257 Squadron, known by almost everyone as "257", is a large express locomotive who lives on the Dark Railway.
257 Squadron was built in 1948 at Brighton Works. While he was based in Bournemouth, he chose to spend time with his brothers such as Tangmere, Sir Keith Park, and Anti Aircraft Command, but often ignored his younger brother, Sir Eustace Missenden, whom he found overly pompous and rather boring at the time.
As well as his brothers, he also made good friends with two other engines stationed at Bournemouth: A Standard Class 5MT called "Kyle" and a Maunsell N15 called "Sir Mador De La Trip". The last engine, De La Trip, would give 257 Squadron a great insight into the past of the Southern Railway, making 257 wish he had been built earlier to have seen the heyday of the Southern Railway.
In 1954, 257 Squadron was brought to the Dark Railway, and proved to be quite popular with the locals and enginemen alike. Unfortunately, one cold misty night in 1957, he was involved in a nasty accident at Axley. He was taking a ballast train to Galen Junction when another engine, James, collided with the back of his train, having missed a red signal. James was damaged beyond repair and scrapped. Later that year, 257 left the DR.
257 continued to work for British Railways for many years, but was withdrawn in 1964, prompting him to go on the run. He chose to return to the Dark Railway, but was spotted by Eustace as he passed Galen Junction, though he didn't recognise his brother due to his rebuilt form. He was spotted the next night at Merecombe Gasworks by Eddie, prompting the other engines to launch a search party. Eustace discovered him at Merecombe Industrial Estate, and when 257 explained his situation, Mr. Dark allowed him to stay on the DR.
257 quickly became popular with the other engines, but Eustace became rather jealous, and this culminated one night with Eustace declaring that he didn't care if 257 was scrapped. The following day, a group of men and their diesel, Howard, arrived at Galen Junction looking for 257. Still angry with his brother, Eustace revealed his location to the men and they tracked him down at Merecombe, intent on taking him away to Barry Island. Fortunately, Eustace realised the error of his ways and alerted Mr. Dark, who offered to buy 257 outright from BR. The men agreed, and 257 became a permanent DR resident.
A few months later, 257 was chosen to pull a football special, but ended up wrecking his valve gear as he was leaving Merecombe. He was the last engine captured by Leanne as part of her revenge scheme against the Dark Railway, but the coupling between them snapped, allowing 257 to escape and rescue the other engines. In 1967, when he learned that steam engines and privately owned diesels were now banned from the mainline, but Raymond was allowed to run express trains to London, he planned to sabotage the trial run by failing himself at Walschurch, but the plan was thwarted by Brian, who was present at the time. He was severely scolded by Mr. Dark for this and sent away for repairs, but 257 learned his lesson, and was forgiven upon his return.
In 1968, 257 was withdrawn from service with numerous problems, including requiring new thermic siphons. One day, while waiting in the back of the sheds, he spotted the recent new arrival, Repulse, muttering about previous events that the Dark Railway engines had been involved with. Not understanding how she could know them, 257 called Repulse over and, after a brief interrogation, discovered that she was, in fact, Leanne. After revealing her plans to him, she proceeded to drag 257 to Merecombe station and push him through the headshunt and over the cliff. He landed in the Industrial Estate, where he was found by Dave and Hannah. Warning them about Leanne, but just failing to mention her name, 257 succumbed to his injuries, with his spirit moving on to Pogo's Locker.
He awoke with Dave, who had also managed to get himself killed in the Gasworks Tunnel collapse, in an empty foggy space. Here, they encountered Pogo, who, despite his anger at the pair for getting themselves killed, agreed to send them back to earlier in the day, ordering 257 to fix everything. Once he had been sent back, he alerted the nearby Ed and told him everything once he had moved him to the carriage shed. They followed Leanne to the Industrial Estate and led Dave and Hannah away. Leanne tried to give chase, but derailed in the tunnel herself, crushing herself in the process.
257 was very pleased with his work, but he began to suffer nightmares about his experience. He also remained worried about his condition, until he was informed that he would be taken to Caracus Smash's yard to be repaired. He left for the yard, alongside Eustace and Ed, in the summer of 1969. 257 returned to the DR in October 1971, now repainted into his original malachite green, and was rostered onto the dining service, "The Ventura". Shortly after his return, he had a run-in with a multiple unit the engines called Clarence, and was present to see him get his comeuppance.
257 Squadron is generally a friendly engine, but can be prone to bouts of jelousy in his fellow engines. For example, when steam was banned from the Southern Region mainline, 257 attempted to sabotage Raymond's mainline career, reasoning that, if the steam engines were not allowed out on the "big railway", then Raymond shouldn't be allowed either.
He now has a close relationship with his younger brother, Eustace, whom he is most often seen with. Though the two engines have their disagreements, the brothers care very much about one another, and always attempt to make amends with eachother.
257 speaks with an excited affliction, always seeming overly optimistic and thrilled with whatever he happens to be saying. He also has a keen eye for detail, beleiving to be very good at reading other engine's personalities. He also fancies himself as a bit of an investigator, revelling in mysteries and odd goings on.
257 Squadron is painted in British Railways malachite green with sunshine yellow lining and "British Railways" on his tender. with the late crest. For most of his life both in service and on the Dark Railway, he carried BR lined green with the late crest. When he returned from repairs in 1967, he briefly carried Dark Railway green with white and black lining, but this was removed the following year, as Mr Dark did not like it.
257 Squadron is based on a Southern Railway Battle of Britain Class 4-6-2, known as the "Bulleid Light Pacifics". The real No. 34072 257 Squadron has been preserved and is currently undergoing an overhaul at the Swanage Railway.
The Dark Railway SeriesEdit
- Series 1 - Will and Won't (cameo)
- Series 3 - 257 Squadron, Tender Moments of Tender Engines, BR Blues, Football Shortfalls, Poor Leno (mentioned), Who Goes There?, and Revenge of the Forgotten
- Series 4 - Cammer, Colin and Cows, Owen's Woes (does not speak), Tender Tantrum, The Big Bad Wolf, Turbo (mentioned), Trucks, and Instant Crush
- Series 5 - What a Catch!, Abomination, Haunted Hannah (does not speak), Ed and Sid, Claim to Fame, Repulse, Time Waits for No One, and Time Waits for No One, Part 2
- Series 6 - Ouverture, Trepid, Fustercluck (does not speak), Ed, Ed and Eddie, and Plunk 'n Bang
- Series 7 - Futura (mentioned), Smashing! (mentioned), The Red Herring (mentioned), Mothership Reconnection (mentioned), What a Clarence!, and The Man in Overalls (mentioned)
- 257 Squadron is Dark DJ's favourite real life preserved steam locomotive.
- Originally, 257 Squadron was to appear in the first series, but time constraints and other story arcs prevented this happening until Series 3.
- He is often known by his unusal nickname of "Two Five Seven". Thus, he is the only engine in the series to be referred to by a number, rather than a proper name, until the Introduction of Five.
- He is one of the only main characters in the series to be based on a real preserved locomotive. The only other (at the current time) is No 5690 "Leanne".
- 257 is the first engine in the series to actively attempt to evade being withdrawn by British Raiways.
- He is the second engine to have left the railway and later return to it.
|Locomotives of The Dark Railway|
|Theo and Otto • 257 Squadron • Sir Eustace Missenden • Dave • Brian • Eddie • Leno • Abomination • Hannah • Ed • Sid • Caracus Smash • Five • Barry|
|Ryan • Raymond • Allan • Turbo|
|Cheapside • Dark Railway No 1202 • James • Colin • Repulse|
|Owen • Cammer|