|This article is about the tank engine. You may be looking for the Engine Friends episode.|
Thomas is a tank engine who works on the North Western Railway. He originally worked as the station pilot at the Big Station, but longed to leave his yard to go out and see the world. After helping to rescue James from a nasty accident, Thomas was rewarded with two new coaches, Annie and Clarabel, and was given the responsibility of running the Ffarquhar Branch Line, where he continues to work to this day.
Thomas worked in Brighton on the Mainland and he was painted teal and numbered 70. Some time after James arrived, Thomas was brought to Sodor to shunt coaches for the Main Line engines, such as Henry and Gordon. The first engine he befriended on Sodor was Edward. He liked to play tricks on Gordon, the biggest and proudest engine on the railway. He was taught a lesson when Gordon tricked him into being coupled to his train during his express run. Tired out, he vowed never to tease Gordon again, realising he did not have to do so to be important. Soon, he desired to pull his own passenger train too, much to the bemusement of the other engines. He got his chance when Henry became ill and no one could pull the passenger train. However, Thomas was so excited that he accidentally left his train and his passengers behind, believing he was pulling it easily. He soon realised his mistake and returned to pull the train. The engines laughed at him and soon Thomas wanted to get out of the shunting yards and see the world. Edward offered him a chance to pull trucks and Thomas excitedly took the job, not realising how troublesome trucks could be. The trucks pushed him down Gordon's Hill into a siding, where the Fat Controller told him to practice so that one day he would become as good as Edward. Thomas soon proved himself to the other engines when he rescued James after a crash. James was pulling a train of trucks who were pushing him too fast and when he tried to stop his brake blocks caught fire. Thomas chased after him and tried to couple to the back of the train to slow James down, but he failed and James and his trucks derailed. After fetching Jerome and Judy, who lifted him back onto the tracks, he was given James' coaches, Annie and Clarabel and his own branch line, which had previously been run by Glynn the "coffee pot" engine.
Thrilled, Thomas soon began running his branch line with his two new coaches, Annie and Clarabel, who he grew to love very much. He soon considered his branch line to be the most important part of the entire railway, a fact he would constantly remind the other engines of. However, he continued to make mistakes and dream big and sometimes this got him into trouble, such as when he was so impatient that he left his guard behind at Elsbridge or when he wanted to fish, not realising the implications of a fish being in his boiler. His greatest mistake was when he got his snowplough broken in the winter and ended up stuck in a snow drift, having to be rescued by Terence, whom he had insulted earlier for not having "real" wheels. He soon proved himself again, though, when he beat Bertie the bus in a great race. He quickly became friends with both Terence and Bertie, despite their differences.
Although Thomas' branch line was indeed the pride of the line, on the main line, things were not going well for the Fat Controller, who was having to deal with Gordon, Henry and James' sulking, refusing to do Thomas' former work of shunting themselves. After they went on strike, Thomas was brought back to help alongside Edward and their new friend, Percy, who quickly became Thomas' closest friend. Thomas also became friends with Toby after he was asked by the Fat Controller to help their railway avoid a lawsuit from a rude, offensive, selfish and disrespectful policeman. But Thomas still had some cheekiness in him, returning to teasing Gordon after he slid into a ditch. He soon needed Gordon's help after he blatantly went past a danger sign and fell down a mine. They soon became friends after that and promised never to tease each other again. Thomas and Toby later helped Mrs. Kyndley at her cottage after she was snowed in and helped her celebrate Christmas with a very special Christmas party.
The following year, Thomas shared a shed on his branch line with Percy and Toby. However, he became conceited about his brilliant blue paintwork and soon paid the price when Percy accidentally caused a coal hopper to pour coal all over him. Thomas was angry at Percy, but the two friends soon made up after Percy had an accident with some coal trucks. Thomas soon met Trevor, a friend of Edward's, who proved his usefulness when he helped Thomas at the newly constructed harbour. Unfortunately, Thomas became ill a few months later and had to be sent to the Works, while Duck looked after his branch line. When Thomas came back, his brakes were stiff and made it seem as if they were hard on. As a result, one day, when his fireman was ill, a substitute accidentally caused Thomas to run away and Harold had to help stop him. Later, when the Viaduct needed to be repaired, the main line engines became late to drop off Thomas' passengers and as a result, made him late for Bertie. Thomas continued to be of great service to Sir Topham Hatt's railway, although he still remained a cheeky little engine.
Thomas later became conceited again when he took his driver's compliment to heart and believed he no longer needed him to work his branch line. This was untrue, but Thomas was too puffed up with himself to not believe it and one morning, found himself rolling along the line outside the sheds, when a cleaner had accidentally started him up by messing with his controls. He soon crashed into a stationmaster's house and ruined the family's breakfast. He had to be rescued by Donald and Douglas. As a result, the Fat Controller angrily sent him to the Works again. He arrived back a few weeks later just in time to take over for a battered Percy, who just had a predicament with some trucks. The following Christmas, Thomas was eager to sing carols with the other engines, but had to pick up a Christmas tree for the Fat Controller. Unfortunately, on his way back, he was caught in a snow drift and was lost. Donald and Douglas soon rescued him in time to sing carols with all his friends.
