Thomas is a small, cheeky blue tank engine who was one of the first engines to arrive on the North Western Railway. He used to work as the station pilot at Vicarstown, where he shunted trains for the bigger engines. However, Thomas always longed to see more of the world, and became bored of being kept in the shunting yard. In 1924-5, he was transferred to Wellsworth to learn more about handling trucks.
After James had an accident during his first day on Sodor, Thomas helped to clear up the mess and rescue him. As a reward for his actions, Thomas was given his own branch line and two new coaches called Annie and Clarabel from the Fat Controller. Thomas now happily works on the Ffarquhar Branch Line with his beloved coaches, and continues to have many adventures to this day.
Details of Thomas' arrival on the North Western Railway in 1915 are more or less undocumented; in fact, nobody quite knows how he ended up on the railway to begin with, but the most common belief is that he was sent to Sodor during a wartime mix-up. His Driver and Fireman both got along well with the local people and married Sudrian girls, and by 1920, neither of them wanted to be parted from their engine or leave the Island.
Upon enquiry, Topham Hatt found out that the LB&SCR had written off Thomas as "lost on war service". Rather than face complications stemming from an alteration in their books, the LB&SCR quietly sold Thomas to the North Western Railway for a "nominal sum". (Book; The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways)
Thomas began work at Vicarstown as a station pilot, shunting trains for the bigger engines on the Main Line. He enjoyed teasing the larger engines, especially Gordon, whom he would quietly sneak up on and toot his whistle while he rested in the sidings. Gordon thought of a way to get back at Thomas, and one morning, just before he could be uncoupled from the coaches, Thomas was dragged along behind the express when Gordon started quickly. Gordon dragged Thomas along for several miles, until he stopped at a station and allowed Thomas to rest.
Following this experience, Thomas learned his lesson about teasing Gordon and vowed to never tease him again, but this brief excursion beyond his own boundaries piqued his curiosity. He became much more fascinated in seeing more of the world and becoming a part of it, rather than staying in the shunting yards all day. As a result, he became jealous of the bigger engines for getting to pull trains, and grumbled to them about it.
One morning, Thomas got the chance to finally pull his own train after Henry fell ill and could not pull his morning passenger train. As there were no other engines available for the job, Thomas was chosen to take the train, much to his excitement. However, for reasons left unknown, Thomas left the station before he could be coupled to his train, leaving behind the coaches and passengers. Thomas was not aware of this, and even though the workmen tried to get his attention, he believed they were waving at him. Thomas remained unaware of his mistake until he was stopped by a signalman at a red signal, who informed him about his missing train. Embarrassed and depressed by his mistake, Thomas returned to the station to fetch his train, and was finally coupled up to the train this time.
Thomas began grumbling to the other engines again, still annoyed that they had more freedom than he did. Although most of the engines chose to ignore him, Edward sympathized with Thomas allowed him to take his goods train to Wellsworth while he covered his shunting duties in the yard. The next day, Thomas happily took the goods train, but was too excited to listen to Edward's warning about the trucks. When Thomas reached Gordon's Hill, the trucks bumped into him and pushed him down the line, causing him to lose control of the train. Thomas slid into Wellsworth station, and came to a stop just in front of a set of buffers at the end of a siding.
After the incident with the trucks, the Fat Controller decided to transfer Thomas to Wellsworth so that he could learn more about handling trucks. Whilst shunting trucks in the yard, Thomas noticed a new engine, James, careening down the line with a runaway train. Once when he was informed that James had derailed in a cow field, Thomas fetched the Breakdown Train and went to James' rescue, clearing away the wreckage and taking James back home when he was unable to move under his own steam. The Fat Controller then awarded Thomas with a new branch line and two new coaches, Annie and Clarabel, much to his delight. (RWS; Thomas the Tank Engine)
During his first days of having his branch line, Thomas had several adventures. After waiting impatiently for Henry to arrive at the Junction with his train, Thomas set off immediately when the Guard blew his whistle, but accidentally left him behind when he left the station before he could get into Clarabel. Thomas was not aware of this until he was stopped at a red signal, allowing the Guard to catch up.
After spotting some people fishing at a lake near his branch line, Thomas decided that he wanted to go fishing too. He got his chance when the stand-pipe at Elsbridge was out of order, and his Driver and Fireman used a leaky pail to dump water from the lake into his tanks. However, Thomas began experiencing tremendous pains by the time he reached Ffarquhar, and after going through an inspection, he discovered that a fish had got into his tanks.
During the autumn season, Thomas met Terence, a tractor ploughing a field near his branch line. Thomas openly insulted Terence's caterpillar tracks, believing them to look hideous. When the weather became harsher and it began to snow, Thomas was fitted with his snowplough, but he shook and banged it around so much that he badly damaged it.
Thomas believed he did not require a snowplough, and decided to take his train without one. However, as he made his way out of the tunnel, Thomas became stuck when a snowdrift was blocking the line. While Thomas' passengers were taken by a bus, Terence came to the rescue and helped to pull Thomas out of the snow. Thomas apologized for his rude behaviour, and he and Terence became friends.
