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Thomas is a blue LB&SCR E2 class tank engine, who originates from the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway.
He came to Sodor in 1915, as a station pilot at Vicarstown until 1924-5, at which time he was transferred to Wellsworth following an incident with some trucks. Later that year, after rescuing James from his crash, he was given charge of the Ffarquhar branch line and two coaches named Annie and Clarabel. In the Railway Series, he has an additional special express coach.
Bio in the Railway Series
Main Article: Thomas/The Railway Series
Details of Thomas' arrival on the North Western Railway in 1915 are more or less undocumented. There is no official explanation to how he arrived on the island. However, the most popular rumour (according to Sodor: Reading Between the Lines) is that he was sent to Sodor due to a war-time mix up. Instead of returning to the south coast of England when the problem was sorted, both his driver and fireman married local girls and decided to stay. Sir Topham Hatt purchased Thomas for a "nominal fee". After that Thomas is station pilot at Vicarstown and is transferred to Wellsworth in 1924/1925 after an incident with some trucks. Later that same year James had his accident and Thomas came to his rescue. He then earned his own branch line and two coaches named Annie and Clarabel as a reward. After that he has had many adventures on his branch line like racing with Bertie and chasing a thief, or pulling the express. In 1990 Thomas was invited to The National Railway Museum in York, England. In 2015 Thomas turned 100 years old and in 2016, It had been 70 years since his first book was published about him when he was station pilot.
Bio in the Television Series
According to The Adventure Begins, Thomas worked in Brighton on the Mainland and he was painted teal and numbered 70. Some time after James arrived, Thomas was brought to Sodor to shunt coaches for the Main Line engines, such as Henry and Gordon. The first engine he befriended on Sodor was Edward. He liked to play tricks on Gordon, the biggest and proudest engine on the railway. He was taught a lesson when Gordon tricked him into being coupled to his train during his express run. Tired out, he vowed never to tease Gordon again, realising he did not have to do so to be important. Soon, he desired to pull his own passenger train too, much to the bemusement of the other engines. He got his chance when Henry became ill and no one could pull the passenger train. However, Thomas was so excited that he accidentally left his train and his passengers behind, believing he was pulling it easily. He soon realised his mistake and returned to pull the train. The engines laughed at him and soon Thomas wanted to get out of the shunting yards and see the world. Edward offered him a chance to pull trucks and Thomas excitedly took the job, not realising how troublesome trucks could be. The trucks pushed him down Gordon's Hill into a siding, where the Fat Controller told him to practice so that one day he would become as good as Edward. Thomas soon proved himself to the other engines when he rescued James after a crash. James was pulling a train of trucks who were pushing him too fast and when he tried to stop his brake blocks caught fire. Thomas chased after him and tried to couple to the back of the train to slow James down, but he failed and James and his trucks derailed. After fetching Jerome and Judy, who lifted him back onto the tracks, he was given James' coaches, Annie and Clarabel and his own branch line, which had previously been run by Glynn the "coffee pot" engine.
Thrilled, Thomas soon began running his branch line with his two new coaches, Annie and Clarabel, who he grew to love very much. He soon considered his branch line to be the most important part of the entire railway, a fact he would constantly remind the other engines of. However, he continued to make mistakes and dream big and sometimes this got him into trouble, such as when he was so impatient that he left his guard behind at Elsbridge or when he wanted to fish, not realising the implications of a fish being in his boiler. His greatest mistake was when he got his snowplough broken in the winter and ended up stuck in a snow drift, having to be rescued by Terence, whom he had insulted earlier for not having "real" wheels. He soon proved himself again, though, when he beat Bertie the bus in a great race. He quickly became friends with both Terence and Bertie, despite their differences.
Although Thomas' branch line was indeed the pride of the line, on the main line, things were not going well for the Fat Controller, who was having to deal with Gordon, Henry and James' sulking, refusing to do Thomas' former work of shunting themselves. After they went on strike, Thomas was brought back to help alongside Edward and their new friend, Percy, who quickly became Thomas' closest friend. Thomas also became friends with Toby after he was asked by the Fat Controller to help their railway avoid a lawsuit from a rude, offensive, selfish and disrespectful policeman. But Thomas still had some cheekiness in him, returning to teasing Gordon after he slid into a ditch. He soon needed Gordon's help after he blatantly went past a danger sign and fell down a mine. They soon became friends after that and promised never to tease each other again. Thomas and Toby later helped Mrs. Kyndley at her cottage after she was snowed in and helped her celebrate Christmas with a very special Christmas party.
