Thomas & Friends
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|Thomas & Friends|
Thomas the Tank Engine
|Also known as||Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (original title)|
|Genre||Children's television series|
|Format||Animated television series|
|Created by||Wilbert Awdry (characters)
Christopher Awdry (characters)
|Written by||Britt Allcroft (1984–1998)
David Mitton (1984–2003)
|Directed by||David Mitton (1984–2003)
Steve Asquith (2004–2008)
Greg Tiernan (2009–2012)
David Baas (2013-present)
|Voices of||Martin Sherman
Jules de Jongh
|Narrated by||Ringo Starr UK/US: (1984–1986)
Michael Angelis UK: (1991–2012)
George Carlin US: (1991–1995)
Alec Baldwin US: (1998–2002)
Michael Brandon US: (2004–2012)
Pierce Brosnan UK/US: (2008)
Mark Moraghan UK/US: (2013–present)
|Composer(s)||Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell (1984–2003)
Robert Hartshorne (2004–present)
Ed Welch (2004–2008)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||16|
|No. of episodes||401 + 1 feature film and 7 specials (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Britt Allcroft|
|Producer(s)||David Mitton (1984–2003)
Britt Allcroft (1984–1998)
Robert D. Cardona (1984–1986)
Simon Spencer (2004–2008)
Nicole Stinn (2009–2012)
Ian McCue (2012-present)
Kallan Kagan (2013-present)
|Editor(s)||Michael Dixon (1984)
Rebecca de Burgh Mound (1986)
John Wright (1991–1998)
Paul Davenport (2002–present)
|Location(s)||Shepperton Studios (1984-2008)
Nitrogen Studios (2009-2012)
Arc Productions (2013-present)
|Running time||5 minutes (Series 1–7)
7 minutes (Series 8–12)
9 minutes (Series 13–16)
|Production company(s)||Clearwater Features (1984–1986)
The Britt Allcroft Company (1991–2000)
Gullane Entertainment (2001–2002)
|Distributor||Various distributors; currently Lionsgate Entertainment|
|Picture format||4:3 576i (SDTV) (filmed) (Series 1–5)
16:9 576i (SDTV) (filmed) (Series 6–10)
16:9 1080i (HDTV) (filmed) (Series 11)
16:9 1080i (HDTV) (CGI) (Series 12-present)
|Audio format||Stereo (1984–1995)
Dolby Surround (1998–2002)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (2003–present)
|Original run||4 September 1984 – present|
Shining Time Station
Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales
Storytime with Thomas
Thomas & Friends (Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends until 2002) is a British children's television series, first broadcast on the ITV network on 4 September 1984. It is based on The Railway Series of books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son Christopher Awdry. These books deal with the adventures of a group of anthropomorphised trains and road vehicles who live on the fictional Island of Sodor. The books were based on stories Awdry told to entertain his son Christopher during his recovery from measles. Many of the stories are based on events from Awdry's personal experience.
The show was originally produced with live action model animation at Shepperton Studios in England. The use of moving models was seen at the time of the show's conception as an effective method of animating the stories. Locomotives and other vehicles were operated by radio, while humans and animals were static figures. Stop-motion was occasionally employed for instances in which a human or animal character would move. Hand-drawn animation was used in Series 3 to create bees.
At the show's conception in 1984, live action model animation would not deliver lip sync, but show co-creator Britt Allcroft and model director David Mitton did not see this as an inhibition. About 20 years later however, with advancement in technology, the show saw the introduction of CGI by HIT Entertainment's subsidiary HOT Animation. At first this was used to generate smoke and other effects, but later, HIT (the new owners of Thomas) announced its intent to introduce a fully CGI series in 2009. With Series 12, CGI by Nitrogen Studios was used to animate characters' faces and to make people and animals mobile within the stories. The following series saw a transition to full CGI animation.
