The Railway Series
The Railway Series (1945–96, 2007, 2011) is a set of story books about a fictional railway located on the fictional Island of Sodor and the engines that lived on it.
Note: This article generally contains quotes from stories that have not been adapted for the television series "Thomas (the Tank Engine) & Friends".
- 1 The Three Railway Engines
- 2 Thomas the Tank Engine
- 3 James the Red Engine
- 4 The Eight Famous Engines
- 5 The Twin Engines
- 6 Small Railway Engines
- 7 Really Useful Engines
- 8 James and the Diesel Engines
- 9 More About Thomas the Tank Engine
- 10 Wilbert the Forest Engine
- 11 Thomas and the Fat Controller's Engines
- 12 Thomas and Victoria
- 13 Thomas and his Friends
- 14 Thomas' Christmas Party
- 15 Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree
- 16 About the books
- 17 See also
The Three Railway Engines
Edward's Day Out
Edward and Gordon
The Sad Story of Henry
Edward, Gordon and Henry
Thomas the Tank Engine
Thomas and Gordon
- Narrator: Thomas was a tank engine who lived at a Big Station. He had six small wheels, a short stumpy funnel, a short stumpy boiler, and a short stumpy dome.
Thomas and the Trucks
Thomas and the Breakdown Train
James the Red Engine
James and the Top-Hat
James and the Bootlace
James and the Express
The Eight Famous Engines
Percy Takes the Plunge
Gordon Goes Foreign
- Gordon: When I was young and green. I remember going to London. Do you know the place? The station's called King's Cross.
- The Engine: [snorts] King's Cross! London's Euston. Everybody knows that.
- Duck: Rubbish! London's Paddington. I know. I worked there.
- The Narrator: They argued till they went to sleep. They argued when they woke up. They were still arguing when the other engine went away.
- Gordon: [irritated] Stupid thing. I've no patience.
- Duck: Stupid yourself. London's Paddington, PADDINGTON , do you hear?
- James: Stop arguing , you make me tired. You're both agreed about something anyway.
- Gordon and Duck: What's that?
- James: [laughs] London's not Euston. Now shut up!
- Gordon: I'm sure it's King's Cross. I'll go and prove it.
- Gordon: Come on! Let's go
- Narrator: It was only a few minutes before the guard blew his whistle, but Gordon thought it was ages!
- Gordon: [to the coaches] COME ON, COME ON!
- Gordon: Never mind I like a good run to stretch my wheels.
- The Fat Controller: I wonder how Gordon's getting on.
- The Station Master: Excuse me Sir , have you seen the news?
- The Fat Controller: Not yet. Why?
- The Station Master: Just look at this Sir.
- Narrator: The Fat Controller took the news paper.
- The Fat Controller: Good gracious me! There's Gordon. Headlines too! "FAMOUS ENGINE AT LONDON STATION. POLICE CALLED TO CONTROL CROWDS."
- The Fat Controller: I see you had a good welcome in London.
- Gordon's crew: We certainly did Sir! We signed autographs till our arms ached, and Gordon had his photograph taken from so many directions at once that he didn't which way to look!
- The Fat Controller: Good! I expect he enjoyed himself. Didn't you Gordon?
- Gordon: No Sir, I didn't.
- The Fat Controller: Why ever not?
- Gordon: [sadly] London's all wrong, they've changed it. It isn't King's Cross any more. It's St Pancras.
The Fat Controller's Engines
The Twin Engines
- Narrator: The trucks complained bitterly; but then, trucks always do and no one takes much notice. The coaches complained too. No sooner had they arrived with one train, then they had to go out again with fresh passengers as another.
- Coaches: We don't know whether we're coming or going. We feel quite distracted.
- Henry (grumbles): No one can say that we're afraid of hard work, but...
- Gordon: We draw the line at goods trains.
- James: Dirty trucks , dirty sidings. Ugh!
- Duck: What are you boiler aching about? I remember on the great western...
- Gordon: That tinpot railway....
- Duck: Tinpot indeed! Let me tell you...
- The Fat Controller: I hear you've lost your numbers. How did that happen?
- Donald and Douglas: They maun hae slyly slippit Sirr. Ye ken hoo it is.
- The Fat Controller: I know. Accidentally on purpose.
- Donald and Douglas: Sirr! Ye wadnae be thinkin' we lost them on purrpose?