When the winter had passed, Thomas met Bertie, the bus who had rescued his passengers when he got stuck in the snow. Bertie challenged Thomas to a race, and the two raced each-other to Ffarquhar. Although he was behind Bertie for most of the race, Thomas managed to get the upper hand when Bertie had to stop at a red traffic light and won the race. (RWS; Tank Engine Thomas Again)
When Gordon, James and Henry went on strike, the Fat Controller shut them up in the shed and allowed Thomas to do the Main Line jobs with Edward, while Percy looked after his coaches. When the big engines apologized and came out of the shed, Thomas returned to his branch line. (RWS; Troublesome Engines)
lthough Thomas hardly had any problems running his branch line, he ran into trouble with the law after an overzealous police officer booked him for running on the tramway between Ffarquhar and Anopha Quarry without cowcatchers and sideplates. To solve the problem, the Fat Controller brought Toby to the branch line, an engine he had met when he visited his original tramway. Thomas was initially jealous of Toby, but after Toby managed to scare the policeman, they became firm friends. (RWS; Toby the Tram Engine)
During the Christmas season, on a particularly rainy day, Thomas was flagged down by Mrs. Kyndley, who managed to warn him about a landslide on the line ahead of him before he could hit it. After this, Thomas worked with Toby to bring several visitors, including the Fat Controller, to her cottage to thank her for her heroic actions. (RWS; Toby the Tram Engine) When Mrs. Kyndley returned to Sodor after her holiday at Bournemouth had ended, Thomas planned to throw a special Christmas party at Tidmouth Sheds so that he could properly thank her. However, on the day that the party was to be held, the line leading to Mrs. Kyndley's cottage was snowed under, leaving her and her husband stuck at the cottage. Thomas worked with Toby to help clear the line, and together, they brought Mrs. Kyndley back to the sheds, where the party was held. (RWS; Thomas' Christmas Party)
Thomas later began to tease Gordon relentlessly, after he had fallen in a ditch and smelled like dirty water. Upon arriving the Toryreck lead mines to fetch some trucks, Thomas noticed a danger sign and chose to ignore it, bumping his crew off the footplate but falling into a mine when the track was not strong enough to support him. After being rescued by Gordon, Thomas apologized and struck an alliance with him.
Following the accident at the mines, Thomas had his branch line taken away from him. However, after being on especially good behaviour and after Gordon asked the Fat Controller to let him have his line back, Thomas was allowed to run his branch line again, and asked the Fat Controller if Gordon could pull the express again. When Queen Elizabeth II came to Sodor, Thomas helped to shunt coaches in the yard. (RWS; Gordon the Big Engine)
Thomas was later chosen by the Fat Controller to visit England, along with the other seven famous engines on Sodor. While showing his replacement, Jinty, how to run his branch line, Thomas boasted about his race with Bertie to him, but damaged his bufferbeam when he ran into a buffer stop too hard. Thomas had to go to the Works to be mended, and was nearly left behind until he managed to arrive at the station just in time. After that, Thomas managed to go to England with the other engines. (RWS; The Eight Famous Engines)
Thomas later became conceited after a compliment by his Driver went to his smokebox, and believed he no longer needed him. The following morning, Thomas got the chance to move by himself after a careless cleaner meddled with his controls, but was unable to stop and crashed into the house of the Ffarquhar Stationmaster while he was having breakfast with his family. Thomas was sent to the Works, and Daisy, a diesel railcar, looked after his passengers.
While he was at the Works, Thomas underwent extensive repairs and received some changes to his design, with one of the most significant changes being his footplate, which was now completely flat at the front instead of curved. After his repairs were finished, Thomas returned to his branch line. (RWS; Branch Line Engines)
When Stepney came to Sodor, Thomas had to be "shunted" when he had to take an important visitor back home. Thomas was infuriated that his train had been delayed, but after Stepney apologized to him and complimented him for his extensive knowledge on branch lines, Thomas befriended him. (RWS; Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine)
Percy once told Thomas and Toby a story of a ghost train that his Driver had supposedly saw, but Thomas dismissed it and believed that the story was silly. To get back at Thomas, Percy pretended to be a ghostly engine to frighten him, with Toby's help. The plan succeeded, and Percy managed to scare Thomas. After finding out that it was only a trick, Thomas became cross with Percy and began arguing with him, and got the last laugh after Percy was covered in hay and treacle. (RWS; Tramway Engines)
Upon hearing that the Ffarquhar Stationmaster's gardening trophies and his new car had been stolen, Thomas noticed the thieves driving the same car through the valley and told his crew about this, who informed the Signalman about this. After the thieves were caught, the Fat Controller congratulated Thomas and his crew. Later on, when Gordon had fallen ill and could not pull the express, Thomas double-headed the express with Percy and Duck. (RWS; Really Useful Engines)
Thomas later began a quarrel with Percy, who accidentally got him covered in coal dust when one of the doors on his coal trucks opened. Their feud became more serious over time, and Thomas began insulting Percy and became rude to him. However, after Thomas' side-rod snapped and punctured his water tank, he became ashamed of his behavior and apologized to Percy, who had come to rescue him and the passengers. (RWS; More About Thomas the Tank Engine)
When a bridge on the Ffarquhar Branch Line needed strengthening, the Fat Controller sent Thomas to the Wellsworth Branch Line to work with Edward, as he was too heavy for the bridge to support. To cheer Thomas up, Edward introduced him to Bill and Ben, but they only served to annoy him when they teased him. The twins' teasing became worse overtime, especially after Thomas ran into a lorry making a delivery of dairy products. However, Thomas managed to gain the respect of both twins after he pulled Ben out of a flooded section of track when his fire went out, and both twins vowed to never tease him again. After that, Thomas returned to his branch line. (RWS; Thomas and the Twins)
Thomas was later chosen by the Fat Controller to represent the North Western Railway at a railway event at the National Railway Museum, much to his excitement. However, the journey to York was shaky, and Thomas ran into a level crossing gate and damaged his front, and the lorry that he was travelling on was booked for parking illegally.
