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Thomas is a blue tank engine who lives on the Island of Sodor. He is engine No. 1 on the North Western Railway and works on the Main Line, but helps out on Edward's Branch Line. He is the Main Protagonist.

Biography

The Railway Series

Details of Thomas's arrival on the North Western Railway in 1915 are mostly undocumented and it is unknown exactly how he turned up on Sodor. 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 women. By 1920, neither one wanted to leave the Island or their beloved engine.

During an inquiry, Sir 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 mainline to take out. He enjoyed teasing the other engines, especially Gordon, who he would quietly sneak up on and whistle loudly while Gordon on a siding. Eventually, 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 a tremendous speed. Thomas vowed to never tease Gordon again. Perhaps as a result of his brief excursion beyond his boundaries, Thomas longed to see more of the world and become a part of it and became jealous of the bigger engines for having the chance to pull trains.

On an occasion when Henry fell ill, Thomas took his morning passenger train since there were no other engines available, much to his delight. However, for unknown reasons, 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 confused, Thomas returned to the station and collected his coaches. Subsequently, the incident made him a laughing stock among the other 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. He only just managed to stop the train before hitting a set of buffers in Wellsworth Yard, where he was confronted by the Fat Controller. So that Thomas could learn about trucks almost as much as Edward, the Fat Controller kept Thomas there, continuing the swap with Edward, and could easily keep an eye on things, as he lives at Wellsworth.

While Thomas worked there, he saw the Breakdown Train. Shortly after he learned what its purpose was (James ran right past him) out of control thanks to his trucks, and derailed in a field west of 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, whom he calls Annie and Clarabel, and 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. In 1960, Thomas crashed into the Ffarquhar stationmaster's house after a careless cleaner had meddled with his controls. Being unable to stop on his own, this incident taught Thomas that he still needed his driver to control him, as opposed to when an earlier compliment by his driver had gone to his smokebox. 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 buffer beam when he hit a crossing gate and the lorry he was travelling 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 honorary member of the National Railway Museum and received a commemorative plaque. Afterwards, Thomas left York and returned to Sodor.

In 1995, during the Golden Jubilee of the Railway Series, Thomas derailed on his branch line after rabbits had been undermining the track. He was rescued and managed to attend the Jubilee at Tidmouth albeit after being delayed at Knapford Junction after a set of points and a signal failed.

In 2007, during which Toby was having to handle the overflow of quarry workers, Thomas discovered an old carriage named Victoria, who he asked to be restored and help Toby. He brought her up from the Junction to Ffarquhar to meet Toby, after having to bypass Terence's toppled cart that had nearly blocked the line.

In 2011, Thomas had been crossing the river bridge near Elsbridge, when he was forced to stop due to an injured swan laying on the rails. He escorted it to Ffarquhar where it was taken to a vet and after recovery, Thomas brought it back to Elsbridge where the swan was freed. Later, he attended Wilbert Awdry's centenary.

Thomas & Friends

Before coming to Sodor, Thomas lived at Sodor where he worked alongside several other engines. He was brought to the Sodor Railway when Sir Topham Hatt was in need of a new tank engine to shunt trains at Knapford and was originally painted sea foam green before receiving his blue livery.

Thomas was cheeky at first and enjoyed teasing Edward by waking him up while he was resting at Knapford. Edward 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 Edward, 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 Thomas'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 Percy and James, though Gordon 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 Percy'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.

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 abandoning his punishment and tried to stop him, but unfortunately, James derailed and landed in a field. Thomas rushed back to Knapford and retrieved Judy and Jerome (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 and happily working on his very own branch line.

Thomas and the Magic Railroad

Thomas was pulling his coaches to Killaban, but he was late due to repairs on the Main Line Loop. When he arrived to connect his passengers with Gordon's train, the latter scolded him for being late and tells him that engines are really reliable and right on time. After talking about Mr. Conductor coming to be in charge of Sodor while Sir Topham Hatt is on a holiday, Diesel 10 rushed by, spreading dust all over the two engines. Thomas reminds Gordon about Diesel 10, who has used to be on Sodor.

Later at Tidmouth Sheds, Thomas accidentally bumps into some buffers; James warns him about it and Thomas reminds him that buffers are for stopping engines from crashing and getting into accidents. After Diesel 10 arrives and announces his plan to destroy a lost engine and replace Sodor's steam engines with new diesels taking over, Thomas is confident that diesel engines won't take over as long as Mr. Conductor is around and heads off to find him, leaving James confused.

