Based on the fabulous "Railway Series" of books that were written by Rev.W Awdrey, Thomas & Friends has been one of the most successful and long running toy franchises of recent times. The 41 books based around the fictional railway system on the Island of Sodor were nearly all based on events and engines from real life. As the real railway system expanded and diesel power became the norm, so the books adapted to this new form of locomotion.
In the beginning, Thomas & Friends toys were manufactured under the name of Thomas the Tank Engine, but with the huge number of other locomotives and characters in the series, the change was made to call the series Thomas & Friends. The locos, carriages and wagons have been made in several different styles, the most popular being small die-cast replicas that typically sell for pocket money prices.
The licence was originally sold to the famous Brio wooden train company who made many different pieces from the series for several years. This licence then transferred to Learning Curve who maintained an extensive range of wooden engines, trucks and accessories.
In 2012, the giant US toy company Mattel won the rights to the Thomas & Friends licence for all toy products, and following a year of product innovation and design, the fruits of their work can be seen in the stunning toy ranges for 2013.
The wooden railway system comes under the iconic Fisher Price brand, and nearly all products are themed to tie in with the King of the Railway full length Thomas & Friends movie. With plenty of working features, children are spoilt for choice. Other ranges of Thomas toys include Trackmaster - with Thomas at Tidmouth Sheds being the lead line - Take-n-Play and a special preschool range with chunky features for the youngest fans of the show.
The most famous narrator of the animated Thomas and Friends TV series was ex-Beatle Ringo Starr, whose bland voice suited the series perfectly. Wilbert Awdreys son Christopher continues to write the books, which will ensure the continuity of this important toy brand.
The world's most famous online retailer sells an unparalleled selection of toys.
The original catalogue shop now sells a huge range of toys at great prices.
A good variety of toys and games in this lovely toy shop.
Huge choice of jigsaws with suppliers including Gibsons and Orchard Toys.
A specialist in Learning Curve's Thomas and Friends wooden railway products.