At the National Railway Museum, Thomas was repaired in the workshops, where he befriended Green Arrow, one of the engines owned by the museum. However, things for him did not improve, as when he stopped suddenly to avoid running over a bag on the line, his steam frightened a small child nearby. Fortunately, Thomas made up for his misdemeanors when, while he was double-heading a special train with Green Arrow, he noticed the line up ahead was damaged. Thomas was rewarded for his actions, and was made an honorary member of the National Railway Museum and received a commemorative plaque. (RWS; Thomas and the Great Railway Show) Afterwards, Thomas left York and returned to Sodor. (RWS; Thomas Comes Home)
After his Driver noticed an old, rundown coach named Victoria in a garden at Elsbridge, Thomas, having heard that Toby and Henrietta were both overworked, suggested to the Fat Controller that Victoria could be restored and work with them. The Fat Controller gladly agreed, and Victoria was restored and began working with Toby and Henrietta. (RWS; Thomas and Victoria)
Prior to coming to Sodor, Thomas used to live at Brighton, where he worked alongside several other engines. He worked here up until he arrived on the North Western Railway, when the Fat Controller required a tank engine to handle the shunting duties in the yard. Upon his arrival, Thomas was repainted from green to blue, and began working as the station pilot at Knapford.
Thomas was incredibly cheeky upon his arrival, and enjoyed teasing Gordon, whom he would often sneak up on and wake him up as he rested in the sidings at Knapford. Gordon managed to get back at Thomas, and left the station with the express before Thomas could be uncoupled, dragging him along with the train until they stopped at Wellsworth. Thomas learned his lesson about teasing Gordon, but became tired of staying put in the shunting yard and longed to see more of the world.
After Henry became ill and there was nobody else to take his passenger train, the Fat Controller allowed Thomas to take it. Thomas was far too excited to wait, and, upon hearing the whistle from Edward's Guard, left the station before he could be coupled to the train. Thomas was oblivious to this until he was stopped by a Signalman, who informed him that he had left his train behind. Disappointed and embarrassed, Thomas returned to Knapford to fetch his train.
Thomas was teased endlessly by Gordon and James, but Edward felt sorry for him and allowed him to take his goods train while he took care of his shunting duties in the yard. The following day, Thomas was too excited to listen to Edward's advice and believed he could manage on his own, but when he reached the top of Gordon's Hill, the trucks pushed him down the hill and caused him to lose control. Thomas nearly crashed, but managed to stop just in time when he slid into a siding at Maron. As punishment for not doing his work in the yard, Thomas was forced to work in the yard full time with Edward.
Whilst working at Knapford, Thomas realized that Henry had not arrived to pull his passenger train. When he arrived at Tidmouth Sheds, he discovered that Henry was staying in the shed, as he was too afraid of the stormy weather to come out. Thomas comforted Henry and reassured him that the rain would not hurt him, helping him overcome his fear of rain once and for all.
With Edward's help, Thomas' experience with shunting greatly improved, and soon he could shunt trucks and coaches in the yard with no problem. While taking a break in the yard, Thomas noticed that James was running out of control with his train, and was unable to stop due to his brake blocks catching fire. Thomas chased after James and tried to slow him down or stop him, but unfortunately James derailed and landed in a field. After James derailed, Thomas raced back to Knapford and retrieved Jerome and Judy, who helped to re-rail James while he cleared away the unhurt trucks. As a reward for his heroic actions, Thomas received his very own branch line and two new coaches of his own, Annie and Clarabel, much to his delight. From that point onwards, Thomas began working on his branch line. (TVS; The Adventure Begins)
During the construction of the Sodor Airport, Thomas was sent to the construction site, along with Percy. However, they met up with 'Arry and Bert, who teased the two tank engines. Thomas bumped the twins' flatbeds away before they could be loaded with timber, and sabotaged Diesel's train by giving him bananas instead of bricks. Due to Thomas' actions, the construction of the Airport and the new Tidmouth Sheds was delayed.
As he was busy collecting paint for the Suspension Bridge, Thomas ended up covered in paint when Diesel smashed the flatbed of paint into him, leading to a fight between the steam and diesel engines and further delaying construction duties. Due to Tidmouth Sheds' demolition, Thomas had to stay at Knapford Sheds, much to Emily's disappointment. After having a dream in which he was spoken to by Lady, Thomas got an idea on how to make the steam and diesel engines unite. With Mavis' help, Thomas scheduled a meeting for the steam and diesel engines at the Coaling Plant, and told the engines that they had to work together.
The meeting worked, and the steam and diesel engines managed to complete the Airport. However, as he was busy shunting, Thomas' trucks derailed and crashed into the water tower, knocking it over and cracking the runway. With Harvey on the other side of the island, Thomas asked Diesel 10 to help complete the airport's construction. Diesel 10 agreed, and soon the airport was finished. (TVS; Calling All Engines!)
