Ashima is a brightly-painted Indian tank engine, who works on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. She was one out of many engines to participate in the Great Railway Show, and competed in the Shunting Challenge, and of whom Thomas is very close friends with.
Thomas & Friends
Ashima was invited to participate in the Great Railway Show for the Shunting Challenge. She, along with the other eleven contestants for the show, came to Sodor by mistake when the ferry they were on accidentally stopped at Sodor instead of England, and she was accidentally left behind when the ferry left with all the other engines except her. Ashima, lost and not knowing the way to the Mainland, tried to ask Thomas for his help, but Thomas, who was already jealous of her, refused to assist her. Ashima soon managed to befriend Thomas, and she convinced him that he did not need to change for the competition, and suggested that he participate in the Shunting Challenge, but Thomas was involved in an accident which put him out of the competition. Ashima was taken to the Mainland with the other Sudrian engines who would be competing in the Great Railway Show.
After arriving and watching the Best Decorated Engine parade, Ashima was questioned by Emily on why she did not compete, revealing to the Sudrian engines she would compete in the Shunting Challenge. She does so alongside Ivan, Raul, Gina and Thomas, who had managed to arrive to the Great Railway Show after all and took Percy's place. During the race, she helped Thomas hold Vinnie back when he was bullying Philip, and also pulled Thomas back when a pylon nearly fell on him. During the end of the competition, Ashima ended up winning after Thomas sacrificed his own chance to win when he spotted a derailed flatbed on her track, but the judges made the both of them the winners of the competition. Ashima returned to Sodor with the Sudrian engines, where she would then return back to India.
Some time later, Thomas visited Ashima in her homeland of India, where he spent some time working on the Indian Railway. While there, he was formally introduced to Rajiv, whom he had not had a chance to meet back at The Great Railway Show, and learnt from Ashima about how elephants used to help out in the yards when the engines were busy. He later found her waiting for a cow that was fast asleep on the tracks in front of her to wake up and move, not wanting to disturb it due to how cows were sacred in India. She later arrived to find that Thomas had suffered a minor derailment as Rajiv had shown up with the Indian Breakdown Cranes, but Thomas explained that a female elephant helped him back on the tracks. Ashima recognized the elephant as an old friend, Trusty Trunky, whom had helped her previously, and shared a laugh with Thomas and Rajiv after Trusty Trunky hosed the mud off Thomas, splashing Rajiv a bit in the process.
She was later at the station as it was being used to film a Bollywood movie, and learnt that her Controller, Charubala, and the film's director, had asked Thomas to take the lead actor to the site of the next scenes to be filmed. Before that, Thomas inquired as to what a Bollywood movie was, and Ashima explained how it is India's version of the movies filmed in Hollywood in the United States. She was also in awe when Rajiv revealed he was performing in the movie as well. Thomas later daydreamed of himself saving Ashima from plunging off a broken bridge, with Ashima calling him a hero for it.
When Thomas learned that tigers lived in India and were a part of Noor Jehan's Jungle Tours, Ashima assured him that the tigers were not dangerous as they were known to run away from people and were very rarely seen. Thomas later learned from Shankar that this was due to protecting them from poachers.
One morning, Thomas woke up at the Indian Railway Sheds in a very good mood. Ashima returned his greeting with just as much happiness, before both took notice of Noor Jehan having trouble with her brakes, feeling sorry for her. Rajiv then showed up to boast about his crown being polished before Shankar tries to tell him off about focusing on his work instead of his crown, but Rajiv ignores him before they all took off to do their jobs for the day. Some time later, Ashima and Thomas were at Varkala Railway Station when Rajiv arrived in a frantic state as his crown had disappeared, and he feared he could no longer be Really Useful without it, deciding to go on strike until his crown was found. With Rajiv refusing to do his jobs, Ashima had to join Thomas and Shankar with doing their own jobs alongside Rajiv's while asking around for if anyone had seen Rajiv's crown, with Ashima totally unaware when it ended up on her train at one point, getting hung on the rear buffer of her brake van as she feared the crown was lost forever. By that evening, Ashima is tired out from a hard day's work doing both her jobs and Rajiv's, and decides to go to sleep with Shankar and Thomas, assuring Rajiv that he's still Really Useful without his crown before she dozes off, but is soon startled awake when Noor Jehan comes screeching into the sheds due to her faulty brakes, and Rajiv, seeing Shankar in danger, pushes him out of harm's way just in time. Ashima commends Rajiv for his heroism, pointing out he did it without his crown, thus showing her earlier point that he could still be Really Useful without it. The next morning, Charubala shows up at the sheds to return Rajiv's crown to him, but also to both reprimand him for his little strike and congratulate him for his heroism.