The following year, Thomas shared a shed on his branch line with Percy and Toby. However, he became conceited about his brilliant blue paintwork and soon paid the price when Percy accidentally caused a coal hopper to pour coal all over him. Thomas was angry at Percy, but the two friends soon made up after Percy had an accident with some coal trucks. Thomas soon met Trevor, a friend of Edward's, who proved his usefulness when he helped Thomas at the newly constructed harbour. Unfortunately, Thomas became ill a few months later and had to be sent to the Works, while Duck looked after his branch line. When Thomas came back, his brakes were stiff and made it seem as if they were hard on. As a result, one day, when his fireman was ill, a substitute accidentally caused Thomas to run away and Harold had to help stop him. Later, when the Viaduct needed to be repaired, the main line engines became late to drop off Thomas' passengers and as a result, made him late for Bertie. Thomas continued to be of great service to Sir Topham Hatt's railway, although he still remained a cheeky little engine.
Thomas later became conceited again when he took his driver's compliment to heart and believed he no longer needed him to work his branch line. This was untrue, but Thomas was too puffed up with himself to not believe it and one morning, found himself rolling along the line outside the sheds, when a cleaner had accidentally started him up by messing with his controls. He soon crashed into a stationmaster's house and ruined the latter's family's breakfast. He had to be rescued by Donald and Douglas. As a result, the Fat Controller angrily sent him to the Works again. He arrived back a few weeks later just in time to take over for a battered Percy, who just had a predicament with some trucks. The following Christmas, Thomas was eager to sing carols with the other engines, but had to pick up a Christmas tree for the Fat Controller. Unfortunately, on his way back, he was caught in a snow drift and was lost. Donald and Douglas soon rescued him in time to sing carols with all his friends.
While the two are often portrayed as best friends, Percy often teases Thomas. When Thomas often stopped to meet the children, Percy teased him by saying that the Fat Controller would replace him if he's late too many times. Thomas actually started to worry, but he sacrificed being on time to help some stranded schoolchildren get to Bertie. Percy also teased Thomas about being frightened, but after Thomas unintentionally scared him with a lit-up paper dragon, Percy admitted that everyone gets scared sometimes, and Thomas told him that it makes him brave to admit it. When James was bragging about being the most useful, something Thomas used to say about himself, Thomas told him that the Fat controller says they're all useful. When the mail train came under fire for Percy being delayed, spurred on by the threat of being replaced by Harold, Thomas and Percy worked extra hard to deliver the mail on time, and Thomas helped a man who missed his train home. The man expressed his gratitude through a letter, and the mail train was declared the pride of the line.
Thomas' altruistic nature came about around this time. When Bertie was saying that the railway was unreliable for failing to deliver tar to mend the roads, Thomas promised to see what he could do. Instead, he forgot about it and offered to do James' work for him, who was pretending to be ill to get of doing work. When he remembered the tar, he told Edward about it, who attended to the problem, and Bertie was grateful. Thomas forgave James and Gordon for pretending James was ill. When Percy and James were feeling down after getting into mishaps, Thomas cheered them up by saying they were still useful for learning something. He was at first excited to deliver mail to the villagers at Ulfstead, but became disappointed when he was needed at the big station. When it turned out that he was needed to rescue the snowed-in villagers, he gathered his snowplough and Terence and set off with Percy to the rescue.
From the eighth season onwards, Thomas was given more duties on the Main Line, with his branch line rarely appearing, and often being referenced. But as of the sixteenth season, he has been working primarily on his branch line again, as well as on the Main Line.
Sir Topham Hatt once sent Thomas to the Mainland to collect special wood for the new Search and Rescue centre. Travelling via sea, he got lost in a storm and ended up on Misty Island. He befriended three engines there which were called Bash, Dash and Ferdinand discovered wood perfect for the search and rescue centre. He eventually found an old tunnel that went to Sodor, but got trapped in it as it collapsed. Percy and Whiff were able to save him by entering the Misty Island Tunnel from Sodor.
He still has the occasional annoyance with wearing his snowplough during wintertime, but always learns his lesson afterwards, such as in the seventeenth season, when he hid it on a siding so he could stay in the shed, but when Emily took Annie and Clarabel out, he tried to go find it and got stuck in the snow, leading to Emily rescuing him and earning another stern reprimand from The Fat Controller.
