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Hornby Railways produces a series of 00 gauge model railway engines, track, accessories and box sets based on the characters and locations of Thomas and Friends. The track and couplers are Hornby's standard; therefore the range is compatible with their main range.

Hornby launched its range in 1985, shortly after the debut of the television series. It mainly utilises modified versions of existing Hornby engines. In 2014, the range was discontinued, although Hornby released a statement saying that it was 'under review'. In 2015, Hornby reintroduced the Thomas line with selected models, rolling stock and sets to be released in December 2015. The reintroduced models retain their original faces, Edward, James and Gordon receiving improved tender driven motors and Henry being upgraded with a loco driven chassis. In addition, Edward, Henry, Gordon and James can now be converted to run via Hornby's Digital Controller (DCC).

Locomotives, Rolling Stock, Buildings and Accessories:

1985

  • Thomas the Tank Engine - made using a London, Brighton and South Coast Railway E2 tank engine model with added splashers and a modified cab - (retired)
  • Percy the Saddle Tank Engine - a brand new moulding utilizing the standard Hornby 0-4-0 chassis (retired)
  • Annie - produced using Hornby's standard four-wheeled coaches (retired)
  • Clarabel - produced using Hornby's standard four-wheeled coaches (retired)
  • Cattle Wagon - made using the Tri-ang moulding - only available in the Percy Set until 1986 - (retired)
  • Milk Tanker - made using a standard four-wheeled tanker - (retired)
  • Open Wagon - (retired)
  • Closed Van - (retired)
  • Brake Van - made using a BR standard brake van (retired)
  • Station and platform - (retired)
  • Water tower and crane - (retired)
  • Signals - (retired)
  • Signal Box - (retired)
  • Platform with canopy - (retired)
  • Footbridge - (retired)
  • Tunnel - (retired)
  • Engine shed - (retired)
  • Goods shed - (retired)

1986

  • Gordon the Big Blue Engine - made using the Tri-ang LNER A1 class tooling with a modified cab, and six-wheeled tender (retired)
  • Duck - made using the old Tri-ang GWR 57xx class tooling with a modified cab (retired)
  • Gordon's Composite Coach - made using the GWR Composite Coach in a green and cream livery (retired)
  • Gordon's Brake Coach - made using the GWR Brake Coach in a green and cream livery (retired)
  • The Fat Controller, Driver and Fireman - (cancelled)

1987

  • Devious Diesel - made using the Tri-ang 0-6-0 class 08 diesel shunter mould (retired)

1988

  • James the Red Engine - made using a Tri-ang LMS 3F class tooling with altered moulding around the smokebox and extended frames and an added pony truck (retired)
  • James's Composite Coach - made using the GWR Composite Coach in a red and cream livery (retired)
  • James's Brake Coach - made using the GWR Brake Coach in a red and cream livery (retired)

1989

Sometime between 1990 and 1994, Gordon, Duck, Diesel, the breakdown crane, the closed van, the cattle wagon, the tar tanker and James' coaches were quietly retired from the range for unknown reasons.

1995

  • Gordon the Big Blue Engine - (reintroduction; retired)
  • Duck - (reintroduction; retired)

1998

  • Tar Tanker (reintroduction; retired)

2001

  • Toby the Tram - a brand new moulding (retired)
  • Bill - a brand new moulding (retired)
  • Ben - a brand new moulding - (retired)
  • James' Composite Coach - (reintroduction; retired)
  • James' Brake Coach - (reintroduction; retired)

2002

  • Henry the Green Engine - made using Hornby's old LMS Stanier 5MT tooling (retired)
  • Devious Diesel - (reintroduction; retired)
  • Sodor Fuel Tanker - (retired)
  • Troublesome Truck 1 - (retired)
  • Troublesome Truck 2 - (retired)
  • Sodor Scrap CO. Wagon - (retired)
  • Country Station - (retired)
  • Water Tower and Signal Box pack - (retired)
  • Radio-Controlled Sound System - (retired)

2003

  • 'Arry - made using the Tri-ang 0-6-0 class 08 diesel shunter mould (retired)
  • Bert - made using the Tri-ang 0-6-0 class 08 diesel shunter mould (retired)
  • Diesel - made with Hornby's BR class 37 tooling (retired)
  • S.C. Ruffey - (retired)

2005

The range got a huge revamp because of the 60th anniversary, so characters from the Railway Series were introduced and other items were based on Season 8.

