-The introduction to Thomas's Branch Line
Tank Engine Thomas Again is the fourth book of the Railway Series.
Here is news from Thomas' Branch Line. It is clearly no ordinary line, and life on it is far from dull.
Thomas asks me to say that if you are ever in the Region, you must be sure to visit him and travel on his line. "They will have never seen anything like it," he says proudly.
I know I haven't!
Henry is late at the junction and Thomas is being impatient. As the guard goes to his van he trips on an umbrella and by the time he has gotten up, Thomas is long gone. Annie and Clarabel try to convince Thomas to stop, but he pays no attention until they reach a signal. The guard does not come to tell them what the matter is, but they soon find out why - he is not on the train! Luckily, he runs up a few minutes later and climbs aboard.
Thomas often sees people fishing in the river and wants to go fishing too. He gets his chance when he discovers the water tower at Elsbridge is out of order and Thomas' crew fill him up with river-water. However, Thomas experiences pains and an inspector soon discovers some fish in Thomas' tank. They fish them out and have a supper of fish and chips and the Fat Controller tells Thomas to never fish again - Thomas heartily agrees.
Thomas meets Terence the tractor and makes fun of his caterpillar tracks. When winter comes, Thomas treats his snowplough awfully and it has to be repaired. They cannot fix it in time for his first train and Thomas, over-confident, recklessly charges at a snowdrift outside the tunnel and sticks there. He cannot get out, so a bus takes his passengers home and Terence pulls him, Annie and Clarabel out. Thomas apologises and returns home.
Bertie, the bus from the previous story, teases Thomas about being slow, so they decide to have a race. Thomas gains the lead at a level crossing, but Bertie then gets in front after Thomas has to stop to collect passengers and only stops to rub it in. Thomas gains the lead again after Bertie stops for a traffic light and although Bertie creeps in front, Thomas, with a burst of speed, rushes into Hackenbeck in style. Bertie congratulates him when he comes in and the two become friends.
- Annie and Clarabel
- The Fat Controller
- The Lady With the Umbrella (does not speak)
- James (mentioned)
- In the fourth illustration of "Thomas and the Guard", an advertisement for the book James the Red Engine is visible. There is also a sign reading, "All About Thomas, The Famous Tank Engine!"
- The bridge over the River Els is based on a bridge at Maidenhead, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
- According to Sodor: Reading Between the Lines, the story of Thomas and Bertie was originally invented as a board game by the Reverend to amuse his children on a wet holiday in Wales.
- An illustration from Thomas and Bertie was released as a Royal Mail stamp in 2011 to mark the Reverend Awdry's centenary.
- The book was released digitally for Apple products on May 11th, 2012.
- A 70th anniversary print was released on April 16th, 2015.
- Thomas and the Guard is based on a real event which occurred at Eastbourne, South East England, UK.
- Thomas Goes Fishing is based on a real event which occurred on the GSWR (Glasgow and South Western Railway).
- In one illustration, Henry has a brass funnel, a Fowler tender and square buffers. The Reverend W. Awdry explained the last goof by saying that Henry needed new buffers and was using some of Gordon's.
- In the first illustration of "Thomas Goes Fishing", Annie and Clarabel change length dramatically.
- The passengers are meant to be at the platform while Thomas is letting off steam painfully, but they are actually standing nearby.