'The Railway Series' Facts: A Journey To The Fictional Island

Shagun Dhanuka
Sep 08, 2022 By Shagun Dhanuka
Originally Published on Apr 06, 2022
Edited by Daisha Capers
'The Railway Series' Facts: A Journey To The Fictional Island

'The Railway Series' was a classic children's book series that followed the fictional railway adventures of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends.

The books were written by Reverend Wilbert Awdry and first published in 1945. The series has been adapted for television, stage, and even a feature-length film.

'The Railway Series' is a famous series of children's books about the adventures of various engines on the fictional Island of Sodor. These books were written by Rev. W. Awdry and illustrated by his son, Christopher Awdry. The first book in the series, 'The Three Railway Engines,' was published in 1945.

There are currently 56 books in the series, with more being added all the time. 'The Railway Series' is a much-loved part of British children's literature and continues to be enjoyed by new generations of readers.

Did you know that 'The Railway Series' was based on a real railway line? Or that the island where the stories take place is completely fictional? You'll find the answers to these questions and more as you journey through the world of 'The Railway Series' below.


The first book in the series is called 'The Three Railway Engines,' and it was published in 1945. In this book, the readers are introduced to the three main characters of the series; Edward, Gordon, and Henry.

'The Railway Series' is set on the beautiful fictional Island of Sodor, which is based on Awdry's own experiences of working on railways in England.

One of the most popular books in 'The Railway Series' is 'Thomas the Tank Engine,' which was published in 1946. This book tells the story of Thomas, a personified small tank engine who is new to Sodor.

'The Railway Series' has been adapted into several series, including 'Thomas and Friends.' The first episode of this series aired in 1984, and it is still being aired today.


There are many iconic characters in 'The Railway Series,' including Thomas the Tank Engine, Percy the Small Engine, Gordon the Big Engine, and James the Red Engine. These engines and their friends live on the fictional island of Sodor, where they work together on the railway.

All of the engines have their personality and quirks, which make them a joy to read about. For example, Percy is always getting into trouble, but he always learns his lesson in the end. Thomas is brave and determined, while Gordon is proud and often gets into arguments with other engines.

The series became very popular and has been translated into many languages.

Sodor Island

Sodor is the fictional island where 'The Railway Series' is set and where most of the Thomas the Tank Engine stories take place. It is based on the Isle of Man, with its landscape and climate similar to that of England's Lake District.

Sodor was founded in 1859 by Sir Topham Hatt, who was also responsible for building the railway on the island. The first engine to arrive on Sodor was a green tank engine called Edward, and he has been followed by many other engines over the years, both steam and diesel.

The railway on Sodor is a narrow-gauge line, which means that the trains are smaller than those found on most railways around the world. This gives the island a uniquely charming look, which has helped to make it one of the most popular destinations for railway fans, young and old.

Format And Presentations

'The Railway Series' was originally published as a series of short stories in the form of books. The first book, titled 'The Three Railway Engines,' was published in 1945 and contained three stories; 'Edward's Day Out,' 'Down The Mine,' and 'Trouble For Thomas.'

These stories were later adapted into episodes of the popular British children's television series 'Thomas & Friends.'

'The Railway Series' was written by Reverend Wilbert Awdry, who based the stories on his own experiences as a young boy. He also drew inspiration from real-life locomotives and railway lines in the United Kingdom.

Characters and locations in 'The Railway Series' are all fictional, except for a few real-life locations that were used as inspiration for the fictional island of Sodor.

Other Fun Facts

The station on the Island of Sodor is a fictional railway station that is the primary setting for 'The Railway Series' books by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry and his son, Christopher Awdry. It is also the main setting for the television series 'Thomas & Friends.'

The station has two platforms; one serves a mainline and the other a branch line. The station building is on the branch line platform, and there is a good shed on the mainline platform.

Ringo Starr narrated the first as well as the final story of 'The Railway Series.' The final edition is a sad story in which Sir Topham Hatt has to say goodbye to his beloved railway. However, the legacy of 'The Railway Series lives' on, with generations of children enjoying the adventures of Thomas and his friends to this day.

One of the most well-known facts about 'The Railway Series' is that it was the inspiration for the 'Thomas the Tank Engine' television series. The series was created by Ringo Starr and first aired in 1984.


Is Percy the Train a boy or a girl?

This is one of the most common questions asked about Percy the Train, and it's quite a difficult question to answer. Percy is a mixed-gender name, which means that it can be used for either boys or girls. In 'The Railway Series,' Percy is male.


Who was the first engine on Sodor?

The very first engine to ever grace the rails of Sodor was a little tank engine named Edward. He was brought to the island (Sodor) by Sir Topham Hatt, who was looking for an engine to help out on his railway.

Edward soon became a favorite among the other engines and had been appearing in 'The Railway Series' books since their inception.


Who currently owns the rights to 'The Railway Series?'

The answer may surprise you; it's not the British railway company, nor is it a private individual. The rights are owned by the estate of the late Reverend Awdry, who created the series. This means that anyone wanting to produce new material based on 'The Railway Series' would need to get permission from the Awdry estate.


How many railway series are there?

There are 26 books in 'The Railway Series,' which were published between 1945 and 1972. The series was created by Rev. W Awdry, who was a railway enthusiast.


Who created the 'Railway Series?'

'The Railway Series' is known to have been written by a Reverend named Wilbert Awdry. He wrote the first book, 'The Three Railway Engines,' in 1945. He was inspired to write the series after his son, Christopher, asked him for a story about trains.

Awdry continued to write new books for the series until 1972. In total, he wrote 26 books. 'The Railway Series' has been enjoyed by children and adults for many years.


What was the final book of 'The Railway Series?'

The last book of 'The Railway Series' was called 'Duke, The Lost Engine.' It was published in 1957. In the book, Duke is one of the steam engines that has been lost for many years. He is finally found and brought back to the railway.

However, he is no longer able to run on coal, so he has to be retired. The other engines are very sad to see him go. Duke is eventually replaced by a diesel engine called Geoff.


What country is Thomas the Train from?

Thomas the Tank Engine is from England. Thomas has been one of the most popular characters since appearing in movies, TV shows, and even video games.


How long has Thomas the Train been around?

Thomas the Tank Engine has been around since the early '40s. The character was created by British author Reverend Wilbert Awdry as part of his 'Railway Series' books. Thomas first appeared in print in 1946, and he has been a beloved children's character ever since.


When did the original book 'Thomas, the Train' come out?

The original 'Thomas, The Tank Engine' book was published in 1945. However, the original versions of 'The Railway Series' were not published until 1951.


Why is Thomas the Train named Thomas?

Thomas the Tank Engine was named after Reverend Thomas Thenger, who was a friend of Reverend Wilbert Awdry. When Reverend Thenger died, Awdry decided to name his locomotive after him. Interestingly, Thenger never saw a copy of the books or knew that his namesake was a train!

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Written by Shagun Dhanuka

Bachelor of Business Administration

Shagun Dhanuka picture

Shagun DhanukaBachelor of Business Administration

With a Degree in Business Administration, Shagun is an avid writer with a passion for food, fashion, and travel, which she explores on her blog. Her love of literature has led her to become a member of a literary society, where she contributes to promoting literary festivals in her role as head of marketing for her college. Shagun also pursues learning the Spanish language in her free time.

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