Thomas and Friends Merchandise
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Thomas & Friends Characters Encyclopedia List
There are currently 144 characters to collect in total with new additions yearly.
Wooden Railway is a Thomas & Friends merchandise line that consists of wooden model trains, tracks and accessories and is a railway system created by Learning Curve in 1992. Learning Curve held the rights until 2011, until the range was acquired by TOMY, who owned the rights to Wooden Railway in 2012. From 2013 to 2017, the Wooden Railway range has been produced by Fisher-Price. The Wooden Railway line was replaced with Wood in late 2017.
The very first wooden Thomas train was created 50 years before he was available to buy in stores. Thomas was created by Anglican minister Reverend Wilbert Vere Awdry from a piece of broomstick as a Christmas present for his son, Christopher. That was back in 1942! You can see the original Thomas train on the left side of the cover of a book on Awdry's life called The Thomas The Tank Engine Man.
But In 1992, Learning Curve became the first company to produce the Thomas Wooden Railway train sets for sale. The original trains were very simple with just a few pieces of wood stuck together with simple expressions, small details, and few plastic components (only the face and wheels). The tracks Thomas rode on were also simple: no details, just plain solid wood.
Over the next 5 years, many characters of the Thomas Wooden Railway line's most collectible trains were released. The Troublesome Brakevan is perhaps one of the most rare Wooden Thomas items of all. Thomas Wooden Brakevans sell on eBay for between $85 and $150. Other wooden collectibles include the old-style Sir Topham Hatt's car, the sad face Henry (1998), and the three lovely ladies known as Ada, Jane, and Mabel.
What happened next was interesting. The shapes of the Thomas trains were slowly influenced by the television show than the from the images of the engines in the story books. All of the toy trains' faces underwent a redesign to bring them similar to their appearance in the show. This happened again in 2011 because in that year the Thomas the Tank Engine show began to be produced using the CGI technology.