While making a delivery of lumber to the Wharf, Thomas rediscovered the lost town of Great Waterton as he was trying to take a shortcut to the Wharf. News of his discovery soon spread, and the Fat Controller and the Sodor Construction Company decided to rebuild the town for Sodor Day. Thomas was given the responsibility of looking after the construction work, much to his delight. Unfortunately, Thomas became damaged after derailing, and needed repairs.
When Thomas returned from the Works, he was shocked and disappointed that Stanley, a new engine who he had become jealous of, was put in charge of overseeing the restoration project. Thomas was incredibly jealous of Stanley, and in order to get his old job back, he gave Stanley too many trucks of rubble so that he would stall on the hill. The coupling broke, and the trucks rolled through the station and destroyed the standpipe when it was under construction. Because of the trouble Thomas had caused, the other engines became cross with him.
To make it up to the other engines, Thomas decided to shunt the trucks of rubble away while the other engines rested in the shed. However, whilst shunting trucks in an old yard, Thomas accidentally bumped one of the trucks into an old mine. Thomas chased after the truck, but crashed through a boarded-up tunnel and began drifting down a flooded mine. Thomas eventually came out of the mine and landed beside the track, and was discovered by Stanley, who had been searching for him. After being re-railed, Thomas pushed a broken-down Stanley back to Great Waterton, and he attended the reopening of the town. (TVS; The Great Discovery)
During the summer period, Spencer returned to Sodor to help with the construction of the Duke and Duchess of Boxford's summer house. After being insulted by him, Thomas agreed to challenge Spencer to a race. However, as he made it up Gordon's Hill with a heavy train, Thomas' brakes failed, causing him to run out of control and roll along down an abandoned siding. Upon stopping, Thomas discovered Hiro, an old steam engine who had been abandoned for years. Fearing that Hiro would be scrapped if he was found, Thomas decided to help restore Hiro to working order once more, with the help of the Steam Team and Victor.
However, Thomas' plan to restore Hiro became strained, especially when Spencer became suspicious of what he was doing. Spencer eventually found out about Hiro, forcing Hiro and Thomas to flee to avoid being seen by him despite Hiro lacking his final part. Hiro broke down and was caught by Spencer, putting him in danger. Thomas did his best to hide Hiro to ensure he would not be scrapped, but when Spencer threatened to tell the Fat Controller about Hiro, Thomas raced him to Knapford. Spencer derailed at the Fenland Track, and Thomas told the Fat Controller about Hiro, who agreed to restore him. After Hiro was overhauled and Spencer was re-railed, Thomas helped to complete the construction of the summer house. While resting at the summer house, Thomas discovered that Hiro was homesick, and told the Fat Controller about it. The following day, Hiro left Sodor and went back to his homeland. (TVS; Hero of the Rails)
During the construction of the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre, Thomas believed that he would be given the job of delivering the Jobi wood to the construction site. However, when Diesel stole the trucks of Jobi wood, Thomas chased after him and tried to stop him. Diesel lost the flatbeds of Jobi wood when he accidentally ran over an unfinished bridge, but fortunately, Thomas managed to rescue him before he could fall off. As a reward for his heroic actions, Thomas was sent to the Mainland to visit the rescue centre there.
The next day, Thomas was prepared to leave Sodor by ship, but as Spencer took up the last of the room in the ship, he had to ride on an old raft tied to the ship instead. However, that night, the chain to the raft snapped, and Thomas became lost. The raft eventually stopped on a lonely island, and Thomas got off. He discovered that he had stopped on Misty Island, and met the Logging Locos - Bash, Dash and Ferdinand, who lived on the island. Thomas decided to seek the Logging Locos' help to collect the Jobi wood and return to Sodor, but became full of himself and ordered them about, using up all their fuel on logging machinery and going down the Misty Island Tunnel despite their warnings. The Logging Locos ran out of fuel in the tunnel, and Thomas became trapped with them when the tunnel was blocked. Thankfully, they were rescued by Whiff and Percy, and Thomas returned to Sodor. (TVS; Misty Island Rescue)
When Belle and Flynn came to Sodor, Thomas befriended them and showed them around the railway. However, this made Percy feel jealous, leading to him being manipulated by the diesels. As a part of his plan to take over the Steamworks, Diesel 10 had Percy invite Thomas to the Vicarstown Dieselworks, where he was held hostage by Den and Dart while the diesels took over the Steamworks. After being betrayed by Diesel 10, Percy returned to the Dieselworks and rescued Thomas, then led the Steam Team to the Steamworks to confront Diesel 10. Thomas later helped the engines restore the Dieselworks, and made up with Percy. (TVS; Day of the Diesels)
After Paxton became badly damaged in an accident, Thomas was sent to the Blue Mountain Quarry to fill in for him while he was being repaired. During his time at the quarry, Thomas spotted a green narrow gauge tank engine darting around, but the engine avoided him at all costs. After getting a closer look at the engine, Thomas confronted the narrow gauge engines, who told him about the engine, Luke, and that he hid at the quarry to avoid being sent away, but did not tell him what Luke had done that was so bad.
