Tuesday, 1 June 2010

ABC Wednesday T is for Thomas the Tank Engine


When Christopher Awdry was ill with measles in 1943, his father, the Reverend W. Awdry, created the original characters and stories in a series that would bring him fame. Wilbert Vere Awdry (1911 – 1997) was an English clergyman, a railway enthusiast and finally a children's author. He was active in railway preservation and built model railways which he exhibited at various venues around the country.
'The Three Railway Engines' was the first book in 'The Railway Series' but because of the war (WWII) it was not published until 1945. It introduced Edward the Blue Engine, Henry the Green Engine, Gordon the Big Engine and the Fat Director, Sir Topham Hatt, whose title was later changed to the Fat Controller after the railways were nationalised.
The illustrations for the first edition were by William Middleton but Rev. Awdry thought them lacking fine detail and too much like toys.
Subsequent editions were reillustrated by C. Reginald Dalby.
Both images courtesy of Wikia
 Thomas made his first appearance in 1946 in 'Thomas the Tank Engine.' He was a tank locomotive or tank engine – a steam locomotive carrying his own fuel and water instead of pulling a tender containing them. Tank locomotives evolved around 1840 and were used for shunting and short distance tasks.
In 'Thomas and Gordon' Thomas was described as 'a fussy little engine, always pulling coaches about . . . He was a cheeky little engine, too.' The little blue locomotive dreamt of more glamorous tasks and eventually, after rescuing James, he was given his own branch line.
Thomas gained enormous recognition through the UK television series and spawned a variety of merchandise. He was easily the most popular of the engines among children. Rev. Awdry wrote twenty-six of the books in 'The Railway Series' books and his son, Christopher, wrote the last fifteen.
The YouTube clip shows the opening sequence from the television series.


Thank you to Denise Nesbitt and her Tried and Trusted Team whose members organise and host this weekly meme. To see more Ts please click here.

18 comments:

  1. loved the trains...
    I used to watch these on PBS when my kids are young...
    Happy Tuesday!

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  2. I've never really gotten to know Thomas and his friends. So, thank you for the introduction, perhaps I will get the collected works some day!

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  3. Ah, I love trains -- did when I was little and do as an old broad! My favorite way to travel! Great post for the day, Janice! Hope your week is going well!

    Sylvia

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  4. I used to watch the series with my children and enjoyed it. Ringo got as famous for his narration as he did as a Beatle.

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  5. I love trains too and I remember I gave like this one to my nephew. Happy weekdays!

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  6. I have a great grandson who adores Thomas - and I adore all trains and love the ones in Britain when we visit . Great post.

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  7. That's a great "t" offering. It reminds me of the "little engine that could." From Wikipedia: As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can." This was one of our favorite mantras when running our nursery business. Well, it ran for 23 years, so I guess it "could."

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  8. Great series. Sometimes there used to be cartoon in the TV "Thomas Train Engine" My kids loved it.

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  9. Great shots. Very nice choice.
    All the best.

    My Travel Photos

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  10. Oh, those books certainly jogged some old memories (pleasant ones) of that story. Are those YOUR books? Wow.

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  11. I read Thomas stories to my children when they were little. Perhaps I'll be able to do so with my great=grandchildren, especially since I will be living near to 4-year-old Ocean.

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  12. I became aware of the TV show when Ringo Starr was the narrator!

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

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  13. very cute and lovely t post..
    smiles!

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  14. My boys had these little books, of course, and they also watched the TV series. I though the music and Ringo's voice were both perfect!

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  15. I enjoyed this series and the history of Thomas. My grandson loves that little train...do you own those vintage books. This is a great T.

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  16. I just read a Tommy the Train book to my granddaughter! It was nice to peek into its origins. Thanks for stopping by my place and leaving a comment.

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  17. Hardly anything can beat reading to a child/grandchild and trains!

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  18. Thomas the Tank Engine is very popular here!

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