Thomas the Tank Engine (2024)

Hero Overview


All aboard for a big adventure!
~ Thomas' opening line in Seasons 22-24.
Cinders and ashes!
~ Thomas' catchphrase.
Little engines can do big things!
~ Thomas in "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" and "The Royal Engine".

Thomas the Tank Engine is the titular main protagonist of the Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends franchise.

He is a British anthropomorphised steam locomotive that works on the Island of Sodor. He is cheeky and 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' world and soon he's bustling about again, playing his part in the yard and on his very own branch line. Thomas works hard and he always strives to be a really useful engine.


  • 1 Portrayals
  • 2 History
  • 3 Personality
  • 4 Appearance
  • 5 Trivia
  • 6 External Links
  • 7 Navigation


In the model seasons, he was, like every character, voiced by Ringo Starr, the late Michael Angelis, the late George Carlin, Alec Baldwin, Michael Brandon, and Pierce Brosnan.

In Thomas and the Magic Railroad, he was voiced by Eddie Glen.

In the CGI series, he was voiced by Martin Sherman (who voiced Pac-Man in Pac-Man World 3) in the US dub of Seasons 13-18 and Joseph May (who voiced Chase McCain in Lego City: Undercover) in Seasons 19-24.

In the UK dub, he was voiced by Ben Small in Seasons 13-18 and John Hasler in Seasons 19-24.


Thomas first appeared in the second novel of the popular children's book series, The Railway Series, created by the Rev. W. Awdry. Though he was preceded by the likes of Edward, Henry and Gordon, his popularity quickly rose and he became a breakout character. Thomas' character can change from time to time, from cheeky like Percy to wise like Edward. He is always, however, extremely proud to run his own branch line, and is very fond of his two coaches, Annie and Clarabel. He has the number 1 painted on both of his side tanks.


Thomas is a rather cheeky, but kind engine, and generally behaves well, except when he is getting into mishaps from getting over-eager, but is eager to take action when necessary and - despite the dangers or fears he might experience - has a strong sense of bravery and will never leave any of his friends behind, and plays his part in the yard and on his very own branch line, of which he is extremely proud of. 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 who gives him the moral to learn, 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 slightly impatient. However, he is also optimistic, idealistic, youthful, playful, and also loves making children smile. He would do anything to make somebody's day a better one. Thomas' faithful coaches, Annie and Clarabel are his closest friends of all who he loves deeply.

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 by helping his friends and those that he cares about. He lives to be a Useful Engine and encourages everyone else to do the same. One of Thomas' favorite things to do is to race. He enjoys racing many of his friends, especially Bertie and James. His passengers and coaches, however, don't find it as fun as he does, but his short attention span makes it hard for him to notice. While most of the other engines tolerate his slight ego to a bare minimum, Thomas has often found himself going too far, driving away even his bestest friends such as Percy, Toby, and even Edward. When these occasions happen, Thomas is very good at luring back friends when motivated, often pulling through his personal distastes to help others out and rekindle friendships.

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. Because of his popularity amongst his fellow engines and the people of the railway, Thomas often likes to view himself as a leader to the other engines, even despite any previous conflicts. Because of this, the other engines often follow in his tracks. However, he can feel jealous or threatened if he feels a newer tank engine is trying to replace him, as shown with Stanley and Ryan. But in the end, Thomas is always willing to make amends with those whom he previously distrusted, proving his leadership.

Thomas was infamously known for his dislike of wearing a snowplough, often claiming his to be heavy and uncomfortable. On numerous occasions, he has shown he has no problems with doing anything to avoid wearing one, from banging it around to leaving it in disrepair and leaving it on a siding by claiming it did not fit properly. He does always get his comeuppance for these deeds, however, and knows that having a snowplough is important in bad snowy weather. Thomas also highly despises the smell of fish, and as such, when he once had the job of delivering fish, he wanted to finish quickly to avoid the smell, and ignored instructions, causing confusion and delay doing so. His dislike of fish is most prominent in the model series made by HiT Entertainment, and less prominent in the model series and the CGI series.

In other cases, Thomas can be highly curious and positive, 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. Backing up his perception is a very high sense of creativity, allowing him to quickly adapt to a tricky situation.


Thomas is an LB&SCR E2 0-6-0 blue tank engine. He has blue paint with red lining, six blue wheels, a black funnel, a golden whistle, and a whitish gray running board. He also has yellow paint lines around his windows and the number 1 painted on both of his side tanks. He usually has a bright white lamp near his buffers.

When he first arrived on Sodor, he was painted dark green with white lining and had the letters LBSC (short for London, Brighton and South Coast Railway) and the number 70 painted on his side.


