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Mavis was supplied by the Drewry Car Company and sent to Sodor in 1962. Mavis was particularly fond of putting the trucks at Anopha Quarry in different places, despite Toby's protests. Toby finally lost patience and left Mavis to her own devices. Mavis, urged by Daisy, started to ignore Toby's advice and ended up looking silly when she got stuck in the middle of a crossing outside Ffarquhar.
Mavis was then forbidden to leave the quarry, but when a thaw increased production at Anopha Quarry, Mavis persuaded the manager to let her go up to the first crossing in order to shunt trucks quicker and formulated a plan to pass the level crossing with help from the trucks. However, the plan backfired when the trucks decided to bump Toby instead and he ended up being suspended by flimsy rails over a rushing stream and Mavis had to help. Mavis confessed, but the Fat Controller and the Manager were pleased by Mavis' courage and honesty and allowed her occasional trips to Ffarquhar.
In 1987, Mavis was involved in a collision with a lorry and Toby had to do her work while she was absent. She returned to Quarry for the next few years until 1991 when she took Toby's stone trains while Thomas was in York, and in 1995 attended the Golden Jubilee of the Railway Series at the Big Station.
When she was introduced, just like in the Railway Series, Mavis continuously put Anopha Quarry's trucks in different places, much to Toby's frustration. Toby finally left Mavis to put the trucks wherever she wanted. Mavis was supported to do so by Diesel and took the trucks to a level crossing, where the trucks held her back and she got stuck on the crossing, trapping Bertie and Terence. Mavis was rescued by Toby and sent back to the quarry. She felt embarrassed after the accident and upset when she was forbidden to leave the quarry. Percy tried to knock some sense into her, but she refused to listen. She eventually made a plan with the trucks to go as far up the line as possible, but this resulted in putting Toby in danger. Mavis rescued Toby and the Fat Controller let her go further down the line occasionally.
In the fourth season, Mavis was one of the engines who took over the jobs of the engines who went to England. In the fifth season, she had clearly matured, and she and Toby received help at the quarry from Stepney, who was visiting the railway.
In the sixth season, she was able to keep Bill and Ben in order. When Salty came to work at the quarry, he was upset that he was not working by the sea, so Mavis did her best to comfort him, while trying to stop Bill and Ben from complaining about Salty's talent with working with trucks. Mavis tried to stop Bill from being so jealous and grumpy when Ben went to get new buffers.
In the seventh season, Fergus was sent to help Mavis and the twins. Mavis got on well with Fergus and helped him out of a rockslide caused by Bill and Ben. In the eighth season, Mavis was one of the diesels given bad fuel, which resulted in her and the other diesels breaking down. Thomas collected new fuel and helped them.
When the steam engines and diesel engines were arguing, Thomas turned to Mavis for help as she was one of the few nice diesels and the two organised a meeting to sort things out. She also helped with the construction of the Sodor Airport, including taking away rubble from the wrecked tower.
In the ninth season, Mavis was involved in a collision with Percy and Toby. In the tenth season, Toby went to Mavis for help with his jobs, but Mavis was too busy. In the eleventh season, Mavis was left without fuel when Billy forgot to deliver it. In the twelfth season, Mavis was having a wash at the Sodor Slate Quarry, when she was derailed by Thomas, who was racing with Diesel.
When Spencer got on the verge of discovering Hiro, Mavis distracted him from Thomas and Percy, by guiding him to back up right underneath the operating slate hopper so he had to be taken for repairs at the Steamworks. In the thirteenth season, Mavis was awoken early by Thomas, comforted Percy who was upset about having no job, was given flowers as a surprise from Emily, who thought she was upset and attended Hiro's welcome party. She was later convinced by Thomas to shunt trucks at Brendam Docks to impress a Railway Inspector alongside Percy.
Mavis broke down one day and was taken to the Dieselworks by Salty, where she was surprised to see Percy there. In the fifteenth season, she told Spencer, who could not see properly due to heavy fog, that he was at the quarry when he thought he found the Duke and Duchess of Boxford's Summer House. She later broke down again and this time Diesel helped her. In the sixteenth season, she told Gordon to get his bufferbeam mended, even when he tried to convince her he was fine without it and helped a composer with his song alongside Thomas and some of the Steam Team.
