Ryan was brought to help run Thomas' Branch Line while Thomas was sent to help out at the construction yard during the building of the Harwick Branch Line. After Thomas fell into a deep cavern, Ryan was once again brought to do his job while he was being repaired. After taking bad coal, he accidentally set fire to some dynamite, which Thomas managed to dispose of quickly - however, the incident also landed Thomas in trouble with Sir Topham Hatt. Ryan later helped stop Captain Calles' Pirate Ship, which was being used by Sailor John to escape with the treasure. When Thomas was fished out of the water, Sir Topham Hatt told Thomas that Ryan told him everything that had happened, and that he was proud of him.
Soon afterward, Ryan started work on the Harwick Branch Line as the goods engine, with Daisy as the passenger engine.
In the twentieth season, Ryan had to help Toby take stone from Anopha Quarry to Harwick. But, he ended up doing Daisy's extra jobs too, and became so over-worked that he took his passengers to the quarry instead of Knapford Station. Later, Ryan found Judy and Jerome at Knapford. They had grown tired of sitting there for ages, so Ryan took them to Arlesburgh Harbour. He then went looking for Judy and Jerome when Daisy derailed near a signal box. Ryan looked everywhere for the breakdown cranes and finally found them at the Blue Mountain Quarry.
Ryan is a friendly and good-natured engine, who goes out of his way to be kind, and is concerned when he sees others in trouble. Ryan would like to be a hero, but he is not actually as brave as he wishes he was, and has a tendency to panic a little in the face of danger. It does not put him off trying, though. Ryan is direct and sincere, but he has a good sense of humour too, and is not above making a joke at his own expense.
Ryan is based on the Great Northern Railway's Class N2. These locomotives were fitted with condensing apparatus because they were used for inter-city work in the Metropolitan areas of London and usually seen around Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland. One member of this class, No.1744 has been preserved and operates on the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire.
Ryan is painted purple with white and gold lining. He has the letters "GNR" painted on his tanks in gold. The number "1014" is painted on his bunker in the same colour. He also has brass nameplates on the sides of his boiler.
- Eddie Redmayne (UK/US; Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure only)
- Steven Kynman (UK/US; twentieth season onwards)
- Daigo Naitō (Japan; Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure only)
- Katsuhiro Tokuishi (Japan; twentieth season onwards)
- Héctor Emmanuel Gómez (Latin America)
- Oliver Böttcher (Germany)
- Przemysław Stippa (Poland)
- Huub Dikstaal (The Netherlands)
- Gilan Shachaf (Israel)
- Ryan's basis was chosen because while it is a tank engine like Thomas, it is also slightly bigger and newer, which helped to make Thomas feel threatened and think he was going to be replaced.
- As a result, this makes him similar to Stanley, who put Thomas in the same situation when he was first introduced.
- In the original script of Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, Ryan was portrayed as being overconfident and dismissive compared to his final portrayal. All merchandise descriptions of him mention this personality.
- Ryan shares his whistle sound with Smudger. Stepney once had this whistle sound before too.
- Wooden Railway
- TrackMaster (normal and muddy and two pack with Jerome versions)
- Motorized Railway
- Capsule Plarail
- Motor Road and Rail (two-pack with Skiff)
- Thomas and Friends Adventures (coming soon)