2006

  • Edward - made using a repainted LNER D49 class model with a taller funnel, and without the cylinders and valve gear - (retired)
  • Weathered Oil Tanker - (retired)
  • Red Open Wagon - (retired)
  • Light Blue Open Wagon - (retired)
  • Sodor Mail - (retired)
  • Cream Utility Wagon - (retired)
  • Light Grey Vent Van - (retired)
  • Red Oxide Vent Van - (retired; still available in the 2011 and the 2015 Percy & The Mail Train Set's)
  • Three circus tents and three circus stalls - (retired)
  • Dryaw Station - (retired)
  • Windmill - (retired)
  • Signal Box - (retired)

2007

  • Emily - made using a repainted GWR Dean Achilles class model - (retired)

Emily was supposed to be released in 2006, but her release was delayed until January 29th, 2007.

2008

  • Spencer - made using a repainted LNER A4 class model - (retired)
  • Great Waterton Station - (retired)
  • Stanley's Shed - (retired)
  • Waterton Butchers - (retired)
  • Blacksmiths - (retired)
  • Post Office - (retired)
  • Ben's Books - (retired)
  • Ed's Garage - (retired)
  • Great Waterton Station Platform - (retired)

2009

  • Tired face Thomas - (limited Production of 500, exclusive to now defunct "ModelZone" retailers; retired)

2011

  • Dart - (retired)
  • Murdoch - made using a repainted BR 9F class model - (retired)
  • Lime Wagon - Grey - (retired)
  • Lime Wagon - Brown - (retired)
  • Works Unit Van - (retired)
  • Breakdown Crane - (reintroduction; retired)
  • Sodor Mail Operating Coach - (eight wheel version only available in the 2011 and the 2015 version of the Percy & The Mail Train Set)
  • Station and platform - (cancelled)
  • Engine shed - (cancelled)
  • Goods shed - (cancelled)
  • Signal box - (cancelled)
  • Water tower and crane - (cancelled)
  • Footbridge - (cancelled)
  • Platform with canopy - (cancelled)

1,000 models each of Thomas, Percy and James were released, celebrating 100 years of the birth of the Rev W. Awdry which include a Royal Mail covered envelope with a stamp of a character and a certificate. This year was also notable for retiring a great number of items from the range.

2012

  • Spencer - (Limited Production of 1,000; retired)
  • Stepney - (Limited Production of 1,000; retired)
  • Spencer's Composite Coach - (retired)
  • Spencer's Brake Coach - (retired)
  • Tanker Wagon Pack - (retired)
  • Open Wagon Pack - (retired)
  • Closed Van Wagon Pack - (retired)

2015

  • Thomas the Tank Engine - (reintroduction)
  • Percy - (reintroduction)
  • Old Slow Coach - (reintroduction)
  • Gordon's Composite Coach - (reintroduction)
  • Gordon's Brake Coach - (reintroduction)
  • James' Composite Coach - (reintroduction)
  • James' Brake Coach - (reintroduction)
  • Annie and Clarabel - (reintroduction)
  • Tanker Triple Pack - (reintroduction)
  • Troublesome Trucks - (reintroduction)
  • Wagon Triple Pack A
  • Wagon Triple Pack B
  • 70th anniversary Thomas - (Limited Production of 1,000; retired)

2016

  • Edward - (reintroduction)
  • Henry - (reintroduction)
  • Gordon -(reintroduction)
  • James - (reintroduction)

Train Sets

The newer sets are supplied with a "Midi-Mat" with printed scenery and track layout, enough track to create a basic oval, an engine and rolling stock, a transformer and a power clip. Customers were encouraged to purchase further Thomas-branded "track packs", "building packs" and other models to complete the layout printed on the mat. The older sets had cut out figures (i.e. The Fat Controller) and tunnel and the sets also advertised the buildings and accessories within the range.

