• Note: This timeline is based off of Thomas1Edward2Henry's Thomas universe, not the "actual" timeline from Sodor: It's People, History, and Railways. See the Thomas the Tank Engine Wiki for the actual history.

The North Western Railway has been the main railway on the Island of Sodor for almost 100 years. The main line runs from Tidmouth to Barrow-in-Furness in England. Here is a timeline of the history.



  • The Sodor and Mainland Railway goes bankrupt, and an idea of having a large railway across the island is floating around.


  • The Sodor & Mainland Railway, Tidmouth, Knapford, & Elsbridge Light Railway, and the Wellsworth and Suddery Railway all merge into one big railway company, the North Western Railway. Official construction of the North Western Railway begins.
  • Sir Charles Topham Hatt II is born.
  • The First World War begins on the 28th of July
  • Toby the tram engine is built.


  • May: The NWR number 1 arrives although it is the wrong engine. A Billington E2 class Tank Engine was ordered and one did arrive, but not the right one. The engine that arrived was meant to be sent to England but the War chaos caused a huge mix up so the engine that was ordered was sent to England. The Fat Controller decided to keep Thomas after the other engine could not be located and Thomas's eagerness to work hard.
  • July: The NWR number 2 arrives from the Furness Railway to help with construction. He is named Edward.
  • November: The North Western Railway is officially completed and opens. Sir Bertram Topham Hatt I is appointed the controller at the age of 35. Edward takes on passenger trains while Thomas is the station pilot.


  • The First World War ends on Veteran's Day and the railway thrives. During this period the Fat Controller rents several engines to save money.


  • The Fat Controller, desperate for an engine, brings three engines on trial. These engines are Henry, Alfred, and 87546. In the end, the Fat Controller makes Henry the number 3, though also extends the other two engines' trials. Alfred, who is extremley arrogant and rude, has an accident in the ocean. As punishment, he is repainted blue and his name is withdrawn. He is now known only by his number 98462.


  • The NWR number 4 arrives. This engine is named Gordon and is also a hybrid of LNER engines. Because of his high speed capability, an express train is now put into service and Gordon is the main engine.
  • The harbor shared by Tidmouth and Knapford is largely expanded and more international goods come in.
  • Edward begins to be used less as Gordon and Henry exceed his strength.


  • As the amount of passengers drastically increases, Edward is used more often. He helps Gordon up a hill after Gordon refused to pull a goods train. The hill was then later named "Gordon's Hill" because of this.
  • Henry is ignorant of his passengers during a rainy day and refuses to come out of a tunnel to avoid spoiling his paint. After many unsuccessful attempts to get him out, another engine takes his train and Henry is bricked up inside as a punishment.
  • The Ffarquar branch is extended to the Anopha Quarry, which at the moment is used for war purposes.
  • After Gordon breaks down, Henry is let out of the tunnel again after several months and is given a second chance and Henry is repainted blue.


  • After agreements with the LMS railway, the main line is extended to Barrow-in-Furness in England. Gordon would take the express here and another engine would continue the journey to London.
  • After it is decided to send 98462 away, he gets extremely angry and goes insane. He attempts to kill Henry and Gordon with fuel tankers, but gets diverted into a siding and ends up blowing himself up. 98462 is completely destroyed and scrapped. 87546 is sent away soon after.


  • A station is built at the expanding village of Maron.


  • Plans for a branch line to Ffarquar from Knapford are put in place but do not come to action for a while due to the great depression.
  • Eagle the red engine is sent back to his original railway (he came to Sodor on rent around 1905) as they are in need of an engine. He will return briefly in 1950.

Early 1930s

  • The great depression hits Sodor, though not hard. However, many of the old engines are sent away or scrapped.


  • Construction for the Ffarquar branch line finally begins, though it only goes up to the Toryreck Lead mines and is right now only a freight line.


  • After second thoughts, the Ffarquar branch extends to Ffarquar.


  • World War II begins on Friday, September 1st. Sodor was generally not a target for air raids because the Germans did not know of it's industry.


  • The remaining Sodor and Mainland engines, Clive, Neil, and Matthew, are sent to India as budgets become tight. They were the last engines remaining from one of the big three pre-NWR railways.
  • Sir Stephen Topham Hatt III is born.