On his branch line, Thomas met Mr. Conductor, who is concerned about his journey from Shining Time keeps getting bumpy. Thomas comforts him and tells him all about Diesel 10's arrival. After arriving at Knapford, Thomas shunted some Troublesome Trucks at Tidmouth Sheds, talking to James and Gordon, who boast that Thomas is too small to collect Mr. Conductor. After hearing the other engines conversation about Lady, Thomas is confident that little engines like him, can find her. Harold accidentally spreads Sneezing Powder all over Thomas, Splatter and Dodge, dumped by Diesel 10. Thomas is sure that Diesel 10 is still causing trouble.

At the sheds, Thomas and the other engines are soon asleep with Mr. Conductor, until Diesel 10 attacks the sheds and demands the lost engine's whereabouts. Mr. Conductor threatens Diesel 10 with a bag of sugar, seizing him up if pouring it in his fuel tanks.

Meanwhile, after Thomas was with the other engines gather for the meeting about their individual concerns about Diesel 10 destroying Lady and he set off to find Mr. Conductor, then Bertie offers a race with him, but Thomas apologises to him when he is unable to accept Bertie's offer for a race and decides to help Mr. Conductor solve some mysteries.

That night as Percy arrived at Knapford with the Mail Train, Thomas and Percy talk about how Mr. Conductor travels to Sodor on a magic railroad by a set of magic buffers as Diesel 10 overhears them. Then, Toby told them to carry on taking the Mail Train while Toby followed him to the Smelter's Yard and distracted Diesel 10, Splatter and Dodge.

Throughout the film, Thomas spends all his time, making sure he is really useful. Thomas works very hard, taking passengers on his branch line and the Main Line Loop, as well as trying to find and help Mr. Conductor find the source of his gold dust, in order to keep the two worlds together.

After a coal truck for Henry disappears through The Magic Buffers, Bertie calls out to Thomas about his missing coal truck, leading Thomas and Percy to realise that the buffers lead to the Magic Railroad and the lost engine. Thomas suggests they should protect the buffers from Diesel 10. Later, Thomas meets Lily and Junior and Thomas told Annie and Clarabel that Percy will pick them up, leaving Annie and Clarabel behind and takes them to the windmill, where Mr. Conductor is looking for the clue. After Junior is flung away with Diesel 10, Mr. Conductor, Lily and Thomas discuss the Lady and Burnett Stone and wonder if he could help them too. After Percy alerts Thomas about Splatter and Dodge finding the magic buffers before Diesel 10 destroys the Magic Railroad, Mr. Conductor advises Thomas to take Lily to her grandfather, through the buffers, because he is really useful and will find a way.

Thomas was reluctant but bravely agrees. The two guided by The Tumbleweed, go through the magic buffers and explore the Magic Railroad. Thomas finds the coal truck and couples up to it as a clue. When the two arrive at Muffle Mountain, Lily runs off to find her grandfather. However, a wind blew very high, knocking Thomas loose, into another portal of The Magic Railroad.

When Lady and the Magic Railroad were restored, Thomas met up with Lady and steamed through the Magic Buffers, meeting Mr. Conductor and Junior at the Sodor Wishing Well, until the two engines are found by Diesel 10, Splatter and Dodge. Thomas and Burnett bravely decide to help Lady. Thomas, Burnett and Lady are chased by Diesel 10, throughout the Kirk Ronan line. Thomas reminds Lady that little engines can do big things before they reach the viaduct. Lady and Thomas bravely make it across, whistling cheerfully as Diesel 10 falls off the viaduct and lands into a barge full of sludge. Thomas and Lady arrive back safely and help out with more of the clues. After the gold dust is restored, Thomas and Lady thank each other and learn the valuable lesson of magic. Thomas happily puffs back home to Tidmouth Sheds to tell Sir Topham Hatt and the other engines all about his magical adventure.

Personality

Thomas is described as being a cheeky and 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 is 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 with a heart of gold.

A friend to all engines and a popular member of Sir Topham Hatt’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. He likes to be better than James and Bertie in races. He can (however) also get annoyed about being useful such as the time when Rosie followed him around because she idolized him so much.

While he might drive others away, Thomas is very good at luring back friends should the situation demand it.

Despite all this, he does have his pride and will sometimes take wrong advice at the wrong time - such as from Sailor John or Ace, as well as refusing help even when he needs it.

In other cases, Thomas can be highly curious and positive, with slight hints of skepticism and forgetfulness, including tendencies to daydream. He is also however depicted with a subtle tone of wisdom, helping engines like Sonny and Rajiv be really useful, despite their difficulties or insecurities in the past. Thomas also has a high perspective on odd objects or people, quickly growing suspicious upon seeing the Tiger Hunters' hidden cage, Diesel 10's plans to take over the railway of steam engines with his fellow diesels and Baz and Bernie's whispering.

