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Bill and Ben are tank engine twins who work for the Sodor China Clay Company, though they can commonly be found at Brendam Docks. They formerly worked at Anopha Quarry. They enjoy playing tricks and being cheeky to other engines.
Bill and Ben make their first appearance listening to Percy recount the time he got caught in a flood helping Thomas, before being shooed off by Henry, as they were in a shed specifically for the Fat Controller's engines.
One day, Bill and Ben were sent to work in the yard. They got to use the turntable as a reward for their hard work. But Bill and Ben were accidentally sent down the same track and they ended up buffer-to-buffer. They each blamed each other for the incident and refused to speak to one another. At last, Edward and BoCo lost patience and the Fat Controller heard about the incident. He gave the twins a chance to work together, and sure enough, the plan worked. The twins started to speak to each other again. Bill and Ben sometimes find it dull up at the clay works and they wanted something exciting to happen. They got their wish when a rockslide devastated the quarry. Luckily, Bill and Ben had taken all of the workmen and the foreman out of the quarry before the rockslide. The Fat Controller was so pleased that he called them heroes.
Later, BoCo could not handle the twins as much as he used to, so Sir Topham Hatt had to bring in another diesel, Derek. Bill and Ben had heard from Percy that Derek had a toothache. But they soon found out that Derek really had teething troubles. The twins and Derek had to pull a train the next day, and Derek soon overheated. Together, the twins got the train to their destination. That night, they, BoCo, and Duck talked about Derek all night long.
When Salty was sent to work with the twins and Mavis with an important job, he impressed the twins with his skills for handling the trucks. When Salty handled the trucks with songs and tales of the sea, Bill and Ben became jealous. They became even crosser when Salty told them stories. Luckily for them, Salty was transferred to Brendam Docks. Bill and Ben met Salty again when they themselves went to the docks and started teasing Cranky. This time, they encourage Salty to tell them his stories, knowing that Cranky can't stand them. The twins spent the entire night being engrossed in and fascinated by Salty's many tales, and when they left the following morning, Cranky was pleased. Afterwards, Ben had to get new buffers, so he was sent to the Works. Bill became jealous and his mind drifted away from his work. After some trucks teased him, Bill crashed into a ditch. Ben arrived to rescue Bill and Bill was taken to the Works to be mended.
Some time later, Fergus was sent to help the twins at the quarry. They got tired of his "do it right" attitude. Bill and Ben collected a rock crusher from the docks and caused a rockslide. Fergus pushed them out of the way, but the twins returned the favour when they helped him out of the rocks.
In the seventeenth season, they teased Percy after he had an accident with a mail bag, unaware the pumpkins on their train were falling onto the tracks, which caused more problems for Percy. After the Fat Controller ordered one twin to act as a back engine, Bill reluctantly went to push from behind. Ben ended up derailing near an embankment, and Percy, although he was nervous because he had lost his new lucky charm, helped Bill pull Ben back onto the tracks.
After racing Connor several times (by racing, one would start the race and the other twin would be waiting at the finish) Sir Topham Hatt figured out their tricks. So people would not confuse the two or think they were the same engine, Bill was repainted blue. To continue the tricks, Ben tricked Kevin into giving him a blue coat of paint too. Since then they were repainted to their yellow schemes. They also teased Harvey about going fishing with his hook.
Thomas was sent to work with the twins at the Clay Pits while a bridge on his branch line was being repaired. They ran away from him, and after he caught up, they teased him about being slow. They showed him to a line of trucks, which he was coupled up to. Thomas began pulling them, but did not realise that Timothy was on the other end, jerking the little oil-burning engine backwards. Later that day, there was a storm at the Pits, and the rain made the cliffs unstable. Thomas was near some cliffs, and saw a set of mysterious footprints. However, the area was still unstable and he was unable to investigate. Bill and Ben pushed Thomas to safety just before the three were hit by a landslide. The next morning, the twins were congratulated by the Fat Controller. Later in the week, Thomas asked if they were playing a trick on him by scaring him with fake footprints. However, Bill and Ben thought that he thought that their rescuing was a trick and so they puffed away, offended. The next morning at dawn, when Percy went to the clay pits to prove his bravery to James, Bill accused Ben of making puffing noises in his sleep, and when Thomas came looking for Percy, the twins assumed that they could literally hear what Timothy was dreaming. When they went to work for the day, they were almost hit by a landslide, and after Marion found a fossil, Bill and Ben were both very intrigued by the concept of fossils.
In the eighteenth season, Bill and Ben played Guess What's In My Shovel with Marion. They also teased Timothy for being an oil burning engine, but when the Clay Pits ran out of coal, Timothy went to pick up some more. They apologised for their teasing. However, they later sent Timothy on what the Fat Controller referred to as a "fool's errand" to search for a rainbow-coloured truck. Timothy brought back a green truck with several colours of paint on it full of dockyard waste. Bill and Ben were sent to take it to Whiff's Waste Dump as a punishment, as well as being on waste duty. They also teased Emily and Samson.
In the nineteenth season, the twins became convinced that Timothy was no help at all. So when they found out that the Fat Controller was looking for an engine to help at Brendam Docks, they volunteered Timothy. Unfortunately, the twins were too busy messing around to work on their own properly. Luckily, once Timothy was no longer required at the docks, he came back to the Clay Pits to help them clear up the mess.
In Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, they teased Henry when he saw a ghostly railboat on the rails the previous night, which was really Skiff.
Bill and Ben are Sodor's mischievous saddle tank engine twins, who have great fun in teasing the other engines of the railway. Each has four wheels, a tiny chimney and dome, and a small squat cab. They often work in the China Clay pits and quarries. Their loads of clay can be used for many things such as paper, paint, and pottery. They take trucks for engines on the main line and ships in the harbour and are regularly seen around Brendam Docks. They enjoy attention and love taking visitors and being photographed. They tend to work together, like most twins, but even this youthful pair can have their arguments among themselves and can squabble with one another. They are highly prone to playing tricks and being cheeky. They have even teased Gordon on more than one occasion. Duck has called them "the bees" before, for being terrors when they start buzzing around. Edward and BoCo are the only engines who can really keep them in order enough to put a stop to their games and make them scamper along and behave. There is no real harm to them, but even Edward admits that they are maddening at times.
Bill and Ben are based on the Bagnall 0-4-0STs "Alfred" and "Judy" of Par, Cornwall, who are both preserved and in working order at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway.
Bill and Ben both have brass nameplates with yellow writing, "SCC" written on both sides in yellow and "Brendam Bay" on the front of their saddle tanks. In the Railway Series, they have number plates reading 1 and 2 respectively above both the back of their cabs and their faces.