Lord Otthaniel Theodore Dark, known mainly as Mr. Dark, is the former manager of the Dark Railway.
Otthaniel Dark was born at Colhapper Hospital on the 20th January 1922, to Lady Patricia Dark and Lord Theodore Dark.
Otto, as he was nicknamed, was a well behaved child, always doing as he was told and behaving in an appropriate manner for a child of his social status. He was intelligent, inquisitive and keen to prove himself to his father, whom he had a great respect for.
During his childhood, Otto gained an interest in railways, influenced no doubt by his father's line of work owning and operating the Dark Railway. He would often hang out of his bedroom window to see the engines hard at work, but, because of his over protective mother, rarely managed to venture away from the mansion (where he was home schooled).
When he was 8 years old, his mother tragically passed away after a period of illness. He was devastated, as was his father, who now had to bring up his son alone as well as run a railway. Lord Dark felt terrible for his son, and offered for the young Otto to accompany him to work on some days when he was not being home educated, so as to both spend more time with his son and keep a good eye on him. Otto was thrilled to finally be able to leave his home, and took to haunting his father's office during his free time, keeping his father company and generally helping where possible.
Shortly after this, Otto and his father journeyed up to Soma Quarry together, where a problem had arisen with one of the steam engines there. Lord Dark had brought Otto with him on this occaision, as he thought he may be interested to see some maintenance being carried out. Young Otto was fascinated as he watched the men work on Hawthorn Leslie saddle tank No 2, which had developed a small problem with it's valve gear.
Lord Dark then suggested that his son could clean the locomotive ready for it's next steaming, which Otto agreed to. Whilst his father was away talking to station staff, Otto was startled when the tank engine began talking to him! The engine apologised for scaring him, and introduced himself as "Number Two". Otto was fascinated, and quickly became good friends with the little engine whilst he polished it all over. Shortly, another tank engine, "Number One", came over, wanting to be cleaned too! Otto set to work, and soon, both engines were gleaming.
The tank engine twins thanked him, and the three of them continued to talk. Eventually, the engines expressed their desire to have names, having only been known as "One" and "Two" their entire lives. The boy thought about this request, and, quite without thought, named them "Theo" and "Otto" respectively, saying that, as the railway's first engines, they should have the honour of these names. The tank engines quite agreed, and from that time onwards, referred to themselves by their new names. (They recieved officlal nameplates from Lord Dark in 1938).
This was the beginning of Otto's long lasting friendship and tolerance of the mischevious and bonkers tank engine twins, whom he would now try to visit as often as he could, with his father's permission. As time went on, and with encouragement from the tank engines, Otto began to take a more active role within the railway, mainly by assisting his father with the day to day running and operating of the line. At the age of 15, Otto had matured greatly, and soon knew almost everything about the railway and it's operations.
It was during these years that he befriended the Smash family, in particular, Caracus Smash, who becae a life long friend and comfort during the darker years of his life. The two friends would often go out together to unwind, and spent many years chasing girls, as well as trains!
In January 1938, Otto was present at the unofficial naming ceremony of the tank engine twins, where Lord Dark officially named Number 1 "Theo" and Number 2 "Otto". Both tank engines were thrilled, and Otto drove his namesake engine around the quarry for the day in celebration, alongside his proud and joyful father.
In March of that year, whilst waiting with his father for a service train to Merecombe, Otto witnessed his father have a heart attack on the platform, collapsing in the process. Otto called for help, and quickly called for an ambulance to take his father to Royal Merecombe Hospital. Otto spent the whole evening and following day at the hispital next to his father but, that evening, Lord Theodore Dark passed away, leaving Otto completely and utterly distraught.
The supportive board of directors offered to assist Otto in any way they could, and even allowed him to immediately take over the running of the railway with their assistance (as stated in Lord Dark's will, everything he owned passed to his son, including the railway and the land it was built on). Otto was worried, however, that the government would penalise him, and the railway, if they found out such a young man was actively running the railway system. But, almost fortunately for him, a much bigger problem was looming on the horizon for the UK Government...
