Hornby Railways produces a series of 00 gauge model engines, track, accessories, and box sets based on the characters of Thomas and Friends. The track and couplers are Hornby's standard; therefore the range is compatible with their main range. This range is designed for somewhat older children than most Thomas toys. Young children are likely to find Hornby trains quite fiddly and the higher price and higher level of detail than on cheaper plastic toys make rough handling of the toys by young children inadvisable.
Hornby launched its range in its current form in 1985, shortly after the debut of the television series. It mainly utilises modified versions of existing Hornby engines.
Engines, Rolling stock, and Scenery
- Thomas - made using a modified version of a London, Brighton and South Coast Railway E2 tank engine
- Percy - a brand new moulding utilising the standard Hornby 0-4-0 chassis
- Annie and Clarabel - produced using Hornby's standard four-wheeled coaches
- Open wagon
- Closed van (retired)
- Brakevan - made using a BR standard brakevan (retired)
- Milk tanker - made using a standard four-wheeled tanker. Although the tanker usually carried blue lettering, several have been made with red lettering; these are extremely rare.
- Cattle truck - made using the Triang moulding (only available in Percy set until 1986)
Oddly, the cattle truck carried the words "TO BE RETURNED TO LEWES".
Thomas and Percy were also released as clockwork "Playtrains". Percy used the same moulding as his electric counterpart, but Thomas had an entirely unique body which ran on an inaccurate 0-4-0 chassis. As well as these, there were also clockwork sets which ran on normal 00 gauge track.
- Duck - made using the old Triang 57xx class tooling (retired)
- Gordon - made using the Triang LNER A1 class tooling with a six-wheeled tender
- The Fat Controller, Driver and Fireman (cancelled)
- Gordon's composite and brake coaches - made using GWR coaches in a green and cream livery
- Diesel - made using the inaccurate Triang Diesel shunter mold (retired)
A battery-powered set including Thomas, Annie, Clarabel, Bertie, and a copy of Thomas and Bertie and Thomas Down the Mine was also released, which allowed children to recreate the story Thomas and Bertie. Thomas was unpowered, being pushed along by a motor in Annie. The track for this set was double sided; one side for Thomas and one side for Bertie.
- James - made using a Triang LMS 3F with altered moulding around the smokebox and extended frames
- James' composite and brake coaches
- Tar wagon
- The breakdown crane (retired)
James and his coaches were first advertised in Hornby's 1988 catalogue.
In the following years, Duck, Gordon, Diesel, the crane, the closed van, the cattle truck, the tar wagon and James' coaches were quietly retired. It was not until the late 1990's that Hornby revamped their range, bringing Gordon, Duck, the tar wagon, and James' coaches back into production and revamping the track system.
A musical set was introduced with an 0-4-0 Thomas, Annie, Clarabel, and a battery powered station. Whilst Thomas moved around the track, the theme music would play.
- Bill and Ben (retired)
- Troublesome Trucks 1 and 2
- 'Arry and Bert (retired)
- The Diesel - made with Hornby's Class 37 tooling. (discontinued)
- S. C. Ruffey
Diesel was reintroduced. There were no new models that year.
- Henry - made using Hornby's old Black Five tooling (retired)
- Fuel tanker
- Sodor Scrap Co. truck
- Country Station (retired)
- Water Tower and Signal Box pack (retired)
- Radio-Controlled Sound System (discontinued)
The range got a huge revamp because of the 60th Anniversary so characters from the Railway Series were made and other items were based on Season 8.
- Oliver (retired)
- Stepney (retired)
- Bear (Labeled as "7101 Diesel"; retired; reintroduced 2012)
- Flying Scotsman (retired)
- Bertie (reintroduced from Thomas and Bertie Set; retired)
- Toad (retired)
- Old Slow Coach (retired)
- Weathered brakevan (retired)
- The circus train, with twelve wagons (retired)
- Cream Tanker (retired)
- Raspberry Syrup Tanker (retired)
- Ice Cream Van (retired)
- Maithwaite Station (retired)
- Water Tower (retired)
- Signal Box (retired)
- Double Engine Shed (retired)
- Tunnel (retired)
- Goods Yard Crane (retired)
Reworked versions of the cattle truck and crane were introduced.
- Edward (discontinued)
- Red open wagon (retired)
- Light blue open wagon
- Oil tanker (retired)
- Red oxide vent van
- Light grey vent van
- Cream utility wagon (retired)
- Sodor mail coach (retired)
- Three circus tents and three circus stalls (retired)
- Dryaw Station (retired)
- Windmill (retired)
- Another Signal Box (retired)
- Emily (discontinued)
Emily was meant to be released in 2006, but her release was delayed until January 29th, 2007.
- Spencer (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)
500 limited-edition tired Thomas models were also released.