1985

  • Thomas Set - (retired)
  • Percy Set - (retired)

1987

  • Gordon Passenger Set - (retired)
  • Duck Set - (retired)
  • Devious Diesel Set - (retired)

1988

  • James Passenger Set - (retired)
  • Thomas and Bertie Battery Powered Set - A battery-powered set including an unpowered Thomas, a motorized Annie, Clarabel, Bertie, and a copy of Thomas and Bertie and Thomas Down the Mine, which allowed children to recreate the story of Thomas and Bertie (the book was omitted from 1995 onwards, however). The track for this set was double sided; one side for Thomas and one side for Bertie - (retired)

1995

  • Thomas 'Musical Ride' Battery Powered Set - A musical set with an 0-4-0 Thomas, Annie, Clarabel, and a battery powered station. Whilst Thomas moved around the track, the original theme music would play - (retired)

1997

  • Thomas and Percy Electric Train Set - (retired)
  • Thomas & Station Battery Powered Set - (retired)

2002

  • Radio-Controlled Thomas Set - (retired)
  • Radio-Controlled Thomas and Percy Set - (​retired)
  • Radio-Controlled Toby Set - (retired)

2005

  • Thomas Passenger Set - (reintroduction; retired)
  • James Passenger Set - (reintroduction; retired)
  • Percy Set - Circus - (retired)
  • Thomas & Bill Set - (retired)

2008

  • Thomas & The Great Discovery Set - contains exclusive tired and weathered Thomas, weathered versions of Annie and Clarabel, and weathered versions of the red open wagon and the light blue open wagon, which also came with loads - (retired)

2009

  • Thomas Train Set - (retired)
  • Thomas & Percy Electric Train Set - (reintroduction; cancelled)
  • Thomas Passenger & Goods Set - (retired)

2011

  • Percy & The Mail Train Set - (retired)

2012

  • Thomas & The Breakdown Train Set - (retired)

2015

  • Percy & The Mail Train Set - (reintroduction)
  • Thomas the Tank Engine Train Set - (reintroduction)
  • Thomas Passenger & Goods Train Set - (reintroduction)

Clockwork Train Sets, Locomotives, Rolling Stock, Buildings and Accessories

Hornby also produced Thomas and some of his friends in clockwork form. The sets were available as 'Playtrains' (plastic track) or as standard Hornby track. The playtrain coaches and wagons had simple up and down couplings and plastic playtrain wheels which meant that they were not compatible on normal Hornby track. The rolling stock on the normal Hornby 00 gauge track clockwork sets were exactly the same as the electric versions.

1985

  • Thomas Passenger Set - plastic track - (retired)
  • Thomas Passenger Set - metal track - (retired)
  • Thomas Goods Set - plastic track - (retired)
  • Thomas Goods Set - metal track - (retired)
  • Percy Goods Set - plastic track - (retired)
  • Percy Goods Set - metal track - (retired)

Additional sections of playtrain track including points and buffers were available.

1990

Thomas and Percy were available separately - (Both retired)

1995

The clockwork playtrain sets now had the normal Hornby logo rather than the Playtrains logo.

1997

Annie and Clarabel were available separately - (Both retired)

1998

This year saw a revamp in the clockwork Thomas system. The system was now only available as clockwork 'Playtrains'. Thomas' chassis was remodelled to an 0-6-0 chassis rather than the inaccurate 0-4-0 previously carried. Also, the plastic track had a totally new design, similar to the track used in the Thomas and Bertie Set. The models, accessories and sets were as follows:

  • Toby - (retired)
  • Bill - (retired)
  • Ben - (retired)
  • Troublesome Truck 1 - (retired)
  • Troublesome Truck 2 - (retired)
  • Thomas No.1 Set - (retired)
  • Thomas and Ben Wind-up Train Set - (listed as Thomas No.2 Set; retired)
  • Signal Box/Water Tower pack - (retired)
  • Thomas Station - (retired)
  • Turntable pack - (retired)

In 2003, the entire clockwork system was retired from the Thomas line.

Other

This section is of locomotives made by Hornby, that have appeared in the Railway Series or the TV Series, but not boxed by the manufacturer, as a Thomas & Friends product. By date, Adams is only loco to get this treatment, but he would sit well with Hornby's Thomas products, hence it being listed.