The original live action models were filmed on an extensive model railway layout built at the studios. The models were built to the 1:32 scale, known in model railway circles as "Gauge 1". The locomotives used chassis made by Märklin with specially made bodies. Along with the moving-eye and eyelid mechanisms and clay faces, these bodies also included smoke generators. Coaches and trucks were made using Tenmille kits. Later models were constructed entirely from scratch. Some of the models from the sister television series Tugs were reused in later episodes of the series.
In Series 5 through to 12, some larger-scale models were used for the narrow gauge characters, to more easily fit the complex mechanisms into them while retaining a sufficient level of detail. In Series 6, the characters known as "the Pack" (construction machines) were also constructed on a large scale, and larger models of Thomas and Percy were made to interact with them. In the ninth series, another larger Thomas model was built to the same scale as the narrow gauge engines to provide greater possibilities for interaction. It was joined by a large version of James in the tenth series. In 2009, these models were put on display in a special exhibit at Drayton Manor Theme Park's Thomas Land.
Before Series 13, narration and dialogue were performed by a single storyteller. This was the choice of Allcroft, who wanted the television stories to be an extension of the way they would be told at home in a comforting environment. All character emotions would come from the nuances of the storyteller's voice, in conjunction with facial expressions, music, and actions on-screen.
The first 130 stories were written for television by Britt Allcroft and David Mitton. For the first four series the shows were closely based on stories from The Railway Series books.
The producer is in charge of every aspect of the show for the relevant series. The following people have been the series' producers:
- Britt Allcroft, David Mitton, and Robert D. Cardona (1984–1986)
- Britt Allcroft and David Mitton (1991–1998)
- Phil Fehrle (2002–2003)
- Simon Spencer (2004–2009)
- Nicole Stinn (2009–2012)
- Ian McCue (2012–present)
- Kallan Kagan (2013–present)
Originally the series was produced by Britt Allcroft Productions and Clearwater Features Ltd (David Mitton and Robert D. Cardona's company). Clearwater closed in 1990 and The Britt Allcroft Company (which changed to Gullane Entertainment in 2000) was the sole producer until 2002, when HiT Entertainment bought the company and now runs its operation. HiT Entertainment was acquired in 2005 by the British private equity firm Apax Partners.
In February 2012, Apax sold HIT Entertainment, along with the Thomas properties, to US toy giant Mattel.
Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell composed the show's original main title theme, incidental music and songs, (see List of Thomas & Friends songs), which were used for Series 1 to 7 comprising 182 episodes between 1984 and 2003.
In 2004, Robert Hartshorne took their place as composer. Ed Welch provided a new theme tune, "Engine Roll Call," and also filled the role of series songwriter up until The Great Discovery, after which Hartshorne replaced him.
Filmmaking and history 
The first series (1984) used stories from the first eight books, along with one specially written by the Rev. W. Awdry, Thomas's Christmas Party. The second series (1986) used stories from Book 9 (Edward the Blue Engine) to Book 30 (More About Thomas the Tank Engine). This book was unusual, as it was written specifically by Christopher Awdry to be adapted by the show. At that time it was a contractual obligation that the show could only adapt stories that appeared in print. The series also used a story from a Thomas Annual, "Thomas and Trevor", and a specially written stand-alone story, Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree. The second series was actually a 27-episode series, as a single (unaired) episode ("The Missing Coach") was in the process of being filmed, but despite being filmed it was never shown because Allcroft decided it was too confusing for young children/younger viewers. The production team went on to use "Thomas, Percy and the Coal" instead. In between production of the second and third series, the production team were focused in producing the sister television series Tugs which ran for one series from 1989 to 1990. However due to the company TVS, who was responsible for producing the show, going bankrupt the show was halted with sets and models reused and later seen in future episodes of Thomas.
Series 3 was broadcast 1991 to 1992 in two parts, (one part having 16 episodes and the other having 10). It was made at a cost of £1.3 million. The series was a combination of episodes derived from The Railway Series, stories in the Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends magazine, and original stories by Allcroft and Mitton. One of the primary reasons for diverging from the original books was that many of the stories not yet used featured large numbers of new characters, which would be expensive to produce. Another was that the producers wanted more stories about Thomas, the nominal main character. The Rev. W. Awdry complained that the new stories were unrealistic (see Henry the Green Engine for more details).
