The Inspiration Behind Thomas the Tank Engine

The much loved Thomas the Tank Engine stories are sixty five years old. But where did all the inspiration of the model trains come from? The programme originated from Reverend Wilbert Awdry, as a way of entertaining his young son Christopher as he recovered, from scarlet fever who demanded he be told the stories again and again. As the stories developed through time, many stories were based on actual happenings on British Railways of its time and soon was made in to a TV programme in 1984.

We have compiled a shortlist of some of the most notable characters in the programme.

Thomas The Tank Engine
Thomas is the No. 1 blue engine. Smaller amongst his friends, Thomas works hard and he always wants to be the best. Often he is a really useful engine but the cheeky side of his personality can often get in to scrapes with other engines about who can do things better. used engines

Thomas was based upon a Victorian shunting engine, built for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

A senior member of the team, Gordon was known as the No. 4 blue engine who pulls the express with his superior speed and strength. He is given the title ‘The Big Express Engine’ and is one of the largest engines on the island of Sodor. His character is generous and helpful, particularly helping out smaller engines out of trouble.

Based on an A3 Pacific-class locomotive – the most famous example of its kind was the Flying Scotsman.

As the No. 2 blue engine, Edward is older than the rest. Edward is kind and a good friend to everyone. When the other engines are up to no good, Edward uses his wise old ways to calm everyone down and keep the peace.
Edward is based on a 4-4-0 locomotive.

Percy is the No. 6 green engine and best known as Thomas’ best friend. As a junior member of the team his favourite job is delivering the mail. Unlike Thomas, he has no real desire for adventure but he is good natured and always happy to help.


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