World War II
Just before the war began, Otto learnt that his uncle, Mark Dark, had become his legal guardian, and wished for Otto to move with him to Bournemouth. However, Otto, knowing that he was needed on his railway, declined, but asked his uncle if he would come and live with him in the mansion at Axley until he was legally an adult. Mark Dark agreed, and moved temporarily into the mansion, giving support and guidance to his nephew.
Mark Dark was the first person to inform Otto that a world war was officially happening, but Otto, full of a new determination, saw this as a challenge for him rather than a reason to become depressed again. With support from Mark, Otto prepared the railway for the oncoming use by the government, whilst Mark falsely pledged himself acting manager of the railway during the war, to alleviate political pressure on Otto, who was working none-stop to keep things moving in the office and elsewhere.
In 1942, Otto was becoming stressed due to the war, and Mark Dark decided to try and get Otto away from the area to safer pastures until the war was over, fearing for his nephew's health and safety. Otto begrudgingly agreed, leaving to live with his friend, Baron Rhys Davies, in Pontypool, Wales, which was considered safer than Kent.
Otto now had time to relax and be more like himself, which Rhys helped him to do. Though surviving on rations and having to hear bad news all of the time, Otto seemed genuinely happier away from the bulk of the action. Meanwhile, his railway was being administrated by Mark Dark and the Board of Directors during these hard times, their top priority to keep Otto safe and out of harms way whilst making sure the government didn't ravage the railway too much.
The war officially came to an end in 1945, and Otto moved back to Kent, where Mark Dark and the Directors greeted him warmly. Mark and the Directors officially handed the railway back to Otto, who was now legally old enough to become Chairman. He no longer needed a legal guardian, and Mark Dark wished his nephew luck before heading back to Bournemouth.
After the War and the 1950's
Otto (now almost exclusively known by everybody as "Mr Dark") now set upon the task of revitalising the railway, personally assisting where possible, even down to helping gangers cut the lineside grass and relaying damaged track, thus provig his dedication to the railway. Things were genuinely looking better for Otto, who had gone from strength to strenght since his devastating losses as a child.
However, there was a small problem. The Goeverment had forced Nationalisation of the "Big Four" railway companies into "British Railways", and they wanted the Dark Railway to be part of it. Thankfully, due to many complicated reasons and due to past events, Mr Dark managed to retain ownership and operating rights of the railway, therefore, thanks to him, the DR was never nationalised.
Mr Dark would often visit his stations to inspect them, and one particular station, Upway, would be where he first encountered his future wife, Alicia Marsh, who lived in the village there. The two would often talk and, one day in 1949, Otto finally plucked up the courage to ask her out, which she accepted. After a romantic evening, Otto and Alicia officially began dating, and continued to have wonderful times, even after the austerity of the war.
It may surprise people to know that Mr Dark never stopped visiting his two oldest friends, Theo and Otto, at Soma Quarry whenever he could. Though a lot of engines had been scrapped in the late 1930's due to age expiry and unreliability, Mr Dark never allowed Theo and Otto to be disposed of, due to their friendships, hence why the two engines survived the war. Soon, he introduced them to Alicia, whom they got on well with. She was slightly nervous about talking to the steam engines at first, but soon, she grew fond of the little tank engines too!
In November 1951, Mr Dark proposed to Alicia, who said yes! The couple were married at Walschurch Cathedral in 1952, and honeymooned to Cyprus for two weeks afterwards. That same year, Alicia gave birth to their first and only child, Zeke Dark.
1954 saw the mass reallocation of BR engines stationed on the DR, causing Mr Dark to panic that he wouldn't have enough engines to cover services on the line, especially the prestigious "Dark Express". Luckily, in exchange for the old and delapidated engines the railway was having to deal with at the time, BR sent a relatively new and modern Bulleid Pacific to take over their services, alongside a recently overhauled U Class mogul.
Mr Dark was pleased with this, and set the pacific (No 34072 "257 Squadron") to work on the express services, whilst the U Class (No 31812), known as "James", became the line's main goods engine. The following year, Mr Dark purchased his first diesel locomotive from British Railways: a Class 10 diesel shunter called "Ryan", who became station pilot at Merecombe. Mr Dark was impressed with the little diesel, and began investigating diesel traction to run alongside his steam engines.