Series 4 was also broadcast in two parts, (one part having 10 episodes and the other having 16) from 1994 to 1995. The producers planned to introduce some "new" female characters, including Caroline the car, Nancy, and The Refreshment Lady. Some commentators took this as a response to accusations of sexism levelled against the series two years earlier. In reality, these were not "new" characters, but creations of the Rev. Awdry from the original Railway Series books. Series 4 was almost entirely based on The Railway Series. The narrow gauge engines were introduced, and were the focus of a number of episodes. Only one original story ("Rusty to the Rescue") was used, but this took certain elements of plot and dialogue from Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine.
The fifth series (1998) was a radical departure, as none of the stories were taken from the Railway Series. This series saw the introduction of new characters, such as Cranky, The Horrid Lorries and Old Slow Coach.
Thomas & the Magic Railroad was released in July 2000 in the UK. It featured new characters created by Britt Allcroft, along with characters from the show that introduced Thomas to the US, Shining Time Station.
Despite high production values and the popularity of the show, the film was criticised by UK reviewers who were unfamiliar with Shining Time Station. The movie was well received by young children on both sides of the Atlantic, but made only $16 million at the US box office at matinee prices, against a cost of $19 million to produce.
The film was broadcast on BBC1 in 2004 and again on 29 December 2008.
The sixth and seventh series continued to introduce action-packed storylines and new characters, and saw the introduction of a writing staff. The sixth series in 2002 was notable for its attempt to create a spin-off based on the successful "Bob the Builder" series. Two episodes introduced a group of construction machine characters known as "The Pack". The spin-off didn't materialise for some time. Eventually, in 2006, thirteen episodes were released straight to DVD. The fact that older sets were used and the episodes were shot on 35mm camera (as opposed to the digital camera used at the time of the episodes' release) suggest it was filmed some time before Series 8. In Series 7 (2003) the programme title was officially shortened to Thomas & Friends, this name having been used on merchandise and video covers for three years previously.
The eighth series (2004) introduced a number of significant changes to the show after rights to the show were acquired by HIT Entertainment, a company specialising in children's entertainment. Many of the original founding team involved in the original show, since 1984, including Britt Allcroft (by now working strictly as a consultant), director and writer David Mitton, left the production. Original composers Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell, also departed, after a protracted dispute with HIT, and a new theme song and incidental music was composed by Ed Welch and Robert Hartshorne, respectively. Episode runtime was increased to seven minutes. The series was produced using digital video camera, creating a somewhat different look for the show. Other changes include the additions of CGI educational sequences and transitions between stories.
A straight-to-video film, Calling All Engines was released shortly before Series 9 in 2005. While featuring characters from Thomas and the Magic Railroad, it was not a direct sequel. It proved successful, and more direct-to-video specials are planned for the future.
Series 9 (2005) and 10 (2006) saw the expansion of the supporting cast with new and old characters. From Series 9 the Narrator would call out the episodes' names and from Series 11 the Theme Song was sung starting with the sound of a train whistle. Series 10 aired with twenty-eight episodes rather than the twenty-six of previous years. The eleventh series (2007) was filmed in a high definition format. Twenty episodes aired in the original broadcast, while six were released direct to DVD.
The 2008 series saw the introduction of CGI effects, with the intent of producing the show entirely in CGI the following year. Only twenty episodes were broadcast (the US broadcast featured six additional episodes from Engines and Escapades).
HIT announced multiple changes to the show beginning in 2009. One new aspect was the introduction of live-action host segments to Thomas' home video releases. The host took the form of a character who worked on The Fat Controller's railway, who would instruct viewers in craft projects.
