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Thomas is a tank engine who works on the North Western Railway. He originally worked as the station pilot at the Big Station, but longed to leave his yard to go out and see the world. After helping to rescue James from a nasty accident, Thomas was rewarded with two new coaches, Annie and Clarabel, and was given the responsibility of running the Ffarquhar Branch Line, where he continues to work to this day.
The Railway Series
Details of Thomas' arrival on the North Western Railway in 1915 are more or less undocumented, and it is unknown how exactly he showed up. The most popular theory put forward, however, is that he was sent to Sodor in a wartime mix-up. His driver and fireman got along well with the local people and married Sudrian girls, and by 1920 neither one wanted to leave the Island or their beloved engine.
On inquiry, Topham Hatt found out that the LB&SCR had written off Thomas as being "lost on war service". Rather than face complications resulting from a change in their books, the LB&SCR quietly sold Thomas to the North Western Railway for a "nominal sum".
Thomas originally worked as the station pilot at Vicarstown, shunting trains for the bigger engines on the main line to take out. He enjoyed teasing the other engines, Gordon most of all, and would quietly sneak up on him and whistle loudly as he dozed on a siding. However, one morning, Gordon managed to get back at Thomas by pulling out of the station before he could be uncoupled from his coaches, dragging him down the line at tremendous speeds. Thomas vowed to never tease Gordon again, but made him change. Perhaps as a result of his brief excursion beyond his boundaries, Thomas longed to see more of a world and become a part of it, and became jealous of the bigger engines for having the opportunity to pull trains.
When Henry fell ill one morning, Thomas was allowed to take his morning passenger train when there were no other engines available, much to his delight. However, for reasons unknown, Thomas left the station before he could be coupled to his train, leaving behind the coaches, the passengers and their luggage. Thomas was not aware of his mistake , until he was stopped by a signalman who asked where his train was. Ashamed and humiliated, Thomas returned to the station, this time waiting to be coupled to his coaches, but the incident had made him a laughing stock among the bigger engines.
Thomas continued to grumble to the other engines, though they took no notice of him. However, Edward felt sorry for him, and allowed him to take his goods train to Wellsworth while he handled his shunting duties in the yard. Although Edward warned him to be careful around the trucks, Thomas took no notice and bumped the trucks as he started. When they reached Gordon's Hill, the trucks pushed him down the line, causing him to lose control. Thomas raced through Maron station and came , where he was confronted by the Fat Controller. Sometime after this, Thomas was relocated to Wellsworth to learn more about handling trucks.
Thomas was present in the yard when James ran out of control with his trucks and derailed in a field outside the station. Thomas fetched the Breakdown Train and rushed to James' aid, and he helped to clean up the broken trucks and bring James back to the shed when he was re-railed. As a reward for his actions, Thomas was given two new coaches, Annie and Clarabel, and was given the responsibility of running the Ffarquhar Branch Line, much to his delight.
Thomas loved his branch line dearly, and had many adventures during his first days on the line. He once left his guard behind by accident, and on another occasion he accidentally swallowed a fish in his tank when he took on water from the lake, causing him tremendous pain. During the autumn season, Thomas met Terence and teased him for his caterpillar tracks, though he later came to regret this after he became stuck in the snow and had to be pulled out by him. Thomas later met Bertie and was challenged to a race to Ffarquhar. Although he was behind for most of the race, Thomas managed to overtake Bertie and won.
After a compliment by his driver went to his smokebox, Thomas became conceited, believing that he no longer needed his driver to control him. The next morning, Thomas found himself moving on his own after a careless cleaner had meddled with his controls, but he was unable to stop and crashed into the Ffarquhar stationmaster's house. Thomas was sent to the Works to be mended and received some changes to his design, including a new footplate that was now level from smokebox to bunker. When Thomas returned to the branch line, he began looking after the passenger trains with Daisy.
In 1990, Thomas was invited by the National Railway Museum to represent the North Western Railway in the Great Railway Show, an event showcasing many famous engines across the UK. Thomas was excited, but the journey to York was shaky; he damaged his front bufferbeam when he hit a crossing gate, and the lorry he was traveling on was booked for parking illegally. Thomas was repaired when he arrived at the Museum and befriended Green Arrow while he was being mended, though he continued to have bad luck when he ran into a bag thrown onto the line and frightened a small child. Fortunately, Thomas managed to make up for his bad luck when, as he was double-heading a railtour with Green Arrow, he noticed the line up ahead was damaged and stopped the train. As a reward for his actions, Thomas was made an honourary member of the National Railway Museum and received a commemorative plaque. Afterwards, Thomas left York and returned to Sodor.
