Thomas was a tank engines who lived at the Big Station,
which is what it was known as back before Sodor was developed. I mean, in those days it was still just The Region. He had
six small wheels, a short stumpy funnel (Wait...I wouldn't say it was that short), a short stumpy boiler, and a short
stumpy dome. He also had a really big nose. Seriously, check out the size of that hooter. That's one friggin' big conk.
was a fussy little engine, always pulling coaches about, because they are female and must be taken forward by men. He pulled
them to the statipn ready for the big engines to take out on long journeys (except on Sundays, when the journeys weren't quite
so long, and everyone got off early); and when trains came in, and the people got out (and even if they hadn't), he would
pull the coaches away, so that the big engines could go and rest. Man this is a long paragraph. I'm gonna start paraphrasing
stuff from now on.
He was a cheeky little engine, too. He thought no other engine worked as hard as him. So he used
to play tricks on them. I personally fail to see the logical leap between those two ideas, but what the hey?
His most favourite
trick was to come up to an engine dozing in a siding and making them jump. This would imply that engines often doze in sidings.
Unacceptable, says I! I think Thomas is doing the right thing here in waking up those lazy engines.
"Peep, peep, peep,
pip, peep! Wake up lazibones!" he would whistle (Don't ask me why that one pip is there), "why don't you work hard like me?"
so hard that you can afford to go up to sleeping engines and whistle at them?" the smarter engines would ask, leaving Thomas
to feel very stupid. Although the term wasn't known back then, today we would say that Thomas had been 'pwned!'
day, Gordon (whom it may please you to know has a very slim nose) was resting in a siding. He was very tired. He'd been up
all night down at the pub with his mates. This story takes place before Gordon got all bourgois and started attending wine
clubs and box socials and what have you.
He was just going to sleep when Thomas came up in his cheeky way. Good God, what
is up with Thomas' face in that pic?! Look at those lips! It's like he's been injected with collagen!
"Wake up. lazibones!"
he whistled, not knowing any insults other than 'lazibones', "do some hard work for a change-you can't catch me!" and he ran
off laughing at his wit.
Gordon was tempted to chase after Thomas and prove him wrong, but then he remembered that he couldn't
move, so instead he thought of how he could pay the tank engine out.
One morning, Thomas wouldn't...oh dear God, is
that Henry in that picture? What is up with his expression?! It looks like he's constipated and laughing at the same time.
This is not a natural expression, believe me. Let's just put it out of our minds for now though.
One morning, Thomas wouldn't
wake up. His driver and fireman couldn't make him start. His fire went out and there was not enough steam. What I'm trying
to say is, Thomas wasn't going anywhere.
It was nearly time for the express. The people were waiting, but the coaches weren't
ready. This was back when British Rail ran things. Wow, talk about hittng an easy target.
At last Thomas started. "Oh dear!
Oh dear!" he yawned. "You drown a couple of those daquiris, you pay for it in the morning."
"Come on," said the coaches.
"Hurry up." Thomas gave them a rude bump to teach them a lesson about sassing back to a man, and started for the station.
stop dawdling, don't stop dawdling," he grumbled, no longer caring if he made any sense or not. Think about that sentence
for a bit and you'll see what I mean.
Thomas fussed into the station where Gordon was waiting.
"Poop, poop, poop.
Hurry up, you," said Gordon crossly.
"Peep, pip, peep. Hurry yourself," said cheeky Thomas, trying desperately (and failing)
to make a good comeback.
"Yes, " said Gordon, "I will. Nyahahaha!" and almost (but not quite!) before the coaches had stopped
moving Gordon came out of his siding and was coupled to the train.
"Poop poop," he whistled. "Get in quickly please!"
passengers took no notice of him, and entered the coaches as slowly as possible just to spite him. The signal went down, the
clock struck the hour, the guard waved his green flag, the policeman caught the crook, the cat ate the rat, the waiting room
attendant ripped off the customer, and Gordon was ready to start.
Thomas usually pushed behind the big trains to help
them start. But he was always uncoupled first, so that when the train was running nicely he could stop and go back. This time
he was late, and Gordon started so quickly that they forgot to uncouple Thomas. A likely story. I bet the guy in charge of
uncoupling Thomas was just asleep at the wheel, as they say. Well why not? Everyone else has been asleep at some point in
The engines whistled and said things that I can't be bothered to repeat, and the heavy train slowly began to
move out of the station. In this time, Thomas never realised he was still coupled to the train. I will let you draw your own
The train went faster and faster; too fast for Thomas. He thinks that's fast, he should see my model railway.