The other major changes were a move to production in CGI, rather than using physical models, and the addition of a voice cast to support the established narrator. The DVD feature, Hero of the Rails, was the first Thomas & Friends production to show these changes; Series 13 was the first television series in the new format.
||This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (May 2013)|
HIT also revealed that its theatrical division would be piloted by a "Thomas" film. Originally targeted for late-2010 release, in September 2009 this was revised to "Spring 2011". As of January 2011, the release date had been pushed back further to 2012 and the name of the production had still not been announced. The initial draft of the script was written by Josh Klausner (screenwriter for Shrek Forever After), who has also said that the film will be set around the times of World War II. On 8 June 2011, Deadline announced that 9 director Shane Acker will direct the live-action adaptation of Thomas the Tank Engine, with Weta Digital designing the film's visual effects.
List of productions 
Television series 
|Series||Year||Episodes||DVD Release Date (R2)||DVD Release Date (R4)||DVD Release Date (R1)|
|1||1984||26||31 January 2005||2 May 2006||26 October 2004|
|2||1986||26||18 April 2005||13 April 2006||—|
|3||1991–1992||26||23 January 2006||6 July 2006||—|
|4||1994–1995||26||24 July 2006||8 September 2006||—|
|5||1998||26||5 February 2007||8 September 2006||—|
|6||2002||26||2 July 2007||5 January 2009||—|
|7||2003||26||14 January 2008||4 June 2009||—|
|8||2004||26||28 July 2008||4 June 2009||—|
|9||2005||26||19 January 2009||2 March 2010||—|
|10||2006||28||17 May 2010||2 June 2010||—|
|11||2007||26||26 July 2010||2 June 2011||—|
|12||2008||20||21 February 2011||1 March 2012||—|
|13||2010||20||13 February 2012||—||—|
|14||2010||20||22 July 2013||—||—|
Films, specials, and miniseries 
|Thomas & the Magic Railroad||2000||Theatrically-released feature film|
|Calling All Engines!||2005||Feature-length direct-to-video special|
|On Site with Thomas||2006||13-episode direct-to-video miniseries|
|Engines and Escapades||2007||6-episode direct-to-video miniseries|
|The Great Discovery||2008||Feature-length special. Limited theatrical release|
|Hero of the Rails||2009||Feature-length direct-to-video special|
|Misty Island Rescue||2010||Feature-length special. Limited theatrical release|
|Day of the Diesels||2011||Feature-length direct-to-video special|
|Blue Mountain Mystery||2012||Feature-length special. Limited theatrical release|
|King of the Railway||2013||Feature-length special. Limited theatrical release|
Home video history 
Over the history of the programme, the TV episodes and specials have been released for home viewing in a variety of compilations, formats and languages, by a variety of publishing houses.
The role of the narrators dates back to the first series. Britt Allcroft thought it essential to convey the episode as a story that would be read from a book at home.
- Ringo Starr (UK/US Series 1–2) (1984–1986): Former Beatles drummer Starr was the first storyteller of Thomas & Friends, and arguably the one most frequently associated with the show. Offered the part after Allcroft overheard him being interviewed on television by Michael Parkinson, Starr was initially reluctant to take it; he had never read any of the Railway Series books and felt that children would be more interested in 'dinosaurs with lasers.' He changed his mind after having read the books, even going as far to considering himself "one of the few children who had been deprived of them," and accepted the role, narrating the first two series from 1984 to 1986. In 1989 he also appeared in the first series of Shining Time Station, playing Mr. Conductor – the character who would relate the Thomas stories to the other characters at Shining Time – and re-recording parts of his narration to include terminology more familiar to US audiences. Starr did not return when the third series of Thomas began, citing an interest in focusing on his musical career, although he remained in contact with Wilbert Awdry until the latter's death. Starr was happy to be part of show and he said Thomas will always be in a special place in his heart and he was proud to be part of Thomas's world.[page needed] Starr made a brief return to the franchise for the 2009 BBC Children in Need appeal, providing the voice of Thomas for The Official BBC Children in Need Medley single.