Thomas wanted to befriend Luke and help him, and after saving Skarloey from an accident, Luke finally stopped hiding from him and became his friend. After working with him for a while, Luke warmed up to him and told him about his past. Even though he had work to do on his branch line, Thomas wanted to help Luke, and searched all across the Island to try and find the yellow engine he had mentioned. Thomas discovered that the yellow engine had been Victor and returned to the quarry to inform Luke about this, but the narrow gauge engines believed Thomas had betrayed them and ran off when Diesel and Paxton came to the quarry. Thomas was not ready to give up, and went as far as to go up Owen's incline to get to Luke and tell him the truth, but his wheels were too big for the narrow gauge rails and he hung dangerously over the edge of a cliff. Luke rescued Thomas and brought him back to the incline, when the Fat and Thin Controllers arrived at the scene. When Paxton brought Victor to the quarry and Luke discovered that he was alright, Thomas was praised by the Fat Controller. (TVS; Blue Mountian Mystery)
When Sir Robert Norramby, the Earl of Sodor, returned to the Island, he requested Thomas, Percy and James' help to restore Ulfstead Castle. Thomas was one of the first engines to meet Stephen upon his arrival, and was told by the Earl that Stephen had a very special job, but was not told what it was specifically and was told to keep it a secret from Stephen until it was time.
However, Thomas felt sympathetic for Stephen when he became depressed, and told him about his surprise job. This unintentionally piqued Stephen's interest, and he left the Steamworks and began searching all over the Island for a new job. After helping to construct part of the castle, Thomas and Percy took away some trucks of stone, but forgot to have an engine be at the front and ran down the hill. The trucks ran down the siding to the mine and stopped, but Stephen became trapped inside when the entrance to the tunnel caved in. Thomas became worried about Stephen's disappearance, and searched all over the Island to find him. He found Stephen inside of the old mine and rescued him, and later attended the opening ceremony of Ulfstead Castle. (TVS; King of the Railway)
As a bridge on his branch line needed repairs, Thomas was sent to the Clay Pits to work with Bill and Ben. On his first day of work, Thomas came across a large footprint when it began to storm, but only got a brief look at it before Bill and Ben pushed him out of the way of an oncoming landslide. Thomas became curious about the footprint and told Percy what he had seen, but was unable to find anymore information about it and eventually gave up.
Although Thomas had seemingly stopped caring about the footprint, Percy had not, and after being frightened by a monster built out of a pile of scrap, he tried to convince Thomas to tell the other engines about the footprint, but Thomas remained silent. Percy became cross with Thomas for not defending him, and considered leaving the Island to work with Gator on his railway. Fearing the worst, Thomas raced to Brendam Docks and ordered Cranky to stop Gator's ship, but Cranky became badly damaged and Gator's ship became delayed. Thomas then returned to the Clay Pits and attempted to save Percy from a landslide, but his track was blocked before he could get the chance to reach him. Thomas later watched the unveiling of the dinosaur fossil at the Town Hall, and said goodbye to Gator when he left the Island. (TVS; Tale of the Brave)
After causing an accident at Brendam Docks, Thomas pinned the blame on an imaginary engine named "Geoffrey" so that he could get away scot-free. However, his plan backfired on him, as everyone on the Island became interested in meeting Geoffrey for themselves. Thomas hid in Henry's Tunnel and pretended to be Geoffrey to fool the Fat Controller, but his plan failed when Spencer was coming through the tunnel on his track, and he apologized to the Fat Controller. (TVS; Who's Geoffrey?)
Overtime, Thomas' overconfidence got the better of him, and he became increasingly more conceited and reckless. During a race with Bertie, he had many close calls, such as narrowly avoiding rail work being done on the line ahead of him and nearly running into Toby when he neglected to stop at a red signal. After being insulted by Gordon whilst shunting his coaches, Thomas' arrogance got the better of him and raced out of Knapford with the coaches, but ran along the points too quickly and derailed the coaches. Due to his bad behaviour, Thomas had his branch line taken away from him and given to a new tank engine, Ryan, while he worked at the Construction Yard.
Following the incident, Thomas became depressed, and told Rex, Bert and Mike what had happened when he passed through Arlesburgh Junction. To cheer him up, the small engines sang "Never Overlook a Little Engine" to Thomas, but unintentionally stirred up his overconfidence again. When Thomas arrived at the Construction Yard, he hastily shunted away the flatbeds of rails and sleepers, ignoring the workmen telling him to stop and crashing through the barriers. The ground under him caved in, and one flatbed after another, Thomas fell down a large sinkhole and landed inside a cavern, where he discovered an abandoned pirate ship. Much to Thomas' anger, Rocky was given the credit of discovering the ship instead of him.
After being repaired, Thomas returned to the Construction Yard, but was not cleaned and remained covered in dirt and paint scratches. While sleeping on a siding in the yard, Thomas noticed a small sailboat coasting down the line leading to the cavern, and went to investigate. After being spotted, Thomas met and befriended Sailor John and Skiff, who were searching for Captain Calles' pirate treasure. Thomas agreed to help them find the treasure, and helped Sailor John retrieve the map inside the cavern. The next morning, after helping Sailor John and Skiff back to Arlesburgh Harbour, Thomas noticed Ryan taking on bad coal from an old hopper, but neglected to tell him about this. When Ryan returned to the yard with a train of dynamite, sparks from his funnel set the dynamite in the trucks alight. Quickly, Thomas shunted the train into the cavern and saved everyone around him, but the Fat Controller, believing he was trying to harm Ryan, sent him to the shed for the rest of the day as punishment.
