Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
The Railway Series

Knapford is a small town on the River Els estuary, south of Tidmouth, of which it is a dormitory. Knapford serves as the junction for the Ffarquhar Branch Line.


For centuries the area below Elsbridge had been flooded both at high tide and when the river was in spate. At other times it looked innocent enough to tempt unwary invaders to choose this route inland. All without exception found themselves engulfed in bog.

During the 1880s, the Ulfstead Mining Company became interested in the minerals (lead mostly) waiting to be found on the higher ground east of the marsh; but without a firm footing they could not be either extracted or transported away. Accordingly, they called in A.W. Dry & Co., who had experience of working on drainage problems in East Anglia. A.W. Dry built embankments across the flats north and south of the river (along which the main line of the railway now runs) and installed tide gates. The river was then embanked along its south eastern side, but the opposite bank was left open to provide a flood-pool for the normal river flow which could be drained off every day at low tide. It thus remained a marsh where the Elsbridge fenmen could carry on their activities as before and since this, fortunately, was the side of the river they preferred, they offered little opposition to A.W. Dry's drainage operations on the east.

The present station at Knapford Station is the third on the site and dates from 1956 when Sir Charles Topham Hatt II, disturbed by the congestion at Tidmouth, launched his Knapford Harbour Development Scheme. There are now two stations at Knapford - Junction and Harbour. Knapford Station has been useful as a supplementary harbour, but its exposed position has not enabled it to provide the best answer to Sir Topham Hatt's problem. That was why in 1966 he went north to see what could be done at Arlesburgh.

The town of Knapford itself, though an important railway junction, is in a bleak position. It is a railway and dock town. Few people live here apart from railwaymen, dock workers and drainage engineers. It had a population of 2,200 in 1951. Farming, fishing and fowling also form part of the local economy.



  • The name is derived from the parish of Knapwell, where the Rev. W. Awdry was vicar.
  • Several maps show the main line terminating at the junction, though some books mention that the terminus is Tidmouth. Furthermore, Knapford appears to be larger than Tidmouth, whereas the Rev. W. Awdry stated in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways that it is smaller than Tidmouth.
  • On one of Wilbert Awdry's layouts, Knapford Station had a quarry close by the station.
  • Knapford Junction is the basis for Elsbridge station in the television series.
  • Knapford Drive in Columbus, Ohio, is named after the town.