- The Fat Controller: I'm not so sure. Now then, which of you is 57646?
- Donald and Douglas: That, Sirr, is juist what we canna mind.
- The Fat Controller: What are your names?
- Donald and Douglas: Donal an' Douggie , Sirr.
- The Fat Controller: Good! Then your controller can tell me which is which.
- Donald and Douglas: Och! Ye'll get no muckle help fae him, Sirr.
- The Fat Controller: Why?
- Donald and Douglas: He disna ken oor names Sirr. Hoo could he? We only gien oorsels names when we lost oor nummers.
- The Fat Controller: One of you is playing truant. I shall find him out and send him home. Inspector, give these engines numbers and set them to work.
The Missing Coach
- Donald: Ye may hae noticed , Douggie, that yon penters forgot somethin'.
- Douglas: What did they forget?
- Donald: They painted braw new nummers on oor tenders , but they put nane on uz.
- Douglas: (Grins) Ye mean...
- Donald: Juist that. Haud yer wheesht. Here's the inspector.
- The Inspector: Now 9 and 10, here's Duck. He'll show you round before you start work.
- Donald: We like it fine here.
- Duck: That's good, but take my tip , watch out for Gordon , Henry and James. They're sure to try some nonsense.
- Douglas: Dinna fash yersel. We'll suin settle them.
- Narrator: Donald and Douglas had deep toned whistles.
- Gordon: They sound like Buses.
- Henry: (Sniggers) Or ships.
- Gordon: (laughs) Tug-boat Annie! Ha! Ha!
- Donald: Ye wadnae be makkin' fun o' uz wad ye noo?
- Gordon: Er, no.
- Henry: No, no, certainly not.
- Douglas: That's fine. Noo juist mind the baith o' ye, and keep it that wey.
- Narrator: That was the way Gordon and Henry kept it!
- The Fat Controller: Ah! #9, and why have you not taken the goods?
- "Donald" (Douglas): My tender is awa' Sirr.
- The Fat Controller: I see, some defect no doubt. Tell me, why did #10 leave so quickly?
- "Donald" (Douglas): Maybe, sir, he saw ye comin' and thought he was late.
- The Fat Controller: Hm.
- The Fat Controller: Douglas, why are you masquerading with Donald's tender?
Small Railway Engines
- Donald and Douglas: Verra wee engines bring the ballast doun fra the hills.
- Gordon: I don't believe it. Donald and Douglas have pulled our wheels before.
- Rex: What d'you think of our 'chute'? Good isn't it?
- Duck: Where did you spring from?
- Rex: I've been here all the time. I'm Rex and you I'm sure , are Duck.
- Duck: How did you know?
- Rex: That's easy; there's only one great western engine in these parts.
- Rex: (To Duck) As you can see , the small controller's given us different coats.
- Mike: (Grumbles) Silly nonsense
- Bert: (Protests) I like being blue.
- Mike: (Fumes) It's all right for you , but not for me. Passengers'll say I look like a pillar box!
- Rex: Shocking! (Winks at Duck) Consider my feelings. When we were both green. Passengers kept calling me Mike!
- Mike: (Splutters) You...you...
- Bert: Stow it you two. Duck , have you seen our coaches?
- Duck: Where are they?
- Bert: Over there.
- Duck: But they're tru...(Finishes lamely) I mean they're not like ours.
- Rex: I agree. They are like trucks, but they behave surprisingly well.
- Mike: (rudely) Sez you.
Tit for Tat
- Bert's driver: We've got visitors today
- Mike: We have 'em every day.
- Bert's driver: But these are special. One takes 'moving pictures' and the other writes books. So mind you all behave.
- Bert: I don't want to be a moving picture in a book. I want to stay as I am.
- Bert: They did it on purpose
- Bert: They splashed me! They SPLASHED me!
- Bert: Pictures indeed!
- Bert: I'm a nice picture; covered in mud!
- Narrator: He sizzled crossly when the Fat Clergyman sat in his tender for the journey back.
- Bert: Driver oughtn't to allow him after what he's done!
- Bert: (To himself) I know how to pay the Fat One out. It's a lovely plan. I only wish the Thin One was there too.
- Bert: Tit for Tat! TIT for TAT!
- The Small Controller: You're a very naughty engine. I won't have rudeness to visitors.
