Thomas the Tank Engine’s Sam

Thomas the Big Tank Engine

Thomas the big, blue train is probably one of the most well-known fictional characters around the world. He’s been around since the mid-80s though 1946 was when he first appeared, in the four short stories in the second of the Railway Series books. Today, Thomas and Friends have had 24 seasons and they’re still going with Thomas the Tank engine and his friends going on countless adventures throughout the island of Sodor.

Now Thomas is known for his blue tank engine, with red lining. As the story goes, Thomas appeared for the first time in 1946. He arrived on the North Western Railway, the main railway network on Sudor in 1915. The Fat Controller assigned him as a station pilot engine for Vicarstown but he longed for more important jobs, like pulling the express train.

When he rescued James from an accident; a red mixed-traffic tender engine who worked on the Main Line of the railway, he was rewarded with 2 faithful passenger coaches, Annie and Clarabel, and put in charge of the Ffarquhar Branch Line with help of Percy, his best friend, and Toby.


All the locomotives in the series were based on prototypical engines. The language and behaviors of the locomotive characters resembled those of real locomotives.

Thomas the Tank Engine, is a small fictional steam locomotive, who lives on the island of Sodor, in the Railway Series books (a set of 42 British books on the Railway system, written by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry and Christopher, his son).

The setting began in 1945 and became a tv series, Thomas and Friends, in 1984. It is located in the Irish Sea, between the mainland of England near Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria and the Isle of Man

Now, before we proceed to the architecture behind Thomas and Friends, their models, what they’re based on, and so on- if you get confused or you want further clarification on certain detail. Please contact us. We’re here. Talk to us.


Thomas was not based on a prototype originally. The first stories were a companion to the toy train made for Christopher. Awdry’s wife prodded Rev Awdry to publish his stories, so the publisher of the second book in The Railway Series, Thomas the Blue Tank Engine, hired Reginald Payne as the illustrator. This time, Awdry chose a real locomotive for Payne as a model, to have authenticity:

The E2 class was the inspiration for Thomas the Tank engine. Thomas was based on a 0-6-0T E2 CLASS designed by Lawson Billington in 1913, for the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway. The design of “Thomas” was based on the second group of E2 locomotives used for shunting purposes in the UK steam locomotive industry. These were fitted with an extension to the front of the water tanks.

The locomotive was built in June 1915.

There were only 10 E2 Class locomotives built from 1913 to 1916, the first design of Lawson Billington. Class E2 had the slotted and curve drop frames. The E2 class locomotives were designed to be goods trains. In 1914, they tried to have two of the E2 as passenger locomotives, push-pull fitted, but this did not work out because the small bunkers limited their range.

In the late 1930s, the E2 class brought in stock for the Night Ferry and pulled it out of Victoria. This role may have inspired the Thomas the Blue Tank engine, introduced in the Railway series, who began his life, pulling the express train of Gordon.

The E2 class was useful in the British Rail days until, in 1961, the class was withdrawn and scrapped in 1962. None of the ten E2 survived. Unless you consider Thomas the Blue Tank Engine.

Secondhand models are available, with the same type 7 06-6-0 type motor chassis as the modern models.


The Steam Team Tour 2019 featured a two weekend-stop at Virginia, a Day Out with Thomas. A childhood train experience for one day, with activities bearing the Thomas theme. These included toy play, photo ops, more. Day Out with Thomas: The Steam Team Tour 2019 was presented by Mattel.


Sam was a _giant _tender engine, originating from Virginia, United States. He was the largest locomotive to come to Sodor, a super-sized and super-strong engine, with a weight of 389 tons or 857,598 pounds; this did not include his tender. He had twenty wheels, the most number of wheels in Sodor.

His big size matched with his big heart. And he helped any engine in need, no matter the distance. He went to Sodor to help Thomas and Percy build the Sodor Museum. He hauled heavy loads of rails and stone for the museum. When Percy met an accident and fell into a ditch, Sam pulled the bell for the museum back on the rails. Percy was Thomas’s best friend, also one of the youngest engines on the North Western Railway. He often got in trouble, when he played tricks on the other engines.

Sam also helped Rocky pull the bell up to the clock tower. He was rewarded, and he led the first group of visitors to the museum. Sam, together with Logan, returned to the mainland after completing their jobs.

The 2-6-6-6, Virginia Railway Class AG, known as Blue Ridge, inspired the creation of Sam, in Thomas the Tank series. He is the first articulated locomotive and the first mallet-type tender engine in the franchise.

Sam was based on the 2-6-6-6, an articulated locomotive with two wheels leading, two sets of driving wheels, six trailing wheels. There were two classes of the 2-6-6-6 type, the “Allegheny” class in 1941 to 1948 and the “Blue Ridge” class for the Virginia Railway in 1945. There were 68 Allegheny classes and eight AG Blue Ridge classes. Sam was based on the AG Blue Ridge class, powerful steam locomotives with 7,500 horsepower. Weighing 386 tons, these were among the heaviest; the locomotive itself and its 215 ton-loaded tender.

The AG series referred to their Articulated, Series G, built by Lima Locomotive Works. Even though steam locomotives would soon be replaced by diesel locomotives, Lima and C&O continued to build steam locomotives with high power. The outputs of these steam giants were no match for any diesel engine. And steam locomotives continued in service for another 20 years.

Class AG locomotives took heavy coal trains on the .57% east climb from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia to Allegheny, in Virginia. With one at the front and another at the back, 11,500-ton coal trains left Hinton, West Virginia, ran at full throttle from White Sulphur Springs onto the top of the grade at Allegheny

The locomotive was built in 1945. Sam had the same number, VGN 906, as a Blue Ridge class member. The engine with this number was scrapped in 1960. His maximum speed was 80 mph.

Sam’s livery was Persian green and black with white lining. The number “906” was painted on the sides of his cab. The name “Sam” was painted on the sides of his boiler, near the cab, and “VIRGINIAN”, painted in white, on the sides of his tender.

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