  • Bridget Amanda Hatt is born.


  • After over twenty years, the Fat Controller finally finds a fifth permanent engine, who's name is James. Because of his wooden brakes, he is very cheep. Unfortunately, he has an accident with the troublesome trucks on the first day and is sent to be repaired and given proper brakes. Since Thomas helped rescue him and clear up, the Fat Controller decided to give Thomas full charge of the Ffarquar Branch Line's passenger trains as a reward. There is now no station shunter at Tidmouth or Vicarstown, which would cause trouble in the future. Thus Gordon, Henry, and James had to fetch their own coaches.
  • The Reverend Wilbert Awdry publishes the first Railway Series book about the engines. It is called The Three Railway Engines.
  • The second world war ends on Sunday, September 2nd.


  • After being repaired, James spends a while on Thomas's branch line to assist Thomas and learn the operations of the railway. He then returns to the main line.


  • James's first experience with passenger trains on the main line does not go well. He takes his anger out on the coaches and damages a brake pipe and had to be fixed by a passenger's bootlace. He became a sadder and wiser James, and started to take care never to bump coaches again. He is put in the shed as a punishment. However, the Fat Controller gives him a second chance and James does very well with the troublesome trucks, despite them snapping the coupling on Gordon's Hill. Thus, James gets to keep his red coat of paint. A little while later, he takes pulls the express on one occasion after Gordon has a humiliating experience by going down the wrong line.


  • A bus service is started on the Island. Although the railway has a bit of a rivalry at first, the two find ways to help one another. Thomas has a race with one of the buses called Bertie.


  • In the spring, Henry, Gordon, and James are not happy to be fetching their own coaches after Thomas had left. They went on strike after several humiliating incidents including turntables and an elephant. During the strike, the Fat Controller buys the first engine brings a tank engine called Percy to run the branch line while Thomas and Edward run the main line. Percy is the first engine that was bought from Crovan's Gate Works to be used on Sodor. Henry, Gordon, and James are shut up in the sheds for several days as punishment.
  • Henry's hybrid shape begins to affect him badly and he is very unwell. He often can't pull trains, so the Fat Controller experiments with Welsh Coal, which works brilliantly.


  • One January night, Henry pulls the Flying Kipper . However, it ends in disaster when he crashes into a brake van due to signal failure. He is severely damaged and is sent to Crewe in England to be completley rebuilt into a Stanier Black 5. He returns in the late summer, about August.
  • Construction of a branch line from Wellsworth to Brendam begins. It is added on from Suddery, the terminus of the old Wellsworth and Suddery Railway.


  • While on a visit to Arlesdale, the Fat Controller comes across Toby, a steam tram who runs a small tramway from the coast. Because of the rise of lorries, Toby's line has declined drastically and is about to close. When Thomas gets in trouble with the police for going on the quarry line without cowcatchers (an outdated law), the Fat Controller seizes the opportunity and brings Toby and his coach Henrietta to work on the branch line.
  • Mrs. Georgina Kyndley, a well known resident on the Ffarquar branch near Hackenbeck, saves Thomas from an avalanche despite being bedridden with an illness.


  • After Thomas falls down a mine hole here, the Toryreck Lead Mines are closed. Gordon, who is being punished for running into a ditch to avoid pulling trucks, pulls him out.
  • Queen Elizabeth II visits Sodor after her coronation. Gordon is forgiven for being naughty and is given the honor of pulling the royal train.


  • The Brendam branch line is finished and is given to Edward to run.
  • Edward saves Trevor from scrap.


  • After almost 40 years, Sir Topham Hatt I retires due to health problems at the age of 74. His son, Topham Charles Hatt II, immediately takes control of the railway.
  • One of the first things Sir Topham Hatt II does in his career is start planning of a second, much bigger harbor at Brendam plus a small harbor near Elsbridge. The harbor at Knapford is small and has become congested.


  • Construction of Elsbridge Harbor begins and goes very quickly.
  • The Fat Controller purchases a Great Western Engine called Montague (nicknamed Duck) to replace Percy's work in the yards. Percy goes to help Thomas and Toby build the new harbor.
  • The NWR takes control of the Peel Godred branch which was built in 1923 by the aluminum mining companies.
  • A massive flood hits Sodor, which causes disruption to trains, especially on the Ffarquar branch. However, Percy manages to get a train home despite running into water.


