Thomas is a little blue tank engine who works on the North Western Railway. He formerly worked as the station pilot at Vicarstown/Knapford but dreamed 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 works on to this day, and finally saw the world. He is the central protagonist of the TV series.
UK voice actor
US voice actor
Other voice actors
- Eddie Glen (2000; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- John Bellis (2000; Thomas and the Magic Railroad original workprints)
- Michael Angelis (2001; UK; Railway Adventures)
- Robin Smith (2001; US; Railway Adventures)
- Ringo Starr (2009; Children in Need charity single)
- Kerry Shale (2009; UK; Hero of the Rails original workprints)
- David Menkin (declined)
Thomas is described as being a cheeky 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 cheerful, optimistic, idealistic, altruistic, kind hearted, supportive and helpful.
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 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 idolised and loved him so much.
Thomas is infamous to the other engines 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 and leaving it to be buried by snow. He does always get his comeuppance for these deeds, however, and knows that having a snowplough is important in bad snowy weather. He tolerates wearing a plough much better in the present day, but Thomas will still groan about it if given the chance.
While most of the other engines and especially Annie and Clarabel tolerate his slight ego to a bare minimum, Thomas has often found himself going too far, driving away even close 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. 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 HIT Entertainment era, and less prominent in the classic series and CGI series.
In other cases, Thomas can be highly curious and positive, with slight hints of skepticism, stubbornness, 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. Backing up his perception is a very high sense of creativity, allowing him to quickly adapt to a tricky situation.
Thomas is based on a London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (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 LB&SCR 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 (except for Thomas).
Thomas has several major differences from the original E2 class. He is much shorter in length than his original basis (making his water tanks shorter as well), he has two extra windows on the sides of his cab, he does not have the ladders near his front buffer beam, his bunker is notably longer 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. Reginald Payne also illustrated Thomas without the additional cab side window and also gave him a southern railway-style smokebox saddle and lowered his front bufferbeam. These features were removed when C. Reginald Dalby re-illustrated the book.
The grey tank engine is also based on an LB&SCR Class E2 and has the same modifications as Thomas.
In The Railway Series, Thomas is shown to be a dark blue color with a number 1 in damp yellow on his side tanks. He has red lining along his tanks and wheel covers. In the earlier stories, he is illustrated to be a bright blue, reminiscent of the TV show.
In the television series, Thomas is painted in NWR bright blue with red and yellow lining. His number 1 is painted on the sides of his tanks in yellow with red lining and the lining around his cab windows is yellow.
In The Adventure Begins, Thomas was formerly painted teal green with white lining. His company's initials, LBSC were painted on the sides of his tank and his number 70 was painted on the sides of his cab, both in yellow with red lining. His wheel rims were painted white. In real life, the E2s were painted in either LB&SCR Goods Black, with at least 3 members of the class confirmed to have been painted in the LB&SCR Umber Livery at some point in their career, Southern Railway Maunsell Green, Southern Railway Black, or BR Goods Black with its British Railways number painted on either the coal bunker or the side tanks.
In the first three series of the television series, Thomas had red lining on the back of his coal bunker, but during the production of the third series episode, All at Sea, the lining was removed. This also happened in The Railway Series once Clive Spong took over as illustrator. The lining was reapplied in The Adventure Begins.
- 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), Tenders and Turntables, Trouble in the Shed and Percy Runs Away (mentioned)
- Henry the Green Engine - Coal
- Toby the Tram Engine - Thomas in Trouble and Mrs. Kyndley's Christmas
- Gordon the Big Engine - Down the Mine and Paint Pots and Queens
- Edward the Blue Engine - Bertie's Chase (mentioned) and Old Iron
- Percy the Small Engine - Percy and the Signal (mentioned), Duck Takes Charge (mentioned) and Percy's Promise
- The Eight Famous Engines - Percy Takes the Plunge and The Fat Controller's Engines
- Duck and the Diesel Engine - A Close Shave (cameo)
- The Twin Engines - The Missing Coach
- Branch Line Engines - Thomas Comes to Breakfast, Daisy (mentioned) and Percy's Predicament (does not speak)
- Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine - Stepney's Special and Train Stops Play (does not speak)
- Main Line Engines - Wrong Road (does not speak)
- Tramway Engines - Ghost Train and Woolly Bear
- Really Useful Engines - Stop Thief!, Fish (mentioned) and Triple-Header
- More About Thomas the Tank Engine - Thomas, Percy and the Coal, The Runaway, Better Late That Never and Drip Tank
- Toby, Trucks and Trouble - Mavis and the Lorry (mentioned)
- Thomas and the Twins - Scrambled Eggs, What a Picture!, Trevor Helps Out (not seen) and Down the Drain
- Thomas and the Great Railway Show - Museum-Piece, Not the Ticket, Trouble on the Line and Thomas and the Railtour
- Thomas Comes Home - Snow Problem (mentioned), Washout! (mentioned), Toby's Megatrain (mentioned) and Thomas Comes Home (does not speak)
- Wilbert the Forest Engine - Percy's Porridge (does not speak), Cab Over Wheels, Foaming at the Funnel and Wired-Up (does not speak)
- Thomas and the Fat Controller's Engines - Birdstrike, Rabbits and Golden Jubilee (does not speak)
- Thomas and Victoria - Overloaded, Eels On Wheels (does not speak) and Toby's Vintage Train (does not speak)
- Thomas and his Friends - Thomas and the Swan and Centenary
- Harwick Branch Line Friends - Ryan and Daisy, The Way She Does It, Cheeky Coaches and A Wild Crane Chase
- Trevor the Traction Engine - Trevor's New Friend
- Series 1 - Thomas and Gordon, Edward and Gordon (does not speak), Thomas' Train, Thomas and the Trucks, Express Coming Through, Thomas and the Breakdown Train, James and the Coaches, Troublesome Trucks, James and the Express (cameo), Thomas and the Guard, Thomas Goes Fishing, Thomas, Terence and the Snow, Thomas and Bertie, Tenders and Turntables, Trouble in the Shed, Percy Runs Away (does not speak), Coal, James' Special Coal (cameo), Scarves and Trousers, Whistles and Sneezes (cameo), Thomas in Trouble, Dirty Objects, Down the Mine and Thomas' Christmas Party