B.E.D.T. #15 was built to run on the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, a rail-marine terminal in Brooklyn, New York. After the railway was modernised with diesel locomotives, it was moved to the Southern Appalachian Railway in 1965. The Southern Appalachain Railway ran from Burnsville, North Carolina to Erwin, Tennessee. It worked there until 1975, when it was moved to the Toledo, Lake Erie and Western Railway in Grand Rapids, Ohio.
It was later purchased by the Strasburg Rail Road and arrived there on May 9th, 1998. It underwent a full conversion into a steam-powered replica of Thomas, and ran for the first time on April 29th, 1999. The engine is still currently in service, but only runs on Day Out with Thomas events.
In the initial conversion, only Thomas's eyes were capable of moving. In 2014, it was modified to include a CGI-style animatronic face and sound system, with a mouth that moved to pre-recorded lines voiced by Thomas' former American voice actor Martin Sherman.
B.E.D.T. #15 is painted in the North Western Railway's standard blue livery with red and yellow lining and the number 1 painted on its side tanks in yellow with a red border. Prior to its modifications, it was painted black with gold lining, with red window frames.
- 10 Years of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends
- A Wonderful American Journey with Thomas and Connie
- Storytime with Thomas
- This engine is the only surviving Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal tank engine still in steam.
- Unlike the real Thomas, B.E.D.T. #15 has visible cylinders and a cowcatcher. It has a dummy coupling hook on its front, which can be exchanged for a knuckle coupling when necessary.
- This engine is the only steam replica of Thomas in the United States; all other replicas are "dummies", and require a locomotive at the other end for power. The dummies are equipped with working brakes, a steam generator, and an animatronic voice and sound system.
- Only one whistle on this engine is actually designed to work; the other is decorative.
- The one whistle that was actually designed to work almost sounds like Henry's whistle.
- When this engine was first being overhauled to look like Thomas, they hadn't completed the full restoration, so, when "Thomas" first ran in 1998, he was a dummy, not running under his own power, with no coupling rods going into his piston, and a much thicker face. Thomas was pushed and pulled by a Tonner that year. In 1999, Thomas was a fully functional steam locomotive.
- Besides operating for the day out with Thomas event, it can be found doing test runs or switching when preforming test runs.