I've had engines come off the rails because of how fast they're going.
"Stop! Stop!" he whistled.
"Hurry, hurry, hurry!"
laughed Gordon in front. showing off his sadistic side.
"You can't get away. You can't get away," laughe dthe coaches,
pleased at a chance to stick it to the man!
Poor Thomas was going faster than he had ever gone before. You guys complain
about them saying that stuff in the newer series, but they're only going back to their roots. He was out of breath and his
wheels hurt him. but he had to go on. Braking was not an option!
At last they stopped at a station. This was quite
a new thing for one of the engines to do, as they usually stopped on hills in tunnels. Everybody laughed to see Thomas puffing
and panting behind, because they were all really mean.
They uncoupled him, put him on a turntable, laughed at him some
more, and then he ran on a siding out of the way.
"Well, little Thomas," said Gordon, giving the little engine an evil
look ad he passed, "now you know what hard work means, don't you?"
"Hard work means being pulled along on the back of a
train at a jillion miles per hour?" asked Thomas.
"Erm...er...you suck!" Gordon countered.
Poor Thomas puffed slowly
away to rest, and had a long, long drink. Of water this time. He'd learnt his lesson.
He went home very slowly, and was
careful afterwards never to be cheeky to Gordon again. Oh, and he learnt that he didn't have to tease Gordon to be useful,
which just makes no sense at all. I mean, why the heck would he think teasing Gordon would be useful? That's just stupid,
and totally misses the point of the story. Which is...um...that...if you tease people, you'll be dragged behind a train and
laughed at. Or something.
Thomas often grumbled because he was not allowed to see a West End musical. He
also grumbled because he couldn't pull passenger trains.
engines laughed. Laughing at people's misfortunes is a common theme
in these stories. "You're too impatient," they said. "You'd be sure to leave something behind!" they continued, ominously
foreshadowing the story.
"Rubbish," said Thomas, crossly. "You
just wait, I'll show you."
One night he and Henry were alone. But
they couldn't get up to anything because Henry was ill. The men worked hard, but he didn't get better. They should
have called for the train doctor, I bet he'd have known what to do!
Henry usually pulled the first train in the morning, and Thomas had
to get his coaches ready.
"If Henry is ill," he thought, "perhaps I shall pull his train. And
pehaps he'll give me those tickets to the musical."
Thomas ran to find the coaches.
It was a grand game of hide and seek, but eventually he found them
"Come along. Come along," he fussed.
"There's plenty of time,
there's plenty of time," grumbled the coaches, annoyed that they had lost the game. They never
won at hide and seek, probably because they were immobile.
took them to the platform, and wanted to run round in front at once. Being
behind trains now gave him traumatic flashbacks to the other day. But his driver wouldn't let him.
"Don't be impatient,
Thomas," he said. Secretly he just wanted to stay there so he could
check out the female passengers. He was a saucy gent.
and waited. The people got in (the coaches, that is, not Thomas), the guard and stationmaster walked up and down (and
got very sweaty), the porters banged the doors (for no good reason, they
just felt like annoying people), and still Henry didn't come.
got more and more excited every minute, as did his driver, who had just spotted the refreshment lady.
fat director (you all know who he is, right?) came out of his office to see
what was the matter, and the guard and the stationmaster told him
"Well sir, he's a blue engine, used to be green, about as long as Gordon, has a short funnel..."
know who Henry is!" the fat director replied angrily. "Why isn't he here?!"
he's ill, sir."
"Bah! Find another engine!" he ordered.
only Thomas," they said.
"Nonsense! There's also Edward, and Gordon, and those other two
with the numbers, and that red fellow."
"No sir, there's only Thomas available."
"Ah I see.
Well then, you'll have to do it, Thomas. Be quick now!"
ran round to the front and backed down on the coaches redy to start.
be impatient," said his driver. "Wait until everything is ready, so's I can keep spying on that refreshment lass."
Thomas was too excited to give the randy gent any notice.
happened then no one knows. Let's see if we can work it out. Here
are the options.
1. They forgot to couple Thomas to the train. This seems likely, given the general negligence
given to coupling and uncoupling engines to and from trains.
Thomas was too impatient to wait until they were ready. This is also
likely, given Thomas' attitude thus far.
3. His driver pulled the lever by mistake. Given the fact his
attention was diverted by a pair of round hips (which sink ships, you know), this
could also be considered likely.
