Toad worked with Oliver on the Great Western Railway before being threatened with the prospect of scrapping. Oliver, Toad, and an autocoach named Isabel ran away for the greener pastures of the North Western Railway, but Oliver ran out of coal en route. Luckily, they were rescued by Douglas and brought back to Sodor. In the Railway Series, Toad asked to be Douglas' brakevan as a show of thanks. In the television series, Toad is remains as Oliver's brakevan; However, on some occasions he is used by Douglas.
When S. C. Ruffey began to start a trend of disrespecting the engines, Toad had the idea for Oliver to show S. C. Ruffey and his lieutenants the error of their ways. This turned out better than expected, for Oliver pulled S. C. Ruffey apart and won back the respect of the trucks.
In the television series, Toad was tired of always going backwards and wanted to be a leader for a change. The trucks decided to teach Toad to be careful what he wishes for by breaking away from Oliver on Gordon's Hill and, as a result, he narrowly avoids James, crashes into some level crossing gates, and stops by taking a plunge into a pond. Afterwards, Toad decides that always going backwards is not bad after all.
Later in the television series, Toad was with Oliver up in the hills when they asked Gordon if he needed some help.
By the eighteenth season, Toad had become bored of repeatedly hearing the story of Oliver's escape, and longed for an adventure story of his own to tell. His wish was granted when he went to work with James, who ran much too fast, and hit a fallen branch on Gordon's Hill, uncoupling his trucks. Toad managed to stop the trucks, and prevented a crash with Thomas and Percy. When he returned to the Yard, he told a disbelieving Oliver all about it.
Toad is a polite, gentlemanly brakevan. He is also somewhat imaginative and a bit of an optimist. Toad minds his manners well and always quick to refer to engines as "Mr" or "Miss". He escaped from scrap with Oliver, with some help from Douglas. Toad is very loyal, keeps Oliver's trucks in order, and has his best interests at heart. He has a cunning streak within him should the trucks cause any particular bother and does like fun when it comes his way, but he is typically calm, obedient, and content in his work.
Toad is based on a GWR Standard 16-ton brakevan. Early vans were just 10 or 16 tons weight, but this gradually increased to 20 tons.
Toad is painted grey with "GW 56831" written on his side in white.
- Toad's model, without a face, is on display at Drayton Manor.
- Toad's ERTL model incorrectly states that his number is "5683".
- Toad's name originates from a nickname ("toad") given to brakevans on the Great Western Railway. Toad is also based upon a brake van that carries the same number.
- Toad is mainly used for goods work, however, in the television series he has been seen several times as part of Oliver's passenger trains.
- When Toad returned in the eighteenth season, he had some modifications. These include:
- Silver buffers.
- Built-in lamps on each side instead of lamp-irons with lamps hanging from them.
- Grey handrails as opposed to his original white handrails.
- Only one side has the Great Western markings.
- Both Toad's physical and CGI models deviate a bit from their real-life counterpart: in real-life, Toad's basis has sandboxes near the handbrake, and also have a white interior with a desk, seat, etc. Toad lacks these features, both in model and in CGI forms.
- ERTL (discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (re-introduced in 2006; discontinued)
- Bandai (several versions; discontinued)
- Motor Road and Rail (discontinued outside Asia)
- TrackMaster (discontinued)
- Take-Along (discontinued)
- My First Thomas
- Trading Cards (discontinued)
- Hornby (discontinued)
- Nakayoshi (discontinued)
- Wind-up Trains (normal and clear; Japan only)
- Brio (discontinued)