Technical Details

Basis

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 ageing Stroudley E1 class and were primarily used for heavy shunting and short-distance goods 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 alongside the USATC S100 Tank Engines (Rosie's basis), until they were replaced by the BR Class 07 diesel shunters (Salty's basis). All of the E2s were scrapped, with none surviving into 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 original E2 class lacked. In the 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 levelled out from smokebox to bunker.

Livery

Thomas is painted NWR blue with red lining. His number is painted on the sides of his tanks in yellow with red lining and the lining around his cab windows is yellow. He has red lining on the back of his coal bunker.

Appearances

Railway Series

  • Thomas the Tank Engine - Thomas and Gordon, Thomas's Train, Thomas and the Trucks and Thomas and the Breakdown Train

Television Series

Specials/Movies

Audio Files

Thomas's Whistle Thomas's TATMRR Whistle
Thomas's Season 1 Theme Thomas's Season 8 Theme

Trivia

  • Thomas was the first character in the Railway Series to have a number. According to Brian Sibley in The Thomas the Tank Engine Man, Awdry used the number one because it was the easiest to draw.
  • Thomas was the first character introduced in the television series.
  • From the first to twelfth series during the model era, Thomas had three different facial expressions: angry, frustrated and jovial; that were not used on-screen. His unused second series jovial face (however) was designed in The Great Festival Adventure game, where Thomas was teasing Gordon about being on the turntable.
    • Also in the tenth series episode, Topped Off Thomas, his unused third series enraged face was used where Thomas was arguing with Spencer about going or not going faster than the wind and later challenging him to a race to Kellsthorpe Road.
    • Sometime before or during the production of the fourth series, Thomas had an elderly face mask, created by model maker Jeremy King, which was originally made as a joke to David Mitton during the filming of Thomas and the Magic Railroad.[9][10]
  • Christopher Awdry lost the original Thomas toy when he was in the United States. However, a replica was made for a 70th-anniversary sizzle reel. The second version of the original toy was made as a "thank you" gift by Michael White.
  • In the American and Finnish cast, Thomas is the only character voiced by Joseph May and Juha Varis in the series.
  • Thomas's 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 top speed of his basis and the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series. All the actual E2s (however) were only numbered from 100 to 109.
  • According to Sir Topham Hatt on the 2001 version of the official website, Thomas was given his name by the engine workshop which built him. 
  • Thomas is one of three characters to have a speaking role in every series and special, the other two being Henry and James.
  • A Wooden Railway toy of Thomas (along with one of Stepney's) appeared in the second series of The Big Bang Theory in an episode called "The Friendship Algorithm".
  • An ERTL toy of Thomas along with one of James' also appeared in the sixth series of Full House in one of its episodes called "Be True to Your Preschool".
  • Following Mr Conductor in Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Thomas became the second character to narrate in first-person.
  • In Calling All Engines!, Thomas sleep-whistles. This is apparently the steam engine version of snoring, though instead typical snoring sounds, Thomas makes warbling whistles after pausing before the next toot. This was only mentioned in Calling All Engines as it might be because his crew never shut off his steam properly.
  • He has the most nicknames of any character, with nineteen in total.
  • He is the first Sudrian engine with a separate driver in international locations.
  • He is the only vehicle character with headwear (a nightcap in the series 9-12 closing segments, a party hat in the ninth series episode Thomas' Milkshake Muddle, an aviator pilot hat in the tenth series episode Sticky Toffee Thomas and a top hat in the same episode and the eleventh series episode Smoke and Mirrors (if one were to also count The Fat Controller's top hat in Topped Off Thomas) (not counting Whiff's glasses or Darcy's visor (or the Santa caps on all the vehicles in the early Christmas episodes)).
  • Thomas is the first character in the show to have lost his voice onscreen with the twenty-third series episode, Too Loud, Thomas!. With this, he is the third character on the show with a speech impediment (albeit temporarily) after Fergus and Theo.
  • He has sometimes been seen going well over his top speed of seventy miles per hour.
  • Despite having lining present on his bunker, only a select few merchandise items have had it during their course. They were subsequently removed in renovations and to date, items of Thomas with the bunker lining are rare to find.
  • Thomas is the only original member of the current Steam Team not to have handrails across his boiler or side tanks.
  • To celebrate Easter in 2017, a giant 140kg chocolate sculpture of Thomas was displayed at Kings Cross Station. Made out of real Belgian chocolate, the display piece was sculpted in two-hundred-fifty hours by three master chocolatiers and was surrounded by TrackMaster engines running around. An actor dressed as Sir Topham Hatt was on hand to hand out Easter eggs.
  • In episode 5 of Season 3 of Gavin and Stacey a ride on Thomas can be seen in the background of one of the scenes.

Behind the Scenes

Gallery


59 Engines | 53 Rolling Stock | 5 Non-Rail Vehicles | 8 People | 15 Lines | 17 Former
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