He once had an accident at Brendam Docks, but instead of owning up to it, he blamed it on a made up engine called Geoffrey, which made everyone curious about who Geoffrey was. He hid in Henry's Tunnel and pretended to be Geoffrey in order to trick the Fat Controller, but after Spencer nearly ran into him, Thomas was caught out and apologised. He was also chosen to be the first engine to be inspected by two railway inspectors. After their journey, a gold watch belonging to one of the inspectors was found inside Annie and Thomas gave it back to him. Later, he became covered in spots after Butch sprayed him with mud by accident, which made Henry think Thomas had chicken pox. When the Sodor United Football Team was playing the Barrow's Red Team, he and James tried to compete to see which colour was the best, only to end up getting into trouble with the Fat Controller. One time, Bertie was teasing Thomas about the other side of the mountain and everyone tried to convince him that he made it up. Eventually, Bertie was going to explain to Thomas but he left immediately because he was really cross. This caused him to miss a red signal and eventually derailing and running trough the countryside near a road forcing Butch to rescue him by road since they were too far from the tracks. Later, Thomas, Annie and Clarabel were at Knapford when a mother pushing a pram with her crying baby came in. As he started on his way along the branch line, the baby stopped crying, only to start again each time Thomas stopped at each of his stations. Once Thomas got back to Knapford to take a break, he asked the Fat Controller if he could miss it and took the mother and baby on a non-stop journey, as he realised the baby kept crying every time Thomas stopped. This proved to be quite helpful as the mother and the baby were soon fast asleep. When Thomas returned to Knapford, her husband Albert thanked him for his help and they then decided to name their still unnamed baby Thomas after the day's events.
In Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, Thomas once again began to get conceited, believing his branch line to be the most important. But after an accident with Gordon's Express Coaches, he was sent to help with the construction of the Harwick Branch Line as punishment. But he was still being boastful and accidentally fell into a deep cavern, where he found a pirate ship. Once he returned after having his wheels mended, he found Sailor John and Skiff wandering around the hole he fell into and befriended them. However he later discovered that Sailor John was only looking for the treasure that Marion had found, claiming it as his own. When John stole the treasure from Knapford, he tried to escape on Skiff while Thomas gave chase. Despite receiving help from Mike, Rex, Bert and Ryan, Thomas could not catch them and John and Skiff made it back to sea with the treasure. However, Skiff turned against John and capsized due to the rough water and John was arrested. Thomas was later fully repaired and was given the honour of cutting the ribbon, opening the Arlesburgh-Harwick line and leading Duck, Rocky, Oliver, Toad, Ryan, Daisy, Donald and Douglas down the line.
In the twentieth season, he saw Diesel being so sweet and gentle to some ducklings that he decided to tell the other engines about this. Diesel begged Thomas not to tell them so Thomas told Diesel to be nice and friendly to everyone. However, after initially being nice to everyone, Diesel returned to his old ways. Thomas made quacking sounds at Diesel to remind him of his promise. Once, Thomas was having trouble with the troublesome trucks and agreed to take the brake van, Bradford, who would help keep them quiet. However, Bradford ordered Thomas to stop as the trucks were nine millimetres above the allowed height limit and ordered for some stones to be unloaded, making Thomas very late. Later, Thomas went along his branch line to meet Toby, who said the trees looked very spooky and he noticed a broken fence and told Trevor about it. When Thomas was nearing the bridge at the Watermill, he heard a moaning sound and dashed away to meet Percy and Toby at Ffarquhar. Percy told Thomas the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Toby reminded Thomas about how the littlest goat survived by going across the bridge first and telling the troll to eat his bigger brothers. As Percy and Toby hurried across the Watermill bridge, Thomas slowly went across the bridge as Annie and Clarabel listened more carefully and they realised that it was just a cow.
In The Great Race, Thomas became eager to go to the Great Railway Show after meeting Flying Scotsman, Gordon's brother and one of the competitors in the competition, but was never asked by the Fat Controller to participate. Thomas later witnessed the international engines competing in the Great Railway Show accidentally arrive on Sodor and met Ashima when she was too late to get back on the ferry with the other engines. Thomas was initially jealous of Ashima because she was able to compete in the Great Railway Show and tried several times to change his looks for the competition, but all his suggestions went to other engines. He eventually befriended Ashima and chose to compete in the shunting competition, but was involved in an accident when one of Diesel's tricks went wrong. However, Thomas managed to go to the Great Railway Show when it was discovered that Gordon's safety valve had not been fitted on after his streamlined overhaul, but he was too late to warn Gordon as the Great Race had already started when he arrived. Thomas participated in the shunting competition after Percy dropped out, but during the competition, he had to rescue Philip when he was being pursued by Vinnie and gave up his chance to win the race when he spotted a derailed flatbed on Ashima's line and ran into it himself, but won the race for his excellent sportsmanship. Thomas returned to Sodor with the rest of the Sudrian team and Ashima, who was going back to India and he would be fully repaired to run on his own branch line again.
In Journey Beyond Sodor, Thomas travels to the Mainland and meets the experimental engines, but he runs into trouble at the Steelworks. After Thomas fails to return, James is sent to look for him, only to get trapped himself too. Lexi, Theo and Merlin rescue both James and Thomas.
Thomas is a rather cheeky, but kind engine, and generally behaves well, except when he is getting into mishap from getting over-eager. He loves teasing the others, especially the bigger engines, such as Gordon and on occasion, brags about his superiority, but is always brought down to earth in due course by anyone who gives him the moral to learn, especially the Fat Controller, and his two coaches, Annie and Clarabel. If Thomas has one major character flaw, it is that he is forgetful and slightly impatient. However, he is also optimistic, idealistic, and altruistic.
