History and Background EditBrooklyn Eastern District Terminal No. 15 is an 0-6-0T steam locomotive it was built in 1917 by the H. K. Porter Company for the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal.
This locomotive was designed to work as a dockside switcher for the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal. When It arrived at Brooklyn at an unknown year, It was numbered 15 and was tasked to ether shunt freight cars, or take small trains of coal around the docks and onto railroad barges, often pulled by the railway tugboat, Invincible.
When it was retired in 1965 It was moved to the South Appalachia Railway in Burnsville, North Carolina from 1965-1975 when it was moved to the Toledo, Lake Erie and Western Railway in Grand Rapids, Ohio Where it was put on Static Display.
In 1998 the locomotive was purchased by the Strasburg Rail Road in Lancaster, PA, and was originally going to be used to pull regular excursions. This could not be possible however, as the water tanks were too small to go fully around the railroad and back, and that would mean the crew would have to constantly re-fill the tank at East Strasburg station.
Later that year when Strasburg agreed to use the railroad as a filming location for the movie "Thomas and the Magic Railroad," the railroad made a deal with the Britt Allcroft Company to host Day Out with Thomas events. They eventually got around to restoring B.E.D.T. 15 and It became completely converted to a steam replica of Thomas the Tank Engine and ran for the first time on April of 1999. It also was filmed in June of that year on Strasburg's first Day Out with Thomas event for the VHS special, "10 Years of Thomas," a special made for celebrating 10 years of Shining Time Station in the United States.
Today the engine is still currently in service, but it mostly runs on Day Out with Thomas events. Besides that, it can be found doing test runs or switching when preforming test runs.
- In 1998, Thomas was used in a Day Out with Thomas event at the Strasburg Railroad, but had to be moved via Strasburg's diesel locomotive No. 33 due to it's restoration not being completed yet. Thomas was given an air-pressured whistle that day.
- This engine is the only surviving Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal tank engine still in steam.
- During the Day Out with Thomas events This locomotive is one of 7 Thomas replica engines which are used for the events.
- This is the only steam replica of Thomas in the United States; because all the other replicas are "dummies", and they require a locomotive at the other end for power. The dummies are equipped with working brakes, a steam generator, and an animatronic voice and sound system, it's been said that there is an oil fired replica, but this is yet to be confirmed.
- In the initial conversion, only Thomas's eyes were capable of moving, but only with the motion of the locomotive swaying. In 2014, it was modified to include a CGI-style animatronic face and sound system, with a mouth that moved to prerecorded lines voiced by Thomas' American voice actor, Martin Sherman.
- Thomas not only operates at the Strasburg Railroad, but also operates at The Henry Ford museum, and Belvidere-Delaware Railroad for the Day Out With Thomas events.
- Unlike the real Thomas, this engine has visible cylinders and a cowcatcher. It has a dummy coupling hook on its front, which can sometimes exchanged for a knuckle coupling when it's necessary.
- The locomotive used to operate at lots of other tourist railroads for the Day Out With Thomas events in the United States but now the dummies took over but the locomotive is still in operation.
- The locomotive used to visit the NC Transportation Museum for the Day Out with Thomas event for many years until October 3rd, 2010 when the engineer that used to bring it to North Carolina Retired.
- Only one whistle on this engine is actually designed to work; the other is decorative. The one whistle that was actually designed to work almost sounds like Henry's whistle.
- The engine used to be on static display at a park in Grand Rapids, OH.
- The engine is the oldest of the surviving BEDT locos.
- When it operates on the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal railroad it was first built as a Saddle Tank Engine, then later it was converted into Thomas it is now a Side Tank Engine.
- All the Dummy Models were built by Strasburg, but are owned by Mattel. B.E.D.T. 15 however, is owned by the Strasburg Rail Road.
- Because the water tanks are too small to go fully around the Strasburg Rail Road, Thomas goes all the way down to Ensbenshade crossing which is not even the half-way point on the line. This also allows for extended time for pictures with the engine at East Strasburg.
- Strasburg has no turntable for their Standard Gauge engines. This means the engines have to switch to the other side of the train and pull it tender-first. This is not the case for Thomas, as the engine simply pushes the train when moving backwards so it's face can easily be seen to spectators, and so pictures with the engine can be easier. Thomas always pulls a caboose with an air-pressured whistle at the end of it's trains because of this.