the thomas the tank engine man

The rev. w. awdry biography

(1995)

Written by Brian Sibley

 Around the time of the 50th Anniversary of The Three Railway Engines in 1995, the publishers of the Railway Series (rights holders of the time) held a massive campaign to celebrate the milestone.  This included new books, a TV documentary on the Rev. Awdry’s work, and the publication of the Rev. Awdry’s biography written by Brian Sibley.  The Thomas The Tank Engine Man provides a fascinating insight into how the Railway Series books came to be, as well as giving an accurate account of the life and times of the Rev. Awdry and those associated with him and his success.  A limited print run was done, and sadly it also remains a rare, and often expensive item which can be purchased occasionally on E-bay and Amazon. 

Overview & Summary Written by R Healy

The Thomas The Tank Engine Man biography looks at the various aspects of how Awdry’s mind changed the world and created a phenomenon.  Looking

at his various relationships, friendships and professional quarrels, it showcases how the Railway Series books developed as Awdry’s own life and world changed around him.

 

The book chronicles his voluntary involvement with the Talyllyn Railway preservation society, and how the Skarloey Railway came to be as a publicity boost, upon the suggestion of Tom Rolt. 

 

As well as this, it gives insight into other areas associated with the Railway Series, which today are overlooked by the major rights holders, such as the narratives done by Willie Rushton and Johnny Morris, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s intentions to bring the Railway Series to the screen, and the rise of the TV series, and tensions between the Allcroft Company and Awdry as they deviated further and further away from his work.

Afterword Written by C Johnson

In May 2015 a 2nd revised edition was published in line with the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series. This edition was published under Lion Books after Egmont declined Brian's request to republish the book.

Many additions were made to the book with a new foreword by Gyles Brandreth and epilogue: Journey's End. There are also additional in memoriam messages added for the Rev. W. Awdry himself and his daughter Hilary Awdry Fortnam, both of whom had passed away after the original print of the book.

There is also an acknowledgements section with thank you messages to Sam Wilkinson, Daniel Coffey and Owen Bell for their help and Really Useful information in bring