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a toy train on a steel track

Thomas the Tank Engine® has charmed children around the world for decades. This Railway Series was originated by Reverend W. Awdry, who would tell fascinating stories of tank engines to his young son Christopher. The pair bonded over their love for trains and railways, and through this, the timeless series was born.

The tales started as simple stories while the duo walked alongside the train tracks near their home, and quickly developed into detailed adventures describing different journeys that the trains had together. Awdry started assigning personality traits, and even names, to the tank engines. Later on, the stories of courage and teamwork became a useful distraction for Awdry to use when Christopher came down with the measles.

Christopher became very fond of these tales and would frequently ask them to be retold, which led to some inconsistencies. To avoid any confusion within the storylines, Awdry began to write down these magical tales and named them The Railway Series.

The first book, The Three Railway Engines, was published in 1945. Many Thomas fans may be surprised to find out that Thomas the Tank Engine was not a part of the original crew; Edward, Henry, and Gordon were the first tank engines of the series. Thomas made his debut in the second title, Thomas the Tank Engine, which was published in 1946.

From 1945 – 1972, Awdry went on to produce 26 enchanting stories in The Railway Series, and his legacy lives on today through the cherished children’s character, Thomas The Tank Engine. Thomas and Friends has become the most recognized kids’ franchise of all time, and the tales are still delighting children of all ages through TV series, picture books, stories, merchandise, and even events like The Day Out with Thomas®.

The Day Out With Thomas event is fun for the whole family and a unique opportunity to introduce a new generation to railroading, much like Reverend W. Awdry did with his Railway Series. Don’t miss out on Thomas and Percy’s last appearance this year at the Strasburg Rail Road by purchasing tickets in advance. Bring your family and friends and experience the treasured characters that have enriched children’s lives for years.

During your time at the Day Out With Thomas event, you can enjoy other Fun Extras, included with your ticket, like the Imagination Station, Pint-Sized Pufferbelly, Cranky Cars, and more. And, to make the most of your experience, purchase the Percy Package for an extra ride behind Thomas’ favorite pal.