The Rainbow Sun is Billy Twofeathers' locomotive and one of several that run on the Indian Valley Railroad.
Throughout the film, the Rainbow Sun is seen multiple times being driven by Billy Twofeathers. Later on in the film, Mutt convinces Lily to board a train hauled by the locomotive, which takes her to Shining Time instead of the train to Muffle Mountain.
In the opening sequence for Shining Time Station, it was portrayed by the Union Pacific #844, a 4-8-4 locomotive built in 1944 which was the only steam locomotive in the US to operate continuously since entering service, having never been retired. The #844 is still active today as part of the Union Pacific's steam programme. In Thomas and the Magic Railroad, it was portrayed by the Strasburg Railroad's #475, a 4-8-0 locomotive built in 1906 and formerly on the roster of the Norfolk & Western Railway. It is one of only two N&W 4-8-0 Mastodon locomotives preserved and the only one of its class operating. #475 is still operating today as one of Strasburg's main locomotives.
The Rainbow Sun is painted black with yellow lining and brown window frames. The number "475" is painted on the sides of its cab in gold. It also has the words "Indian Valley" painted on the sides of the tender.
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|Thomas and the Magic Railroad||Thomas and the Magic Railroad|
- The Rainbow Sun was seen in the Thomas and the Magic Railroad (activity book), but was illustrated as an E2 class tank engine like Thomas and had the number 90 like the Strasburg Railroad's ex-Great Western No. 90.
- The Rainbow Sun was originally going to pull three coaches, but only two coaches were used in the actual film.
- The locomotive also occasionally operates on Day Out with Thomas events to haul the Strasburg Railroad's tourist train. If it does not run, then either #90 or #89 will run.
- Between 2004-2019, the locomotive was restored to its original as-built N&W appearance.
- As of 2020, the locomotive is now restored to its original 1940s-1950s appearance with a centre headlight.
- The Rainbow Sun's whistle sound basically came from Canadian National #3254's broken-sounded whistle, a sound effect used in various other pieces of media.
- Keith W. Strandberg the production manager rode on one of the coaches, while he made a cameo appearance in the film.
- The Rainbow Sun's whistle is later reused for Lexi.
- Rainbow Sun on the Shining Time Station wiki.