  • Thomas is the first character to be introduced in Thomas & Friends as well as the first character to appear on screen, despite not being the first character introduced in The Railway Series.
  • Thomas' favourite colour is blue, because he's painted blue.
  • 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.
  • In the workprints for Thomas and the Magic Railroad, he was to be voiced by John Bellis. He was recast with Edward Glen when test audiences thought Bellis made Thomas too old sounding.
  • In 2009, Thomas appeared alongside various other children's TV characters in the music video to "The Official BBC Children in Need Medley" by Peter Kay's Animated All Star Band. He was voiced by Ringo Starr, the narrator of the original two seasons of Thomas & Friends in the UK.
  • Thomas was originally sketched as an "LNER J50" but Reginald Payne accidentally drew him more like an LB&SCR E2 Class Tank Engine.
  • The number 70 on Thomas' original livery is a reference to the 70th anniversary of The Railway Series in 2015, when The Adventure Begins was released. All of the real E2s were numbered from 100 to 109.
    • It could also be a reference to how the LB&SCR E2 class, Thomas' basis, had a maximum speed of about 70mph (or 113km/h).
    • In real life, the locomotive from LB&SCR that had the number 70 was the A1 tank engine named "Poplar."
  • He has a female voice in Japanese dub, Spanish dub and French dub (the French dub for Thomas and the Magic Railroad only).
  • He hates wearing his snowplow. However, his All Engines Go incarnation likes wearing it.
  • Despite being claimed as the protagonist of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, he only has 11 minutes of screen time, which is one of the film's major criticisms that both fans and critics have pointed out.
  • Following Mr. Conductor in Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Thomas became the second character to narrate in first-person.
  • Thomas has had the most amount of crashes in the entire series, either being involved or the cause of at least 74 of them.
    • The fourteenth and twenty-first series are the only series where Thomas has not been involved in any accident. He also did not have any accidents in Day of the Diesels and Tale of the Brave.
  • Despite being based on the LB&SCR E2 class as stated by Awdry himself, Thomas' appearance differs heavily from his basis. His proportions are heavily modified and he is missing a lot of extra details present on the real engines, such as safety valves and front stepladders. Additionally, Thomas has an extra window on his cab sides, two whistles instead of the usual single whistle, and added wheel splashers, something the original E2 class lacked.
    • Additionally, Thomas' running board only slopes down at the front and not at the back, unlike the actual E2, although this was a major mistake on Reginald Payne's part to the point that Wilbert Awdry himself had to create the RWS story "Thomas comes to breakfast" to fix this problem. That said, this was never fixed in the TV show.
    • The biggest different between the two is that the E2 tank engines were very poor steamers due to their small bunkers and very wide designs, while Thomas is much shorter and is able to steam properly.

External Links

  • Thomas on the Thomas the Tank Engine Wiki.
  • Thomas on Wikipedia.
  • Thomas on the Inconsistently Admirable Wiki.



Steam Team
Thomas the Tank Engine |Nia the Kenyan Engine |Rebecca |Gordon the Big Engine |James the Red Engine |Percy the Small Engine |Emily the Stirling Engine

Engines & Diesels
Edward the Blue Engine |Henry the Green Engine |Toby the Tram Engine |Duck the Great Western Engine |Donald and Douglas the Scottish Twin Engines |Oliver the Great Western Engine |Diesel |Arry and Bert |Bill and Ben the Tank Engine Twins |Daisy the Diesel Railcar |BoCo the Diesel Engine |Bear |Mavis |Stepney the Bluebell Engine |Lady |Salty the Dockside Diesel |Harvey the Crane Engine |Arthur |Murdoch |Spencer |Fergus the Railway Traction Engine |Molly the Yellow Engine |Dennis the Lazy Diesel |Whiff |Billy |Stanley the Silver Engine |Hiro |Bash and Dash the Logging Loco Twins |Ferdinand the Logging Loco |Belle |Flynn the Fire Engine |Den |Dart |Paxton |Norman |Sidney the Forgetful Diesel |Stephen the "Rocket" |Caitlin |Connor |Gator |Marion |Timothy |Glynn the Coffee Pot Engine |Ryan |Skiff |Ashima |Frieda |Gina |Raul the Brazilian Engine |Yong Bao |Carlos |Axel |Shane the Australian Engine |Etienne |Rajiv the Indian Engine |Merlin |Lexi |Theo |Skarloey |Rheneas |Sir Handel |Peter Sam |Rusty the Little Diesel |Duncan the Narrow Gauge Engine |Duke the Lost Engine |Freddie |Victor |Luke |Millie the French Engine |Annie and Clarabel |Henrietta |Toad the Brake Van |Terence the Tractor |Bertie the Bus |Trevor the Traction Engine |Harold the Helicopter |Bulgy |George the Steamroller |Butch the Breakdown Vehicle |Byron the Bulldozer |Thumper |Jack |Alfie |Oliver the Excavator |Bulstrode |Cranky the Crane |Kevin |Captain |Carly |Big Mickey |