One of Thomas' favorite things to do is to race. He enjoys racing many of his friends, especially Bertie and James. His passengers and coaches, however, don't find it as fun as he does, but his short attention span makes it hard for him to notice.
Although their friendship has been turbulent at times, Percy is generally portrayed as Thomas' best friend, especially in the television series.
BasisThomas is based on the Billinton E2-Class 0-6-0T locomotives built for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway between 1913 and 1916. He is apparently one of the last batch built as only these engines featured his distinctive extended side-tanks, projecting forward over the leading wheels and little down sweeps at each end of the footplate. The E2s were introduced in 1915 to replace earlier members of the E1 class, which had been scrapped. The last five in the ten strong class had extended side tanks to give a greater water capacity, but all engines had two inside cylinders and driving wheels 4'6" in diameter.
After many years of service, all of the Billinton E2s, both original and modified, spent their last working years at Southampton Docks, alongside the SR USA Tanks (Rosie's class), and they were all scrapped by 1963, the very last pair being numbers 31204 and 31209, the latter being amongst the last batch. Their replacements were BR Class 07 diesel shunters (Salty's class). There is, however, a campaign with the aim to build a new E2, and number it 110. Two E2s of the first batch were tested on passenger trips, as well as given the LB&SCR brown passenger livery, this was a failed experiment, the reason for it being that the first batch didn't carry enough coal and water. So the class was used only for shunting.
Thomas has a slight modification of having wheel splashers over his front wheels whereas the original E2s did not. Unlike Thomas, the E2s had footplates with dips at the ends or ones that were straight. Thomas only had a dip at one end of his footplate, which it was repaired after his accident with the Stationmasters house, making it straight.A wooden push-along toy from the early 1940s was the original version of Thomas. Made by the Reverend Awdry out of a piece of broomstick and wood scraps for his son, Christopher. This engine looked rather different from the character in the books and television series and was based on an LNER Class J50 with smaller side tanks and splashers.
Thomas is painted in the North Western Railway's sky blue livery with red-and-yellow lining and the number "1" painted on his tank sides in yellow with a red border. In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates on the sides of his cab.
When Thomas first arrived on Sodor in The Adventure Begins, he was painted teal-green with white-and-yellow lining. He had LBSC lettering painted on his tanks in yellow with a red border and had the number "70" painted in the same colours on the sides of his bunker. Upon his first visit to the Steamworks for a repaint, his metal frame devoid of paint is seen before being applied with a pink undercoat to keep water out from him, which would cause permanent rust damage.
In the first three seasons of the television series, Thomas had red lining on the back of his bunker. However, during the filming of All at Sea, the lining was removed for an unknown reason. Sam Wilkinson, the current railway consultant was responsible for bringing back the red lining on Thomas' coal bunker as of The Adventure Begins, and it will carry through into future seasons and specials.
Thomas's running-plate was allegedly a source of some contention to the Reverend W. Awdry during the course of the Railway Series. As originally drawn, it had a distinctive dip at the front, but none at the back. The story goes that to Awdry's eyes, this meant that Thomas' buffers would be at different levels, an operational inaccuracy and impossibility. This seems curious on Awdry's part, as all the artists had drawn Thomas as having an extra-deep rear bufferbeam to compensate, thus putting the front and rear buffers at the same level.
Be it a matter of taste or inaccuracy, the issue of the running-plate had to be settled: thus Thomas' excursion into the stationmaster's house at Ffarquhar was arranged. After his repairs at Crovan's Gate, Thomas returned with a new running plate that was flat and level from smokebox to bunker.
The E2's on which Thomas was based had dipped running-plates at both front and rear and the Hornby Thomas model displays these features, having been retooled from a set of moulds formerly used by Hornby to make E2 models. His television counterpart, however, retains the unique forward-dipped running plate.
Too Much Thomas?
While he may seem innocent enough, poor Thomas created a fair bit of trouble for Christopher Awdry and Egmont Books, publishers of the Railway Series, when the latter started asking for more books about the happy little tank engine. Granted, Thomas was the most popular character in the original Railway Series books, but Egmont went too far and thus the problem continues. With the advent of the television series, Egmont started asking for more Thomas and to this day Thomas has eight Railway Series volumes under his undercarriage. Two of the titles actually have very little to do with Thomas - Thomas Comes Home focuses on the adventures of the branch line engines during Thomas' visit to York, while Thomas and the Fat Controller's Engines only featured one story about Thomas, although he did appear in two of the other three stories. As a result of Thomas' fame, classic characters like Oliver and Bear have become largely neglected.
