Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

Winston is Sir Topham Hatt's red track inspection car and his private mode of transportation on the North Western Railway.


Thomas & Friends

Thomas was working with Annie and Clarabel when, whilst waiting at a red signal, they heard a strange honking noise - it turned out to be Winston, who was new to the railway. After much going about to and fro, Winston managed to stop to allow Sir Topham Hatt to tell Thomas that he was to work at the Blue Mountain Quarry whilst Paxton was under repair. A few days later, Winston came to the Blue Mountain Quarry with Sir Topham Hatt and Mr. Percival with a message for Thomas that Paxton's repairs were completed. Later on the following day, Winston saw the Fat Controller taking no interest in Diesel's suggestions about Luke. However, he brought him and Mr. Percival to the Blue Mountain Quarry, having been informed by a very worried and confused Paxton.

After hearing Edward and Salty talk about how the Fat Controller used to travel in an open-topped carriage on his birthday, Winston was determined to find it. Winston was working with Thomas that day and he took the opportunity to look for the coach. After leaving Thomas to look for the carriage twice, Thomas made Winston travel in front of him. This ended in an accident when Thomas did not notice that Winston had slowed down. Thomas then asked Winston what he was looking for and the track inspection vehicle told him. There, on an old siding, was the carriage. The two then brought the coach to the Sodor Steamworks to be mended and later surprised the Fat Controller with it.

Later, some tracks needed repairs, so Winston took the Fat Controller every day to check on the repairs. After Gordon and Henry laughed at him, Winston grew tired of having a bad driver and decided to not remind the Fat Controller to put on the brakes. He had a near-collision with Bertie and Paxton before he ran out of fuel, just before a collision with some trucks. The Fat Controller was cross, but Winston told him that he forgot to put on the brakes. The Fat Controller realised this and forgave Winston for his adventure. Winston knew he needed a driver after all.

One Christmas, the Fat Controller dressed up as Father Christmas for the celebrations at Ulfstead Castle. The Earl wanted him to drive a sleigh, despite the Fat Controller's views to the contrary. To get out of it, he took Winston to the Steamworks and Winston was dressed up like a sleigh, which he did not like at all. However, much to Winston's relief, the Earl did not approve, so Winston was spared the embarrassment.

Winston is often seen when The Fat Controller comes to see his engines where there is no road nearby.


Winston is Sir Topham Hatt's track inspection vehicle, and is as devotedly thoughtful and loyal as a butler. He is willing, helpful and very patient with Sir Topham Hatt's, frankly, terrible driving skills, often reminding him that it is still "early days" whenever something goes wrong. Winston helps the Fat Controller navigate about the railway without inconveniencing any of the engines while they are going about their work. Being a car on rails, he may look unconventional. But Winston is highly tolerant, considerate, patient, sensitive to others and is only too happy to do what he can for Sir Topham Hatt, though he can, at times, become rather distracted.

Technical Details


Winston is based on a Type 4B two-seat Wickham Trolley. The Mainland Inspection Trolley shares the same basis. One example of this type of trolley can be seen at Swindon Steam Museum.


Winston is painted two-tone red with a black frame and wheels. He has brass hinges, a brass horn, silver headlights, and a beige boot cover. He has a brass nameplate on either side.


Magazine Stories


Audio Files


First used Last used Sound Effect
Blue Mountain Mystery Active


  • Winston differs from his basis in a few ways, such as:
    • He has doors whereas his basis does not.
    • He has horns mounted on his sides.
    • He appears to be much longer than his basis.
    • His front is taller than his basis to accommodate his face.
    • He has different side air vents than his basis does.
    • His windscreen is larger than that of his basis.
  • Winston is the smallest rail vehicle character in the series to run on standard gauge rails.
  • It's possible that Winston's horn sound is a stock car horn sound effect, as it was heard in the Little Robots episode The Hiccalots.
  • Winston bares resemblance to - and was possibly inspired by - The Mainland Inspection Trolley from a 1994 magazine story.


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