Anyhow, Thomas started. Seriously,
the text says 'anyhow'. I wouldn't have thought the Rev. would have used a word like that, but
there you go. People shouted and waved at him but he didn't stop.
"They're waving because
I'm such a splendid engine," he said delusionally. "Henry says it's
hard to pull trains, but I say he's just a pathetic sicky weakling."
hurry! hurry!" he puffed, pretending to be like Gordon. Because back then, every right-thinking person
wanted to be like Gordon. In fact, it was a good way of finding out
if people were Communist. If they didn't want to be like Gordon, then they were
pinkos and had to be killed!
As he passed the first signal-box, he saw the men leaning out waving and
shouting. There was also a guy in a siding changing some points, but
he was neither waving nor shouting, so Thomas ignored him.
pleased to see me," he thought. "They've never seen me pulling a train before-it's nice of them to wave," and
he whistled, "Peep, peep, thank you," and hurried on, neve once questioning
the fact they could have been waving for a different reason. Naive,
or stupid? You make the call.
He then came to a signal at 'Danger'.
"Bother!" he thought. "I must stop, and I
was going so nicely, too. Well, maybe I can just go past it this once."
on your life, Thomas," said the driver. "I'm not letting you put all
these people in danger," and he applied the brake.
One of the signalmen ran up. He was carrying
a trainspotter's guide of the Region. "Hello...Thomas," he consulted the book. "What
are you doing here?"
"Isn't it painfully obvious that I'm pullng
"Pulling a train? Pull the other one!"
"No, I am! These coaches aren't empty, you
Thomas looked back. "Well bugger me with a fish fork!" he exclaimed,
"if we haven't left them behind!"
"I don't know what's going on
here, but you'd better get back and find that train pronto," said the signalman.
Thomas was so sad he nearly cried. And let me tell you, Thomas is ugly when he cries. His nose gos
flat and his eyes shrivel up.
"Cheer up!" said his driver. "Let's
go back and get them. I'm sure they won't mind being half an hour late."
the station all the passengers were talking at once. They were telling the fat director, the stationmaster
and the guard just what they could do with their '20% discount on
next train journey'.
But when Thomas came back, his ugly crying face melted
their hearts, and they couldn't be cross. So they coupled him to the train and his time he really pulled
But for a long time afterwards the other engines laughed at
Thomas, and said:
"Look, there's Thomas, who wanted to pull a train,
but forgot about the coaches."
And so the moral of the story is, if you want to pull a train, don't ogle the refreshment
lady. Or something.
Thomas used to grumble in the shed at night.
"I'm tired of pushing coaches,
I want to see the world. The mountains of Tibet, the plains of Africa,
the outback of Australia...I want to experience life to its fullets
The others didn't take much notice of whiny Thomas, for he was a little engine with a long tongue. And a
big nose. His gigantic nostrils cannot be emphasized enough.
one night, Edward came to the shed. Wonder where he'd been all the
previous nights? Must have been having late night parties with that Sadie girl.* He was a kind little engine, and
according to the picture, he was also an ugly one. Look, I know all you Edward
fangirls will kill me for that, all I'm saying is that this particular
picture of Edward casts him as less than attractive. He still looks better than Henry though, who
looks sick as a parrot. I never got that simile. Are parrots meant to be sick a lot or something?
Anyhow, Edward felt sorry for Thomas.
"I've got some trucks to
take home tomorrow," he told him. "If you take them instead, I'll push coaches in
"Thank you," said Thomas, "that will be nice."
"No problem," said Edward, secretly delighted
that he had managed to fob off his job to the foolish tank engine.
they asked their drivers next morning, and when they said 'No way,
sunshine!", Thomas felt upset. But then Edward made them an offer they couldn't refuse, and so they said "Yes," which
made Thomas very happy, and he ran off to find trucks.
Now trucks are
silly and noisy, like the working class. They talk a lot and don't
attend to what they are doing, again like the working class. They don't listen to their engine, and when he
stops they bump into each other screaming. Do you grasp the idea that these trucks
are an allegory for the working class? Ok, let's move on.
to say that these trucks play tricks on an engine who is not used to them. Actually, I'm not
sorry at all! I applaud these trucks for their behaviour! Huzzah! Up with the workers! Down with
Edward knew all about trucks. Is there anything
Edward doesn't know? He warned Thomas to be careful, but Thomas was too excited to
listen. Plus, he was young, and Edward is old. It is a well-known fact that young people don't listen to
The shunter fastened the coupling, and, when the signal
dropped, Thomas was ready. Feel the realism!
