Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

LNER 12 Ton Vans are rolling stock used for transporting goods and materials on the railways, such as the North Western Railway.

They are also simply known as vans or trucks in the UK narration or box cars or cars in the US narration. These vans are the most common type of vans to have appeared in the television series.


The Railway Series

When Diesel came to the North Western Railway on trial, he attempted to shunt some old, rusty vans. He found it difficult to move the vans and used excessive force on them, not realising the vans' brakes were on. Soon Diesel pulled the trucks so forcefully that he accidentally overturned some when their brakes finally snapped. He could not move the remaining trucks and was forced to give up. As a result, Diesel was a laughing stock to the other trucks.[1]

Thomas & Friends

When Oliver fell into the turntable well, they were one of several trucks who teased him when he returned from the works. They stopped their teasing towards him when he pulled S.C. Ruffey, their leader, apart. Two vans which were part of Henry's train once teased him for being scared. However, after some suspicious events happened at Hawin Lake, the trucks became spooked too. They charged forwards, crashed through the gates and hit a landslide. The trucks ran over the rubble and plunged into a ravine below[0].

Percy once had to deliver vans of sugar to the chocolate factory, but on the way, he slipped on an oily track and crashed through the entire factory.[2]

Arthur once had to take some vans of fruit and vegetables, but he sped down Gordon's Hill and caused the vans to be destroyed.[3]

One of these vans had been seen near the Sodor Ironworks, where 'Arry and Bert work, as part of scrap metal.

The LNER 12 ton vans have often been used for The Flying Kipper and have been involved in many accidents and adventures of Henry, Duck or Thomas whilst being a part of the train. Since the eighth series, the vans have been known to transport other things, such as fireworks equipment and ice cream.

In Journey Beyond Sodor, Thomas took some of these trucks to the Mainland in place of Henry who had derailed with them prior. The trucks mocked and teased Thomas for not knowing his way around the Mainland. They later aided James who went searching for Thomas.[4]

During his visit to Africa, Thomas met some of the African counterparts of these trucks. Unlike the Troublesome Trucks on Sodor, these proved to be very helpful.[5]

Fed up of Bill and Ben's tricks, Edward decided to give the twins a taste of their own medicine. He hid a special van loaded with decorations for the annual Christmas party at Ulfstead Castle and the twins initially believed they had hidden the truck themselves. They frantically searched all over the Island for the "missing van".[6]


The trucks on Sodor are described as being Troublesome Trucks. The African trucks are depicted as quite the opposite; somewhat silly, polite, helpful and enjoy singing peaceful and uplifting songs.

Types of sentient vans in the Railway Series:

Types of sentient vans in the television series:

Technical Details


The LNER 12 ton vans are based on the real LNER Diagram 102 12 Ton Vans that are used on the railways, such as British Railways.

Types of van designs


In the Railway Series, The LNER 12 ton vans are painted in different liveries, such as brown, grey, maroon, green, orange and yellow, all in either the same or different shade. Sentient vans had their faces in their bodies and it matched their livery.

In the television series, the LNER 12 ton vans are painted in different liveries, such as orange, grey, brown, black, white and red, all in either the same or different shade. Since the seventeenth series, all of these vans were painted in the same shade of cream, though two blue vans appeared in the twenty-second series episode, Rosie is Red. Some vans were also seen in another shade of blue in Steam Team to the Rescue. In Big World! Big Adventures!, vans in Africa were painted light grey. Lei, a Chinese van, is painted magenta. All of these vans have standard grey faces.

Privately-owned LNER 12 ton vans, such as the ones owned by Mr. Jolly's Chocolate Factory, have their company's name, initials or logo painted or placed on both sides. They are also painted in their company's livery.


Thomas & Friends



  • A Chinese van named Lei is the only known van of this design with a name.
  • After the eighth series, the vans were faceless. They regained faces in the twentieth series, although the faces were raised and the front vent was removed. In the fifth series episode, Haunted Henry, a van had a rectangular face because its vents were removed.
  • In the seventh series, scratch-built vans were made, albeit with their vents raised and smaller than their previous counterparts. These vans coexisted alongside the regular type until the show's transition to CGI.
  • The Salt Vans in the CGI era are modified from these vans.
  • All scratch built vans from the seventh series to the twelfth series have raised vents; this was most likely done to allow for easier use of the larger face masks. Many more of these vans were built for the eighth series, although they were not used as much due to the fact that open wagons ended up being used for all Troublesome Trucks.
  • Oddly enough every van starting from the CGI series has a wet stain on one side.
  • One of the vans is currently on display at Drayton Manor. Three of these vans were for a time on display at Drayton Manor during construction, and a tenmille van used to be on display at Nitrogen Studios.



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