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For other uses, see Toby (disambiguation).
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“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 on 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, asks if he is 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 awoken to 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 meets a new police constable. Unfortunately, this new constable is an angry one who tells him he is breaking the law for not having cow-catchers and side-plates when he is on a public road. Thomas is upset, and the Fat Controller's breakfast is interrupted so he can talk to the policeman, who tells him he cannot change the law. When the Fat Controller raises the possibility of rebuilding Thomas with cowcatchers, Thomas complains that he'll look like a tram engine. This inspires the Fat Controller to remember Toby, and buy him instead. 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 responds with a snide comment about bootlaces, James huffs off. Later James is upset about taking a "slow goods" train, and 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. Toby, Thomas, Annie, Clarabel, Henrietta and the Fat Controller go to the cottage to thank her the next day. The Fat Controller offers her tickets to Bournemouth, where she recovers from her illness.


Toby and the Stout Gentleman

Thomas in Trouble

Dirty Objects

Mrs. Kyndley's Christmas



  • This book was inspired by a trip to a fish quay 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. This is also the first appearance of James’ trademark number 5; while all of the engines gained numbers in Henry the Green Engine to match Thomas, James’ tender was always obscured in the illustrations in the previous book.
  • An illustration from Dirty Objects was released as a Royal Mail stamp in 2011 to mark the Rev. W. Awdry's Centenary.
  • Mrs. Kyndley's Christmas was the first story of The Railway Series not to be adapted as an episode for the television series, although events of said story were mentioned in the first series finale episode, Thomas' Christmas Party, a flashback of the story was also in said episode. 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 does not have eyebrows.
  • In the first two illustrations of Thomas in Trouble, "Ffarquhar" is spelt with only one "F".
    • Also in the second illustration of the same story, Thomas is out of scale.
  • Throughout Mrs Kyndley's Christmas, Thomas' valance is straight.
  • In the seventh illustration of Toby and the Stout Gentleman, Toby does not have a headlamp.
  • In Dirty Objects:
    • In the first illustration, James' wheel arches are missing their black lining.
    • In the second illustration, James is missing his right lamp as he picks up his goods train.
    • In the fourth illustration, James' lamps are missing after his collision.
    • In the fifth illustration, Toby and Percy have no lamps/codes as they arrive to help James.

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-)
Korean 궤도 기관차, 토비