In 1957, two trains collided on the line near Axley, due to fog. Whilst 257 Squadron escaped undamaged, the U Class was damaged beyond repair, having collided with the rear of the former's train, causing the death of the guard in the first train. Mr Dark was on the scene to inspect the damage and comfort the injured, as well as investigate how and why the accident happened. It was determined to be a combination of fog and negligence of the crew of the U class, who missed a red signal.
The trauma of this caused 257 to leave the railway to go and work elsewhere for British Railways, which upset Mr Dark, as he now had no express engine and no goods engine. Luck came his way, however, as 257 Squadron was replaced by another Bulleid Pacific, No 34090 "Sir Eustace Missenden". Despite this, Mr Dark still needed more engines, and began travelling around the country searching for engines of good condition which were to be withdrawn by British Railways.
Luckily, he found two engines that would serve him well for the forseeable future. The first was an ex-LMS Stanier Class 5MT called "Dave", which was acquired from Bournemouth shed in August 1958 (having been used on the ex-Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway at the time). The other engine was a BR Standard 4MT tank called "Brian", which had been withdrawn from Weymouth shed in 1958 due to a failed cylinder. A mix up caused the latter engine to be sent for scrap, but was rescued by Dave on Mr Dark's orders.
In 1959, Otthaniel began considering the future needs of his railway. Whilst he was determined that steam power would be the mainstay of the railway, his experiences with Ryan convinced him of the merits of diesel traction, and he began seeking some diesel engines to assist with work on the railway. Through his friendship with staff at Brush Traction in Loughborough, Mr Dark discovered that they had built a prototype diesel locomotive that British Railways had declined to purchase, and the company were looking to sell the locomotive, rather than scrapping it. Mr Dark was happy to purchase the locomotive, known as "Raymond", and soon, he brought it to the Dark Railway.
Mr Dark continued to increase his locomotive fleet during the 1960's, beginning with another diesel shunter, called "Owen", which was trialled at Soma, before moving to Merecombe as assistant station pilot. Mr Dark decided to take a short break away from the line with his wife and son during the spring of 1960, with some negative reprecussions on the railway, thanks to Owen. Though dissapointed, Otthaniel gave Owen another chance. Raymond, on the other hand, was initially prone to breakdowns, but after a visit to Brush Traction, the engine began to perform much better, pleasing Otthaniel.
The following year, Otthaniel was offered the loan of an ex-S&DJR Class 7F from British Railways. The engine, numbered 53802 and calling itself "Dai", convinced him that a larger freight engine was needed on the line, but for unknown reasons, Otthaniel did not outright purchase the engine, instead purchasing several smaller engines during 1961 and 1962, including another diesel shunter called "Allan", a Fowler 3F called "Colin", and a Collett 2251 called "Eddie". This last engine originally came on loan by British Railways with another engine, "Maxen", both being considered for purchase. However, after an incident with a freight train, Mr Dark was forced to send Maxen away due to accident damage (and due to the fact that he upset every single one of the railway's engines during his time there!).
Mr Dark was surprised to learn that a previous resident on the railway, No 34090 "Sir Eustace Missenden", was due for withdrawal, despite the fact that it had only been rebuilt a few years earlier. After some enquiries, he managed to purchase the engine and return it to the Dark Railway, to the general delight of his other engines. Yet another coincidence brought another previous resident to the line that year: No 34072 "257 Squadron", which had been trying to escape from scrap. Mr Dark let him stay, but due to a mishap between 257 and Eustace, the former was nearly taken away and scrapped by British Railways and a villainous diesel called Howard. Luckily, Otthaniel stepped in and purchased 257 Squadron, angering the BR Representatives and Howard.
Towards the end of the year, another engine was saved by Mr Dark, a small passenger tank engine called Leno, despite a cash flow problem which was later rectified by his twin tank engines, Theo and Otto, and due to a pick up in business and the sale of some land. Despite this, a small crisis occurred at the end of 1965, when almost all of his engines were captured by the renegade Jubilee, Leander. Thankfully, they were saved and returned home, much to Mr Dark's relief.