  • Elsbridge Harbor is completed, and construction of Brendam Docks begins.
  • After the English engine derails, Gordon takes the train form Barrow to London. He attracts huge crowds when he arrived.
  • The Fat Controller takes the eight engines to England so people can visit them. Thomas has an accident a few days before but is repaired just in time.
  • Shortly after the engines come back from England, Sir Topham Hatt I dies at the age of 76. His loss is mourned throughout the island.


  • The City of Truro engine from the Great Western Railway visits.
  • The diesel engine is becoming the new fad, so the Fat Controller brings one on trial. Unfortunately, the diesel tells lies about Duck and causes a huge commotion. He is soon sent away.


  • A great deal of trouble happens when the Fat Controller orders one engine from Scotland but gets two. The engines, Donald and Douglas, claim they lost their numbers (falsely) and did not know who was the right engine. The Fat Controller planned to send one back, and the twins had several unfortunate events including loosing Thomas's special coach and destroying an extremely nasty brake van. Despite this, they were both extremely dedicated to their work and won support from the other engines.


  • During the winter, the engines are very against the Fat Controller sending one of the twins back, so they have a deputation, who turns out to be Percy, to talk him out of it. He is successful in doing so and both engines become the NWR's 9 and 10.
  • Thomas has a very foolish accident by crashing into the Tidmouth stationmaster's house, he may have caused something leading up to that, but the only person at his fault for his accident was the careless cleaner. While he is being repaired, the Fat Controller brings a diesel railcar named Daisy to help in his absence. At first, Daisy is very lazy and does only what she pleases. To make matters worse, Percy has an accident with some trucks. Daisy works hard after Percy's accident and the Fat Controller gives her a second chance. Thomas comes home a few days later.


  • Brendam Docks is officially completed, and a line to a china clay quarry is built from here. Bill and Ben arrive from Crovan's Gate to run it.


  • Stepney the Bluebell engine comes to visit.
  • The Fat Controller tries to put a diesel on service with the express, but he is very rude and vulgar. He soon accidentally sucks an inspectors bowler hat into his air intake, which causes him to break down. The Fat Controller sends him away afterword.


  • The Kirk Ronan branch is restored, though the station at Kirk Ronan itself is mainly untouched.


  • The Fat Controller purchases a diesel nicknamed "BoCo" to help run Edward's Branch Line. Unlike previous diesels, this diesel is very friendly and hard working.
  • Some enthusiasts come to the Island and are given a tour. On their last day, they are riding back to Wellsworth when a massive storm hits. Edward is damaged by the weather but still struggles on. He is rewarded for his bravery and sent to Crovan's Gate for repairs.
  • Construction of the Arlesbourgh Branch Line begins. This line will run from Tidmouth to Arlesbourgh.
  • James has an incident with some bees, thus BoCo had to take the express.


  • The Arlesbourgh branch is completed and the standard gauge engines meet the small engines at Arlesbourgh for the first time.


  • Duck is given the Arlesbourgh branch line.
  • The Flying Scotsman from the LNER visits.
  • The Fat Controller brings two diesels on trial, D7101 and D199. The latter is very stuck up and ends up failing so he is sent away.
  • Whilst working late at the Barrow scrapyards, Douglas rescues a Great Western Engine called Oliver from scrap. He brings him back to Sodor, where Oliver and his brake van and coach are sent to be repaired.


  • Duck is given the Arlesbourgh branch line.
  • Oliver returns from the works after being restored. He is the North Western Railway's number 11. Unfortunately, he has a bad first experience with trucks. They push him down a turntable well and he has to be mended yet again. When he returns, he gets revenge on the trucks by pulling their ring leader "S.C.Ruffey" to pieces.
  • Tension builds between the Arlesbourgh branch and the bus company. The bus company makes a plan to defame the railway by pretending the trains aren't running one day and passengers have to ride in a "Railway Bus", which wouldn't accept their return tickets. However, the plan fails miserably when their bus, Bulgy, gets stuck under a bridge, thus getting turned into a henhouse.