Sir Topham Hatt |Lady Hatt |Dowager Hatt |Sir Robert Norramby

Thomas the Tank Engine (2024)


What is the darkest Thomas the Tank Engine episode? ›

Darkest Thomas the Tank Engine Episodes
#EpisodeRelease Date
6Duncan Gets SpookedOctober 15, 1998
5Haunted HenrySeptember 28, 1998
4Percy and the Haunted MineOctober 2, 2002
3Toby and the FloodSeptember 25, 1998
6 more rows

What does Thomas the Tank Engine say? ›

What They Say. After a chill Thomas says a phrases know as "Bust My Buffer!" "Flatten My Funnel" and sometimes the narrator will say in a sentence "From Smokebox to Bunker." He also says "From Smokebox to Funnel." And also "From Buffer to Bunker."

What is the number 7 in Thomas the Tank Engine? ›

7 (seven) is the natural number following 6 and preceding 8. It is the only prime number preceding a cube. As an early prime number in the series of positive integers, the number seven has greatly symbolic associations in religion, mythology, superstition and philosophy.

Is Thomas the same as the little engine that could? ›

No, that is quite a coincidence. Thomas the Tank Engine was made by the Rev. W. Awdry for his son who was diagnosed with measles.

Which Thomas the Tank Engine character has autism? ›

Iconic children's franchise Thomas the Tank Engine recently welcomed an autistic character, Bruno the Brake Car, to its popular cartoon series “Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go.” Bruno the Brake Car, is voiced by autistic actors Chuck Smith, 10, in the U.S. version, and Elliot Garcia, 9, in the U.K. show.

Is Thomas the Tank Engine a guy or a girl? ›

Thomas the Tank Engine
SpeciesSteam locomotive
NationalityEnglish (formerly) Sudric
8 more rows

What do Americans call Thomas the Tank Engine? ›

Americans call 'Thomas the Tank Engine' 'Thomas the Train'.

Why is Thomas the Tank Engine popular with autism? ›

The comforting world of Thomas & Friends, where characters behave predictably, has a calming effect on many autistic children. In fact, 54% of parents noted that the stories contributed to their child's sense of security.

Why did Thomas the Tank Engine end? ›

In 2020, it was revealed by Sodor Island Fansite/Forums that the series had officially concluded and not been greenlit for future series due to the failure and poor advertising of the Big World! Big Adventures!

Who is number 100 in Thomas the Tank Engine? ›

Diesel 100 is a diesel railcar who's Diesel 10's mother and she ordered two diesels, Jacob and Tony.

Why is he called Thomas the Tank Engine? ›

The square tanks beside the boiler are what make Thomas a "tank engine." In real life, the tanks might hold between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons (4,000 to 8,000 liters) of water, depending on the engine. On the other engines in the series, the coal car shown is simplified.

What is the Red Thomas engine called? ›

James the Red Engine is a fictional anthropomorphic red tender locomotive from The Railway Series children's books by the Reverend Awdry and the TV series adaptation Thomas & Friends.

Is the little engine that could a girl? ›

Now, over the years, some versions of the little blue engine have been male. And some folks have gotten pretty steamed over the issue. When the engine is a "she," people have assumed the gender was changed to make the story politically correct. But in fact, she was a "she" as early as 1930.

What is the dark theory of Thomas the Tank Engine? ›

A theory that has gained traction over the years posits that the trains on the island are slaves to the island's leader, Sir Topham Hatt/The Fat Controller. According to the theory, these trains are forced to work for the Fat Controller, and if any of them get out of line, they are sentenced to a fate similar to death.

Which Thomas the Tank engine is black? ›

There is one diesel engine, a black train known just as “Diesel,” who struggles to prove that he's as useful as the steam trains. Less useful than Diesel are the female passenger coaches named Annie and Clarabel, who are awarded to Thomas as prizes after he helps with a train breakdown.

Which Thomas train got bricked up? ›

Henry, a big green engine, doesn't want to risk paintwork being ruined by rain, so refuses to leave a tunnel he enters on a trip. But he may end up being there longer than he wants as he end... Read all. But he may end up being there longer than he wants as he ends up being bricked up.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 5305

Rating: 5 / 5 (80 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1997-03-23

Address: 74183 Thomas Course, Port Micheal, OK 55446-1529

Phone: +13408645881558

Job: Global Representative

Hobby: Sailing, Vehicle restoration, Rowing, Ghost hunting, Scrapbooking, Rugby, Board sports

Introduction: My name is Geoffrey Lueilwitz, I am a zealous, encouraging, sparkling, enchanting, graceful, faithful, nice person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.