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Thomas the Tank Engine Books

Thomas the Tank Engine has been enchanting children for over seventy-five years. He first appeared in the second volume of the Rev. W. Awdry’s Railway Series and soon became its lead character. He featured in the hit TV series Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, which ran for 37 years, and the new animated show Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go. He also stars in movies, specials, merchandise, and railway experiences. Thomas has become a name known throughout the world. Still, it all started with an English vicar who became one of the most influential authors ever in children’s books.

The Reverend Wilbert Awdry was a railway enthusiast who held a passion for steam engines as a child that lasted the rest of his life. The book series originated when, in 1943, he told a story about a steam engine to his son Christopher, who had developed measles. In the story, little Edward helps Gordon’s train up a hill. Awdry went on to build a model of Edward but didn’t have enough materials to make Gordon. So, he built a smaller engine and named it Thomas. Soon enough, Christopher wanted stories about Thomas, the bright blue engine, and a legend was born.

The Three Railway Engines was published in 1945, and Thomas the Tank Engine the year after. What followed was a series of profound development of delightful and pleasant characters and books filled with unique characters with various qualities and flavours, all set on the wonderful island of Sodor. Along the way, iconic friends such as James, Percy, Edward, and the “Fat Controller” Sir Topham Hatt. Year by year, Awdry worked hard to release new titles, which gave so much happiness and joy to children worldwide. His last book, Tramway Engines, was released in 1972.

Christopher Awdry took over the series in 1983, writing sixteen books, and concluded the series with the 42nd book, Thomas and his Friends. Two companion volumes were also published: 1987’s The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways by Rev. W. Awdry and George Awdry, and 2005’s Sodor: Reading Between the Lines by Christopher Awdry. Also available are annuals, picture book versions of the classic Thomas stories, as well as books that tie into his long-running TV series. 

Thomas the Tank Engine: The Classic Library contains all 26 books in The Railway Series written by The Rev. W. Awdry. Each small hardback book is lovingly illustrated, and the set comes nestled in a bespoke hinged case. The collection is a perfect gift for any Thomas fan who’ll love to read these timeless classics again and again.

We also stock gift sets for other classic children’s characters, including Winnie the Pooh, Peter Rabbit and Paddington. There is also a wide range of books you may know from TV, such as Peppa Pig and Numberblocks. Let us know about your favourite characters over on social media. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss out on your new favourite book.