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This article is about the Railway Series book. You may be looking for The Great Railway Show.

“My brothers and I were built to run fast goods trains, but we did it so well that they let us pull expresses too.”
―Green Arrow

Thomas and the Great Railway Show is the thirty-fifth book of the Railway Series.


Dear Friends,
Henry, Gordon and James have been grumpy lately. They were jealous because Thomas had been asked to visit the National Railway Museum in York. The Fat Controller was afraid that they would go on strike, but they didn't.

"If Thomas wants to be a museum-piece", they said to each other, "what's that to do with us?"

Meanwhile Thomas was enjoying himself. I hope you will enjoy reading about how he did so.
The Author



Gordon, Henry and James are furious to discover Thomas has been chosen to represent the North Western Railway at a railway show in York, but Thomas is delighted and at last leaves Sodor to travel to the Mainland. However, his run is soon cut short when the lock on a crossing gate breaks and the wind blows it across the track; Thomas is unable to stop in time and crashes into the gate, damaging his front and making him unable to continue by rail.

Not the Ticket

A lorry is arranged to take Thomas to York and although he is mortified, he cannot complain when he gets to travel through the countryside from a different point of view. However, the lorry driver does not know the way to the National Railway Museum and after parking the lorry in the wrong place to find a telephone, a traffic warden gives the disgruntled lorry driver a parking ticket.

Trouble on the Line

The damage to Thomas' bufferbeam is fixed in the museum's workshop, where Thomas befriends a kindly engine named "Green Arrow". Thomas is later put onto a special line with barriers put up beside. The first day goes without a problem, but near closing time the next day a bag is thrown onto the line and when Thomas brakes to avoid hitting it, a child is frightened by the steam and his furious mother leaves to complain to the manager. Thomas is upset, more so when it is found his brakes are damaged from the collision, but his crew are happy that the crowds may have learnt a lesson from the incident - engines cannot stop at once.

Thomas and the Railtour

A special railtour is going to the seaside and Thomas is delighted when Green Arrow is chosen to pull the trains. When Green Arrow comes back he tells the others of the amount of visitors and as extra trains are an impossibility, extra coaches are added and Thomas is allowed to double-head the train. On the return run, Thomas sees the ground ahead has been eroded by a nearby river and warns Green Arrow to stop. Buses take the passengers home, but Thomas and Green Arrow are able to make it across the rails safely. When the Fat Controller comes to visit a few days later, he and the museum director present Thomas with a special plaque and make him an honorary member of the National Railway Museum.




  • Christopher Awdry mentioned in Sodor: Reading Between the Lines that "Trouble on the Line" was based around railway safety, but was watered down by the publishers, to his dismay. It was not known how the original would go, but he noted that it reflected badly on crowd control at the National Railway Museum. This would be later amended for when Christopher wrote Bad Days for Thomas and his Friends and More Bad Days for Thomas and his Friends.
  • The television series special, The Great Race, also features an event known as the Great Railway Show, though it was portrayed as a competition rather than a museum exhibition.
  • The events of this book took place in the latter half of 1990.
  • This is the first book in which engines outside Sodor on the Mainland are depicted with faces.
  • Not the Ticket is based on a real event during Christmas when a locomotive from the Nene Valley Railway on low-loader was parked at Peterborough's old market square, as part of a charity fund-raiser.


  • In "Museum Piece", the text says it is raining, but no rain is seen.
  • In the fourth illustration of "Trouble on the Line", Thomas' funnel is off-centred.

Geographical errors

  • Thomas and Green Arrow are illustrated waiting at York station for the train heading to the coast. Taking into account the actual York station plans, from the platform plus the direction they are situated in, they would actually be heading towards either Doncaster or Leeds.


  • Thomas (to traffic warden): "Hullo".
  • Traffic warden: "Humph!"
  • Scared child: "I want to go home, Mummy, now!"
  • The furious mother: "You noisy great engine; I'm going to see the Manager!"