Knapford is a small town or a large village with a population of 2,000 on the River Els estuary, south of Tidmouth. It is known for its farming, fishing, and fowling. Knapford is also home to the largest station on Sodor, (in the television series), Knapford Station, also known as Knapford Junction. Another station is located at the harbour.
The present passenger station, Knapford Junction, is the third one built in the town, and was built in 1956 when the harbour development scheme was launched due to congestion at Tidmouth Docks. The station serves as the junction ofthe Main Line and Thomas' Branch Line. There is also a freight-only station at Knapford Harbour, where Percy went to sea after asking his trucks to push him past a warning board and where Bulstrode nearly drowned in a nasty accident with some stone trucks.
The harbour line from Elsbridge to Knapford was opened in 1885 and used horse-pulled wagons. In 1905, A. W. Dry and Co. extended the line to Tidmouth with a road-side tramway using "Coffee Pots" engines. Although the line was destroyed by a gale three years later, the "coffee-pot" engines remained, even after the formation of the North Western Railway.
In 1912, the Tidmouth, Knapford and Elsbridge Railway joined with the Wellsworth and Suddery Railway and a connecting line was built from Knapford to Crosby. When the North Western Railway opened, a bay platform was opened at Knapford for the line to Elsbridge.
The rundown of the lead mines at Toryreck began in 1925, but opportunities of stone traffic from Ffarquhar opened and the line to Elsbridge was extended. The lead mines closed in 1930. In 1956, the improvement scheme of the harbour at Knapford was started, the branch was rebuilt on an easier gradient and the stations were moved north of the river. The first line is now used for goods.
Knapford is useful as a harbour, but not ideal, which is why the Arlesburgh branch was reopened in 1966.
The Knapford station is the fourth one, built in the town in 1984. It has two platforms, a glass roof, and about eight trains a day.
Several maps show the main line terminating at the junction, though some books mention that the terminus is Tidmouth. What's more, Knapford appears to be the larger than Tidmouth, whereas the Reverend W. Awdry stated in The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways that it is smaller than Tidmouth.
The name comes from the parish of Knapwell, where the Reverend W. Awdry was vicar.
Knapford is the "big station" in the television series. It has a large canopy. The station has six tracks total, four being through tracks and two being terminal tracks. Knapford has a refreshment kiosk, the Engine Drivers locker room, M.C. BUNN, Sir Topham Hatt's Office and a bookstall. At one point, the bookstall was temporarily replaced by a toy shop. In Tale of the Brave, the station is given a new track layout and signal gantries were added above the lines.
- Knapford has been seen in every season, except the fifth, where it was replaced with Kirk Ronan.
- Knapford and its station have gone through many changes:
- The harbour seen in the background vanished after the first season.
- In Thomas and the Magic Railroad, the town beside Knapford was missing and replaced with trees.
- Starting from the seventeenth season, a duplicate of the bookstall seen behind tracks 3 and 4 has been placed in the car park, making it impossible for a normal-sized car to enter one of the parking spaces. The luggage weight also overlaps part of the car park lines.
- From the eighteenth season onwards, the tracks into Knapford station gain crossovers, and gantries similar to those seen in the first four seasons were added. These redesigns were aided in part by SiF users Simon Martin and Sean O'Connor. The tracks leading out from Platforms 3 and 4 also end at sets of buffers.
- From The Adventure Begins onwards, the station gained a large shunting yard close by, complete with a coal hopper and several sheds and sidings. The station also gains signal gantries and crossovers at the back of it.
- Wooden Railway (normal, "Sights and Sounds", and Talking versions)
- Motor Road and Rail (discontinued outside Asia)
- TrackMaster (discontinued)
- Take Along (discontinued)
- LEGO (discontinued)
- Bandai Tecs (discontinued)
- Wind-up (Japan only)
- Pocket Fantasy (discontinued)
- Thomas Town
- Thomas Engine Collection Series (with The Breakdown Train; discontinued)
- Departing Now (discontinued)
- Thomas Town (discontinued)
- Choro-Q (as transforming destination)
- Motorized Railway