When he first arrived on Sodor, Bradford met Thomas and offered to help him keep his trucks in order, as they were misbehaving. Although Bradford did well in keeping the trucks in order and striking fear into them, he rebuked Thomas several times for not adhering to the rules, even if it hardly mattered what the rule was. His officious attitude made Thomas' train run late, and he began to make the other engines late too when they took him along with them.
As the engines were becoming sick of Bradford's strict and uptight behavior, they decided not to use him and took along other brake vans instead. However, when Bradford was the only brake van available in the yard, Thomas decided not to use him and took his train without a brake van, resulting in an accident when his overloaded trucks pushed him down the hill. After the accident, Thomas returned to the yard to apologize to Bradford for leaving him behind, but discovered that he was planning to leave the Island to continue working with Samson. After Bradford left, the other engines began to like him. (TVS; Bradford the Brake Van)
Personality and Traits
Bradford is a strict and officious brake van who adheres to every railway rule, no matter how minor the rule in question might be. He speaks in a way similar to a drill sergeant and is quick to reprimand an engine or truck if he believes that they are breaking a rule, even if it hardly affects their job. Although Bradford means well, his rigorous attitude causes his trains to run very late indeed, and the other engines find him annoying because of it.
Bradford is based on an LMS 20 ton brake van. These brake vans were built at Derby Works between 1923 and 1940, and the LMS had a large fleet of these absorbed from the pre-1923 companies. Today, some of these brake vans can still be seen on heritage railways. Several of these brake vans have been seen in the series before.
Bradford is painted olive green with a red stripe running along his side, his doors and guard's booth are painted forest green, and his cab roof is grey. He carries his number, 0919, on his sides in white lettering.
- Bradford is the first brake van with a face to appear in the show since Toad in the third season.
- Bradford personality and voice were inspired by Battery Sergeant Major Williams from the British sitcom, It Ain't Half Hot Mum. Some of his dialogue is also taken from him.