“It's starting to snow! It's starting to snow! Hooray!”
―Annie and Clarabel

Thomas and the Lamps is a magazine story.


One cold winter's afternoon, Thomas is taking his branchline train. He is feeling very cheerful and all his signals are clear. Annie and Clarabel are excited, they really want it to snow.

Suddenly, Thomas notices another engine coming towards him. He cannot tell who the engine is, he can only see a headlamp shining. The engine seems to be on the same line as Thomas who slams on his brakes. The other engine keeps on coming and gets closer and closer. The engine slams on his brakes and ends up stopping just in front of Thomas' buffers. The engine turns out to be Toby.

Thomas is not at all happy; all of his signals have been showing that the line is clear. Toby stubbornly says that his signals have been showing clear, too. Toby decides that the signals must be frozen. He then asks where Thomas' headlamp is. Thomas says that his headlamp is never lit on this train as it's only late afternoon. Toby is confused; it's dark. Thomas looks at the sky and sees that Toby is right.

Toby's driver backs his engine into a siding and Thomas' driver fits a lamp on his. Thomas' driver will telephone the Fat Controller about the frozen signals at the next station. Slowly, Thomas continues on his journey, but not before he assures Toby that his lamp will always be on during his late afternoon trip.

Thomas puffs off and before long, he sees the first flakes of snow flickering in the light from his lamp. Annie and Clarabel are delighted.



  • Thomas' lamp irons are not coloured.
  • Toby is missing his bell and his funnel is not coloured.
  • Toby's headlamp is coloured brown in the fifth illustration.
  • When Annie and Clarabel say "It's starting to snow! It's starting to snow!", there is a gap between the final "snow" and the exclamation mark.


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