- Michael Angelis (UK Series 3–Series 16/US Video 2004) (1991–2012): In 1991 Angelis was hired as the next United Kingdom narrator for the series after Starr left to continue his music career. He had the longest tenure as storyteller of Thomas & Friends for the UK, filling the role for 21 years. In 2000, Angelis was hired to voice James, Percy, Henry and Gordon in Thomas & the Magic Railroad but then he was cut out of the film because test audience thought his voice made them sound too old, he was replaced by Susan Roman, Linda Ballantyne, Kevin Frank and Neil Crone. He narrated every direct-to-video release (minus The Great Discovery). Angelis narrated one U.S. video release before Michael Brandon took over. In 2007, It was reported that Angelis dropped his role as UK narrator following the appointment of Pierce Brosnan to narrate Series 12, but Brosnan didn't return and Angelis was called back to continue as narrator from Series 12 up to Series 16. He had been involved with Thomas outside of the TV series as well; among other things, he lent his voice to a series of story-and-song tapes in 1995 and, from 2006, the first five volumes of The Railway Series on CD.
- George Carlin (US Series 3-4/re-dubbed Series 1-2) (1991–1995): Best known for his stand-up comedy roles, Carlin was chosen as the storyteller for the third and fourth series. He took over the role of Mr. Conductor on Shining Time Station and, in turn, told all of the stories from Series 3 to Series 4. He also re-narrated all of the episodes in Series 1 and Series 2. While Carlin was known for his adult comedy routines, Britt Allcroft attests that he was gentle and enthusiastic in his approach to the series. Allcroft states that Carlin was nervous recording his voice alone in a sound booth – their solution was to keep a teddy bear in the booth as Carlin's "audience" for the run of the show. Allcroft also recalls that the two of them discussed their lonely childhoods, and felt that Thomas was a way of "filling some kind of void." Carlin did not return for the fifth series, citing an interest in focusing on his stand-up comedy career.
- Alec Baldwin (US Series 5–6) (1998–2002): Known as a movie and t.v. actor, Baldwin was selected as the storyteller for the fifth series. He was cast in the role of Mr. Conductor in Thomas & the Magic Railroad in 2000. Baldwin returned for one more series in 2002. Baldwin did not return for the seventh series, citing an interest on focusing on other movie and television roles in his career.
- Michael Brandon (US Series 7-16/re-dubbed eight episodes, Series 6) (2004–2012): When Thomas & Friends debuted in the United States in its new half-hour format in 2004, Michael Brandon was hired not only to narrate the new Series 8 episodes, but also all episodes of Series 7. He also re-narrated eight episodes in Series 6. Brandon provided his voice for all of the intermissions in this format. He also narrated the US releases of Calling All Engines, On Site with Thomas, Engines and Escapades, Hero of the Rails, and Misty Island Rescue. In 2007, it was reported that Brandon had left the series, following the appointment of Pierce Brosnan to narrate The Great Discovery, as well as the TV series starting with Series 12. However, Brosnan left the series after providing his narrations for the special and series 12, so Brandon was called back to provide the American narrative, replacing Brosnan's Series 12 narrations, and then continuing to narrate the series up to Series 16, he also works alongside the American voice cast of the new CGI series. He is the second longest serving narrator in the series, after Michael Angelis, and the longest serving storyteller in the US.
- Pierce Brosnan (UK/US "guest narrator" for DVD special The Great Discovery) (2008): Former James Bond actor Brosnan was enthusiastic to take up the role, recalling his experience with Thomas as a father, reading the stories for his sons. In 2007, HiT Entertainment announced that Brosnan had signed on for "all English-language releases for the brand, including three upcoming Thomas & Friends television series and three DVD specials." The announcement preceded Series 12 by several months, and Brosnan recorded lines for Series 12 episodes, and was intended to succeed both Angelis and Brandon as narrator for the series. However, Brosnan, for reasons unknown, did not continue as narrator, and series 12 aired without his narrations, instead having Angelis and Brandon resume as narrators for series 12 as well as all subsequent releases. As a result, Brosnan has been credited as a "guest narrator" for The Great Discovery.
