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This article is about the brake van. You may be looking for the animal.

Toad is Oliver's loyal brake van who escaped from scrap with the help of Douglas.


The Railway Series

Toad worked with Oliver on the Great Western Railway before being threatened with the prospect of scrapping. Oliver, Toad and an autocoach named Isabel ran away for the greener pastures of the North Western Railway, but Oliver ran out of coal en route. Luckily, they were rescued by Douglas and brought back to Sodor. Afterwards, Toad asked to be Douglas' brake van as a show of thanks.

When S.C. Ruffey began to start a trend of disrespecting the engines, Toad had the idea for Oliver to show him and his lieutenants the error of their ways. This turned out better than expected, for Oliver pulled S.C. Ruffey apart and won back the respect of the trucks.

Thomas & Friends

Toad was tired of always going backwards and wanted to be a leader for a change. The trucks decided to teach Toad to be careful what he wishes for by breaking away from Oliver on Gordon's Hill and as a result, he crashed into some level crossing gates, narrowly avoided Gordon and James and stopped by taking a plunge into a muddy pond. Afterwards, Toad decided that always going backwards was not so bad after all.

While Gator was on Sodor, he once took some of Oliver's trucks with Toad, who kept insisting that Gator should stop and relight his lamp. After being briefly taken off the train after forcing them to stop with his brakes, Toad had the "bright" idea of giving Gator one of his lamps to replace his broken one. This idea worked and Gator thanked Toad once they had finished their journey.

Toad soon became bored of repeatedly hearing the story of Oliver's escape and longed for an adventure story of his own to tell. His wish was granted when he went to work with James, who ran much too fast and hit a fallen branch on Gordon's Hill, uncoupling his trucks. Toad managed to stop the trucks and prevented a crash with Thomas and Percy. When he returned to the Yard, he told a disbelieving Oliver all about it.

Toad eventually began to sing during his journeys with Oliver, which the Western engine liked at first, but quickly got fed up of listening. Later, as they were passing Bluff's Cove, Toad spotted a whale stranded on the beach and tried to tell Oliver, but Oliver thought Toad was joking. But later that day when the two passed the same area again, Oliver saw the whale and apologised to Toad. They informed the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre, but after a few attempts at moving the whale proved unsuccessful, Toad had the idea of using a flatbed to transport the whale to Brendam Docks, where Cranky gently placed the whale back into the water. Now whenever Toad passes through Bluffs Cove, he remembers his friend and sings about him.

Toad, along with Oliver, helped to build the new Harwick Branch Line and attended the line's opening. [3]

Toad was traveling with Oliver when Skiff bravely warned both him and Duck to stop for a fallen tree during a storm.


Toad is a polite, gentlemanly brake van. He is also somewhat imaginative and a bit of an optimist. Toad minds his manners well and is always quick to refer to the engines as "Mr.", "Miss" or "Sir". He escaped from scrap with Oliver, with some help from Douglas. Toad is very loyal, keeps Oliver's trucks in order and has his best interests at heart. He has a cunning streak within him should the trucks cause any particular bother and does like fun when it comes his way, but he is typically calm, obedient and content in his work.

Technical Details


In the Railway Series, Toad is based on a Great Western Railway (GWR) AA21 diagram 20-ton brake van. These were built between 1939 and 1940 with 100 being made, these being numbered 17390 – 489. They were all fitted with vacuum brakes and a brake setter (emergency brake valve) which allowed the Guard to apply the brakes on the whole train. These vans were used on ‘fully fitted’ goods trains which could run at higher speeds.

In the TV show, Toad is based on a GWR 16-ton brake van. Early vans were just 10 or 16 tons weight, but this gradually increased to 20 and 25 tons. A brake van on the Mid Hants Railway (No. 35907) was renumbered 56831 and given 16 ton markings to match Toad in the television series. A number of these brake vans are preserved by heritage railways, such as the Dean Forest Railway.


Toad is painted grey with "GW 56831" written on his side in white. Before being repaired in Enterprising Engines and in an illustration portraying him before Escape from the subsequent book, Toad was painted bauxite. In the Railway Series, his face is the same colour as his bodywork, but in the television series he has a light grey face.


Thomas & Friends

He was to appear in the sixth series with Oliver, but was cut out for unknown reasons. However, Oliver did appear in said series. He appeared in a deleted scene, but without a face. His clenched face was also used on some trucks in the eighth and ninth series episodes, Fish and Emily Knows Best respectively. His shocked face was used on a truck, but only in the ninth series episode, Emily Knows Best.


Music Videos




  • Toad's model was originally displayed at Nitrogen Studios.
  • Toad's Ertl toy incorrectly states that his number is "5683".
  • Toad's name originates from a nickname ("toad") given to brake vans on the Great Western Railway. It can also be considered a subtle pun: a brake van is 'towed' everywhere it goes.
  • When Toad returned in the eighteenth series, he had some modifications. These include:
    • Grey buffers.
    • Grey handrails as opposed to his original white handrails.
    • His glass windows were removed and replaced with open windows.
    • Only one side has the Great Western insignia, number and tonnage.
    • He is slightly longer and taller than his model form.
      • His design also more closely resembles a 20-ton van than a 16-ton van.
    • He is a lighter shade of grey.
  • Both Toad's physical and CGI models deviate a bit from their real-life counterpart: in real-life, Toad's basis has sandboxes near the handbrake and also has a white interior with a desk, seat, etc. Toad lacks these features, both in the model and CGI forms.
  • Toad was called Crapaud in the French dub from Series 3 to 7.
  • In the television series Toad does not become Douglas’s breakvan and is instead Oliver’s Breakvan.
  • In Latin America, Toad gains an Argentinean accent in the eighteenth series episode, Toad's Bright Idea.
  • In the Japanese dub, Toad refers to Oliver as Oribā-san (or another engine with a different name from Oliver), mainly because "-san" is a suffix attached to the end of a person (or in this case, an engine) to refer to them in a formal way in Japan.
  • In the Days Out with Thomas events, his face was worn by Class 40.
  • Toad's Hornby and Bachmann models incorrectly depict him as being a 20-ton due to their toolings being based on them.
  • During the model series era, Toad had a total of eight facial expressions, one of which, an angry face, was not used on-screen. [4]
  • One of Toad's faces is now owned by Twitter user TomsProps.
  • His happy face mask is currently on a model of a brake van that shares his basis at Drayton Manor since early 2020. Toad was faceless until 2019 or early 2020.
  • Toad's Wooden Railway toy was among the toys that were part of the Lead Paint Crisis in 2007.



* RWS only | ** T&F only | --- Dropped