Thomas and the Toddler
When the Reverend W. Awdry created Thomas, he existed only as a wooden toy made for his son, Christopher. This engine looked rather different from the character in the books and television series, and was based on an LNER J50 or a Hudswell Clarke with smaller side tanks and splashers. He was painted teal-green with yellow lining, and carried the number 1 on his bunker on both sides in yellow and also carried the letters "NW" on his side tanks in yellow. Awdry claimed that this stood for "No Where," but later works would identify the railway Thomas and his friends worked on as the North Western Railway.
Oh, the Payne
For the illustrations of Thomas the Tank Engine, Edmund Ward, then-publisher of the Railway Series, hired illustrator Reginald Payne, who decided to base Thomas on the LB&SCR E2 Class. (Awdry was annoyed that Thomas was obviously not the tank engine he had first drawn, but he was satisfied when Payne explained that he was drawn after a real prototype). Unfortunately, Payne did not receive any credit for his work; it is only since the publication of Brian Sibley's The Thomas the Tank Engine Man that he has received recognition.
Thomas on the Big Screen
In 2000, Thomas made it to cinemas in the box-office flop Thomas and the Magic Railroad, in which he was voiced by Edward Glen. He was the only engine from the television series to play a major role in the story, and even left Sodor briefly.
In the film, Thomas arrived at Killaban station with Gordon who is late, he told Gordon that he has to find Mr. Conductor, who visit to Sodor and looking after the North Western Railway while Sir Topham Hatt is taking on holiday until met Diesel 10 speed by. Thomas meet James at Tidmouth Sheds when Diesel 10 arrived and told Thomas and James to shows up his plan to destroy the lost engine named Lady and Thomas goes to find Mr. Conductor. When Thomas found and meet Mr. Conductor on Sodor, he's reports to Mr. Conductor about to use the gold dust to keep Diesel 10 in order. He, James and Gordon being arguing about who should have taken Mr. Conductor. Henry tells the other engines about Diesel 10 wants to find the lost engine until Harold files by spreading sneezing power all over him, Splatter and Dodge. That night, Thomas and the other engines at Tidmouth Sheds until Diesel 10 creep up and demolishes the side of the sheds to tell them about the lost engine's whereabouts, after Mr. Conductor frightens Diesel 10 away with a bag of sugar, Thomas explained to Mr. Conductor that his gold dust is gone. Meanwhile, after the engines gather for a meeting about Mr. Conductor's gold dust is gone and Diesel 10 wants to find the lost engine, Thomas heads off to look for Mr. Conductor until Bertie wants him to race, but he no time to race and apologising to Bertie for have another race. He looks everywhere until Mr. Conductor tires to reply, but Thomas cannot hear him as he chuffs away. Thomas and Percy talk about Mr. Conductor and that he travels to Sodor to the magic railroad until Diesel 10 overhears them and goes to the smelters yard to tells Splatter and Dodge. Toby tells Thomas and Percy to carry on for the Mail Train delivered while Toby followed Diesel 10 to the smelters yard. When Thomas finds Henry with a bad coal and offers to collects a six trucks of Island of Sodor coal to make Henry feel better until one of the sixth truck into magic buffers, Bertie greet Thomas has five trucks instead of six. He tells Percy about the missing truck and realise that the buffers leading to the magic railroad, Thomas told Percy to guard the buffers to be a brave engine while he goes to find Mr. Conductor. After Thomas meets Junior and Lily agrees to help and together to looks Mr. Conductor at the Windmill, he tells Annie and Clarabel that Percy will pick them up. After Mr. Conductor and Lily to have a camp with Thomas, Percy tells him to get Lily back to the Muffle Mountain before Diesel 10 destroys the magic railroad. Mr. Conductor ask Thomas to take Lily back to the Muffle Mountain, Thomas is not sure, but decides that he will try and set off with Lily. While Thomas' journeying through the magic railroad, they discover the missing truck so he decides to go back to collect it until arrived on Muffle Mountain, as the gust the wind blows Thomas down the hill and back into the magic railroad through another portal at the bottom. Later, as Thomas travels on magic railroad back to Sodor with Lady, Lily, Burnett Stone, Patch, Mutt and two conductors until Diesel 10 starts to give chase, he offers to help Lady, with Burnett driving Lady. Just as the engines is starts to chase by Diesel 10, Mr. Conductor warns them about the collapsing viaduct. The chase finally approaches the Big Dipper as Lady and Burnett pass a gap viaduct, Thomas manages to make it across the gap before it collapse as Burnett praises Thomas until Diesel 10 cannot stop and falls off into a barge. After Lily mixes water from the well with golden shavings and tosses them into the air, where they form into gold dust as conductors is delighted and re-supply their whistles, Thomas thanks Lady for being a really helpful engine. Thomas puffs happily into the sunset to going back at Tidmouth Sheds to tells the other engines.
