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For other uses, see Toby (disambiguation).

“Toby is a Tram Engine. He is short and sturdy. He has cow-catchers and side-plates, and​ doesn't look like a steam engine at all. He takes trucks from farms and factories to the Main Line, and the big engines take them to London and elsewhere. His tramline runs along roads and through fields and villages. Toby rings his bell cheerfully to everyone he meets.”
―The introduction to Toby

Toby the Tram Engine is the seventh book of the Railway Series.


Dear Friends,
Poor Thomas has been in trouble. So the Fat Controller asked Toby to come and help run the Branch Line. Thomas and Toby are very good friends.

Toby is a funny little engine with a queer shape. He works very hard and we are fond of him. We hope you will like him, too.
The Author


Toby and the Stout Gentleman

Toby is a tram engine who works a tramway with a coach named Henrietta. One day, a stout gentleman and his grandchildren notice Toby. Although Toby is offended when Bridget, the stout gentleman's granddaughter, calls him "electric", he cheers up after giving them a ride and the stout gentleman thanks Toby. The family comes for a fortnight, then leave. Months pass, and Toby's tramway closes down. But, next morning, Toby is woken with a surprise when his crew receive a letter from the stout gentleman.

Thomas in Trouble

Thomas is bringing some trucks down from the quarry when he surprises a policeman, who tells him he is breaking the law by going across a public road without cowcatchers and sideplates. Thomas is upset, and the Fat Controller has to leave his breakfast to talk to the policeman, who tells him he cannot change the law. A comment by Thomas makes the Fat Controller remember his holiday, and a certain tram engine. A few days later, Toby arrives to help at the quarry, and after he scares the policeman he and Thomas become friends.

Dirty Objects

James makes fun of Toby and Henrietta for having shabby paint. When Toby makes a snide comment about bootlaces, James huffs off to get a "slow goods" train. He bumps the trucks so badly they are determined to pay him back. As he goes over Gordon's Hill, the trucks push him down into two tar tankers standing in the yard and Toby and Percy come to his aid. The Fat Controller congratulates Toby and Percy for their work, and promises Toby and Henrietta a new coat of paint.

Mrs. Kyndley's Christmas

Mrs. Kyndley is an old lady who lives in a cottage near the line. Although she waves to Thomas every day as he passes, she falls ill and no longer has the energy to wave. One rainy December morning, Thomas makes his way up to Ffarquhar when a dressing-gown waving from Mrs. Kyndley's window stops him. While the driver and a doctor go to see what the matter is, the fireman discovers that the gown was used to warn them about a landslide. The next day, Thomas, Toby, Henrietta, Annie, Clarabel and the Fat Controller go to the cottage to thank her. The Fat Controller offers her tickets to Bournemouth, where she recovers from her illness.




  • This book was inspired by a trip to a fishquay at Great Yarmouth on the 30th of August, 1951, where Christopher Awdry and his father saw a tram engine for the first time.
  • From this book onwards, James' splashers are consistently painted with black lining until Main Line Engines.
  • An illustration from Dirty Objects was released as a Royal Mail stamp in 2011 to mark the Rev. W. Awdry's Centenary.
  • Toby and the Stout Gentleman is based on an event in which the Awdrys saw their first J70 at Great Yarmouth fish quay on a holiday in August 1951.
  • Mrs. Kyndley's Christmas was the first Railway Series story not to be adapted as an episode for the television series, although events of said story were mentioned in the first series episode Thomas' Christmas Party. It was also adapted from a story in the book "The Railway Children" by Edith Nesbit.
  • This is the first book where Henry does not appear.
  • The events of this book took place in 1951.


  • In the sixth illustration of Mrs. Kyndley's Christmas, Toby doesn't have eyebrows.
  • In the first two illustrations of Thomas in Trouble, "Ffarquhar" is spelt with only one "F".
  • Throughout Mrs Kyndley's Christmas, Thomas' valence is straight.
  • In the first illustration of Dirty Objects, James' wheel arches are missing their black lining.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Chinese 家族新成员——托比
Japanese トロッコ機関車トービー (Temporary Title)
機関車トービーのかつやく (1974-2004)
機関車トビーのかつやく (2005-)

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