Toby is a steam tram. He works on Thomas' Branch Line with Thomas, Percy, Daisy and Mavis. Toby has two coaches named Henrietta and Victoria and a luggage van, Elsie. His main job is taking stone trucks to and from the quarry, but he also helps with other jobs.
BioToby was built by James Holden at GER's Stratford Works in Stratford, London, England in 1914. Toby was sent to work at a Harbour with several of his brothers, at Great Yarmouth Docks, Norfolk. He never really like it there, because he never had a chance to exercise wheels. He was given his own coach called Henrietta and transferred to work on an tramway, which served several farms, factories and villages. Toby was soon replaced by cars, lorries and buses; Months passed, and Toby's Tramway closed down. The Fat Controller met Toby before, and ceased the opportunity to buy him. Toby and Henrietta came to work at the quarry on Thomas' Branch Line, after it was found to be illegal for Thomas to go on the quarry tramroad without side-plates or cowcatchers.
Toby and his faithful coach, Henrietta were teased by James for their shabby paintwork. Toby made a snide comment about James' bootlace incident. James planed to get back at Toby. However James crashed into some tar wagons, Toby and Percy were sent to help clear up the mess and helped James home. The Fat Controller congratulated Toby and Percy for their work, and promised Toby and Henrietta a new coat of paint, because Toby had helped James. James stopped calling him names and Toby was given chocolate-brown paint for his hard work.
Toby's parts were soon worn out and was on the way to the Works. On the way he met James who bragged to Toby about his importance; Toby ignored this and went on his way. Toby later tried to get a drink, but a new signalman, told him he has to clear the line, and Toby struggles on. However, Toby's tank were nearly empty to begin with, and he soon runs out of water. His fireman goes back and asks James to push Toby to the Works. James bumped Toby and huffily pushed him to the Works, where several children joked that Toby was needed to help James with the Express. James was furious, and disappeared in a cloud of steam.
Toby is old but hardworking and knows enough about running branch lines. To help out with work at the quarry a female Diesel shunter named Mavis, was brought to help. Toby gave advice to Mavis as she was not willing to shunt the trucks where they needed to be. So Toby decided to shunt the trucks himself. He soon ended up suspended over a raging torrent on a pair of dangling rails. Mavis rescues him and, even though it was her fault, the two engines made up their quarrel and are now good friends.
Once Toby was asked to investigate a dam during rainy weather. He discovered the dam is about to burst its banks and hurries to get to higher ground. However, the bridge he is on is swept away after the dam collapses. Harold drops a rope, which is tied to Toby's bufferbeam. Harold gave the rope to Percy, who bravely pulls Toby to safety. When the flood subsides and the dam mended, the villagers have a party held in Toby's honour. Toby thanks Harold and Percy for saving his life.
Toby took the Fat Controller and his grand children to explore old and abandoned parts of the island. Toby found an old Scottish castle, called Castle Loch, and then visited a run-down mine. The mines were soon re-opened, but Toby is spooked by Thomas' tale of the "Old Warrior" who hunts in the mines during the night. Toby meets the "Old Warrior", but discovers the ghost is really a narrow gauge engine named Bertram. Bertram was put back into service and the mine and the Scottish castle were restored and became tourist attractions. Bertram and Toby are now firm friends.
Toby's favorite place on the Island is an old windmill that belongs to his friend, Dusty Dave, the miller. One night, a fierce storm swept across Sodor and the windmill gets struck by lightning, setting it ablaze! In the morning, Toby carefully puffed along the line seeing the damage the storm caused. He was upset when Dusty Dave was now out of a job, as he couldn't afford to fix the windmill. Luckily, Toby manages to find a way to repair the damage; by a fallen down tree. Several days later, the windmill is restored to full working order. Dusty Dave was very grateful and renamed the windmill "Toby's Windmill".
Toby and Henrietta have to carry the workmen to the quarry; Bertie the Bus often helps out. One day Bertie was ill and Henrietta had to carry the workmen all by herself, but there was not enough room and some had to crowd on Henrietta's balcony. Toby gets into trouble with a policeman and the Fat Controller had an idea to sort out the problem. An old coach called Victoria was restored and given to Toby. Victoria is coupled to Toby and Henrietta, making a train now known as "Toby's Vintage Train".
Toby shows that he can be kind hearted and brave as well. However, his advanced age and design means that he is weaker than the other engines. Toby has learn to befriend animals, if they cause trouble he uses his whistle and bell to lure them away. He is often very nervous that the Fat Controller may replace him or send him to the Sodor museum. Despite this Toby manages to get the job done and is willing to give advice to his friends.
Toby is an old-fashioned both in looks and nature. The Fat Controller brought Toby to his railway to help out with Thomas' branch line. He and his faithful coach Henrietta are always happy to work, having once nearly been scrapped. Toby is usually found on the Quarry line with his faithful coach, Henrietta.
Behind the ScenesToby had two different scales of models in the television series. Toby's main model was Gauge One. It was able to blow smoke from its funnel and had over 20 faces, which were removable. He was Radio Controlled and was given moving eyes. Toby's model had six wheels and side-rods, which were hidden by his cowcatcher and side-plates. Over the years new models have been made to replace the old ones. Two Toby models are currently on display; one at Drayton Manor in the U.K. and one in Canada at Nitrogen Studios.
In order to interact with the large scale people, a large scale version of Toby had been made since Season 3. It usually was featured in close-up scenes of Toby's Cab, Toby's Crew, Toby's Bell, Toby's Buffers and Toby's Water-tank.
BasisToby was inspired by a GER C53 0-6-0T Wisbech steam tram (classed as J70 by the LNER) seen by the Reverend Wilbert and Christopher Awdry on a holiday at Yarmouth, hence Toby's origins.
In the Railway Series Toby was painted brown with black cowcatchers and sideplates, which sported "LNER" in bright yellow letters.
On his tramway he was repainted greyish-brown with grey sideplates and cowcatchers. After helping James he was repainted chocolate-brown with olive frames and blue sideplates. In the Railway Series, he carries two plaques on the sides of his cab stating that he works on the NWR, his number, and the last time and place that he was rebuilt.
In the television series, Toby has consistently been painted brown with grey sideplates and cowcatchers. Toby has a number "7" painted on his sides in bright yellow with a red border.
- Toby is Christopher Awdry's favourite engine. This is because while on a trip in Yarmouth, he and his father got to ride in the cab of a J70 tram.
- In Thomas Comes Home, the illustrations of "Toby's Megatrain" show Toby with a face at the rear cab as well as the front cab. This is the only time in the Railway Series that Toby has been illustrated with two faces.