- Mark Moraghan (UK/US Series 17-present) (2013–present): Television actor Moraghan will be replacing both Angelis and Brandon as the narrator starting in 2013. In April 2013, five stories from Series 17 were released in the US on the Wal-Mart exclusive DVD, "Railway Mischief," being the first to showcase Moraghan's narrations. Moraghan will be providing the narrations, in both the US and UK, for Series 17, the remaining stories of which will air beginning in the fall of 2013, and all future series, as well as the special King of the Railway, to be released in September 2013.
Voice actors 
Individual voice actors were given to the UK and US dubs of the Series, following the switch to CGI in 2009.
|Martin Sherman||US||Thomas and Percy|
|Ben Small||UK||Thomas, Toby, and Ferdinand|
|US||Stanley and Charlie (Series 16 onwards)|
|UK/US||Rheneas and Owen|
|David Bedella||US||Victor, The Mayor of Sodor, and The Duke of Boxford|
|UK||Victor (Blue Mountain Mystery onwards)|
|US/UK||The Cuban Man|
|Michael Brandon||US||Diesel, Mr. Bubbles, The Maithwaite Stationmaster, and The Knapford Stationmaster|
|Rupert Degas||UK||Butch (Series 15 only)|
|UK/US||Dart, Bertie, Flynn, and Diesel 10 (Misty Island Rescue; original cut only)|
|Teresa Gallagher||UK||Emily, Rosie, Mavis, Lady Hatt, Bridget Hatt, The Duchess of Boxford, Bridget Hatt's Friends, The Teacher, The Laundry Lady, The School Children, and The Girl in Red Dress|
|UK/US||Belle, Annie, and Clarabel|
|Bob Golding||UK/US||Stephen (King of the Railway onwards)|
|Mike Grady||UK/US||Sir Robert Norramby (King of the Railway onwards)|
|William Hope||US||Edward, Toby, Whiff, Bash, Stephen Hatt, Farmer McColl, and Farmer Trotter|
|US/UK||Bert (Series 16 onwards)|
|Jules de Jongh||US||Emily, Rosie, Mavis, Lady Hatt, Bridget Hatt, The Duchess of Boxford, Bridget Hatt's Friends, The Teacher, The Laundry Lady, and The School Children|
|Steve Kynman||UK/US||Paxton and Peter Sam|
|Kerry Shale||US||Henry, Gordon, James, Dash, Scruff, Harold, Kevin, Sir Topham Hatt, Mr. Percival, Sir Lowham Hatt, and The Railway Inspector|
|US/UK||'Arry and Bert (Series 14 - 15)|
|Keith Wickham||UK||Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, Percy, Whiff, Dash, Harold, The Fat Controller, The Mayor of Sodor, Mr. Percival, Sir Lowham Hatt, Mr. Bubbles, The Railway Coal Inspector, and The Man at the Fire|
|UK/US||Salty, Den, Stafford, Skarloey, Sir Handel, Captain, Dowager Hatt, and The Great Composer|
|Matt Wilkinson||UK||Spencer, Stanley, Victor (Hero of the Rails - Series 16), Charlie, Bash, Scruff, Rocky, Cranky, Butch (Series 16 onwards), Kevin, Stephen Hatt, Old Bailey, Farmer McColl, The Duke of Boxford, The Photographer, The Maithwaite Stationmaster, Farmer Trotter, The Knapford Stationmaster, The Bird Watcher, The Dock Manager, The Island Inspector, and The Sodor Search & Rescue Centre Manager|
|UK/US||Diesel 10, Rusty, Merrick, and Winston|
|Glenn Wrage||US||Spencer, Ferdinand, Rocky, Cranky, Butch, and The Sodor Search & Rescue Centre Manager|
Popularity with autistic audience 
In June and July 2001, the National Autistic Society conducted a survey of 81 parents of children with autism and Asperger syndrome to investigate their putative 'special relationship' with Thomas the Tank Engine. The survey confirmed the organisation's assumption from anecdotal evidence that children with autism spectrum disorders associate far more strongly with Thomas the Tank Engine than with other children's characters.
