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The Circus Train is a train consisting of colourful rolling stock and is used by the circus when it comes to Sodor. The train has special cattle trucks used to transport horses and trucks, flatbeds and vans used to transport circus goods and equipment. Coaches and brake vans are used to carry the circus performers.


The Railway Series

When the circus came to town, shunting the special trucks and coaches helped cheer up the sulky Gordon, James and Henry. However, James later was told to pull the train away, much to the dismay of Gordon and Henry[1].

List of rolling stock used in the Railway Series:

Thomas & Friends

Series 4

When the circus first visited Sodor, special "Topham Circus" trucks were delivered to the Island by ship. The Fat Controller arranged for the engines to shunt the special trucks; this cheered up Gordon, James and Henry who were originally feeling unpleased. The engines soon forgot to be tired and cross, until, much to the dismay of Gordon and Henry, James was chosen to pull the Circus Train away[2].

List of "Topham Circus" rolling stock used in the television series:

Series 8

Sir Topham Hatt once gave Thomas the job of taking the Circus Train and Annie and Clarabel carried the performers. Thomas was told to share the load due to its weight. However, Thomas wanted all the glory, so he tried to pull the circus train all by himself. Soon, his side-rods broke from the strain of pulling the heavy train and he was forced to stop. James and Percy came to the rescue of Thomas and the Circus Train[3].

Some of the Circus trucks were later reused for the Funfair Train whenever the funfair comes to Sodor[4].

List of rolling stock used in the television series:


There are also coaches for circus performers to travel in. Two of these coaches were seen in the book Henry and the Elephant. The coaches are painted yellow with red lining and with "Circus" written on their sides in blue.

List of rolling stock that appear in the books:

They appeared again in another Henry and the Elephant book. This time they had red lining and "Miller Circus" written on their sides in red.

List of "Miller Circus" rolling stock that appear in the books:

Technical Details


In the Railway Series, the vans are based on LMS banana vans. The trucks are based on 7-plank open wagons. The livestock wagons are a freelance design.

In the television series, the trucks are based on 7-plank open wagons. The vans were based on LNER 12 ton van, Saxa salt wagons, GWR cattle trucks and SE&CR Diagram 960 PMV (with added bogies). The flatbeds are GWR J28 Macaw B flatbeds. The brakevans are based on a BR Standard 20 Ton brakevan and a GWR Toad brakevan. There were also 1-plank trucks with the top part of a ventilated van on top of it which could be removed.


In the Railway Series, the trucks were painted light brown.

In Series 4 of the television series, the rolling stock were painted white with red lining. They had yellow banners with red lettering on their sides reading "TOPHAM CIRCUS". The open wagons had green tarps, while the flat truck carried a red and white one. Some vans had brown fronts and backs.

Variations of salt vans seen in the television series:

Two alternate salt vans exists, one with a brown front/back and one with a cream front/back.

In Series 8, they were then gold, blue and red. Some vans had an illustration of a clown's face on both sides.

Variations of LNER 12 ton vans seen in the television series:

The LNER 12 ton vans are painted red, dark blue and yellow. They have white buffer-housings and roofs. They have white parallel stripes with yellow, red and blue starts. They also have a golden star with black outing on their doors. The red vans have a dark blue running board, while the blue vans have red ones. Some have circus logos, some do not.

Variations of 1-Plank truck container designs seen in the television series:

There are also multiple different-colour container variants used for the 1-plank trucks.

In the books, the circus trucks are painted yellow.



  • Some of the circus train rolling stock were on display at Drayton Manor, but are currently now in storage.
  • The circus flatbeds were white in the fourth series, but they were then gold and red since the eighth series.
  • Toad's model, without a face, was used for the brake van of the Circus Train in the eighth series episode Thomas and the Circus.
  • The circus train was seen in The Great Discovery pulled by Molly, except the logos were removed and was used as The Funfair Train.



* RWS only | ** T&F only | --- Dropped