2016

Trivia

  • The 1997, 1998 and 1999 Hornby catalogues are the only catalogues that did not illustrate the Thomas and Friends range since its debut in 1985,; instead, the range was listed in the price lists and published its own catalogues.
  • To date, Percy, Toby, Bill, and Ben are the only engines to have their tooling created from scratch.
  • To date, Bertie is the only non-rail Thomas character to have been released.
  • Flying Scotsman, Bear, Spencer and Murdoch have sprung buffers. This is likely due to them being made using fairly recent toolings.
  • The Thomas and Bertie Battery Powered set was later reused as a Fireman Sam set.
  • The close up pictures on the prototype box cover of the musical Thomas set showed pictures from Hornby's station master train set, as using the same tooling. The same set was later used as the 'My first Hornby' set.
  • Hornby also made toys for one of Britt Allcroft's other major productions, Magic Adventures of Mumfie.
  • There have been several instances where the Hornby Thomas range have been featured in Pop-culture:
    • Several models were featured in a sketch on Bobby Davro's TV Weekly.
    • An Annie or Clarabel model along with the early cattle wagon appear briefly on Last of the Summer Wine.
    • The promotional photo of the Thomas model is used in a recurring gag on The NRL Footy Show in Australia, with Paul Gallen's face edited over Thomas'.
    • A model of Thomas made a cameo on a 2003 Comic Relief parody of Harry Potter.
    • A model of Percy along with a tar tanker were seen briefly in James May's Top Toys.
    • In 2014, when artist Jenny Bell decided to paint a mural of the nativity at Nottingham railway station for Christmas, she added a golden model of Thomas into the picture, using the wind-up model of him as a guide.
  • Thomas' model originally came fitted with traction tyres on the centre wheels which helps give the model grip on the rails. However, these have been omitted from Thomas models produced in recent years, likely to improve its running performance.
  • Thomas' 1985 model had a face that resembles his appearance in The Railway Series, but was changed the following year to match his appearance in the television series. Earlier models of Thomas also featured the red lining on his back.
  • Thomas and Percy's models originally had a blue and green running board respectively, but since their 2015 rereleases, they have been repainted to the correct white colour.
  • Edward and Henry's 2016 rereleases' face sculpts were updated to resemble the newer CGI seasons of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.
  • Henry's 2016 rerelease is the only tender engine in the revised Hornby Thomas range to be given a loco driven chassis, while the 2016 Edward, Gordon and James models have improved tender driven motors.
  • Gordon's prototype model had a different face when he was featured in the 1986 catalogue. Duck and Diesel's prototype models also share this distinction in the 1987 catalogue.
  • Percy's prototype model was originally a modified Caledonian Pug, but it was decided to use a newly-build tooling, likely to make it closer to his appearance in the television series.
  • Toby's model is oversized, and is too tall to fit under most shed doors because of it.
  • On Duck's model:
    • His handrails are painted gold, similar to his earlier appearances in season 2.
    • His wheel arches are green, when they should be painted black.
  • Oliver and Stepney's models state 2004 underneath them, despite not being released until 2005. Its likely that they were meant for release in 2004, but were delayed to the following year.
  • Bill and Ben's models are oversized, and their prototype models had yellow wheels.
  • Stepney and The Diesel's buffers are black instead of silver.
  • Flying Scotsman appears in Thomas and Friends with two tenders, but the Hornby model only has one.
  • Emily's coal load is removable.
  • Murdoch's name is written in black on his nameplates.
  • On Spencer's model:
    • The wheels and tender corridor are black.
    • He has a double-chimney instead of a single one.
    • His tender buffer-beam is red.
    • The 2008 model had silver handrails, while the 2012 version had black handrails.
  • For an unknown reason, 'Arry and Bert's faces look like Splatter and Dodge's. Interestingly, however, their prototype faces resemble that of their Ertl faces. Their prototype models also had red buffer-beams.
  • Dart's model has side rods, due to using an inaccurate tooling.
  • The brown season 1 style Troublesome Open Wagon originally had a 5 plank wagon tooling, but as of 2015, it has a 7 plank tooling.
  • Although the Milk tanker usually carried blue lettering, several earlier models have been done with red lettering; these are extremely rare and are likely to be factory errors.
  • Oddly, earlier releases of the cattle wagon carried the words "TO BE RETURNED TO LEWES" on it; this was removed on the 2005 rerelease.
  • The mail coach originally had four wheels; now, they have eight when reintroduced in Percy and the Mail Train Set.
  • Toad is brown, when he should be grey.
  • The prototype models of Spencer's Coaches were LNER Gresley coaches painted red.
  • The stickers on Bertie's 2005 model are different from those on his 1988 model.

Gallery

Engines

Rolling Stock

Sets

Accessories

Non-Thomas Related

Other

External link

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