This article is about the annual story. You may be looking for the magazine story.
“It's nice to feel useful, isn't it?”
―Toby reminiscing

The Strawberry Special is the eighth story in the 1985 Annual.


Toby tells Thomas and Percy a story from the time when he worked in East Anglia. It was nearly the end of the strawberry season and the farmers wanted to move their fruit before the end of the season. There were forty-eight vans in the train and Toby's driver riskily agreed to take them all at once. Toby started to struggle when he reached a bridge that crossed a canal near a steep hill, but he was very glad when they managed to get over it. At last, they reached a small station, where his driver stopped. He said that there was not enough water to get Toby home with the train, but that he would be fine on his own. Then Toby had an idea: he would go and get some water at the sheds, then come back and get the train. It worked splendidly and Toby's controller thanked him for not letting the tramway down.



  • This story was later adapted into the Railway Series story, Toby's Megatrain.
  • This story is based on a real-life incident from the Wisbech and Upwell tramway. No. 7131 was the engine involved.
  • A reference to the Railway Series story, Triple Header is made.


  • In the first illustration, Thomas and Percy are out of proportion.
  • Toby is wearing his number "7" before becoming part of the North Western Railway.
  • In the third illustration, Toby's front cowcatcher is flat like his bufferbeam rather than sloped to the front.


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