Despite the film's overall failure, Thomas kept on puffing and later featured in straight-to-video features Calling All Engines!, The Great Discovery, Hero of the Rails, Misty Island Rescue, Day of the Diesels, Blue Mountain Mystery, King of the Railway, Tale of the Brave, The Adventure Begins, Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure and The Great Race. Soon Thomas will reach the big screen yet again in Journey Beyond Sodor.
It has been revealed that there is an upcoming theatrical film to take place in London during World War II. In April 2013, Josh Klausner stated that he does not know if the movie is still going ahead.
Thomas in Popular Culture
The Nene Valley Railway at Peterborough, England, was the first railway in the world to possess a full-scale replica "Thomas," an industrial tank engine built by Hudswell Clarke so nicknamed for its blue livery and resemblance to the famous tank engine. In 1971 the name was made official by the Reverend W. Awdry. Other tank engines the world over have since been dressed up as Thomas. Some railways have even gone so far as to rebuild locomotives to produce a better replica. Unfortunately this has created a divide between preservationists: some claim it disfigures historic locomotives and trivialises the preservation movement, others say it attracts visitors and can potentially spark an interest in railways amongst young children.
A "real Thomas" (built for The All Aboard Live Tour) was used in a special play staged to celebrate the eightieth birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, starring beloved characters from children's literature. In the play, Thomas was used to convey Sophie Dahl, the granddaughter of the late Roald Dahl, to centre stage, and was greeted by thunderous applause and cheers from the audience of two thousand children and their parents.
Another "Real Thomas" is used during A Day Out With Thomas events where people actually ride in his passenger coaches and get their pictures taken with Sir Topham Hatt. Additional attractions include petting zoos, pony rides, story telling, viewing of "Thomas and Friends" videos, temporary tattoos and a gift shop.
There are stage performances called Thomas the Tank Engine Live, where people get to see Thomas and his friends perform on stage. Three different plays have been made - "Thomas Saves the Day," "A Circus Comes to Town," and "Thomas and the Hidden Treasure."
Thomas has also been known to be seen in amusement parks. In America, Thomas was usually found in "Six Flags" parks until 2010 when the licence was not renewed. In Drusilla's Zoo Park near Alfriston, Sussex, England, a special attraction was opened where Thomas carried passengers through the zoo; it also featured James, Diesel, Cranky, and the Fat Controller. At the United Kingdom's Drayton Manor theme park, a special place called "Thomas Land" is dedicated to fans to ride on multiple rides based on Thomas and Friends. The park opened on 15 March 2008. One of Thomas' models used in the television series is on display there in the "Discover Thomas and Friends" exhibition. Another park opened at the Edaville Railroad in Carver, Massachusetts in the summer of 2015, adopting a phase similar to Drayton Manor.
Thomas Land in Japan was the world's first Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends theme park. It opened in 1998, and located at the Fuji-Q Highland, an amusement park in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, Japan. Like the UK's Thomas Land, it has multiple rides based on the series. A few of the rides, displays, play house areas, and exhibits try to recreate scenes from the television series. Another one of Thomas' models from the television series is on display there.
Thomas and Henry window stickers have been shown to make various appearances in the hospital drama Children's Ward, which aired on ITV (which also aired the classic series).
In the Bob The Builder episode Scrambler to the Rescue, a toy train resembling Thomas is seen pulling the express. Thomas' whistle is also heard.
Thomas' Bachmann HO model (along with HO models of Annie, Clarabel and Emily's coaches) makes an appearance in the 2015 Marvel film, Ant-Man. His large scale Bachmann model is also used in some scenes, although the model's face is different.
Thomas appeared as a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in 2014, to celebrate 70 years of the franchise. Then he later appeared as well in 2015-16. He also appeared in the Toronto Santa Claus parade alongside Rosie and Percy on 15 November 2015.