Thomas & Friends
Before coming to Sodor, Thomas lived at Brighton, where he worked alongside several other engines. He was brought to the North Western Railway when the Fat Controller was in need of a new tank engine to shunt trains at Knapford, and was originally painted green before receiving his blue livery.
Thomas was cheeky at first, and enjoyed teasing Gordon by waking him up while he was resting at Knapford. Gordon managed to get back at Thomas by leaving the station too quickly before he could be uncoupled, and though Thomas learned his lesson about teasing Gordon, he wanted to see more of the world and go beyond the yard at Knapford station. He was given the chance to pull his first passenger train when Henry became ill, but left the station too early when he mistook the Guard's whistle for Edward's train for his own, leaving behind his coaches and passengers. Thomas was stopped by a Signalman, and he went back to the station to fetch his train.
Thomas was teased relentlessly about this mistake by the other engines, especially Gordon and James, though Edward felt sorry for him and offered to let Thomas take his goods train while he took care of his shunting duties in the yard. Thomas could hardly contain his excitement and was too excited to listen to Edward's warning about the trucks, believing that he could handle them easily. However, as he reached the top of Gordon's Hill, the trucks began pushing Thomas down the line, causing him to run out of control and nearly crashed until he stopped in a siding at Maron. As punishment for not doing his work in the yard, the Fat Controller made Thomas shunt in the yard only, giving Edward the same punishment as him.Upon noticing that Henry had not come out of the sheds to pull his train during a rainy day, Thomas raced back to Tidmouth Sheds and managed to convince a paranoid Henry that the rain would not hurt him, finally helping him get over his fear of the rain. Thomas continued to work in the yard, and over time, he became more skilled at shunting. While taking a break in the yard one day, Thomas saw James being pushed by his trucks. unable to stop due to his burning brake blocks. Thomas bravely chased after James and tried to stop him, but unfortunately James derailed and landed in a field. Thomas rushed back to Knapford and retrieved Jerome and Judy, who helped him re-rail James. As a reward for his heroic actions, Thomas was rewarded with his own branch line and two coaches of his own, Annie and Clarabel. From that point on, Thomas began proudly working on his branch line.
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 described as being a cheeky, fussy engine. He often gets into scrapes, usually by being over eager to do things best left to bigger and more sensible engines. But clouds never last long in Thomas' life, and he's soon bustling about again, playing his part in the yard and on his very own branch line, of which he is extremely proud.
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 willing to correct him, 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 rather impatient. However, he is also optimistic, idealistic, and altruistic, and has a heart of gold.
A friend to all engines, and a popular member of the Fat Controller’s Railway, Thomas is No.1 and does his best every day to live up to that through helping his friends and those that he cares about. He lives to be a Really Useful Engine and encourages everyone else to do the same.
Thomas is based on the LB&SCR Class E2 0-6-0T, particularly the second batch of locomotives built with extended side-tanks. These engines were built by Brighton Works between 1913-1916 to replace the aging Stroudley E1 class, and were primarily used for heavy shunting and short-distance freight trains in the London area and on the south coast. During their final working years, the E2 class worked as shunting engines at Southampton Docks, until they were replaced by the BR Class 07 diesel shunters. All of the E2s have been scrapped, with none surviving to preservation.
Thomas has several major differences from the original E2 class. He is much shorter in length than his original basis, he has two extra windows on the sides of his cab, and he has wheel splashers, something the E2 class lacked. In early volumes of The Railway Series and the television series, Thomas' footplate is dipped at the front, but oddly enough is not dipped at the back. In Branch Line Engines, his footplate was leveled out from smokebox to bunker.
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)
- Thomas was the first character in the Railway Series to have a number. According to Brian Sibley, Awdry used the number one because it was the easiest to draw.
- Thomas was the first character introduced in the television series.
- Christopher Awdry lost the original Thomas toy when he was in the United States. However, the model was recreated in 2015 for a 70th Anniversary sizzle.
- Thomas' LBSC number, 70, was actually carried by a real LB&SCR locomotive, an A1 named "Poplar" currently preserved by the Kent & East Sussex Railway. The number also represents the 70th Anniversary of the Railway Series.
- 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)
Green text indicates reintroduction