Sir Handel is the third engine on the Skarloey Railway. He is named after the Skarloey Railway's first owner, Sir Handel Brown I. He was previously named Falcon after the works where he was built.
BioFalcon was built at Falcon Works in Loughborough, England for the Mid Sodor Railway. When he was still new to railway, he was asked to double-head a train along the "Mountain Road" with Duke. Falcon was cross and insisted on going in front, this led to trouble when he didn't listen to Duke's advice, and found himself hanging dangerously over the edge of a cliff. Duke gallantly held Falcon until his steam pressure was good, then he pulled Falcon back onto the rails. After that, Duke, Stuart and Falcon lived happily together for many years.
When the Mid Sodor Railway closed in 1947, Falcon and Stuart were sold to the aluminium works for construction duties. When the work was done, they both were purchased by the Skarloey Railway and renamed Sir Handel and Peter Sam respectively. Sir Handel proved to be difficult and took a disliking to the coaches. After refusing to take some trucks, he deliberately derailed himself and was sent to the shed in disgrace. When Peter Sam was ill, Sir Handel had to take the coaches. They didn't trust him and when he accidently bumped them, they surged off the rails. With Skarloey's advice, the coaches never played tricks on Sir Handel after that.
When Rusty was brought to railway, Sir Handel and Peter Sam were glad to see him. Even so, Sir Handel couldn't stop grumbling; The troublesome trucks dislike Sir Handel and wanted to play tricks on him. Gordon advised him that if he were ill, he couldn't shunt trucks. Sir Handel did so next morning, and Peter Sam and Rusty took his trucks. Later, some trucks mistaken Peter Sam for Sir Handel, and he became involved in a serious accident. Sir Handel apologised and the manager ordered him to do Peter Sam's work as well as his own. Sir Handel was then left wanting to give Gordon a piece of his mind!
When a television crew came to visit the railway, the engines were pleased and excited, all expect Sir Handel. He believed it was vulgar and he want to appear on screen. He threaten to give the Thin Controller a piece of his mind, but the next day when the Thin Controller came to explain about television Sir Handel kept strangely quiet. He pretended to be ill again, so the Thin Controller asked his crew to take him apart to show the producers how an engine works; Sir Handel's feelings were beyond words.
Sir Handel was always slipping between the rails, so he was given new wheels with broad tyres. He began boasting about his new wheels, and the engines nickname him a "steamroller". Skarloey tried to trick Sir Handel into confronting George the steamroller, to divert his attention. One afternoon, Sir Handel took a train down the line where George was working. George didn't give Sir Handel enough room to pass, and rammed his front roller into Sir Handel's train. The next day, a fence was put up and George was taken away. Sir Handel claimed the credit, but lost his pride when some boys teased him for racing a steamroller.
In 1983, Sir Handel visited the Talyllyn Railway to help out while Talyllyn was being mended. Sir Handel had plenty of adventures there. Some members of the royal family came to visit during his stay, and although Sir Handel didn't get to pull their train he did get to pull a party of wedding guests. He had to wear an eye-patch when a fallen tree hit him in the face. Later he pulled an AGM train, and they even wrote a piece about him in their magazine. Sir Handel loved his trip, but was glad to return home.
Sir Handel became jealous when Peter Sam was brought back from Talyllyn Railway, especially to help with the engine shortage. When he was convinced that Peter Sam was grinning at him from the shed he was furious, and deliberately knocks his firebars loose. Sir Handel was sent to the shed, but as the days pass he began to worry if he would stay there forever. When the Thin Controller finally arrived, Sir Handel was quick to confess and he thanked for admitting his mistake and arranges for him to receive new firebars. But no one told Sir Handel that they had only been delivered that morning.
Sir Handel did not reappear until years later, apparently because he was working in the stone quarry. When he returned, he had a much different attitude. He did his jobs without complaining, even though had trouble getting up hills. However, he slowly reverted back into his old ways and was generally pompous on some occasions. He often believes that he knows best and should be in charge. When Mr. Percival put Sir Handel in charge, it ended with a disastrous results. However, when he was given a second chance he managed to get the job done.
Sir Handel can be badly behaved at times and his plans to get out of work usually backfires on him. He has been known to take a disliking on the narrow gauge coaches, but he feels that he should only pull bogie coaches like Gertrude and Millicent. Upon returning, he adopted a more mature and wise personality.
Brought up under instruction from Duke, Sir Handel is one of the oldest of the engines. Generally is of the opinion that he knows it all and should be the boss. Given to the occasional tantrum and can be rather bad tempered, but gets on with the job none the less.
Behind the ScenesSir Handel's small scale model was O Scale. It was able to blow smoke from its funnel and had over 12 different different facial expressions. He was Radio Controlled and was given moving eyes. Nearly all drivers for large and small engines were cut down the middle and black tacked to the engines because the electric motors would not allow them to stand half in the cabs. Occasionally, he would wear one of Rheneas's faces for unknown reasons. A rare promotional picture showed him wearing one of Skarloey's faces.
Sir Handel received a larger-scale model when he returned in Season 10. It was able to blow smoke from its funnel, had several different different facial expressions, was Radio Controlled and was given moving eyes. However, the whistle was omitted. The model was previously painted into Proteus.
In order to interact with the large scale people, a larger scale version of Sir Handel was built. It usually was commonly featured in Season 4 (his introduction).
BasisSir Handel is based on the Talyllyn Railway's Sir Haydn.
In the 1980s, the Talyllyn Railway repainted Sir Haydn to represent Sir Handel. Christopher Awdry wrote this into the 1985 book Great Little Engines, explaining that Sir Handel was visiting the line to help out. An incident in which Sir Haydn ran into a tree branch and was given a bandage and eyepatch was turned into a story in the book, with almost no alteration from the real event.
In the Railway Series, Sir Handel was painted blue while working on the Mid Sodor Railway. When he was brought by Skarloey Railway, he was repainted in the Skarloey Railway's red livery and blue-and-yellow lining with his name painted in gold on his boiler.
In the television series, he kept his blue colour with red and yellow lining.