- John Bellis (Thomas and the Magic Railroad; original work-prints only)
- Edward Glen (Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Ringo Starr (UK; 2009 Children in Need charity single)
- Ben Small (UK; Hero of the Rails - eighteenth season)
- John Hasler (UK; The Adventure Begins onwards)
- Martin Sherman (US; Hero of the Rails - eighteenth season)
- Joseph May (US; The Adventure Begins onwards)
- Hugolin Chevrette-Landesque (French speaking Canada; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Fabrice Trojani (France and French speaking Canada; sixth season onwards)
- Keiko Toda (Japan; first - eighth seasons)
- Kumiko Higa (Japan; Calling All Engines! onwards)
- Espen Sandvik (Norway; Hero of the Rails - Tale of the Brave)
- Martin Lange (Norway; eighteenth season onwards)
- Marco Vivio (Italy)
- Víctor Ugarte (Latin America; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Irwin Daayán (Latin America; Thomas and the Magic Railroad; TV Version)
- Javier Olguín (Latin America; Hero of the Rails - The Great Race, excluding Thomas the Babysitter and the twentieth season)
- Héctor Ireta de Alba (Latin America; Thomas the Babysitter and twentieth season onwards, excluding The Great Race)
- Luis Leonardo Suárez (Latin America; The Great Race singing voice)
- Marcel Collé (Germany; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Christian Stark (Germany; twelfth season onwards)
- Dirk Bach (Germany; Audio Books only)
- Janusz Zadura (Poland)
- Pepijn Koolen (The Netherlands; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Jürgen Theuns (The Netherlands; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Simcha Barbiro (Israel; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Doriel Zohar (Israel)
- Caspar Phillipson (Denmark)
- Daniel Figueira (Brazil; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- César Díaz Capilla (Spain)
- Juha Varis (Finland; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Richard Balint (Romania)
- Haris Grigoropoulos (Greece)
- Gia Trí (Vietnam)
- Prokhor Chekhovskoy (Russia)
- Pavel Tesař (Czech Republic; Hero of the Rails - seventeenth season)
- Jan Kalous (Czech Republic; Tale of the Brave onwards)
- Kim Eun-a (South Korea; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Nick Atkinson (Sweden; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- In the Railway Series, Thomas was the first engine to have a number on the NWR. However, in The Adventure Begins, there were five other numbered engines before he was made number 1 to replace Glynn, a "Coffee Pot" engine from Sodor's branch lines.
- According to Brian Sibley, Wilbert used that number because it was the easiest to draw.
- Four Thomas models are currently on display: one at Drayton Manor in the UK, one in Japan at the Hara Railway Museum (previously on display at Nitrogen Studios), the large scale Thomas model used in the spin-off series, The Pack, in Japan at the Hara Model Railway Museum (previously on display at Thomas Land), and one for the touring Thomas and Friends: Explore the Rails exhibit, currently at the Minnesota Children's Museum.
- In Baa!, Thomas said his favourite station is Ffarquhar.
- Thomas appeared in BBC's Children in Need charity single. He was voiced by Ringo Starr.
- Christopher Awdry lost the original Thomas toy when he was in the US, although it was recently recreated for a sizzle promo for the 70th Anniversary.
- In Day of the Diesels, it was revealed that Thomas' driver is named Bob.
- Thomas was the first character introduced in the television series, unlike the Railway Series.
- As the series progressed, Thomas' eyebrows became larger and thicker.
- A promotional image of Thomas regularly appears in a photo frame on the children's program "Giggle and Hoot".
- A toy train resembling Thomas (with a grey face and a blue, red and yellow livery) appears in the "Bob the Builder" special, "Scrambler to the Rescue". Its coaches resemble the Express Coaches and even the whistle sound is the same as Thomas' himself.
- In 2014, when artist Jenny Bell decided to paint a mural of the nativity at Nottingham railway station for Christmas, she added a golden model of Thomas into the picture. She used a wind-up model of Thomas from Hornby as a guide.
- A Hornby model of Thomas made a cameo in the 2003 Comic Relief.
- An ERTL toy of Thomas made a cameo in GoodTimes Entertainment's home video "All About Fast Moving Trains".
- A Wooden Railway toy of Thomas along with Peter Sam's original model both made cameos in an episode of Australia's Funniest Home Videos.
- A Thomas ride-on pedal car appears in the 19th season of South Park, in the 8th episode "Sponsored Content".
- Thomas' LB&SCR number (No. 70) actually belonged to an LB&SCR A1 named Poplar, a member of Stepney's and Boxhill's class. The engine containing this number is currently preserved at the Kent & East Sussex Railway. The number 70 also represents the 70th anniversary of the Thomas & Friends franchise.
- Thomas' current voice actor for the American dub, Joseph May, was born in the same city where his basis spent their last service days (Southampton).
- Thomas' ERTL, Take-Along and Motor Road and Rail toys have the red lining on the back on his bunker, even after it was removed in the TV series.
- Even after the red lining on the back of Thomas' bunker returned, none of the merchandising companies added the lining on the back of their Thomas models.
- Awdry's original toy of Thomas depicts him as an LNER J50 0-6-0T with an extended coal bunker.
- In a Robot Chicken parody sketch of the TV Series, Thomas was voiced by Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe.
- Thomas went through several aesthetic changes in the television series:
- Season 1:
- He had a real looking brake pipe, which was tilted down so that it didn't touch the face.
- Season 2:
- He gained a smaller brake pipe on both front & back.
- The blue supports under his whistle became gold.
- Season 3:
- His footsteps got smaller.
- After Trust Thomas, the lining on the back of his bunker was removed.
- Thomas and the Magic Railroad:
- He became slightly taller.
- His eyebrows became a bit bigger.
- His wheels became bigger.
- The gold supports under his whistle became blue again.
