In 2011, in the run up to the publication of Railway Series Book 42, Thomas & His Friends, Trevor Timpson researched and wrote an article for BBC News about the Rev. Awdry's influences for the Island of Sodor. Trevor's writings are both accurate, informative and for those of us interested in slightly more grey areas of Awdry's development of Sodor, intriguing...
The Historical Reality Behind
Thomas The Tank Engine
BY DR. RUDI NEWMAN
Dr. Rudi Newman discusses the historical reality behind Thomas the Tank Engine and the Railway Series itself – and how it has lended itself so beautifully to the longevity of the characters and the series as a whole!
Inspiration for the skarloey railway
The world's first preserved railway, the Rev. Awdry and his family were among the earliest volunteers to join Talyllyn Railway and at the request of the founder, Tom Rolt, he was asked to write stories as the Skarloey Railway engines!
Snowdon Mountain Railway
Inspiration for the culdee fell mountain railway
One of the UK's most unique railways, the Rev. Awdry drew inspiration from the Snowdon Mountain Railway to create his own version of the same.
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
Inspiration for the ARLESDALE RAILWAY
In the heart of Cumbria, the Ravenglass & Eskdale is another railway that inspired the Rev. Awdry to add another element to his world. Check out the history behind the engines and railway that inspired Rex, Mike and Bert and the Arlesdale Railway.
PARTIAL Inspiration for the mID-SODOR RAILWAY
The Corris Railway was one of the railways that inspired the Mid-Sodor Railway, mainly as the basis for where Sir Handel and Peter Sam originated from.
PARTIAL Inspiration for the MID-SODOR RAILWAY
The oldest narrow gauge railway in the world, and boasting the oldest narrow gauge engines in the world, the Ffestiniog Railway directly ties into the Awdry / Sodor lore as it's where Duke the Lost Engine was originally built for the Mid-Sodor Railway, and also inspired some of the stories that Awdry drew from.
THE HOME OF STEPNEY THE BLUEBELL ENGINE
The Bluebell Railway is the UK's first standard gauge Heritage Railway, and home to Stepney the Bluebell Engine, who Awdry drew upon as a mascot for the preservation and endurance of steam railways!
Isle of Man Railways
SODOR'S ISLAND NEIGHBOUR
Although never mentioned in the Railway Series, the Isle of Man is the closest neighbour to the Island of Sodor, and in it's heyday, boasted a sizeable railway network of 3ft gauge railways covering the length and breadth of the Island!