In the eighteenth season, Diesel took her to see the sights of Sodor, while Thomas did her job at Ffarquhar Quarry.
In the nineteenth season, she got damaged by stones from the hopper and had to go to the Dieselworks to be repaired and Den was sent to the quarry to replace her. She comforted Dart when he started to miss Den and once she was fixed, she went back to the quarry.
In the twenty-first season, Mavis is one of the engines who spread Den and Dart's rumours about Daisy being prepared to be scrapped if the duos could not acquire a spare spring to repair Daisy.
In the third season, Mavis was arrogant and did not take advice very well. She was mostly interested in her own ideas, but was brought down to earth after her embarrassing incident at the Ffarquhar crossing. Still, she wanted to see more of the line, and schemed to have the trucks push her past the level crossing beyond the quarry - this inadvertently resulted in a near accident for Toby. After rescuing him, Mavis resolved to change her ways for good. She is now more capable of keeping the trucks in line, as well as more willing to take advice.
Mavis shows respect for the steam engines and unlike most engines, hauling trucks makes her feel important. She is a reliable, honest, and hard-working engine.
From the fifth season onwards, Mavis has matured, and acts as a motherly figure to the other engines.
Mavis is a based on the BR Class 04 0-6-0 diesel locomotive. She is more specifically based on the BR Class 04's that worked on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway, as they were fitted with additional cowcatchers and sideplates so they could run near public roads. 18 of these locomotives are preserved, including one "tramway" example.
Mavis is painted black with yellow hazard stripes on her front and rear. She has her name and "The Ffarquhar Quarry Co. Ltd." written in white on her cab and sideplates respectively.
- Tramway Engines - Mavis and Toby's Tightrope
- James and the Diesel Engines - Fire-Engine (mentioned)
- Toby, Trucks and Trouble - Mavis and the Lorry and Toby Takes the Road (mentioned)
- Thomas Comes Home - Snow Problem (does not speak) and Toby's Megatrain (does not speak)
- Thomas and the Fat Controller's Engines - Golden Jubilee (does not speak)
- Thomas and his Friends (rototype cover only)
- 1972 - The Railway Series: Surprise Packet (does not speak)
- 1987 - The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways (mentioned)
- 2005 - Sodor: Reading Between the Lines (mentioned)
- Mavis is named after the Rev. W. Awdry's neighbour in Rodborough, Stroud.
- The Australian Engine shares the same horn sound as Mavis' current one.
- Awdry's model of Mavis was actually made in 1962. It was not until ten years later in 1972 that Mavis debuted in the Railway Series itself.
- Mavis' television series model is currently on display at the Hara Model Railway Museum in Japan and is wearing her worried face mask.
- In the Railway Series, Mavis' brakepipe is on the right side, but in the television series her brakepipe is on the left side.
- At The Train Shed, Mavis wore one of Toby's face masks.
- In the CGI series, Mavis gains a Cornish accent in the UK narration and in the US narration from the seventeenth season onwards.
- Mavis has gone through a couple of modifications in the television series:
- Season 3:
- Her horn was BoCo's at a higher pitch.
- Season 4:
- Her middle lamp iron was removed.
- Season 6:
- Her eyebrows became longer.
- Her middle lamp iron returned.
- Her horn sound is the same as Derek's.
- Season 7:
- Her horn is the same as Daisy's from the second season.
- Calling All Engines!:
- She has a different horn sound.
- Hero of the Rails:
- Her face became slightly larger.
- Season 15:
- Her horn sound changed to that of a generic "American" Nathan K3LA diesel. The same horn that Diesel used from Misty Island Rescue to Season 14.
- Season 18:
- She gained a lamp of the same design as Charlie's mounted on her right.
- Season 19:
- The lamp moved to the lamp iron above her face.
- She gained a tail lamp.
- Her wheels are more visible.
- Season 3:
- At Days Out with Thomas events, her face was used on Spencer and Salty.