Thomas the Tank Engine

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Thomas the Tank Engine
CGI Thomas.png
Hello! I'm Thomas and I'm the number one blue engine! I work on Sir Topham Hatt's/The Fat Controller's railway and everyday I make sure I'm a really useful engine.
Gender: Male
Species: Tank Engine
Portrayed by: Ben Smal (2009 - 2015)
John Hasler (present)
Martin Sherman (2009-2015)
Joseph May (Present in U.S)
Edward Glen (Magic Railroad)
John Bellis (original workprints only)
Ringo Starr (Official BBC Children in Need Medley)
Status: Alive
Media of Origin: Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends


Thomas the Tank Engine is the main titular character of the Thomas & Friends franchise. He's a little blue 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 works to this day.

Why He Rocks

  1. His personality trait as a tank engine who wants to see the world, but is always fussy and cheeky is quite an excellent concept put together. In both the RWS & TV series, his wish of getting his own branch line from his debut book, "The Adventure Begins", and Season 1 had come true, but in the TV series, his other wish was to go on an adventure to go around the world in "Big World! Big Adventures!". Although it was established in the Railway Series, that he just wanted a branch line where he can see the world for himself.
  2. He knows when to call out on an engine if either the engines is being immature or being stubborn.
    • The line to Emily in "Emily's Adventure", "That's because you're a big bossy boiler", pokes fun at Season 8's portrayal of Emily when he was calling Emily out for her bad attitude towards Elizabeth.
  3. His teal green colour/color in "The Adventure Begins" looks great in green.
  4. His design is true to the original E2 classes (despite none of the E2s wearing blue in real life), and his live-action model for the TV show is beautifully made.
  5. He's a good friend to all engines and a popular one of the Fat Controller's Railway. Sure, he may be cheeky yet he can still be a good pal since he's always the optimistic, idealistic, and altruistic engine who has a heart of gold. He also does his best helping his friends and those he cares about.
  6. His iconic friendship between him and Percy is really charming.
  7. To add more fuel to the car, Thomas does show to look out for younger engines like Bill and Ben. This is particularly evident in later episodes and seasons, where he is more experienced and is often charged with helping newer engines out. So you could say he's like a big-brother to the much younger engines.
  8. He lives his way of being a really useful engine, and in a good way, he wants to let the other engines know that they can do the same. So you could say that he does his job playing his part very well.
  9. While he might drive others away, Thomas is very good at luring back friends if the situation demand it.
  10. Thomas became less arrogant and self-absorbed which is a good character development which is notable in season 2 and in season 3. Even he was shown to be less arrogant and rude compared to his incarnation from the original books.
  11. Spawned various memes like Thomas O-Face, appearances in various mods like Skyrim, "It was time for Thomas to leave, He had seen everything", etc.
  12. Made many friends with international engines such as Ashima, Nia, Gina, Rajiv, Yong Bao, Beau, Sam, etc.
  13. What also make's him feel like a likable character is you could even relate to him too. (Aside from his first feature film)
  14. Thomas is shown to be really brave as well. Like in "Hector the Horrid", when Hector found out the hard way that you should never frighten Rosie in front of Thomas.
  15. Thomas himself as well as the rest of the cast from the franchise do a good job at teaching kids (and even adults) life lessons such as social and emotional skills. In fact, even Autistic children can learn from Thomas as well as the rest of the gang.
  16. In some cases, Thomas has demonstrated a perspective of seeing some suspicious moments going on such as 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.
  17. In the Andrew Brenner era of Thomas & Friends, he alongside those who got flanderized during the Miller era redeemed themselves. But the same cannot be said for the Nelvana 2D-animated series as Nelvana and Mattel decided to make almost every single engine act like a child as confirmed in November 2020.
  18. His theme tune from S1-7 and "The Adventure Begins" hold true to his personality.
  19. Thomas contributed in The Official BBC Children In Need program such as The Official BBC Children in Need Medley from 2009 and Thomas also got his own video on 2018.
  20. In terms of the CGI series, his models from Nitrogen Studios, Arc Productions, and Jam Filled Entertainment looks really good.

