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For other uses, see Thomas (disambiguation).

ZX Spectrum/Amstrad CPC release

Thomas the Tank Engine was the first video game developed by Alternative Software. The game was first released in 1990 for ZX Spectrum/Amstrad CPC but with limited graphics. It was then released for Commodore 64 with improved colours followed by a final release for DOS/Amiga/Atari ST in 1992 and Thomas the Tank Engine 2: Thomas's Big Race, a racing game in 1993.


It's full steam ahead once again for Thomas. He's had a busy week at the station and now it looks likely this week is going to be just as busy.

The Fat Controller's head is spinning with all the special trips he has to organise. It is a good job that he has Thomas and his friends to rely upon.

He calls Thomas over:

"Now Thomas", he says, "I have selected some very important jobs for you to do this week. I know that you will do your best and that you will be very careful".

"Oh yes, sir", says Thomas. "You know you can trust me. I want to be a really useful engine".

"These are the jobs you must do", the Fat Controller replies. "Take the children to the seaside, take a tractor over to the station by the broken bridge, take some medicine to the hospital, deliver some logs to the sawmill and coal to the power station, deliver the mail and finally take some oil over to the oil refinery. Now there is a lot to do so do not waste time. You can do the jobs in any order but each one must be finished before the sun goes down".

"All right, sir. I had better get started", says Thomas as he hurries over to the turntable.

© Britt Allcroft (Thomas) Limited 1990


The gameplay is to complete seven jobs over a week with Thomas. In the bonus stages on some of the later games, James, Harold and Bertie challenged Thomas to a race. There is also a memory game on some of the later games.


ZX Spectrum/Amstrad CPC Game

Commodore 64 Game

DOS/Amiga/Atari ST Game

Difficulty (Commodore 64 game)

There are two modes. The harder of the two is "Normal". Several of the things that result in a negative effect include trees and rocks on the line, going too fast and crashing into either Percy or Diesel.

Scoring (ZX Spectrum/Amstrad CPC/Commodore 64 game)

The scoring system is as follows:

  • Passing through a frame: 5 points
  • Bouncing bonuses: 200-800 points
  • Station bonuses: 1000 points
  • Pushing over the tree: 10 points
  • Picking up the truck: 1000 points
  • Hidden bonuses: 5000 points

It is possible to trick the score system by repeatedly going back and forth between two frames and waiting for bouncing bonuses.


DOS/Amiga/Atari ST Game


Commodore 64 Game

  • The sprite for Percy is actually Thomas repainted green.

DOS/Amiga/Atari ST Game

  • Gordon and James are missing their tenders.
  • Bill and Ben do not have their nameplates.
  • Certain cargo gets put in or on the wrong rolling stock. Medical supplies, logs and oil are taken in a coach rather than in the vans, on a flatbed and in a tanker, respectively, while the tractor, the coal, the mail and the children are taken in fish vans rather than on a flatbed, in the Troublesome Trucks, in the mail cars and in Annie and Clarabel, respectively.
  • Certain cargo is taken to the wrong places. Medical supplies are taken to the town rather than the hospital, while the mail is taken to the hospital rather than the town.
  • Certain levels can have more than one of the same engines at a time.
  • All the signals are showing "all clear" even though there are sometimes other engines on the racing down the track.