the Tank Engine is the most famous steam train in the world but
not many people know that the inspiration for the lovable locomotive
comes from the south of Gloucestershire.
is a medium sized engine with high fallutin' ideas
Rev W Awdry was the son of a country parson and he spent
his boyhood listening to railway engines on the old Great Western
Railway Chippenham-to-Bath line which was 200 yards from the rectory.
1943, the Reverend's son Christopher was ill with the measles and
the parson made up stories about steam engines to help him through
first story was about Edward, who had a sad face on the front of
his boiler. The young Awdry asked his Dad 'why?' (so the story goes)
and his father replied that Edward hadn't been out for a long time.
asked his son again. "Because the other engines were bigger
and stronger and the drivers always chose them first," replied
final book about Thomas and his friends was published in 1976. He
wrote 26 stories altogether but his son Christopher continued writing
them after his father's death.
is a kind older engine
Rev Wilbert Vere Awdry was born June 15 1911 and died March 21,
the Tank Engine and his friends are making a tour of the country.
You could get to see him if you win our competition. See the competition
pages for more details.