- Bert: (Falters) They splashed me. I only.... (Bert is probably crying as he's talking)
- The Small Controller: That's no excuse I'm ashamed of you.
- Bert: (To Rex and Mike) Those visitors are nice. They came and said 'sorry', and I said 'sorry' too. Then they cleaned me like driver does. They know lots about engines. The Thin One's writing about me in a book. He promised he'd write about you too. Think of that!
- Mike: (mimics Duck's jammed whistle) Shplee! Shplee! It's shocking! If engines can't whistle properly, they shouldn't try.
- Bert: Then why do you?
- Mike: Why do I what?
- Bert: Try to whistle , of course.
- Mike: Shut up! You're jealous.
- Narrator: Mike was proud of his shrill whistle.
- Mike: Mine's better than yours anyway.
- Rex: Listen , Mike. If I had a whistle like yours, d'you know what I'd do? (Pauses impressively) I'd lose it.
- Mike: (Splutters) The Idea! Whistles are important, let me tell you. Engines without whistles aren't proper engines at all.
- Narrator: Mike went redder than ever with fury. His steam pressure went up suddenly, and his safety-valves blew off, "Whoooooosh!"
- Mike's driver: Hullo! As you're ready first, you'd better take the 'passenger'.
- Mike: What! and leave my goods?
- Mike's driver: Yes , Bert can do that. We can't have you blowing off in here. Come on!
- Mike's driver: What's bitten him? He doesn't like coaches, but he's never been as bad as this.
- Mike: (muttering) They're jealous , they're jealous. I'll show 'em! I'll show 'em!
- Mike's driver: (remarks) He's in a flaming temper about something.
- The Small Controller: I've no spare whistles. So you'll have to wait. It serves you right for being such a cross patch.
- Bert: (as Mike comes in) What's that?
- Rex: Shsh! Take no notice. It's an Improper engine.
- Bert: Why Improper? He looks all right to me.
- Rex: It's got no whistle.
- Bert: Oh dear! How shocking! We don't approve of his sort , do we?
- Narrator: Mike had trouble with some sheep. He grumbled about them dreadfully.
- Rex: They're silly but they're useful.
- Mike: What!
- Rex: Farmers sell their wool.
- Mike: What's that?
- Rex: People make clothes from wool. You know - things they wear instead of paint.
- Bert: But I don't understand, Sir. We can't drive sheep down the line. They wouldn't go straight.
- Rex: Silly! We don't drive sheep, we take their wool, in bales on trucks. It'll be easy.
- The Small Controller: (Laughs) Very well, Rex. You seem to know all about it, so you shall take the next train.
- Willie: Crumbs! That's torn it! I must warn Rex.
- Rex: (happily to himself) I said it was easy! I said it was easy!
- Rex: Stop! Stop! Stop!
- Narrator: He whistled.
- The trucks: On! On! On!
- Narrator: Urged the stupid trucks.
- The passengers: Oooh! Look! There's been an accident!
- Rex: That accident served me right for being swanky.
- Bert: No. It wasn't your fault at all.
- Mike: Sorry we laughed.
- The Small Controller: I'm proud of you all. Thanks to Rex, the accident did little harm. Bert and Mike worked like heroes, and our customers admire the way we managed. They thought we were a "toy railway", but now they say we're Really Useful. They've promised us plenty more work when the wool traffic is done.
Really Useful Engines
Mind That Bike
James and the Diesel Engines
More About Thomas the Tank Engine
Thomas, Percy and the Coal
Better Late Than Never
Wilbert the Forest Engine
Cab Over Wheels
Foaming at the Funnel
Thomas and the Fat Controller's Engines
Thomas and Victoria
Thomas and his Friends
Thomas' Christmas Party
Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree
About the books
- I started my life-long interest in railways approximately 50 years ago when, one Christmas, I received a first edition of Thomas the Tank Engine in a parcel from Santa Claus. As a book dealer, I very much regret that I do not still own that first edition. My mother gave it away to the local hospital with a load of Eagle annuals and other things, which I also regret I no longer own.
From a childhood enlivened by the Reverend W Awdry's books, I remember the wonderful character of the Fat Controller. He was a bureaucrat; he was a man with a hat; and he was derided by the people who really ran the railway – who, in those stories, were the engines – for not knowing much about rail engineering. It sounds a little like Railtrack.
- Lord Greaves, House of Lords Railtrack debate, Hansard, 5 April 2001