Thomas met up with Sailor John and Skiff again, and together, they tried to look for the pirate treasure. However, after searching all along the coast, no treasure showed up. Sailor John immediately became suspicious of Thomas, believing he had found the treasure first and was hiding it from him. It was confirmed the following morning that Marion had discovered the treasure, and Sailor John confronted Thomas at the Coastal Cliffs, where Thomas told him that the treasure was now in the Fat Controller's possession and that he would be donating it to the Museum. Thomas became worried about the treasure's safety, and, after apologizing to Ryan, went to sleep at Knapford so he could keep an eye out for Sailor John.
That night, Sailor John arrived at Knapford, where he destroyed the Fat Controller's office and stole the treasure. Thomas chased after Sailor John, who rigged the Pirate Ship as an escape vehicle so he could get away faster. As Thomas chased the ship through Arlesburgh Junction, the small engines and Ryan helped to pull the ship over, while Thomas continued to pursue Sailor John. When the three reached Arlesburgh, Thomas attempted to derail Skiff, but failed to stop him and fell into the sea. Although Sailor John and Skiff managed to get out to sea, Skiff was capsized by a large wave, causing Sailor John to lose the treasure and admit defeat. Later that morning, Thomas was praised by the Fat Controller for his heroic actions. He was repainted and got his coaches back, and attended the opening ceremony of the Harwick Branch Line. (TVS; Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure)
After stopping at Vicarstown with the local run, Thomas met Flying Scotsman, who told him about the Great Railway Show and that he would be participating. Thomas became intrigued with the Great Railway Show and wanted to go, but the bigger engines believed he was not strong, fast or attractive enough to compete in any of the events. Thomas was determined to be a part of the show and suggested that the Fat Controller streamline an engine for the show; the Fat Controller agreed that it was a good idea, but unfortunately for Thomas, he chose to streamline Gordon instead.
When the international engines that would be competing in the Great Railway Show arrived on Sodor by accident, Thomas met Ashima, who had been left on Sodor by mistake when she missed the ferry. Thomas was jealous of Ashima, and refused to help her get to the Mainland despite the fact he wanted to go just as much as she did. After his new paint job was ruined, Thomas finally befriended Ashima, who told him he did not need to change anything about him for the events and suggested that he participate in the shunting challenge. Thomas gladly agreed, but the following day, he was involved in an accident that badly damaged him. Thomas then found out that the Fat Controller was going to take him to the Great Railway Show, but because he could not be repaired in time, he was replaced by Percy.
However, after the engines left for the Mainland, Victor discovered that Gordon's safety valve had not been fitted and asked Thomas to take it to him. Despite not being fully repaired yet, Thomas raced to the Mainland and told Gordon about the danger, but Gordon was too stubborn to listen and raced away, causing his boiler to explode and costing him first place. After failing to save Gordon, Thomas joined the shunting challenge, as Percy was too scared to compete. During the shunting challenge, Thomas saved Philip when Vinnie was chasing him around the yard, and gave up his chance of winning when he saw a derailed flatbed on Ashima's track and ran into it, allowing her to win the race. However, because of his good sportsmanship, Thomas was declared a second winner of the shunting challenge. After the Great Railway Show ended, Thomas, Ashima and the other Sudrian engines returned to Sodor. (TVS; The Great Race)
Thomas is one of the main protagonists in the 2000 film, Thomas and the Magic Railroad. This film marks his first appearance on the big screen, and he is the only Sudrian engine who plays a major role in the film.
While the Fat Controller was on holiday, he gave Thomas the job of picking up Mr. Conductor, who would be running the North Western Railway and look after the other engines for him until he could return to Sodor. Thomas was present at Killiban when Diesel 10 came to the railway, and was immediately suspicious of him due to the trouble he had caused in the past.
Thomas became worried after Mr. Conductor told him the journey from Shining Time to Sodor was becoming increasingly more bumpy, and his worries were fueled even more when Mr. Conductor was beginning to lose his sparkle. After Mr. Conductor got lost while trying to find the Windmill, Thomas took it upon himself to find him. He met Junior and Lily when they came to Sodor, and together, they went to the windmill, where they found Mr. Conductor.
When Percy told Thomas that Lily should return to her home world in case Diesel 10 were to destroy the railway, Mr. Conductor asked Thomas to take her back home. Thomas was hesitant at first, but agreed. As he travelled along the Magic Railroad, Thomas noticed a truck of Sudrian Coal in a siding, which had gone through the Magic Buffers when he was fetching coal trucks earlier. Thomas made it to Shining Time and came to a stop on Muffle Mountain, but the ground under him gave way, causing him to roll down the mountain and go through a portal in the ground. Thomas was transported back on the Magic Railroad and returned to Sodor, where he saw Lady in full steam and coming back to life. Upon returning to Sodor, Thomas and Lady were both chased by Diesel 10, who had found Lady and vowed to destroy her. As the engines neared an old viaduct, Thomas and Lady managed to get across, but Diesel 10 was too heavy for the collapsing bridge and fell into a barge full of sludge. After that, the Conductor Family got their gold dust back, and Sodor was saved.
