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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Short History Of Thomas The Tank Engine Train


A Short History Of Thomas The Tank Engine Train

Thomas The Tank Engine and his friends are the creation of Reverend Wilbert Awdry. All great things have simple beginnings so it seems fitting that Thomas came to life in the early 1940’s as a wooden toy which Reverend Awdry made for his son, Christopher. Thomas joined Edward, Gordon, and Henry, already in young Christopher’s toybox.

Christopher became ill with the measles and was bedridden for a while. Reverend Awdry, drawing upon childhood memories of life around railways, made up stories about the engines in Christopher’s toybox to keep the child amused. Of course, children are sticklers for details in stories, and Reverend Awdry soon found he had to write the stories down so he could remember them properly for each re-telling.

The Reverend’s wife pressed him to try to get the stories published. Finally, she told Reverend Awdry’s mother about the stories and she presented them to a cousin who had ties with some literary agents. The stories at this time were just written on scraps of paper. The agents found a publisher who liked them well enough to publish, and the rest is history.

The stories about Thomas are based on actual happenings told by workers in the yards to the Reverend when he was a young boy accompanying his father to the rail-yards . As young Wilbert lay in bed at night he could hear the engines working the rails near his home. He could imagine the engines having personalities, just like people. The railroad kept a tank engine near his home, and this was the inspiration for the later Thomas of the stories.

The stories are accurate in railroad operations and lore and can inform about railroad operation as well as entertain the reader.

Thomas and his friends work the railways of the island of Sodor, which is a fictional island located in the Irish Sea, just off the coast of Britain. Thomas has the responsibility of running a branch line, carrying passengers on the two coaches, Annie and Clarebel, to the main line passenger service. Their adventures, written by Reverend Awdry who wrote a book a year for twenty six years, have spawned the popular PBS television series, video tapes, and now a big screen movie.

Thomas the Tank Engine has also spawned many popular children’s toys, the most popular of which is the Wooden Railway System from Learning Curve. This seems appropriate, since Thomas started life as a homemade wooden toy made by a doting father for his son. The Wooden Railway System is an extensive line of very high quality toys. Of course it contains Edward, Gordon, Henry, and a whole slew of other characters needed to keep the busy Sodor rail lines running smoothly.

The history of how Thomas The Tank Engine is touching in its simplicity and by the desire of a father to help his son through an illness.

Back to Thomas The Tank Engine Wooden Railway Train System

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