The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways is a book written by the Rev. W. Awdry and his brother George Awdry and illustrated by Clive Spong. It was first published in 1987 as a hardcover book and was reprinted in 1992 as a spiral-bound book with a map of Sodor.
This is a book about Sodor, taking a scholarly approach to its history, geography and industry, which could not be discussed in the children's literary confines of The Railway Series. Most background information on the locations, people, railways, and engines in The Railway Series comes from this book.
The book was the fruit of Awdry's desire to create a credible and consistent world for his stories. He began this project by creating maps of Sodor, upon which he then expanded. Awdry and his brother George, who was the librarian of the National Liberal Club, worked out the details of Sodor, producing between them a comprehensive set of notes. These notes were compiled and published in this book.
- There have been three Sir Topham Hatts: Sir Topham Hatt I, Sir Charles Topham Hatt and Stephen Topham Hatt.
- No. 5 of the Culdee Fell Railway's name is revealed to be Shane Dooiney.
- This book marks the second mention of the Coffee Pots. They were withdrawn shortly after Toby joined Thomas' Branch Line and were scrapped.
- The North Western Railway has at least eighty engines, the majority of which are never documented in the Railway Series.
- The other engines from the S&MR are mentioned for the first time.
- Some of Sodor's kings are named.
- Jock is revealed for the first time, prior to his first official appearance in Jock the New Engine.
- Sigrid of Arlesdale, the Blisters and Mark V are also revealed, although unlike Jock they would not appear in future books.
- It is said that the Skarloey Railway Slate Quarry is now used as the Ministry of Defence Ammunition dump which is located there after closure. The Ministry also owns a black "Beetle-Like" engine which runs it.
- Stanley's name is revealed (he was referred to as No. 2 in the book Duke the Lost Engine) and he was said to have been transferred to the Cas-ny-Hawin mine while he was still a pumping engine, where he broke down in 1946 and caused the Mid Sodor Railway to close.
- While the tragic story of Godred was said to be made up in Mountain Engines, it is revealed that he did indeed exist within the Sodor universe and was eventually scrapped following his accident when he was too badly damaged to be repaired.
Despite its popularity with Thomas fans, The Island of Sodor has been out of print since 1992.
Christopher Awdry repeatedly requested Heinemann and Egmont, the publishers who owns the book right, to reprint the book, but they did not reprint. So he offered to buy the copyright of the book, but this too has been refused. Christopher decides to write a new information book. It was published as Sodor: Reading Between the Lines from his publisher in May 2005 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Railway Series.
- The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways on Sodor Island Fansite