In the National Autistic Society's April 2007 survey, conducted with 748 UK parents of children under 10 with autism, 58% of parents reported Thomas was the first children's character their children enjoyed, with about one-third of parents reporting their children were able to learn basic facial expressions from the characters, as all of Thomas's friends have easy-to-read expressions. 54% of parents reported that the stories contributed to their child's sense of security.
A wide range of merchandise has been manufactured to cash in on the success of the series. The most popular and wide-ranging items of merchandise are the models of the characters, which have been produced in many different ranges, some including accompanying railway systems. Other popular products include videos, books and magazines, and computer games. Thomas merchandise has also included such items as audiobooks, annuals, colouring and activity books, jigsaws, board games, stationery, photo notebooks, clothing, cutlery, household items such as curtains, duvet covers and lampshades, and even soft drinks and spaghetti shapes.
Day out with Thomas 
"Day out with Thomas", is a marketing name used by HiT Entertainment for special events held at heritage railways in the UK. The characteristic features of these events include locomotives wearing 'faces' to resemble 'Thomas' characters, and a "Fat Controller" character, usually performed by one of the railway's volunteers. The general idea is that the public have the chance to ride in a train pulled by 'Thomas' or one of his friends.
In the US the name also refers to "Come Ride the Rails with Thomas" which is a US tour by real trains modelled after Thomas the Tank Engine. The Thomas engine visits various historic railroads across the United States allowing visitors to play games, meet Sir Topham Hatt and to ride on a passenger car pulled by the engine. HIT Entertainment sponsors the event to promote the Thomas and Friends brand.
In the Netherlands is also a "Day out with Thomas", Een dag uit met Thomas, and is held at the South Limburg Railway Compagny a heritage railway in Simpelveld in the South of the Netherlands in the province of Limburg. The Thomas locomotive is shipped from the UK. The South Limburg Railway Compagny has its own Diesel locomotive.
Amusement parks 
In 2007, Drusilla's Park near Alfriston, Sussex, England opened a railway ride featuring Thomas, Annie and Clarabel. The track runs through the Zoo Park and also features James, Diesel, Cranky and the Fat Controller.
Since 2007, several Six Flags amusement parks in the US have included Thomas and Friends -themed attractions: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Six Flags New England, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags America. Several of these attractions have since been renamed and re-themed.
On 15 March 2008, Drayton Manor in the UK opened their own Thomas Land just like Japan's Amusement Park which attracts 1.7 million fans every year. Thomas Land at Drayton Manor is on the site of what was formerly Robinsons Land.
International versions 
- In Danish, the show is called Thomas & vennerne or just Thomas Tog and has been narrated by Poul Dissing and Tommy Kenter.
- In Dutch, Thomas de Stoomlocomotief features former D.J. Erik de Zwart as the storyteller.
- In Finnish, the show is called Tuomas-veturi.
- In French, the series is called Thomas le petit train
- In Hawaiian, the show is called Ka`aahi Thomas.
- In Italian, the show is called Il trenino Thomas.
- In Korean, the show is called 꼬마기관차 토마스와 친구들 Kkomagigwancha Thomas wa Chinguduel (Little engine Thomas and friends).
- In Swedish, the show is called Det Lilla Ångloket or Thomas & Vännerna or Thomas Tåget Och Hans Vänner
- In Ukrainian, the show called Паровоз Томас та його друзі aired on ICTV channel, translation done by Oleksa Nehrebeckyj, narrated by Mykola Koziy.
- In Welsh, the show is called Tomos a'i Ffrindiau and has been narrated by John Ogwen.
- In Mandarin Chinese, the show is called 火車頭日記 huŏchē tóurìjì in mainland China and 湯瑪士小火車 tāngmăshì xiăohuŏchē in Taiwan.