1967 saw the arrival of more diesel traction, in the shape of a small freight diesel called "Cammer" and another large passenger diesel called "Turbo". The former diesel was required to run the Dark Railway's mainline express trains to London, which unfortunately were discontinued a couple of years later due to lack of patronage. During this year, though, Otthaniel Dark began to see that the railway was in desperate need of attenton, with the viaduct at Walschurch requiring repair after an incident with Eustace, and other general repairs being required to stations, permeanant way and infrastructure.
In 1968, the station roof at Axley collapsed, destroying most of the station. This prompted Mr Dark to rebuild the station into a more conventional layout, and also encouraged him to double the line between Walschurch and Galen Junction, which had previously been a single line, to improve capacity. Due to Colin and Eddie visiting the Severn Valley Railway, Otthaniel again decided to look into purchasing more locomotives. These included Abomination, a powerful Hunslet Austerity tank engine, to work on the Goods Branch at Merecombe, Hannah, a GWR Hall class to help Dave out with mixed traffic duties, and Repulse, a Stanier Jubilee that did not fit in very well with the other engines. On top of these engines, Mr Dark also saved two more steam engines that he was familiar with: Ed, a Fowler 4F, and Sid, a rebuilt Fowler 2P, who had been trying to escape scrap for several years previously.
It was later discovered that Repulse was actually Leander masquerading as her sister, but her grand revenge plan was thwarted thanks to the efforts of Ed and 257 Squadron, with Leander being destroyed in the devastating collapse of Gasworks Tunnel. The real Repulse was soon brought to the railway, but was damaged and required repairs before she could run on the railway, dissapointing Otthaniel.
After the collapse of the tunnel, and after paying out compensation to all affected parties, Mr Dark began trying to repair the reputation of his railway in 1969, beginning with a grand steam gala to celebrate the railway's reopening after winter maintenance had been completed. It was at this time that he decided to sell the trackbed of the old Goods Branch to Merecombe Council, a decision that he did not take lightly. Despite the railway running smoothly for most of the year, Otthaniel recognised that he needed help, and sanctioned a preservation society to assist around the railway, which became known as the Dark Railway Preservation Society.
Unfortunately, despite some initial success, another catastrophe occurred during the autumn, when Galen Junction sheds were destroyed in an explosion, which also destroyed three of Mr Dark's engines; Cammer, Colin and Owen. He was devastated at this brutal loss of his engines, and when he discovered that Repulse had been behind it (even though Leander was possessing her during these events), he ruthlessly sent her away, blaming her for their deaths.
The 1970's and retirement
In 1970, Mr. Dark purchased the land between Galen Junction and Colhapper, allowing the DR to finally run trains into the latter city. He also oversaw the relocation of Caracus Smash Ltd to Galen Junction, along with the construction of a railway museum on the site of the old sheds the following year. This period saw the arrival of several locomotives owned by seperate groups and owners associated with the railway, but in 1972 Mr. Dark purchased another two locomotives himself for the railway: "De la Trip", a SR King Arthur class, and "Warrior", a BR Western hydraulic diesel. Around this time, Mr. Dark had been advertising the railway as a steam railway, which unfortunately had a side effect of generating hostility towards the line's diesel fleet from the general public. This resulted in the diesels going on strike, forcing Mr. Dark to take measures to resolve the situation.
By 1973, Mr. Dark had begun thinking about where he wanted his life to go. He decided that he did not wish to meet the same fate as his father, and at an open day on the railway that year, he announced his intention to retire from managing the Dark Railway. However, he informed everyone present that he would be remaining for the time being to train his successor: his son, Zeke Dark, who would be inheriting his entire estate. Mr. Dark departed on a long cruise with his wife, leaving Zeke to run the railway. When he returned, he learned that in his absence the line to Soma had been severed, resulting in British Rail closing and removing the line from Colhapper to Horton, severing the DR's main line connection. He revealed that this action violated a legally binding contract between the railway and the UK Government and immediately left for London with Zeke in tow. The contract in question required the DR to have a mainline connection for at least 150 years. To avoid being sued, British Rail offered them the trackbed of the old route to Barbourne as an alternative connection. To help prepare for work on the extension, Mr. Dark agreed to return to help out around the railway.