- Jack and the Sodor Construction Company (large scale model only):
- His lamp becomes bigger.
- His brake pipe and buffers are bigger.
- There is a hole on the left side of his running board.
- His funnel is larger.
- The face masks used in the sixth season were modified.
- Season 7:
- His wheels go back to their original size.
- Season 11:
- The two supports under his whistle disappeared.
- Hero of the Rails:
- His cab is open.
- His number 1 became slightly smaller, and the red lining becomes thicker.
- He gained inside valve gear.
- He went back to his original size.
- The Adventure Begins:
- The lining on the back of his bunker returned permanently, this edition was re-added by Sam Wilkinson.
- His side rods become silver.
- His cab controls are consistently high detail (3D).
- Season 1:
- Several of Thomas's screen used faces are owned by Twitter user ThomasTankMerch. Some Production made faces are owned by Twitter users TopPropsCO, Thomasdatank11 and Diesel10TV.
- "Thomas is a tank engine who lives at a big station on the Island of Sodor. He has six small wheels, a short stumpy boiler, a short stumpy funnel, and a short stumpy dome." (The Narrator introducing Thomas, Thomas and Gordon, Season 1)
- "Well, well, anyway, blue is the only color for a really useful engine. Everyone knows that!" (Thomas, Percy and the Coal, Season 2)
- "Wake up, lazybones! Why don't you work hard like me?" (Thomas and Gordon, Season 1)
- "Cinders and ashes!" (Thomas' catchphrase)
- "You leave my friend alone, you.....big bully!" (The Great Race)
- ERTL (normal, silver, gold, metallic, remote controlled, motorized, miniature, Gold Rail, in multipacks and Santa hat; all versions discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (normal, gold, motorized, metallic, and in multi-packs)
- Take Along (normal, silver, metallic, talking roll and whistle, and in multi-packs; all versions discontinued)
- My First Thomas (normal, talking, drive-away talking and interactive)
- Motor Road and Rail (normal, gold, metallic, talking, snowplough, Steam Along, streamlined, and with Annie and Clarabel; discontinued outside Asia)
- TrackMaster (normal, talking, RC, greatest moments, Steam Along, with Annie and Clarabel, in Southern Railway green and streamlined)
- Brio (normal and motorized; both versions discontinued)
- Hornby (discontinued, reintroduced 2015)
- Bachmann (HO and Large Scale)
- Lionel (G scale (discontinued), O gauge and RC)
- Trading Cards
- My Thomas Story Library (discontinued)
- Engine Adventures
- Thomas Engine Collection Series (several versions; discontinued)
- Mini Die Cast Collection (discontinued)
- Departing Now (discontinued)
- Thomas Town (discontinued)
- Capsule Collection
- Take-n-Play (normal, pull back, talking, push 'n' puff, glow racers and streamlined)
- LEGO (discontinued)
- Mega Bloks
- De Agostini (discontinued)
- Tomica (regular, metallic and with Annie and Clarabel)
- Woody Capsule Series
- Around Town with Thomas
- Discover Junction
- Wind-up Trains (several versions)
- Mini Mini Plarail (discontinued)
- Puka-Q (discontinued)
- Pocket Fantasy (Several; Discontinued)
- Diablock (large, mini, and clear versions)
- Collectible Railway
- Motorized Railway
- Push Along (small and large versions)
- Pullback Racers
- Padlock and Key
- Switch-On Keychains
- Micro Rubber Engines
- Pull 'n' Spin
- Boss (normal and pull back; discontinued)
- Pico Pico
- Limited Edition Collection
- Interactive Learning Railway
- Classic Minis
- Metallic Minis (Gold and Platinum)
- Heroes Minis
- Racers Minis
- Spooky Minis
- DC Super Friends Minis (As Superman, Batman, Bizarro and Clark Kent)
- Warriors Minis
- Christmas Minis
- Core Moments Minis (Breakfast Thomas)
- Glow in the Dark Minis
- SpongeBob SquarePants Minis (As SpongeBob SquarePants)
- Tootsie Minis (DOTS and Fruit Chews)
- Construction Minis
- Animal Minis (Zebra)
- Aquatic Minis (Starfish)
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Minis (As the Blue Ranger)
- New Block
- MV Sports (in three pack with Toby and Mavis; discontinued)
- Pre-Cut Model Engine Books (with Annie; discontinued; re-released separately; re-discontinued)
- Schylling (train whistle, Jack in the boxes, alarm clock, tin pail, domed lunchbox, lanterns and pocket watch)
- Big Buddy (discontinued)
- Rail Rollers
- Adventures (normal, light-up racer, muddy, original, and talking space mission)
- Waku Waku
- My First Thomas & Friends (various models)
- Bandai (Day Out with Thomas)
- Hobidas (Day Out with Thomas)
|North Western Railway|
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