- In Bosnian, the show is known as Lokomotivček Tomaž in prijatelji.
- In a special dub, the show is nominated to be Thōmas el Ţrën.
- In gaelic called Tomas is a Threud airs on BBC Alba
- In Japanese, the show is called "きかんしゃトーマス" (Kikansha Toomasu).
- In Thai, the CD version is called "Thomas the tank engine" (โธมัสยอดหัวรถจักร).
||This section may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Listings of international channels are discouraged by the Manual of Style. (May 2013)|
|United Kingdom||Channel 5 (Current Original Channel), 5* (Milkshake!) (Current Repeats), Nick Jr./Nick Jr. 2 (Current Repeats), ITV (1984–1994 & 2003–2006) (Former Original Channel), TCC (Former Repeats), Cartoon Network (Former Repeats) Nickelodeon (Former Repeats)|
|United States||PBS Kids (1989-1997,2004-present), Fox Family (1998-2000), Nick Jr. (June-August 2000), PBS Kids Sprout (2005–present)|
|Australia||ABC1 (1985–present), ABC4 Kids (2005–present),|
|Japan||Fuji Television (1990–2007), TV Tokyo (2008–2010), NHK Educational TV (2012–present)|
|Brazil||Rede Manchete, Discovery Kids Latin America|
|Canada||TVO, BBC Kids, Teletoon, Treehouse TV|
|Greece||Alter Channel (2001-2011), Star Channel (2012-present)|
|Czech Republic||TV Barrandov, Minimax, Jim Jam|
|Sweden||TV4 (Sweden), Kanal 5 (Sweden), Boomerang (Nordic)|
|Denmark||DR1, TV 2 (Denmark)|
|Norway||NRK1 (−2005), TV2|
|Hungary||M1, Minimax, Jim Jam|
|Hong Kong||ATV World, Playhouse Disney Channel Asia, buzplay |
|Indonesia||Indosiar, Playhouse Disney Channel Asia|
|Italy||Rai Due, Rai Tre, Italia 1, Playhouse Disney|
|Mexico||Azteca 7, Azteca 13, Proyecto 40, Discovery Kids Latin America|
|Netherlands||Nickelodeon, Jim Jam|
|New Zealand||TV3, FOUR|
|Philippines||3ABN, Cartoon Network Philippines, Playhouse Disney Channel Asia, TV5|
|Russia||Telenyanya, (First Channel Worldnet)|
|Poland||TVP Krakow, MiniMini, Jim Jam, Polsat Jim Jam|
|Spain||Cadena Tres, Playhouse Disney|
|Singapore||Okto, Playhouse Disney Channel Asia, JimJam|
|Romania||Minimax TV, JimJam, Cartoon Network Romania|
|France||Playhouse Disney, France 5|
|Taiwan||ETTV YOYO, MOMO TV|
|Arab World||MBC 3|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||FTV|
|South Korea||KBS, EBS|
|Hawaii||Kīwī Hawai`i, PBSHawaii|
See also 
- Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales
- Storytime with Thomas
- Shining Time Station
- Theodore Tugboat
- Salty's Lighthouse
- Starlight Express
- The Polar Express
- Underground Ernie
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- "Thomas And Friends - Classic Collection - Complete Series 10 DVD: Amazon.co.uk: Michael Angelis, Steve Asquith, Simon Spencer, Sharon Miller, Abi Grant, Paul Larson, Marc Seal, Wayne Jackman, Simon Nicholson, James Mason: Film & TV". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
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- Thomas & Friends: The Complete Series 14 [DVD]
- Thomas & Friends: Blue Mountain Mystery : Vue Cinemas
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- Awdry, Christopher, Sodor: Reading Between the Lines
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- "Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends" (1984) – Release dates
- Nickelodeon UK has swiped the rights to Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends from arch-rival children's cable channel Cartoon Network, writes Alice Macandrew. The entire series is set to air on
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