  • The Ffarquar quarry company orders a diesel shunter named Mavis to work at Anopha Quarry.


  • After saving Toby during the "Tightrope" incident, Mavis is rewarded with being allowed to go down the Ffarquar branch.
  • Sir Richard Topham Hatt IV is born.


  • The Ffarquar branch is extended to the village of Ulfstead.


  • A connecting line to Norramby from Ballahoo is built.


  • Wellsworth station is given a huge overhaul.


  • Callan station is expanded. A whole goods yard and engine sheds are added. This becomes Duck and Oliver's main shed location.


  • The Fat Controller brings a Diesel nicknamed "Old Stuck Up" on trial. However, like D199, he is rude and reckless. He runs through the shed wall after a foolish accident and is sent away.
  • The Crovan's Gate Works buy their own diesel engine, a BR Class 47 named Geoff.
  • The engines hold a Christmas party for Mrs. Kyndley, who is now 98.


  • After 28 years, Sir Charles Topham Hatt II retires at the age of 70. His son, Sir Stephen Topham Hatt III takes over.
  • The Fat Controller brings a Diesel nicknamed "Old Stuck Up" on trial. However, like D199, he is rude and reckless. He runs through the shed wall after a foolish accident and is sent away.
  • A TV series about the NWR debuts on October 9. It is called "Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends" and is narrated by Ringo Starr.


  • Workmen start repairing the viaduct on the main line, which causes a huge amount of unexpected delays and disruptions. The trains are often late, which especially annoys Thomas.


  • Crovan's Gate begins to undergo a massive overhaul. The steam works is moved and becomes much bigger.
  • Elsbridge Harbor had been declining in the past few years and was now a total mess. The Fat Controller borrows Trevor to help clean it up


  • The Cement Works at Peel Godred are sold to the NWR. Therefore, the NWR also inherits Fergus, the engine who works there.


  • A large freight yard is added just before Brendam to help with increasing freight traffic. Boco often works here.
  • Thomas is sent to Brendam to help with Bill and Ben. This does not go well as the twins are very cheeky. However, they learn sense after Thomas rescues them from a flood.
  • Mr


  • The TV show debuts in the United States on the show Shining Time Station.


  • Percy and Duck begin to occasionally come down the Brendam Docks to help with the traffic.
  • In November, Thomas goes away to visit the National Railway Museum in York, England. Percy, Daisy, and Toby take care of the line while he is gone. He returns in March of the next year.


  • After Thomas has an accident, the Ffarquar branch is closed for repair. Bertie the bus runs the service while Thomas shunts trucks back at the sheds.
  • The Fat Controller decides to give Diesel a second chance as there are no other engines available to help Percy and Duck at the docks. However, it doesn't go well as Diesel foolishly pushes precious china clay into the ocean.
  • A major rockslide occurs at the China Clay Works, which is badly damaged. Luckily, Bill and Ben evacuate the workmen in time and are commended by the Fat Controller.
  • A few days before Christmas, massive snow storms hit the Island. A particularly bad one buries the village of Ulfstead. On Christmas Eve, Thomas, Percy, Toby, Terence, and Harold rescue the stranded villagers and help dig the village out of the snow. To thank the engines, the villagers go to the their shed and while the engines are asleep, they decorate it with Christmas decorations.


  • Henry the Green engine is given an overhaul, and James does his jobs, though not happily. Unfortunately, Henry has to rescue an express train before he's finished (he is painted in a red undercoat).
  • Mrs. Kyndley dies at the massive age of 106. The Ffarquar branch engines hold a ceremony for her. She is survived by her daughter and granddaughter, who will get married in 1998.


  • The Fat Controller borrows a Hunslet tank engine from Gloucestershire named Wilbert to help on the Arlesbourgh Branch Line. However, after Percy has an accident with oatmeal bags, he is briefly brought to help on the Ffarquar Branch while Percy is repaired. Wilbert returns to Arlesdale after Percy is mended.


  • The engines celebrate the 80th anniversary of the NWR, and the 50th anniversary of the first RWS book.
  • The old Kirk Ronan station is turned into a freight depot, and a major project is started. The lines will be re-routed to a new station, which is starting construction.


