Book 2 - Thomas the Tank Engine - 1946
Summaries by R Healy
Awdry's most famous and loveable character comes to light in his first book, written by Awdry to follow up The Three Railway Engines - proving such a success through the strong and engaging storylines and bold illustrations by Reginald Payne, that it enticed Edmund Ward to commission another. Thomas the Tank Engine contains some of my favourite, and arguably best stories to be told in the Railway Series as a whole and showcase a great character in plucky and determined little Thomas.
Thomas & Gordon
We are introduced to Thomas – the tank engine shunter who works in the big station yard shunting coaches. A cheeky little thing, Thomas goes too far when he teases Gordon the big engine, who begins plotting revenge against him. Gordon ceases a chance to get his own back when Thomas is remained coupled to the back of his Express train, and he takes Thomas on a high speed run that he will never forget!
Our first indication of Thomas’s interest in big station life waning. He longs to see the world and gets his chance for a passenger run when Henry takes ill. But for an unexplained reason, Thomas isn’t coupled to the train and starts his journey without the coaches. He’s soon stopped at a signal, and much to his dismay, finds out that he’s not been pulling the train at all. Despite this, he returns back to the station to try again, and this time pulls the train. But he is subject to teasing for a while due to his folly!
Thomas & The Trucks
Thomas’s quest to leave the big station continues, and once again, another chance arises for him to prove himself. Edward offers to swap his train of trucks for a day shunting in Thomas’s place. Thomas, not used to trucks, soon finds himself running into bother when they gain the upper hand on Gordon’s Hill and push him down the other side. Fortunately, Thomas has a safe escape and stops in front of the buffers, only to find the Fat Director waiting for him. He gives Thomas another chance to prove himself with trucks, and allows him to shunt them in the yard for a few weeks.
Thomas & The Breakdown Train
Thomas continues his work shunting in Edward’s yard and learning about trucks, with much encouragement from The Fat Director. One day in the yard, he spots a new engine, James, speeding through with his brake-blocks on fire. Thomas collects the Breakdown Train and heads off to James’ aid. After a busy afternoon of clearing the mess, Thomas brings James back to the shed and is rewarded grandly by the Fat Controller for his heroism with his own branch line. At long last, his hopes and dreams had been realised.