The guard blew his whistle.
"Peep! peep!" answered Thomas and started off.
But the trucks weren't ready. Not that this has ever bothered
the oppressive upper class engines before.
"Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!" they
screamed (repetitive, ain't they?) as their couplings tightened. "Wait,
Thomas, wait." But Thomas wouldn't wait. Typical poletariat oppresion.
"Come---on; come---on," he puffed, and the
trucks grumbled slowly out of the siding on to the main line. Because
no page in this book would be complete without a reference to someone
Thomas was happy. "Come along. Come along," he puffed.
"All--right! -- don't -- fuss -- all
-- right! -- don't -- fuss," (I do wish the Rev. Awdry hadn't put so many hyphens
in his work) grumbled the trucks (more grumbling!). They clattered
through stations, rumbles over bridges, and then entered 'References to Last Book County'.
'Peep! peep!" and in a moment captured in paint which became the most popular
image of Thomas ever, they rushed through the tunnel in which Henry
had been shut up.
Then they came to the top of the hill where Gordon had stuck. And I'm sure if Edward
had done something somwhere, they'd have passed that too.
"Steady now, steady,"
warned the driver, sounding surprisingly like my grandad, and he shut
off steam, and began to put on the brakes.
"We're stopping, we're stopping," called Thomas.
No! No! No!" answered the trucks, and bumped into each other. "Go -- on! -- go --
on!" and befor ehis driver could stop them, they had pushed Thomas
down the hill, and were rattling and laughing behind him. Good for you, trucks! Show that dog of the
ruling class that the oppressed workers will not take anymore of their outdated feudal
Poor Thomas, who from the looks of things had lost
all of his teeth, tried hard to stop them from making him go too fast.
"Stop pushing, stop
pushing," he hissed. Not surprisingly that didn't have any impact on the trucks.
"Go -- on!
Go -- on!" they giggled in their silly way. Yes, I guess to the Rev.
it would seem silly, but I say these trucks are merely expressing joy in finally
overcoming the slavedrivers!
Thomas was glad when they got to the bottom. Then he saw in front the place
they had got to. It was the station. It's not obvious from the text
where it is they ended up, so I thought I'd make it somewhat clearer.
dear! What shall I do?" Thomas squealed like a piggy.
They rattled through the station, and luckily the line
was clear as they swerved into the goods yard.
"Oo-- -- -- -- --
--ooh e-- -- -- -- --r," graoned Thomas (Oh come on Rev. Awdry, this
is getting ridiculous!), as his brakes held fast and he skidded along the rails.
"I must stop getting into these situations,"
and he shut his eyes tight.
When he opened them he saw he had stopped
just in front of the buffers.
"Phew! Well, that was close. Still,
at least no one saw it."
Thomas looked directly in front of him, and there watching was -----
"What are you doing here, Thomas?" he asked sternly.
brought Edward's trucks," Thomas answered.
"Why did you come so
"I didn't mean to, I was pushed," said Thomas sadly, beginning to feel
like he was on trial.
"Haven't you pulled trucks before?"
"When what the bloody hell
were you playing at?! Trucks are silly things Thomas, and must be
kept in their place."
"Oppressor!" shouted the trucks.
"Shut up!" snapped
the fat director. "Anyway Thomas, after pushing them about here for a few weeks you'll know almost as much about
them as Edward. Then you'll be a Really Useful Engine, with capital
And so the moral of this story is, the ruling class
will one day get what's coming to them. Up the workers!
Every day the fat director came to the station to catch his train, because he couldn't
afford a car and it was too far to bike, and he always said "Hullo"
to Thomas, even if Thomas wasn't actually there.
There were lots of
trucks in the yard-different ones came in each day, because they'd over-ordered-and Thomas had to push and pull them
into their right places.
He worked hard (most of the time)-he
knew now that he wasn't so clever as he had thought. He'd matured.somewhat
since the last story. Besides, the fat director had been kind to him (by his standards; at least he hadn't shut Thomas
up in a tunnel) and he wanted to learn all about trucks so as to be
a Really Useful Engine, or RUE.
But on a siding by themselves
were some trucks that Thomas was told he 'musn't touch'. He longed to touch them, but his driver wouldn't...wait,
There was a small coach, some flat trucks and two queer things
his driver called cranes. Wait, queer? That'll lose us the conservative
"That's the brakedown train," he said to Thomas. "When there's an accident, which
is quite often now that I think about it, the workmen get into the coach, and the engine takes
them quickly to help the hurt people, and to clear and mend the line.