Later on, Ashima is at Varkala when Thomas shows up after making a delivery to a distant part of the Indian Railway. However, when Thomas realises he delivered it to the wrong station after Ashima asks him if he took the right turnoff, Ashima suggests explaining the mistake to Charubala, but fearful of how she will respond, Thomas tries to fix it himself, but in the end, he makes things worse, and at the suggestion of Noor Jehan, Thomas finally explains what happened to Charubala. Despite his concerns, Charubala is understanding of Thomas' mistakes, and Ashima assists Thomas alongside Noor Jehan and Shankar to set everything right, returning to Varkala that evening to be congratulated on a job well done by Charubala, before jokingly asking if anyone wants to go for a swim after an elephant trumpets, as Thomas had gotten distracted by seeing elephants swimming that started the whole mess in the first place, leaving everyone with a good laugh.
Ashima is usually found working on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Southern India, where the steep incline makes the track very dangerous and difficult to climb. So it's no wonder that a small tank engine like Ashima shows no fear. Beautifully crafted with hand painted decal, Ashima is a fun, feisty and likeable engine who is more than happy to help out wherever and whenever needed.
Ashima is based on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway X class. She is based off of the oil-burning version of the engine. These engines are built to run on metre gauge rails, whereas Ashima is standard gauge.
Ashima is painted hot pink with white and royal blue lining. Her wheels, whistle and bufferbeam are also painted hot pink, royal blue and she bears several bright green, white and orange patterns, inspired by Indian textiles and Henna Tattoos. In addition, the flower petal designs on her front cylinder block was based on her basis X-37385's.
- 2016 - 6-Movie Coloring Collection, Off to the Races!, The Good Sport, The Great Railway Show, The Great Race, The Great Race: Sticker Activity Book and The Great Race: The Movie Storybook
- 2017 - Thomas and the Trains of the World
- 2018 - Character Encyclopedia
- 2019 - Engines Around the World
- Tina Desai (UK/US)
- Naomi Watanabe (Japan; The Great Race only)
- Misa Ishii (Japan; The Great Race trailer and twenty-second series onwards)
- Julia Kołakowska-Bytner (Poland)
- Annie Rojas (Latin America)
- Manuela Bäcker (Germany; The Great Race only)
- Franziska Lessing (Germany; twenty-second series onwards)
- Csuha Borbala (Hungary)
- Olga Golovanov (Russia)
- Jenni Sivonen (Finland)
- Patricia Souza (Brazil)
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- Her name means "without borders/limitless" in Hindi.
- Her basis only uses its top wheels for climbing inclines, however Ashima uses all her wheels whenever she moves.
- Despite the fact she is based on an oil-burning tank engine (and has an oil tank on top of her boiler), Ashima still uses coal to make steam.
- Ashima has been partially modified to work on British railways; she has been given buffers and chain couplers, and her cowcatcher has been reduced in size and lowered to accommodate these.
- The Cuban dock workers' models from Blue Mountain Mystery were reused as her crew.
- She is the only returning international character from The Great Race to retain the same voice actor from her debut. Yong Bao never spoke during said film and was given an actor for the first time in Big World! Big Adventures!. Carlos, Raul and Gina were recast since The Great Race and Rajiv and Shane were originally cast in Series 22. In addition, Vinnie and Frieda only spoke in The Great Race.
- Wooden Railway (discontinued)
- Take-n-Play (discontinued)
- Collectible Railway
- Capsule Plarail
- Adventures (discontinued)
- Wood (redesigned in 2019)
- TrackMaster (normal and hyper glow)
- Motor Road and Rail (powered and unpowered)
- Motorized Railway
- TrackMaster Push Along
- Minis (classic and galaxy)