Thomas the Tank Engine and the stories that involve him and other characters from the ‘Island of Sodor’ were
originally the work of the Reverend W. Awdry, written for his son Christopher. The first book ‘The Three Railway Engines’
(first published May 1945) does not mention Thomas – he appears in book two ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ (first
published in 1946). Awdry was from Gloucestershire and a lifelong member of the Talyllyn Railway society – the world’s
first preserved railway (TRPS run from 1951).
The current worldwide ‘Thomas’ brand is a result of a TV producer - Britt Allcroft, purchasing the video and
merchandising rights in the 1980’s – with the first videos being narrated by Ringo Starr. There are now more than
130 TV episodes broadcast in 121 countries and translated into 11 different languages. Over 2000 Thomas products are marketed