Sir Topham Hatt once sent Thomas to the Mainland to collect special wood for the new Search and Rescue centre. Travelling via sea, he got lost in a storm and ended up on Misty Island. He befriended three engines there and discovered wood perfect for the search and rescue centre. He eventually found an old tunnel that went to Sodor, but got trapped in it as it collapsed. Percy and Whiff were able to save him by entering the Misty Island Tunnel from Sodor.
He still has the occasional annoyance with wearing his snowplough during wintertime, but always learns his lesson afterwards, such as in the seventeenth season, when he hid it on a siding so he could stay in the shed, but when Emily took Annie and Clarabel out, he tried to go find it and got stuck in the snow, leading to Emily rescuing him and earning another stern reprimand from The Fat Controller.
He once had an accident at Brendam Docks, but instead of owning up to it, he blamed it on a made up engine called Geoffrey, which made everyone curious about who Geoffrey was. He hid in Henry's Tunnel and pretended to be Geoffrey in order to trick the Fat Controller, but after Spencer nearly ran into him, Thomas was caught out and apologised. He was also chosen to be the first engine to be inspected by two railway inspectors. After their journey, a gold watch belonging to one of the inspectors was found inside Annie and Thomas gave it back to him. Later, he became covered in spots after Butch sprayed him with mud by accident, which made Henry think Thomas had chicken pox. When the Sodor United Football Team was playing the Barrow's Red Team, he and James tried to compete to see which colour was the best, only to end up getting into trouble with the Fat Controller. One time, Bertie was teasing Thomas about the other side of the mountain and everyone was trying to convince him that he made it up. Eventually, Bertie was going to explain to Thomas but he left immediately because he was really cross which caused him to miss a red signal and eventually derailing and running trough the countryside near a road forcing Butch to rescue him by road since they were too far from the tracks.
In Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, Thomas once again began to get conceited, believing his branch line to be the most important. But after an accident with Gordon's Express Coaches, he was sent to help with the construction of the Harwick Branch Line as punishment. But he was still being boastful and accidentally fell into a deep cavern, where he found a pirate ship. Once he returned after having his wheels mended, he found Sailor John and Skiff wandering around the hole he fell into and befriended them. However he later discovered that Sailor John was only looking for the treasure that Marion had found, claiming it as his own. When John stole the treasure from Knapford, he tried to escape on Skiff while Thomas gave chase. Despite receiving help from Mike, Rex, Bert and Ryan, Thomas could not catch them and John and Skiff made it back to sea with the treasure. However, Skiff turned against John and capsized due to the rough water and John was arrested. Thomas was later fully repaired and was given the honour of cutting the ribbon, opening the Arlesburgh-Harwick line and leading Duck, Rocky, Oliver, Toad, Ryan, Daisy, Donald and Douglas down the line.
In The Great Race, Thomas became eager to go to The Great Railway Show after meeting Flying Scotsman, Gordon's brother and one of the competitors in the competition, but was never asked by the Fat Controller to participate. Thomas later witnessed the international engines competing in the Great Railway Show accidentally arrive on Sodor and met Ashima when she was too late to get back on the ferry with the other engines. Thomas was initially jealous of Ashima because she was able to compete in the Great Railway Show and tried several times to change his looks for the competition, but all his suggestions went to other engines. He eventually befriended Ashima and chose to compete in the shunting competition, but was involved in an accident when one of Diesel's tricks went wrong. However, Thomas managed to go to the Great Railway Show when it was discovered that Gordon's safety valve had not been fitted on after his streamlined overhaul, but he was too late to warn Gordon. Thomas participated in the shunting competition after Percy dropped out, but during the competition, he had to rescue Philip when he was being pursued by Vinnie and gave up his chance to win the race when he spotted a derailed flatbed on Ashima's line and ran into it himself, but won the race for his excellent sportsmanship. Thomas returned to Sodor with the rest of the Sudrian team and Ashima, who was going back to India and he would be fully repaired to run on his own branch line again.
Thomas is a rather cheeky, but good hearted and kind engine and generally behaves well, except when he is getting into mishap from getting over-eager. 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 and idealistic.
Although their friendship has been turbulent at times, Percy is generally portrayed as Thomas' best friend, especially in the television series.
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.
Thomas is painted in the North Western Railway's standard blue livery with red-and-yellow lining and the number "1" painted on his tank sides in yellow with a red border. In the Railway Series, he carries two builder's plates on the sides of his cab.