Thomas & Friends: Timeline
The railway that inspired the Rev. W. Awdry was the Great Western line from Paddington to Bristol.
The Rev. W. Awdry's father built him a model railway in the back garden of the vicarage where they lived!
The first little boy ever to be told a "Railway Series" story was Christopher Awdry, when he was in bed with the measles. It was about an engine called Edward.
The Rev. W. Awdry sketched pictures to go with the stories and he was the first person to draw faces on the engines.
60 years ago, the first book in "The Railway Series" was published – and the first story in it was called "Edward's Day Out."
Thomas the Tank Engine first came to life as a wooden model made for The Rev. Awdry's son, Christopher.
The Island of Sodor is "discovered" after the Rev. Awdry visited the Isle of Man. Sodor lies between the Isle of Man and Barrow-in-Furness on the mainland.
"Tenders and Turntables" is published, in which James spins round in the wind on a turntable. This was based on a real life event.
Did you know that the story "Down the Mine" is also based on a real event which happened at Lindal-in-Furness in 1892, when a train fell down an old mine?
Television producer Britt Allcroft meets the Rev. W. Awdry.
Thomas & Friends is broadcast on ITV for the first time.
Thomas gets a rock star voice. Former "Beatles" drummer, Ringo Starr hops on board as narrator for the television series.
Every single place and person on the Island of Sodor has a history and back story all about them.
Thomas arrives in America on PBS television broadcast.
Japan is the next international stop for Thomas.
Thomas the Tank Engine travels all the way to Wisconsin for the first "Day Out With Thomas" family event.
Thomas finds his way onto the internet, as www.thomasthetankengine.com is launched.
Thomas goes off the rails as Thomas & Friends theme park opens in Japan!
A huge inflatable Thomas the Tank Engine is spotted outside the London Transport Museum!
Virgin Balloons launch an unusual object into the skies – a Thomas the Tank Engine hot air balloon!
Thomas becomes a movie star as "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" opens in cinemas around the world.
Another famous voice takes a ride with Thomas – Alec Baldwin narrates new episodes in the US.
Over half a million people met Thomas this year as "Day Out with Thomas" events took place all over Britain.
Thomas & Friends celebrate their 60th anniversary!
Thomas & Friends full length special voiced by Pierce Brosnan;
Thomas Land an attraction boasting 12 wonderful themed rides, a spectacular indoor play area and a shop filled with fantastic Thomas & Friends merchandise open in the UK at Drayton Manor Park.
For the first time ever, Thomas & Friends are animated in CG in a feature-length special and each engine has it's own unique voice
Thomas & Friends celebrate their 65th anniversary!