Personality and Traits
Thomas is rather cheeky, insolent and slightly rude at times, but means well and always strives to do his best. He enjoys teasing the bigger engines and likes to play tricks on them, especially Gordon, but his cheekiness often lands him in trouble and can cause accidents, but Thomas always apologizes for his mistakes and will work to resolve them. He is rather optimistic, and retains a cheery, enthusiastic demeanor.
Ever since he began working as a station pilot, Thomas has longed to see more of the world and be a part of it, rather than staying around in one place all the time. In his early years, he tried many times to pull his own train and venture out of the station yard, and although some of his plans succeeded, others did not. Ever since he received his branch line, Thomas has been proud of the work he does, and believes that his branch line is the pride of the line, and one of the most important parts of the North Western Railway. He also loves his coaches, Annie and Clarabel, dearly, and looks out for them just as much as they look out for him. Thomas is quite protective of his coaches, and will become infuriated and jealous if another engine pulls them without his permission.
However, Thomas is rather cocky, and is prone to becoming overconfident, arrogant and reckless, especially if he is complimented. He will often brag of his superiority to the other engines, and believes that he is one of the most important engines on the Fat Controller's railway, if not the most. Thomas' arrogance never lasts long though, for he always receives his comeuppance if he is getting carried away.
If there is one big flaw with Thomas' personality, it is that he can become jealous easily, especially if he feels threatened by the presence of a new engine who is either popular with the other engines or does his work. He will usually refuse to speak to the engine in question, and will sometimes go as far as sabotage their jobs if it means he will be noticed again, but his plans rarely work and cause great trouble. However, Thomas is not one to hold a grudge, and is always sorry for his actions and is willing to befriend anyone, even if it is someone he was initially jealous of.
Despite his cheekiness, arrogance and jealousy often getting the better of him, Thomas always knows when he is in the wrong and will do whatever he can to solve the problem, and will always apologize for his actions. Thomas has also proven time after time that he is brave, determined and selfless, having performed many heroic acts and helping his fellow engines out. He will jump in to save the day if anyone is in danger, even if it means he is put in danger too. Overall, Thomas does his best to be a Really Useful Engine, and is one of the most important and well-known engines on the Fat Controller's railway.
Thomas is based on the LB&SCR E2 0-6-0 class. These engines were first built at Brighton Works without the extended side-tanks that Thomas carries, but later additions of the class received them in 1915 so that they could carry more water. Due to their inefficient fuel capacity, the E2 class was primarily used for shunting, as they were unsuitable for long distance runs. All of the E2s have been scrapped, and none survive to this day.
Though he is intended to be based on an LB&SCR E2, Thomas has several drastic differences from the original E2 class. He is much smaller and compact, his wheelbase is much shorter, his tanks are more square and he carries wheel-arches, which the original E2s did not need. He is also fitted with a two valve whistle instead of the one valve whistle the E2s originally had.
In the Railway Series, Thomas was illustrated without the dip on the back of his footplate, yet retained the dip at the front, which caused some concern about whether or not he would be capable of pulling trains. This was amended in Branch Line Engines, when his footplate was leveled out from smokebox to bunker. In the television series, Thomas' footplate was never changed, even after Thomas Comes to Breakfast aired.
Thomas is painted in the North Western Railway's signature cerulean blue livery with red lining. His cab window trimming is bright yellow, and his number is painted in yellow on his tanks with a red border around it. In the Railway Series, his footplate is painted black, but in the television series, it is a light grey.
When Thomas first came to Sodor, he was painted teal with white lining. His cab window trimming was yellow, his wheel rims were white, and he had the initials "LBSC" written on his tanks in yellow writing with red lining. His original number, 70, was painted on the sides of his coal bunker in yellow and red. After he arrived to the North Western Railway, Thomas' original livery was scraped off, and a pink undercoat was applied before he was painted in his signature blue livery.
In the first three seasons of the television series, Thomas was featured with red lining on the back of his coal bunker. However, for unknown reasons, the lining was removed during the filming of All at Sea. In The Adventure Begins, the red lining on Thomas' coal bunker returned.
Changes in Design
Thomas was originally created by the Reverend W. Awdry as a wooden toy carved from a broomstick for his son, Christopher, as he was unable to make him a model of Gordon; he also made a truck and coach to go along with the engine. Christopher christened the engine "Thomas", and the name stuck. In this design, Thomas had sloped side-tanks extending to his smokebox, his coal bunker was larger, and he was painted teal with yellow lining. His number was written on his coal bunker, and the initials "N.W." were written on his tanks. Awdry claimed that these initials stood for "No Where", but it later stood for the North Western Railway.
Awdry originally illustrated Thomas as resembling the wooden toy he had made. However, Thomas' design was changed by Reginald Payne, who illustrated him as an LB&SCR E2 class. Awdry was initially annoyed by this, but upon finding out that Thomas' design was based on a real locomotive, he allowed him to illustrate Thomas with this design and kept the E2 basis for him, which became Thomas' most recognizable design.
When Thomas was first created, he was illustrated with a distinctive dip on the front of his footplate, but the rear end of his footplate was completely flat. This was a source of contention for Awdry, who believed that Thomas' buffers would be at different levels, making it impossible for him to pull trains properly. Although Thomas was often illustrated with a large rear bufferbeam to allow his buffers to be at the same level, Awdry believed the issue had to be settled, and Thomas' incident at the Ffarquhar Stationmaster's house was arranged. When Thomas returned from the Works, his footplate was leveled out from smokebox to coal bunker.
