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Thomas is a blue tank engine. He came to Sodor in 1915, which was probably the same year he was built, 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 Knapford-Ffarquhar branch line and two coaches named Annie and Clarabel.

Bio in the Railway Series Edit

Thomas the Tank EngineEdit

After Thomas acted cheeky to Gordon one day, Gordon decided to pay him out by pulling him away before he had been uncoupled from his coaches. Thomas was pulled across Sodor at high speed and afterwards resolved to never tease Gordon again, but this brief excursion beyond his boundaries seemed to give him a desire to see more of the world and be part of it.

Thomas was given charge of Henry's morning train after he fell ill, but forgot to be coupled and only stopped when a signalman told him that he had no train. Thomas' real first chance at pulling a train came when Edward offered to shunt coaches while Thomas took a goods train for him to Wellsworth, but the trucks got up to their tricks and pushed him down Gordon's Hill; Thomas narrowly avoided a collision with the buffers.

After this incident, Thomas was permanently transferred to Wellsworth to learn the ways of the goods yards. After James came rushing through one day and crashed into a field, Thomas came to his aid and the Fat Controller, satisfied with Thomas' work, gave him charge of a branch line and two coaches named Annie and Clarabel.

Tank Engine Thomas AgainEdit

Thomas had his famous race with Bertie on his new line, as well as getting stuck in the snow; leaving his guard behind; and getting fish inside his water tanks.

Troublesome EnginesEdit

Thomas was asked by the Fat Controller to run the main line with Edward while the big engines went on strike.

Henry the Green EngineEdit

Henry finally got his revenge on Thomas by beating him to the junction, with the help of his new Welsh coal. Thomas was not cross, but instead impressed by Henry's new-found power.

Toby the Tram EngineEdit

Thomas had a brush with the law after he was booked for travelling from Anopha Quarry without cowcatchers or sideplates. The matter was resolved when Toby came to Sodor to help on the branch line.

Gordon the Big EngineEdit

Thomas teased Gordon relentlessly about his incident with the ditch. He later went to an abandoned lead mine for some trucks and foolishly ignored a danger sign, causing him to fall into a mine tunnel. Gordon pulled him out, and the two formed an alliance.

Thomas later asked the Fat Controller if Gordon could be forgiven, and was chosen to shunt coaches for the other engines. He was personally thanked by Queen Elizabeth II.

Percy the Small EngineEdit

As Thomas was busy, he asked Percy to take the children home from Sunday School.

The Eight Famous EnginesEdit

Thomas warned Percy not to stray past the board at the harbour, citing his experience falling down the mine as a warning.

Thomas later attended a meeting with the other engines, learning he and the others were going to England. While teaching his temporary replacement, Jinty, how to run his branch line, he boasted about his famous race and crashed into some buffers, denting his front end badly. He was repaired in time, and breathlessly arrived at Knapford just before the others left for England.

The Twin EnginesEdit

It is revealed Thomas takes a special coach from the express every afternoon for passengers travelling on his branch line.

Branch Line EnginesEdit

Thomas had a collision with the Ffarquhar stationmaster's house and was sent to be repaired. One of the major differences in Thomas' body upon his return was his valence, which was now flat instead of curving down, as it previously did.

Stepney the "Bluebell" EngineEdit

Thomas befriended Stepney during his visit to Sodor. Stepney worked on his branch line during his stay.

Tramway EnginesEdit

Thomas teased Percy about his ghost train, but was later spooked when Percy, covered in lime, attempted to gain entry into the Ffarquhar sheds.

Really Useful EnginesEdit

Thomas helps the police when he sees the thieves, who stole some valuables from the Stationmaster. Also, after being cheeky to Gordon, Thomas was given the task of pulling the Express along with Duck and Percy while Gordon and Henry were ill.

More About Thomas the Tank EngineEdit

Thomas and Percy began a quarrel after Thomas became covered in coal dust, which became more serious as time went on. Finally, Thomas apologized after Percy helped him after he punctured his water tank and the two became friends again.

Thomas and the TwinsEdit

Thomas was sent to Edward's Branch Line whilst the bridges on his own line were under repair.

Thomas and the Great Railway ShowEdit

Thomas was invited to a railway show in York. The trip was shaky, with Thomas colliding with a crossing gate and later being booked for parking after the lorry he was travelling on parked illegally. Matters were compounded after Thomas frightened a small child while stopping for a bag carelessly thrown onto the line, but Thomas made up for his misdemeanours by saving Green Arrow from a dip in a river, and was rewarded by being made an honorary member of the National Railway Museum and was given a commemorative plaque. For some reason, Thomas does not bear this plaque anywhere visible on his body after his return in the next book, where he is seen with it in front of his funnel.

Thomas Comes HomeEdit

Thomas arrives home from York in the last story, and is greeted with a celebration.

Wilbert the Forest EngineEdit

Thomas befriends Wilbert upon his arrival on the branch line.

Thomas and the Fat Controller's EnginesEdit

Thomas derails after running over track weakened by rabbit burrows.

Thomas and VictoriaEdit

Thomas spotted an old coach called Victoria who was run down and unused, and suggested that she be mended to help Toby. After an overhaul at the Works, she became part of "Toby's Vintage Train".

Thomas and his FriendsEdit

Thomas helped to rescue an injured swan from a bridge parapet and later corrected Percy when he thought that the Thin Clergyman was bust, as in broken. He then attended the unveiling of the bust of the Thin Clergyman with the other engines at Tidmouth.

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".


Thomas is a rather cheeky, but good hearted engine and generally behaves well, except when he is getting into mishap. He loves teasing the others and, on occasion, brags about his superiority, but is always brought down to earth in due course. If Thomas has one major character flaw, it is that he is forgetful, and slightly impatient. However, he is also optimistic and idealistic.



LB&SCR E2 class (with extended sidetanks)

Thomas 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.


LNER J50 class

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.


The Railway SeriesEdit

Television series Edit



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.