Thomas is the number 1 of the North Western Railway! He is Blue, with 6 small wheels!
Thomas is described as being a cheeky engine. He often gets into scrapes, usually by being over-eager to do things best left to bigger and more sensible engines. But clouds never last long in Thomas' life and he is soon bustling about again, playing his part in the yard and on his very own branch line, of which he is extremely proud.
He loves teasing the others, especially the bigger engines, such as Gordon and on occasion brags about his superiority, but is always brought down to earth in due course by anyone willing to correct him, especially the Fat Controller and his two coaches, Annie and Clarabel. If Thomas has one major character flaw, it is that he is forgetful and rather impatient. However, he is also cheerful, optimistic, idealistic, altruistic, kind hearted and helpful!
Thomas is based on the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) E2 of 0-6-0 Tank Engines. They were the first locomotives designed by Lawson B. Billington, originally intended to replace the elderly E1 Class Tank Engines (Who were designed by his predecessor, William Stroudley) on light goods/freight work. 10 locomotives were built between 1913-1916 at the LBSCR's Brighton Works, Numbered 100-109. The E2's were built in 2 batches. The first batch, consisting of locomotives 100-104, had an inadequate water supply, so the second batch of E2's, consisting of locomotives 105-109, were built with extended side tanks to compensate. Unfortunately, the E2's suffered from several problems, which included (but not limited to), mediocre brakes, and offset counterbalancing, and a few other issues. One of the most notable issues was the small size of the coal bunker, which meant that the locomotive couldn't pull trains at anything faster than walking pace. Most of them were used for heavier shunting and light goods work.
When the LBSCR became part of the Southern Railway (UK), following the Big Four Grouping of 1923, the E2's numbers were increased by 2000, with the locomotives now bearing the numbers 2100-2109. This numbering scheme would remain until the the creation of British Railways in 1948, when the numbers of all former Southern Machines were increased by 30,000, with the final numbering for the E2's being 32100-32109, remaining that way until Withdrawal by BR. In the Mid-1950's, the class was used at Southampton Docks, alongside the USATC S-100 Class Tank Engines (Rosie's Basis), but the E2's longer, 16 foot wheelbase restricted them from making some of the tighter curves in the docks. The Class was withdrawn between 1961-1963, and sadly, none survived into preservation.
Thomas in particular is based the 2nd Batch of E2's with the extended side tanks, but Thomas himself has several differences in design compared to his basis, including the addition of Splashers, a shorter wheelbase, and the running board only being dipped in the front, as opposed to both sides