"Cinders and Ashes!"--Thomas' Catchphrase
Sir Chief Thomas Billington the Tank Engine (more commonly known as Thomas the Tank Engine; formerly known as 102) is an LB&SCR E2 class shunting engine who worked in the South Coast of the UK from October 1913 to May 1924, where he was sent to the Island of Sodor by mistake. He know works as Number 1 and works on the F.B. (Ffarquhar BranchLine.
102 was built in October 1913, and he was accidently sent to Sodor in May 1924 when he was supposed to go to a Meat Factory in Northern Ireland. Sir Bertram Topham Hatt chose to keep him because his brother, 107, refused to leave. He was repainted blue with red stripes and named 'Thomas' after Mr Porter's 3-year-old son, Thomas. He served as a station pilot along with Edward and George who shunted coaches for engines like Winston, Eagle, Henry, and Gordon. Thomas was cheeky at first and enjoyed teasing Gordon by waking him up while he was resting at Knapford. Gordon managed to get back at Thomas by leaving the station too quickly before he could be uncoupled and though Thomas learned his lesson about teasing Gordon, he wanted to see more of the world and go beyond the yard at Knapford station. He did get two chances, for this, but they both went wrong. He left his coaches behind at the station while not realizing, and was pushed much too fast by some very Troublesome Trucks. However, in the same year, he was rewarded his own branch line after saving James from a nasty accident. He was also given his two coaches, Annie and Clarabel.
Thomas loved his branch line dearly and had many adventures during his first days on the line. He once left his guard behind by accident and on another occasion he accidentally swallowed a fish in his tank when he took on water from the lake, causing him tremendous pain. During the autumn series, Thomas met Terence and teased him for his caterpillar tracks, though he later came to regret this after he became stuck in the snow and had to be pulled out by him. Thomas later met Bertie and was challenged to a race to Ffarquhar. Although he was behind for most of the race, Thomas managed to overtake Bertie and won.
In 1948, the engines went on strike, so he and George had to help Edward shunt the coaches. When Percy came to the railway, he, George and Edward ran the main line while Percy ran his branchline.
Like his TV series counterpart, he is quite cheeky, but this version of Thomas is also quite adventurous, and is always looking for a bit of adventure.
Thomas is based on the 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 aging Stroudley 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. In 2016, word has been going around about a new one being built, with a blue livery and wheel splashers like Thomas himself, though this is debatable. Thomas has several major differences from the original E2 class. He is much shorter in length than his original basis, he has two extra windows on the sides of his cab and he has wheel splashers, something the original E2 class lacked. In 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 leveled out from smokebox to bunker.
Thomas is painted in NWR sky blue with red lining. His number 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 originally painted teal-green with white lining. He had the initials "LBSC" and the number 70 painted on the sides of his tanks and cab respectively in yellow with red lining and his wheel rims were painted white.
In the first three series of the television series, Thomas had the 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. The lining was reapplied in The Adventure Begins.
- George Ignatchenko (Tales of the LNWR episode 1-onwards)
- He was the first character to have a number in the Railway Series. According to Brian Sibley, the number one was the easiest one to draw.
- Thomas was originally made as a LNER Class J50, but Thomas was illustrated as an E2 class shunter engine.
- Some of Thomas's personality is based off 'DuckTales 2017' 's of Scrooge McDuck.
- Thomas didn't know about his brother, Timothy, because he was built during the time when Timothy left for Sodor.