  • The Island experiences two major losses. The first is the Rev. W. Awdry, who dies on March 21 at the age of 85. The second is Sir Charles Topham Hatt, who dies on September 24 at the age of 83. Both are mourned throughout the Island, and Gordon pulls both funeral trains.
  • A quarry is built up near Peel Godred. It is on the site of a boulder, which according to legend has a mind of it's own.


  • A crane named Cranky is built at Brendam docks and causes trouble. However, he soon makes amends after Thomas and Percy rescue him after a storm.
  • Three lorries are brought to help with the engines' heavy goods work, but all three are very nasty and horrid. They eventually all get into accidents or break down, and are sent away.
  • Kirk Ronan's new station is completed. However, on the opening day, Gordon accidentally crashed through the end wall. It is repaired and a few days later, has a second opening ceremony. This time, there is a hole in the wall in the shape of Gordon, which is called "Gordon's View".
  • Due to high snowfall melt and extreme rain, the river up at Ulfstead begins to flood. The old dam is the only thing protecting it, and one day disaster strikes when it collapses after reaching its limits. Ulfstead and Ffarquar are seriously damaged by floodwaters, and Toby is swept away on a bridge by the river. However, Percy and Harold manage to rescue him with ropes.
  • The Fat Controller decides to renovate the old village of Gorsafllyn on Hawin Lake. The line is restored, but the station has some spooky events. Henry thinks he sees a ghost and has an accident when on the same line following night. It turns out that Old Bailey, a well known fog man, was trying to warn Henry about the line. Gorsafllyn is renovated and the town is rebuilt.
  • The Fat Controller tries to modernize the railway by bringing two BR coaches on trial, but they are nasty and rude and are sent away.
  • The Fat Controller brings a diesel named Derek to help Bill and Ben at the China Clay Works. He has a lot of mishaps and breakdowns because of his teething troubles but is eventually fixed.
  • Stepney is brought to Anopha Quarry for a day from the Bluebell Railway. All goes well until on the way home, he makes a wrong turn and ends up at the scrap yards at Barrow-in-Furness. He is almost put in the melting pot by two diesels named Arry and Bert but by luck and pure coincidence, the Fat Controller happens to visiting and stops it.
  • Henry has yet another accident with the Flying Kipper when the line on the Norramby branch is damaged by the high tide.
  • Thomas and Percy restore an old coach named Old Slow Coach after a fire burns down a workmens hut at Tidmouth Hault.
  • Rumors go around the Island that Harold is going to replace the engines. These are proven false, he is just looking for a new site for a children's playground.
  • After a wrong turn, Oliver accidentally discovers an old holiday house when he crashes into an old shed, which is later restored.
  • A freak accident happens at the Boulder Mountain Quarry which leads to it's end. The boulder starts rolling down the line, chasing engines and destroying structures, before it smashes into the main sheds at the quarry, which are filled with rock blasting explosives and cause an explosion. The Fat Controller closes the quarry afterwords.
  • A massive snowfall hits the Island, and work is very difficult.


  • The Sodor Ironworks buys another diesel. This diesel, known as Diesel 10, has a claw attached to him and immediately starts causing trouble. The Fat Controller does not directly own him so he cannot remove him, but the people at the ironworks do their best to keep him in line.


  • Heavy snow causes problems, especially for Thomas. on his branch line.
  • Sir Topham Hatt brings a diesel to help with an abnormally large supply of stone at Anopha Quarry. His name is Salty and is sad because he wants to work by the sea. However, he soon gets the chance after the job is done and he is moved to permanently work at Brendam Docks.
  • Sir Topham Hatt also brings in a crane engine called Harvey. The other engines mock him at first, but Harvey proves them wrong when he rescues Percy after an accident.
  • As Sodor is quite prone to fog, the railway attempts to introduce fog machines instead of fogmen. However, the machines prove very unreliable and cause an accident, leading to the fogmen being reinstated.
  • After Henry has an accident and no other engines are available, the Fat Controller brings Diesel back for a third time. Like his past two visits, he gets into trouble when he attempts to pull a long line of trucks and ends up in the sea. However, on his way out, he rescues Oliver, Toad, and Salty from the burning old steam works. The Fat Controller decides to give him one final chance, and Diesel proves that he has changed and becomes a permanent member of the Fat Controller's Railway.