In the television series, Thomas has always retained the dip at the front of his footplate, but has been given a large rear bufferbeam so that his coupling hook and buffers are at a similar level to his front buffers.
Too Much Thomas?
Due to his increasing popularity among fans of the series, Thomas became the most popular character in the Railway Series, which caused a bit of trouble with Egmont and Christopher Awdry. Egmont insisted that Awdry write more books about Thomas, but they began to go too far with their requests, especially after the television series aired. Many of the books Christopher Awdry wrote, such as Thomas Comes Home, Thomas and the Fat Controller's Engines and Thomas and his Friends included Thomas' name in their titles, even if he only had a major role in one story or did not speak at all. Due to Thomas' fame, certain characters from the Railway Series, such as Oliver and Bear, were neglected in the Railway Series.
In the television series, there has been some criticism about Thomas' prolific appearances. Although there have been many episodes where Thomas never appeared at all or never spoke, he has become a major character in the series and appears more than any other character, especially in the CGI era of the series, where he appeared in virtually every episode with a speaking role, no matter how small his role in the episode is. Since the seventeenth season, there have been episodes where Thomas either does not speak or appears at all, but in the nineteenth season, he appeared with a speaking role in every episode; this was done because of the 70th Anniversary occurring in the same year that Season 19 was airing.
Thomas on the Big Screen
Thomas made his theatrical debut in the feature length movie, Thomas and the Magic Railroad. He was one of the main protagonists of the film, and was the only engine on Sodor to play a significant role in the movie's story. Unfortunately, the film was a critical failure and was heavily panned.
However, despite the movie's failure, Thomas kept going on, and many more hour-long movies, or "specials", were released for the television series, such as Calling All Engines!, The Great Discovery and so on, with one new special coming out each year since 2008. As of 2016, Thomas has been in over eleven different specials.
A theatrical movie based on Thomas the Tank Engine, entitled The Adventures of Thomas, was planned to be released. The film would have been written by Will McRobb, Chris Viscardi and Josh Klausner and directed by Shane Acker, and was going to be animated by Weta Digital. Despite several different release dates being given, there were no updates on the movie since its reveal in 2011, and it was announced that the movie would not go forward.
Thomas in Popular Culture
Several toys and models of Thomas have been seen in various shows. An ERTL toy of Thomas made a cameo appearance in the GoodTimes Entertainment home video, All About Fast Moving Trains. A Hornby model of Thomas also appeared in the 2003 Comic Relief.
A toy train resembling Thomas appeared in the Bob the Builder special, Scrambler to the Rescue, another HiT-produced series, along with models that resembled the Express Coaches. Thomas' whistle was even heard during the special.
Window stickers of Thomas and Henry made various appearances in the hospital drama, Children's Ward, a show which aired on ITV, which had aired the television series when it first came out. A CGI promotional image of Thomas has also appeared in the children's show, Giggle and Hoot.
Thomas appeared in the 2015 Marvel film, Ant-Man. His HO and G Scale Bachmann models were used for the film, along with HO models of Annie, Clarabel and Emily's Coaches. During the movie, Yellowjacket, the film's main antagonist, and Ant-Man fight on a model train set, when the Thomas model bumps into Yellowjacket and derails. Ant-Man then throws the Thomas model at a windowsill, which is then hit by a capsule that turns it into a life-sized train, destroying the house and landing in the street. Although the G Scale Thomas was used for the scenes depicting it in its life-sized form, it was given a different face that closely resembled the one on the HO model.
A balloon of Thomas appeared in the 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. To promote the balloon appearing in the parade, a promotional video was released on the show's YouTube channel. The balloon made a second appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2015. Thomas also appeared in the Toronto Santa Claus parade alongside Rosie and Percy on November 15th, 2015.
- Thomas the Tank Engine - Thomas and Gordon, Thomas' Train, Thomas and the Trucks and Thomas and the Breakdown Train
- James the Red Engine - James and the Top-Hat
- Tank Engine Thomas Again - Thomas and the Guard, Thomas Goes Fishing, Thomas, Terence and the Snow and Thomas and Bertie
- Troublesome Engines - Henry and the Elephant (mentioned only), Tenders and Turntables, Trouble in the Shed and Percy Runs Away (mentioned only)
- Henry the Green Engine - Coal
- Toby the Tram Engine - Thomas in Trouble and Mrs. Kyndley's Christmas
The Adventure Begins
- Thomas was the first engine in the Railway Series to carry a number. According to Brian Sibley, Awdry chose this number for Thomas because it was the easiest to draw.
- Unfortunately, the original toy of Thomas created by Wilbert was lost during Christopher Awdry's visit to the United States. However, it was recreated for a 70th Anniversary sizzle promo.
- Thomas was the first character to be introduced in the television series.
- As the television series progressed, Thomas' eyebrows became much more thick and triangular.
- Thomas' original number, 70, actually belonged to a real LB&SCR A1 named "Poplar", a locomotive that is currently preserved at the Kent and East Sussex Railway.
- This number was chosen for Thomas as a reference to the 70th Anniversary of the Railway Series.
- There are currently four television series models of Thomas that are on display; the first can be found at Drayton Manor in the UK, the normal scale and large scale models from The Pack at the Hara Railway Museum in Japan, and the other is used for the touring Explore the Rails exhibit.