Bad Qualities

  1. As mentioned before, he was flanderized in the Miller era.
  2. The said less about his 2D-animated design, the better!
  3. Like Ash Ketchum, he has made a lot of stupid mistakes:
    • In "Misty Island Rescue", before and after rescuing Diesel from falling off an unfinished bridge, Thomas goes so full ahead of himself by thinking he's in the right all the time by saying he makes good decisions, in which he makes bad decisions after rescuing Diesel, he ignores the Logging Locos when they need oil to build up steam, he discriminated Diesel by saying Sir Topham Hatt would want to use a "really useful steamie" by pulling a train of Jobi logs and that Diesel would never be useful, and constantly says a lot of crap rhymes.
    • In "The Great Race", he acted like a complete jerk to Ashima by accusing her of bumping into him on purpose, even though she already apologised to him for making it happen by mistake. But got unreasonably angry at her for taking Annie and Clarabel, even though he went to the Steamworks to get streamlined.
    • In the infamous "Wonky Whistle" (where he is at his absolute worst), Thomas puff away from the Steamworks by not giving a workman any time to fix his whistle by nearly injuring/killing him. But he leaves the station with a trailer for the animals to go to a random country show, his way of pulling away too soon looks as if he was purposefully trying to pull a man's hand off the handle!
  4. Inconsistent portrayals here and there:
    • He has shown to be a great singer in "The Great Race" through songs, but in "Too Loud, Thomas!", his attempts at singing come off pretty annoying.
    • In "Ace's Brave Jump", Thomas is happy to see Ace again, even though Ace convinced Thomas to play a trick on Nia while she, Ace, and even Thomas were in America.
  5. He got very little screen-time in his first feature film: Thomas and the Magic Railroad, which lead to the movie flopping at the box office, despite receiving divisive reception from fans anyway.
  6. The way he gets angry at other engines for pulling Annie and Clarabel comes off as shallow and plain mean-spirited. It was depicted as a trope by fans where another engine pulls Thomas' loyal carriages, Thomas gets pissed-off at another engine over taking Annie and Clarabel like a spoiled brat (as shown in "Thomas and the New Engine").
    • Thankfully, this was never done ever again since "Counting on Nia" from Season 22, as in that episode, Thomas is okay with Nia taking Annie and Clarabel.

Trivia

  • Thomas was the first character in the Railway Series to have a number. According to Brian Sibley in Thomas The Tank Engine Man, Awdry used the number one because it was the easiest to draw.
  • Thomas was the first character introduced in the television series.
  • From the first to twelfth series during the model era, Thomas had three different facial expressions: furious, frustrated and jovial; that were not used on-screen. His unused second series jovial face mask, however, was designed in The Great Festival Adventure game, where Thomas was teasing Gordon about being on the turntable.
    • Also in the tenth series episode, Topped Off Thomas, his unused third series enraged face was used where Thomas was arguing with Spencer about going or not going faster than the wind and later challenging him to a race to Kellsthorpe Road.
    • Sometime before or during the production of the fourth series, Thomas had an elderly face mask, created by model maker Jeremy King, which was originally made as a joke to David Mitton during the filming of Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
  • In the American and Finnish cast, Thomas is the only character voiced by Joseph May and Juha Varis in the series.
  • Thomas' LBSC number, 70, was actually carried by a real LB&SCR locomotive, an A1 named "Poplar" currently preserved by the Kent & East Sussex Railway. The number also represents the top speed of his basis and the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series. All the actual E2s, however, were only numbered from 100 to 109.
  • According to Sir Topham Hatt on the 2001 version of the official website, Thomas was given his name by the engine workshop which built him.
  • Thomas is one of three characters to have a speaking role in every series and special, the other two being Henry and James.
  • Following Mr. Conductor in Thomas and the Magic Railroad, Thomas became the second character to narrate in first-person.
  • In Calling All Engines!, Thomas sleep-whistles. This is apparently the steam engine version of snoring, though instead typical snoring sounds, Thomas makes warbling whistles after pausing before the next toot. This was only mentioned in Calling All Engines as it might be because his crew never shut off his steam properly.
  • He has the most nicknames of any character, with nineteen in total.
  • He is the first Sudrian engine with a separate driver in international locations.
  • He is the only vehicle character with headwear (a nightcap in the series 9-12 closing segments, a party hat in the ninth series episode Thomas' Milkshake Muddle, an aviator pilot hat in the tenth series episode Sticky Toffee Thomas and a top hat in the same episode and the eleventh series episode Smoke and Mirrors (if one were to also count The Fat Controller's top hat in Topped Off Thomas), not counting Whiff's glasses or Darcy's visor (or the Santa caps on all the vehicles in the early Christmas episodes).
  • Thomas is the first character in the show to have lost his voice onscreen with the twenty-third series episode, Too Loud, Thomas!. With this, he is the third character on the show with a speech impediment (albeit temporarily) after Fergus and Theo.
  • Thomas is the only original member of the current Steam Team not to have handrails across his boiler or side tanks.
  • To celebrate Easter in 2017, a giant 140kg chocolate sculpture of Thomas was displayed at Kings Cross Station. Made out of real Belgian chocolate, the display piece was sculpted in two-hundred-fifty hours by three master chocolatiers and was surrounded by TrackMaster engines running around. An actor dressed as Sir Topham Hatt was on hand to hand out easter eggs.
  • Thomas was one of two engines featured on a poster for the NWR. The other was Gordon.

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