Toby the Tram Engine

Promotional picture of Toby in full CGi
Number 7, previously 68221
Class LNER Holden Class J70 0-6-0T
Livery Brown with black cowcatcher and sideplate (1914) brown grey cowcatchers and sideplates (1950), NWR chocolate brown with gray cowcatchers, blue sideplates and olive frames (since 1951)
Line Knapford Junction to Ffarqhuar branchline/Great Waterton Tramwy
Built 1914
Builder Stratford Works
Designer James Holden
Date of birth November 2, 1914 (age 103)
First Appearance Toby and the Stout Gentleman
Voice Actors Ben Small (UK), (Hero Of The Rails - Season 18)
Rob Rackstraw (UK) (Season 19 onwards)
William Hope (USA)
Jim Broadbent (UK/US), (All-New Shining Time Station series only)

Toby is a brown steam tram engine. He is one of the main protagonists in the Railway Series books, and the television show Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.


The prototype for Toby is a J70 class tram engine from the Great Eastern Railway. His cowcatchers and sideplates allow him to run on roadside tramways, which other engines are not allowed to do for safety reasons. J70s were used for light duties, such as branch line work and dock shunting He cameoed in Calm Down Caitlin.

They were most famously used on the Wisbech and Upwell Tramway, which local residents have erroneously claimed was the inspiration for Toby. In actual fact, inspiration for the character came from the Rev. W. and Christopher Awdry watching a J70 at work at Great Yarmouth, but all official biographies of the character state that he did come from that line.

In the Railway Series, Toby received a new livery of chocolate brown with blue sideplates (his colour remained the same in the TV series). This livery was designed to mimic that which he would have worn on the Great Eastern Railway.

Unfortunately, no J70s survive in preservation, but the Battlefield Line has constructed a diesel powered replica of Toby as have the East Anglian Railway Museum

On the Rev. W. Awdry's model railway, Toby was represented by a Y6, a locomotive similar to but smaller than the J70. Awdry wrote an article for Railway Modeller magazine on the construction of this locomotive.

Christopher Awdry has said that Toby is his favourite character, partly because he was there when his father received the inspiration to create him, but also because as a child he had travelled in the cab of two J70s.


Henrietta is Toby's faithful coach. As she is charmingly introduced in the book: "Toby is attached to Henrietta". She worked with Toby on their old railway, and when that line closed Toby could not bear to leave her behind. The stationmaster had wanted to turn her into a henhouse, but the Fat Controller agreed that "that would never do." The two are absolutely inseparable, and whenever they are apart they worry about each other.

Henrietta carries passengers and is used to bring quarry workers to and from work. She has even been used as the Fat Controller's private coach.

In the Railway Series books, Henrietta was the only named character not to be shown with a face, until book 41 of the series, Thomas and Victoria. In this book, Henrietta is depicted with a small rectangular face where a window on the end doors would be. It is the same colour as her cabin, like the other coaches.

Henrietta is based on a Wisbech and Upwell Tramway four-wheeled coach.


Toby also has a brake van named Elsie, mentioned in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways and the 1979 Thomas the Tank Engine Annual. However, she has not yet appeared in any stories. According to Rev. W. Awdry, she is based upon a Wisbech and Upwell Tramway luggage van and shares a shed with Henrietta.

Full Size Replicas


Replica Toby and Henrietta

AVR Thomas 7

Toby replica on Avon Valley Railway

Many preserved railways hold Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends events.

There are at least two replica Toby locomotives in the UK.

One is based at the East Anglian Railway Museum. However unlike the J70 steam loco that Toby is based on, the replica Toby is in fact a diesel-hydraulic 0-4-0 shunter with a metal casing over it. When this diesel was converted a replica Henrietta was built from scratch. The underframe was taken from an old box van, but the body was a complete new build.

Toby and Henrietta can be seen running on the Museum's Thomas & Friends days and also at some other preserved railways around the country from time to time.

Another replica tours the country; pictured here at the Avon Valley Railway on their 'Thomas Day' in May 2007.

Toby in the television series

  • In Toby and the Flood, although Toby had different drivers, one resembles Ringo Starr.
  • In American version, Martin Sherman was originally going to voice Toby, but was later replaced by William Hope.

Toby in Thomas and the Magic Railroad

Toby is first seen reminding the other engines that they mustn't let Diesel 10 push them. Later, after Diesel 10 overhears Thomas and Percy's conversation about how Mr. Conductor travels to Sodor, Toby manages to stall Diesel 10 by ringing his bell resulting in a shed falling atop the Diesel and his sidekicks.


  • Toby's theme is his Season 1-2 theme.

Counterparts (Male Version) (Hero Version)

Attention niels epting WARNING: You may add appropriate counterparts. But, do NOT delete any.

Counterparts (Female Version)

Attention niels epting WARNING: You may add appropriate counterparts. But, do NOT delete any.

  • Flora, Dowager Hatt, Elizabeth, Old Slow Coach, or Caitlin (Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, Toby and Flora are both Trams)
  • Bluenose (Theodore Tugboat)
  • Tyne (Chuggington)
  • Grandma Lulu Pickles (Rugrats)
  • Grandma Linda Duncan (Good Luck Charlie)
  • Applejack, Fluttershy or Mayor Mare (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)
  • Dr. Booboogone (Dragon Tales: both are old)

Counterparts (Villain Version)

Attention niels epting WARNING: You may add appropriate counterparts. But, do NOT delete any.

  • Den (Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends)


  • Toby's model was on display at Drayton Manor, but it was stolen in early 2011.


See also

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