Mr. Dark is a firm, but fair man. He is known to have some silly moments, and prefers to get things at lower prices, but he still treats his engines well, rewarding them for their good behaviour and punishing them for their bad behaviour.
Mr. Dark is a relatively tall man with dark brown hair and green eyes. He usually wears a black suit, with a white shirt, and he is often seen wearing a black bowler hat. Between the first and fifth series, he wore a dark red tie, but from the Pilots remake onwards, his tie is now green.
The Dark Railway Series
- Series 1 - The Shunter's Gamble, Will and Won't, The Betrayal (mentioned), The Road to Radstock, and Sir Eustace's Secret
- Series 2 - Dave's Reward, Dave and Dai (mentioned), Colin and the Coaches, Tenders, Allan (mentioned), Hide and Seek (mentioned), Goodbye, Dai (mentioned), Eddie and Maxen (mentioned), and Taking Out the Trash (does not speak)
- Series 3 - The Return of Sir Eustace Missenden, Like a Sir, 257 Squadron, Tender Moments of Tender Engines, BR Blues, Football Shortfalls, Poor Leno, Super 8, Who Goes There?, and Revenge of the Forgotten (mentioned)
- Series 4 - Traction Reaction, Cammer, Colin and Cows, Owen's Woes, Tender Tantrum, The Big Bad Wolf, Turbo, Allan Does Galen, Trucks, Instant Crush, and Pogo Rides Again (mentioned)
- Series 5 - What a Catch!, Abomination, Signal Lost (mentioned), Haunted Hannah, Ed and Sid, Claim to Fame, Repulse, Time Waits for No One (mentioned), and Time Waits for No One, Part 2
- Series 6 - Ouverture, Trepid, Fustercluck, Ed, Ed and Eddie, Plunk 'n Bang, Asphalt Assault (mentioned), Burnin', The Purple Man (mentioned), The Prime Time of your Life, and Apply Overnight (mentioned)
- Series 7 - Futura, Smashing!, Braking Bad, The Road to Colhapper, Ey Up?, The Red Herring, Mothership Reconnection, Rollerskate Disco, What a Clarence! (does not speak), and The Man in Overalls (does not speak)
- Series 8 - One More Time, Face to Face (mentioned), Colossus (mentioned), Time Waster, Short Circuit, Autumn, and Outro
- Series 9 - 9 (mentioned), Rock Shock (mentioned), Time Wasted, and Extend Extra
- Series 10 - Welcome to the Tunnel, Body Angels (not named; mentioned), The Road to Bellgrave (mentioned), Coaled Weight (mentioned), and Barry the Steam Engine
- Brian and the Bank Robbery (mentioned)
- Pogo (mentioned)
- The Missing Christmas Presents
- The Aspergers Flyer
- You Bang Snowploughs (mentioned)
- Pilots (remake)
- Event Horizon (mentioned)
- Otto is named after him.
- Mr Dark has never been seen without his trademark suit. This is because the models used in the simulator are very limited, thus, he does not have any other outfits.
- Mr. Dark has a tendency to appear seemingly out of nowhere, which often startles his engines for comic effect.
- Surprisingly, Mr Dark does not appear in the first film ("Event Horizon"), despite being one of the series' major characters.
- Mr Dark is the only human character who has remained consistant in the series so far. He has appeared in every series so far, but not in every single episode.
- Mr Dark is one of the wealthiest men in the country, yet has in the past been a bit of a cheapskate, always attempting to save money on purchases when he can.
- Mr Dark's personal life is not fully explored in the series, but it has been revealed that he has an uncle, a wife, (both of whom have as of yet not been seen within the series), and a son, Zeke.
- Between Series 5 and Series 6, Mr Dark's appearance changed slightly. He now has a darker suit and a green tie, to make him look different from the default textures used from the series' inception.