- The Breakdown Train
- Works Unit van
- Two lime wagons
- Station and platform (cancelled)
- Engine shed (cancelled)
- Goods shed (cancelled)
- Signal box (cancelled)
- Water tower and crane (cancelled)
- Footbridge (cancelled)
- Platform with canopy (cancelled)
1000 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. Also this year, a great number of items were retired from the range.
- Spencer's Composite Coach
- Spencer's Brake Coach
- Tank Wagon Pack
- Open Wagon Pack
- Closed Van Wagon Pack
Spencer and Stepney were reintroduced with a limited release of 1,000 models each.
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 (ie; The Fat Controller) and tunnel and the sets also advertised the buildings and accessories within the range.
- Thomas Set
- Gordon Set
- James Set
- Percy Set
- Diesel Set
- Duck Set
- Thomas and Percy Set
- Thomas' Musical Ride Set
- Thomas and Bertie Set
- Radio-Controlled Thomas
- Radio-Controlled Thomas and Percy
- Radio-Controlled Toby
- Thomas Passenger Set
- James Passenger Set
- Percy at the Circus Set
- Thomas and Bill Set
- Thomas and the Great Discovery set (retired)
- Thomas Set
- Thomas and Percy (cancelled)
- Thomas and Friends Passenger and Goods
- Percy and the Mail Train Set
- Thomas and the Breakdown Train Set
- Bill and Ben's models originally had yellow wheels.
- Emily is a repainted GWR Dean Achilles Class model. However, this has been highly criticized by modelers, as it is very inaccurate to Emily's true basis.
- To date, Percy and Toby are the only engines to have been built from scratch. All other models use existing bodies from previous Hornby models.
- To date, Bertie is the only non-rail Thomas character to be released by Hornby.
- Spencer's wheels are black.
- Edward is a repainted Shire class, minus cylinders and valve gear. This also accounts for his out-side steam pipes protruding from his smokebox.
- The Great Discovery set came with an exclusive tired and weathered Thomas and weathered versions of Annie and Clarabel.
- The Thomas model from the Great Discovery set was later released individually with the tired face but weathering removed as a limited run exclusive to UK retailer ModelZone.
- Flying Scotsman appears in Thomas and Friends with two tenders, but the Hornby model only has one.
- For an unknown reason, 'Arry and Bert's faces look like Splatter and Dodge's.
- Bertie was first released in 1988 in a Thomas and Bertie set. He was later released seperately in 2005.
- The mail coaches originally had four wheels; now, they have eight.
- Flying Scotsman has Gordon's face.
- Gordon had his prototype face when he was featured in the 1986 catalogue.
- Duck and Diesel had prototype faces when they were featured in the 1987 catalouge.
- The Thomas and Bertie set was later reused as a Fireman Sam set.
- Dart's model has side rods.
- Murdoch's name is written in black on his nameplates.
- Diesel, 'Arry, and Bert were made using Triang Diesel Shunter molds.
- Toby is too tall to fit under most shed doors.
- The Wind-up models of Bill, Ben, Toby and The Troublesome Trucks were released in the late 1990's before their electric counterparts came out in 2000. Also Thomas' clockwork model was remoddeled to an 0-6-0 chassis rather than an 0-4-0 previously used.
- The Thomas model originally came fitted with traction tires on the centre wheels which helps give the model grip on the rails. However, for unknown reasons, these have been omitted from Thomas models produced in recent years.
- Duck's wheel arches are green.
- Murdoch's centre driving wheels do not have flanges, allowing him to turn sharper corners more easily.
- The Hornby Percy prototype was originally going to be a modified Caledonian Pug, but it was decided to use his actual shape.
- The close up pictures on the prototype box cover of the musical Thomas set showed pictures from Hornby's station master train set, as it did use the same tooling. This battery powered set was also used as the my first Hornby set.
- The Thomas and Bertie set, when first released in 1988, originally came with a ladybird book of Thomas and Bertie and Thomas Down the Mine. However when it was reintroduced in 1995, the book was omitted from the set.
- To date, only three Hornby catalogues did not illustarate the Thomas and friends range since it's debut in 1985; those being 1997, 1998 and 1999. The range was however still listed in the price lists.
- In the Hornby 1987 catalogue, Annie's model was mislabeled Clarabel and Clarabel's model was mislabeled Annie.
- In the Hornby 1995 catalogue, in a close up photo of the Thomas and Bertie set, the end of the track can be seen behind Thomas.
- In the Hornby 1995 price list, James was misprinted as new instead of Gordon when Gordon and Duck were reintroduced into the range.
- In the Hornby 1996 catalogue, illustrating the musical Thomas set in the intro pages, one of the photos has the pale yellow background accidently covering Thomas' face.
- In the Hornby 1997 price list, even though the Thomas and Friends range was not illustrated in the 1997 catalogue, Gordon was misprinted 'Gorden'.