Railway enthusiast and children’s author, Reverend W. Awdry was the original creator of character ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ who starred in his series of 42 books titled ‘The Railway Series.’ First published in 1945, the initial titles were based on tales he repeatedly told his son Christopher as he recovered from measles; the latter of whom later also contributed to the series. Located on the fictional Island of Sodor, the engine characters were predominately based on real classes of locomotives and in the mid-80s led to the popular and award-winning children’s television series.
The icon of children’s entertainment has a 70 year heritage that continues to appreciate in value through its multiple global theme parks, movies, inspiring TV series, theatre performances, ‘Days Out’ with Thomas family events, online apps and entry in Guinness Book of World Records for the longest toy train track. In 2014, ‘Thomas and Friends’ was justly awarded the ‘Best Classic Licensed Property’ at the UK Licensing Awards. Retailers can stock toys and baby gear from this popular license, under ownership of Mattel since 2012, from award-winning wholesaler Baby Brands Direct.