Really Useful: A Thomas the Tank Engine thread

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Continuity Nutcase
Just call me the gift that keeps on giving! I've got not one, not two, but three awesome Thomas things to share with y'all.

Number 3:

I'm placing this one last because it's one I've technically already shared here in one of my previous posts on the first page... but I've found the original source for it, which feels all the more formal.

Thomas & Friends YouTuber Sidekickjason went and uploaded a PDF containing all 16 books of the Railway Series written by Christopher Awdry, son of Reverend Wilbert Awdry. Unlike his father's books, which tend to be reprinted every few years, Chris books are much rarer and harder to come by. This PDF makes it easy to finally have them all in one accessible file:

The only downside to this is that the second half of the story "Speedkiller" (found in the book titled "New Little Engine) is missing from this PDF. To compensate for this, I recommend listening to an audio reading on YouTube to get the full story. This one in particular is my preference.

Number 2:

As mentioned before in this thread, the second annual Awdry Extravaganza was held at the Talyllyn Railway in Wales back near the end of July and the Talyllyn Railway itself has uploaded a full SIX-HOUR video of the event.

For those who don't know, the Talyllyn Railway served as the real-life inspiration for the Island of Sodor's Skarloey Railway, with most of the Skarloey engines being based on the Talyllyn engines. The Talyllyn Railway is also where Wilbert Awdry's private study is located and preserved for all these years, containing so many artifacts from the Reverend's days as The Railway Series' author, including his electric train model of Thomas's branch line that features working models of Thomas, Percy, Toby, Daisy, and Mavis.

First, here's a trailer that describes what the event was about:

And here is the full six-hour video coverage of the event:

And as a special bonus, here is a video they put up last December as a special Christmas present: A reading of one of Awdry's two lectures about The Railway Series. Specifically, "The Narrow Gauge Rails in Sodor". This lecture was originally given by Rev. Awdry himself back in 1972, to a private group of railway historians, enthusiasts, and preservationists. The lecture was then given publicly for the first time since 1972 at the first Awdry Extravaganza back in 2021, but was missing all of the Reverend's original diagrams and imagery. The version uploaded to YouTube at Christmastime was a new performance with all of the previously missing imagery restored, courtesy of members of the Awdry family who went looking for the missing material.

Awdry's other lecture, "The Railways of Sodor", was presented at this year's event. Hopefully, the Talyllyn Railway will eventually also put it up on YouTube like the other one. But for now, here's just a trailer that hyped up its presentation at the event:

And finally...

Number 1:

After all of that, what could possibly top all of the above? Well...

In 1987, Wilbert Awdry wrote a book. A very special book. A lore book for The Railway Series. One that could give J. R. R. Tolkien a run for his money! Its name: The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways.

This is the ultimate piece of Thomas media. Super rare, very hard to find in print form, and has never been reprinted since 1992.

And now, I present to you all a complete scanned copy of this holy grail of Thomas books in PDF form. And said PDF can be acquired via multiple sources, all of which I shall link to below. It doesn't matter which one you choose to download, they're all the same file just uploaded to different sources.

I haven't yet figured out who the original uploader was, so I can't provide proper credit for them at this time. But this PDF upload is a HUGE service to the Thomas fandom, as not many actually own a physical copy of this book.

While there is a second, similar book to this one that Christopher Awdry wrote, the secondary market prices for that other book are ridiculous. 999GBP, or over $1200 USD. No thank you.


Continuity Nutcase
Popping in here again with another series of videos from The Unlucky Tug. He's been doing a full retrospective on each season of the TV series, and has today uploaded his retrospective on Season 4. To get everyone caught up, below are all four retrospective videos he's produced thus far (Season 1's end credits are muted because that video got copyright struck). He also did a full retrospective on TUGS, Thomas's sister show that was made and aired between its second and third seasons. I've included that as well:

For me, these four seasons were the extent of my childhood exposure to Thomas & Friends. Shining Time Station went only as far as the fourth season, and I never got any VHS tapes of Thomas episodes beyond Season 4. And it helps that these were the only model era seasons to adapt stories from The Railway Series. So to me, these seasons ARE Thomas & Friends, and everything else after is just a bonus.

That might change once I finally get to see the Brenner Era of the CGI era, but as of now, I have not.
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Princess Viola

Dumbass Asexual
Meanwhile my childhood exposure to Thomas was series 1-5 with virtually no exposure to Shining Time Station (TATMR and my single STS VHS of Mr Conductor's Evil Twin are the extent of how much I grew up with that series).

So I consider those seasons to be my childhood 'classic Thomas' even if I do also consider series 6 and 7 as also part of the Classic Era overall. Probably helps that, even aside from those seasons still using the same format as my childhood episodes, episodes from those seasons were the first episodes I watched outside of what I grew up with when I went on my random nostalgia kick a couple years back.

And then I kept watching more episodes past series 6 and 7.

And then I started watching some Thomas YouTubers.

And then in August 2020, I bought my first new Thomas toys since childhood and realized that I wasn't on some random nostalgia kick anymore, I had actually become a fan of the Thomas & Friends again.


Continuity Nutcase
Something very special came in the mail yesterday:




While I already have the big compilation volume that contains all 26 of these books in one big book, what drew me to getting this boxed set of each individual book was the fact that this release contains high-quality remastered versions of each illustration, bringing out details that were never quite so visible prior to the 70th anniversary set released in 2015 (this set is from 2018; it's the same set, just lacking the 70th Anniversary text and logo on the box).

I also felt compelled to get this when I started reading the Island of Sodor book PDF I linked to before and found out that that book has references to the individual Railway Series storybooks, but which my big volume doesn't work to match those references since the page numbers are completely different, making it very difficult to figure out which illustrations the Island of Sodor book is referring to. Also because the illustrations in the big volume are smaller and not as high quality as the 2015/2018 boxed set's illustrations, the latter's bigger and better illustrations give me a much better picture of what the Island of Sodor book is talking about whenever it references something in said illustrations.

I was going to get this set eventually, but now felt as good a time as any. And it's still readily available on Amazon.

Though, upon opening it for the first time, I really had no idea just how tiny each book is! I knew they were small, very small, but I had no real idea until actually seeing them in person. They're just so tiny! It's adorable!


Continuity Nutcase
YYYYYYYYYYYES!!!!! The Unlucky Tug's next Sodor's Finest video is up, and it's one I've been wanting him to do for a LONG time, now!


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Continuity Nutcase
I came across something on YouTube awhile back.

This is a feature-length fanmade movie about BoCo the Friendly Diesel, presented with model engines on practical sets. It features a full history of BoCo, from his early days of working on the British Mainland to his arrival and subsequent life on Sodor. It adapts all of BoCo's appearances in the Railway Series book Main Line Engines, whose stories were adapted into the TV series episodes "The Diseasel", "Buzz Buzz" ("James Goes Buzz Buzz" in the US), "Wrong Road", and "Edward's Exploit". It also adapts the Christopher Awdry story "Deep Freeze" from the book James and the Diesel Engines, but with BoCo in place of the random unnamed diesel who helps James out in that story.

It's a really good production, all things considered, and features some really great writing:

I found out about this feature after stumbling upon this other video, a documentary about BoCo from Usual Bloke Luke, who went into BoCo's full history (both in the fiction and in the real-life inspiration for his engine model), explained how BoCo became basically forgotten by both the book series and the TV series, and praised several fanmade productions that gave the spotlight back to BoCo (such as the feature-length production given above).

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