart. Oliver is now well-respected by the trucks, out of fear they will be pulled apart too.
Bio in the television series
Oliver and Toad were escaping from scrap when Douglas found, saved, and brought them to the North Western Railway. The other engines were impressed by his adventures and the attention soon went to Oliver's smokebox. He was so conceited that he ignored Duck and Donald's advice about trucks and several pushed him into the turntable well. Upon his return from the Works, Oliver regained his respect after pulling the ringleader of the trucks, S. C. Ruffey, apart. Oliver has since had many adventures, such as running Thomas' Branch Line during the engines' trip to England, discovering an abandoned house which was later turned into a tea-house, spending a night as a snowman after crashing into one in the village, and being saved by Emily when he was about to be hit by Thomas.
Once during a flood, he collided with Rocky and James who were rescuing Duck, who had stalled underwater. He also nearly collided with Duck after the latter ran a red signal by mistake. Later, he broke down whilst on his way to the docks to deliver some trucks. When Gator arrived to take the train, Oliver was surprised by his unusual shape, and wondered where Gator's lamp was, unaware it wasn't working properly.
In the nineteenth season, he began to get fed up of Toad singing during their journeys, and explained to Duck that Toad is always like this when he's in a good mood. Later Toad told Oliver that he saw a whale, and he didn't believe him at first until he saw the whale for himself. He then helped with rescuing the whale.
Oliver escaped the dreaded scrapyards of the Mainland, mainly thanks to Douglas, but also as the result of sympathetic signalmen, luck, and using "goods only" routes under cover of darkness, with some close calls along the way. Despite his previous heroism and daring feats, Oliver is an engine who is willing to admit every day is a learning curve. When he was still new to Sodor, he let the other engines' responses to his courage, resource, and sagacity from his amazing recounts of daring escapes and adventures get to his smokebox and he became conceited. However, when troublesome trucks pushed him into the turntable well, he grew into a much more humble, settled engine and was far warier of trucks. But later, with some help from his brake van Toad, he did gain much respect and authority among the trucks when he showed his strength with the ringleader of the trucks, S. C. Ruffey, a little more than he had perhaps been intending. Oliver still has gumption, but is now a more obedient, sensible engine. He feels his responsibility on the railway deeply, is ever thankful for being aided in his escape from scrap by Douglas, and is a trustworthy, tenacious, plucky engine. However, he does occasionally have one or two temper problems and grumbles quite easily, but despite this setback, Oliver is still one of the more really useful, and well-behaved engines on Sodor.
Oliver is based on a GWR 14xx 0-4-2T. 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. 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.
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. Before he came to Sodor, Oliver was painted in BR unlined brunswick green with late BR crest logo.
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 NWR green and has remained so since.
In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates on the sides of his cab.
- Season 3 - Escape, Oliver Owns Up, and Bulgy
- Season 4 - Four Little Engines (cameo), Rusty to the Rescue (mentioned), Toad Stands By, Thomas and the Special Letter (does not speak), and Mind that Bike (cameo)
- Season 5 - Gordon and the Gremlin (cameo), Oliver's Find, Make Someone Happy, and Busy Going Backwards
- Season 6 - The World's Strongest Engine (cameo), Scaredy Engines (cameo), Percy and the Haunted Mine (cameo), Percy's Chocolate Crunch (cameo), and Edward the Very Useful Engine(deleted scene)
- Season 7 - Emily's New Coaches, James and the Queen of Sodor (cameo), Snow Engine, Bulgy Rides Again (cameo), and Best Dressed Engine (cameo)
- Season 12 - Steady Eddie (does not speak) and Gordon Takes a Shortcut
- Season 18 - Signals Crossed (cameo), Toad's Adventure, Duck in the Water, Spencer's VIP, Toad's Bright Idea, and Last Train for Christmas
- Season 19 - Toad and the Whale
- Thomas and the U.K. Trip (does not speak)
- Tale of the Brave (cameo)
- Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure
He also appeared in two eighth season music videos.
- Joe Mills (UK/US; eighteenth season onwards)
- Hikaru Midorikawa (Japan; third - seventh seasons)
- Yuta Odagaki (Japan; eighteenth season onwards)
- Piotr Bajtlik (Poland; eighteenth season onwards)
- Mario Filio (Mexico; eighteenth season onwards)
- Renato Hermeto (Brazil; eighteenth season onwards)
- Oliver was named after Oliver Wicks, who was a much respected member of Stroud Baptist Church. He was the Reverend W. Awdry's next door neighbour in Rodborough, Stroud.
- Recent information has revealed that there really was a 1436 on the Great Western Railway.
- In the story Oliver Gets the Bird from the 1985 Thomas and Friends annual, Oliver was incorrectly depicted as an 0-4-4, as well as an 0-6-2 in the first illustration. In Wilbert the Forest Engine, Oliver was incorrectly depicted as an 0-6-0.
- One of Oliver's models was on display at Nitrogen Studios, and another is on display in Japan.
- From the twelve season onwards, Oliver's eyebrows are thicker.
- Oliver has had many modifications throughout the television series. These include:
- Season 18:
- Black side-rods and lamp irons.
- More hand rails.
- His face is slightly smaller.
- His whistle guard became slightly taller.
- The 'GWR' logo and his number are slightly bigger.
- His driving wheels are slightly further away from each other.
- His bufferbeam is significantly smaller.
- His funnel is slightly thinner.
- His running board was painted black, like it was in the Railway Series, and is also thicker than on his basis.
- He lost his guard irons on his cab windows, the counterweights on his wheels, his middle lamp iron and the lamp iron on top of his smokebox.
- His smokebox saddle is narrower.
- He is slightly taller, but is also noticeably scaled down compared to his model form and his basis.
- He gained rivets on his smokebox.
- Oliver gained a permanent headlamp and taillamp.
- Season 19:
- His siderods became grey again.
- Season 18:
- Olivers Bandai TEC model incorrectly depicts him with golden handrails.
- Oliver has had two different whistle sounds; in the third season, his whistle sound was Gordon's at a higher pitch, while from the fourth season onwards his whistle became Duck's at a lower pitch.
- "Yon's an enterprising engine," Douglas thought. "I won away here with Donald; but I'd've been feared to do it on my own."
- Douglas, Enterprising Engines
- "Oliver's no use at all; thinks he's very clever.
Says that he can manage us; that's the best joke ever!
When he orders us about, with the greatest folly,
We just push him down the well, Pop goes old Ollie!"
- Troublesome Trucks teasing, Oliver the Western Engine
- "I'm a Great Western engine, I shouldn't have to shiver!"
-Oliver, Snow Engine, Seventh Season
- ERTL (discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (reintroduced 2014)
- Take Along (normal and metallic; discontinued)
- Take-n-Play (coming soon)
- Motor Road and Rail (discontinued)
- TrackMaster (UK only; discontinued)
- My First Thomas (normal and talking)
- Hornby (discontinued)
- Bachmann (coming soon)
- My Thomas Story Library (discontinued)
- Trading Cards (discontinued)
- Brio (discontinued)
- Thomas Engine Collection Series (discontinued)
- Mini Die Cast Collection (discontinued)
- Thomas Town (discontinued)
- De Agostini (discontinued)
- Wind-up (Japan only)
- Pocket Fantasy (discontinued)
- Nakayoshi (discontinued)
- Boss (discontinued)