Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

“Transport! Without transport, there wouldn't be any construction: that makes me the most important!”
―Nelson to Jack[src]

Nelson is a ballast tractor who works for the Sodor Construction Company. He is accompanied by a low loader trailer.


Thomas & Friends

Nelson's job is to carry construction workers and the Pack vehicles to and from work sites. As the bearer of such weighty loads, he often feels overworked, but never complains.

In his first appearance, Jack asked Nelson if he was the most important, as Patrick boasted that he was the most important earlier. Nelson told Jack that he is the most important, as he is the main source of transportation. Later, when a fierce storm raged across Sodor, Nelson and Oliver were sent to clear Henry's Tunnel.

However, Nelson soon got tired of always having to carry the other machines to and from work. He began dreaming about being carried himself. The next day, Thomas came off the rails and broke a wheel. So Nelson was sent to take Thomas to the repair yard. When this was done, to his surprise, Percy carried Nelson back to the yards on a flatbed. Nelson had a splendid ride and it was as magical as he had dreamed.


Nelson is a clever, intelligent and wise ballast tractor who often feels overworked but never complains. He is proud of his paint and is happiest when he looks his best. Although he will never offer up a complaint, he is the first machine to comment on what is going wrong on the construction site.

Technical Details


Nelson's front strongly resembles a Scammell 15LA ballast tractor. His rear resembles a 1927 Scammell Pioneer tractor unit.


Nelson is painted black with cream and red lining, and red wheel alloys and front beam. He has his name painted above his cab windows and has the number "10" painted on his cab doors, both in cream.


Official Description

From Official Media[1]

Nelson: Nelson is an intelligent ballast tractor whose job is to haul members of the construction team to and from work. As the bearer of such weighty loads, he often feels over-worked, but will never complain. He is extremely proud of his paint job and is happiest when he looks his best.

From Official Website[2]

Nelson: Nelson is the intelligent, if long-suffering ballast tractor who hauls members of the construction team to and from work. As the bearer of such weighty loads, Nelson naturally feels put upon. While he'll never offer up a complaint, Nelson is the first to comment on what's going wrong on the construction site.


  • In some concept art and promotional sketches, Nelson had a registration plate, "201 RGG"; this was a reference to television series art director Robert Gauld-Galliers. He was also intended to carry the Scammell logo on his front. He would also have "Sodor" written next to his name.
  • In the US narration, Nelson has an upper-class British accent.
  • Strangely, neither of Nelson's merchandise feature his trailer.
  • Nelson is the last character introduced that was designed by Robert Gauld-Galliers, apart from the dropped character Nigel.
  • Nelson had a total of eleven facial expressions, four of which cross, surprised, sad and wincing were never used on-screen.
  • Nelson is one of two characters from the Pack not to be seen in the main series, the other being Patrick.


Non-rail vehicles

* RWS only | ** T&F only | *** Other Media only