The cranes are for lifting heavy things like engines, and coaches, and trucks."
what if an engine carrying the brakedown train had an accident?" Thomas asked. "What would they do then?"
not sure really," his driver admitted. "I guess they'd have to just
One day Thomas was in the yard, when he heard an
engine whistling "Help! Help!" and a goods train came rushing through much too fast.
"Slow down, you railhog!" Thomas
shouted. "You'll end up killing someone!"
The engine (a new one
called James, but not the James we know and love, the nose is all
wrong. I shall call him Fake James from now on) was frightened. His brake blocks were on fire, and smoke and sparks
streamed out on each side. I'd just like to point out something puzzling
now. Fake James is carrying a train of coal trucks, and yet one of
the trucks is filled with wood. Why?
"They're pushing me! They're pushing me!" panted prissy
"On! On! On! On!" laughed the malicious trucks; and still whistling
"Help! Help!" poor Fake James disappeared under a bridge.
was a good trick!" said Thomas, impressed.
"Thank you!" cried the Amazing Rando, a magician who
was in the area. "And now, I shall make him reappear!"
He waved his hands and Fake James
reappeared, still hurtling down the track, and still on fire.
like to learn how to do magic tricks," said Thomas the Tank Engine.
a bell rang in the signal-box, and a man came running, "To the bunkers, everyone! The Nazis are coming!"
be daft!" said Thomas. "The war's been over two years!"
I meant to say, Fake James is off the line-the breakdown train-quickly,"
the signalman shouted. But I guess not too loud, or there'd have been an exclamation mark there.
So Thomas was coupled
on, the workmen jumped into their coach (the doors weren't working),
and off they went.
Thomas worked his hardest. "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!"
he puffed, and this time he wasn't pretending to be like Gordon, he really meant it. But deep down he still
wanted to be like Gordon. Because he was not a Communist.
"Bother those trucks
and their tricks," he thought, "I hope Fake James isn't hurt. At least,
not hurt too badly."
They found Fake James and the trucks at a bend in the line. The brake-van
and the last few trucks were on the rails, but the front ones were a lot less considerate
and just dumped themselves in a heap; Fake James was in a field with
a cow eyeing him up, and his driver and fireman were dead. Ha, just kidding! Actually
they were checking to see if Fake James was hurt.
"Never mind, you big phoney," they said. "It wasn't
your fault, it was those wooden brakes they gave you. We'll have to
make sure the real James has metal ones."
Thomas spent hours trying
to find James, but when he did he pulled the unhurt trucks out of the way.
"Oh --- dear! --- oh --- dear!" they
groaned, because they actually were hurt but didn't want to
cause a fuss.
"Serves you right. Serves you right," said an unsympathetic
When the men put other trucks on the line he pulled them away, too. But not before bumping into them
very hard. He was hard at work puffing backwards and forwards all
"This'll teach you a lesson, this'll teach you a
lesson," he told the trucks, and they answered "It wasn't our fault, it was his wooden brakes that caused it, we're innocent
bystanders," but of course no one paid them the slightest bit of notice.
left the broken trucks for the farmer to take care of, and mended
the line. Then with two cranes they put Fake James back on the rails. He tried to move, but he
couldn't, because his fire had gone out, and his wheels were covered in mud, and...well lots
of reasons really, so Thomas helped him back to the shed.
director was waiting anxiously for them.
"Well, Thomas," he said kindly, "I've
heard all about it, and although I can't say the time it took you was anything less than terrible, I'm still
pleased with you. You're a RUE."
"Have it!" said Thomas.
get rid of this Fake James and ask the real one to come, and you ----------------------------------(suspenseful,
ain't it?)---------------------------shall have a Branch Line all to yourself."
about time," said Thomas ungratefully.
Now Thomas is as happy
as can be. He has a branch line all to himself (just like the fat director said. He keeps his promises,
he does), and puffs proudly backwards and forwards and sometimes sideways with two coaches
all day, who we won't name because they're not important.
never lonely, because there is always some engine to talk to at the junction. He still feels
lonely though, because he's a bit emo.
Edward's Chinese cousin and Henry stop quite often, and
tell him the news. Gordon is always in a hurry and does not stop;
but he never forgets to say "Poop, poop" to little Thomas, and Thomas always whistles
"Peep, peep" in return. Because he knows what Gordon will do to him if he forgets.