Toby is a brown steam tram engine who works on Thomas' Branch Line with his faithful coach, Henrietta. Toby is old and wise, and is always willing to share his experience and knowledge with the other engines. He is careful in everything he does, which means he very rarely has any accidents.
Toby was built by James Holden at the GER's Stratford Works in Stratford, London, England in 1914 and originally lived at Great Yarmouth Docks, Norfolk with his brothers before working on an unnamed tramway. In 1951, Toby came to work at the quarry on Thomas' Branch Line after his old railway in East Anglia closed, as it was found to be illegal for Thomas to go on the quarry tramroad without sideplates or cowcatchers. Toby is old and, at first, was teased by James for his shabby paint. James stopped calling him names after he crashed into some tar wagons and Toby was given chocolate-brown paint for his hard work and a new coat for Henrietta as well.
Toby was given a temporary three-chime whistle while his bell was being cleaned at the Steamworks. It helped with warning Thomas and Gordon that the tracks were blocked. He once was scared of Knapford Junction.
He once ran out of coal while delivering scrap to Crocks Scrap Yard, and after a few unsuccessful attempts at stopping passing engines to ask for some of their coal, Reg decided to lift Toby into the air so that the next engine would see him. Unfortunately, Thomas passed by and thought Reg was about to scrap Toby. After the story spread across the island, Emily took Henrietta to the scrapyard so that she and Toby could explain the truth.
In Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, Thomas nearly collided with Toby while racing Bertie. The next morning, Toby attempted to warn Thomas about his red signal, but Thomas was too late to stop and, nearly hitting Emily, and crashed Gordon's coaches. Thomas tried to blame him along with Gordon and Emily, but Sir Topham Hatt saw through his lie.
In the twentieth season, Toby met Philip for the first time and was rather taken aback by the boxcab's talkative nature and desire to have races. Philip also had mistaken Toby as a boxcab before realising Toby was a steam tram.
Toby is old but wise, hardworking, and knows enough about running branch lines to justify running Thomas' with Thomas and Daisy after Percy's accident with the trucks. He is also savvy enough to control the trucks. However, his advanced age and design means that he is weaker than the other engines. While Toby is always ready to work hard without any fuss, he can be a bit temperamental sometimes, especially when young and inexperienced engines who are full of themselves make things difficult for him. However, work at the quarry line often soothes off his moods without any cause of grief to anyone, except of course his old faithful coach, Henrietta.
Since the fifth season, Toby had been portrayed as being nervous about the capabilities of his work and uncertain about being an old steam tram, believing that he is not a proper engine, only good enough as a museum piece and not really special at all.
Toby enjoys listening to the birds in the birdhouse next to his shed. He also is friends with the pigs at Farmer Trotter's Pig Farm.
Since King of the Railway, Toby has been portrayed closer to his original wiser and more jovial personality, having more subtle shades of nervousness.
In the Railway Series, Toby was painted brown with black cowcatchers and sideplates (which sported "LNER" in bright yellow letters) before working on his tramway, where he was repainted greyish-brown with grey sideplates and cowcatchers. After helping James he was repainted chocolate-brown with olive frames and blue sideplates.
In the television series, Toby has consistently been painted brown with grey sideplates and cowcatchers. Toby has a number "7" painted on his sides in bright yellow with a red border.
In the Railway Series, he carries two plaques on the sides of his cab stating that he works on the NWR, his number, and the last time and place that he was rebuilt.
- Ben Small (UK (Hero of the Rails - eighteenth season))
- Rob Rackstraw (UK (Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure onwards))
- William Hope (US (Hero of the Rails onwards))
- Herman López (Latin America; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- In Thomas Comes Home, the illustrations of "Toby's Megatrain" show Toby with a face at the rear cab as well as the front cab. This is the only time in the Railway Series that Toby has been illustrated with two faces.
- One of Toby's models is currently on display in Japan at the Hara Railway Museum (previously on display at Nitrogen Studios) and is currently wearing his scared face mask. Another was previously on display at Drayton Manor but the model was stolen from the display in early 2011.
- Toby is Christopher Awdry's favourite engine. This is because while on a trip in Yarmouth, he and his father got to ride in the cab of a J70 tram, thanks to Wilbert's good friend, the late Reverend Charlie Rand.
- In the fifth season episode Baa, Toby revealed that his favourite station is Maithwaite.
- In an interview with SiF , Andrew Brenner stated that Toby was one of his favourite characters, along with James, Bill and Ben.
- Toby, along with Edward and Henry, are the first characters to be removed from the Steam Team.
- Of those three, Toby is the only one to not be replaced with a new engine.
- When Toby was still in the Steam Team, he was the only member not to have a berth at Tidmouth Sheds.
- This seems to be the very reason Toby was removed from the Steam Team: since it was established that Nia and Rebecca replaced Edward and Henry to bring the gender ratio of the "core Steam Team who live at Tidmouth Sheds" from six boys, one girl to a near 50/50 split, it inadvertently describes Toby as not being part of the Steam Team at all.
- According to a interview with Robert Gauld-Galliers, Toby was originally going to appear in Emily's New Coaches but was replaced with Oliver.
- Toby went through numerous changes throughout the TV series. These include:
- Season 2:
- His bell changed sound.
- Season 4:
- His bell sound returned back to it's original sound.
- He had a unseen whistle (a lower pitch of Percy's).
- Hero of the Rails:
- His side-rods and pistons disappeared.
- His bell sound changed to the same as Flora's.
- His cabs appeared to be blackened out.
- Toby's New Whistle:
- His damaged bell was replaced with a three chime whistle, however his bell was soon restored.
- Season 2:
- In the CGI series, he is regularly driven from his rear cab instead of his front one. However, since Blue Mountain Mystery, Toby's crew are seen in his front cab.
- His second season bell sound was heard after Ryan stops the pirate ship in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
- ERTL (normal and Gold Rail; both discontinued)
- Wooden Railway (normal, talking, bronze (cancelled), and Battery-Powered)
- Take Along (discontinued normal, metallic, and in multi-packs)
- My First Thomas
- Motor Road and Rail (normal and talking; discontinued outside Asia)
- TrackMaster (normal, flip-face, and talking)
- Hornby (discontinued)
- Bachmann (HO and large scale)
- My Thomas Story Library (discontinued)
- Thomas Engine Collection Series (discontinued)
- Mini Die Cast Collection (discontinued)
- Departing Now (discontinued)
- Thomas Town (discontinued)
- Capsule Collection
- Trading Cards
- Take-n-Play (normal and talking)
- De Agostini (discontinued)
- Brio (discontinued)
- LEGO (discontinued)
- Mega Bloks (discontinued)
- Discover Junction
- Pocket Fantasy (Discontinued)
- DVD Bingo (discontinued)
- Collectible Railway
- Motorized Railway
- Departing Now
- Boss (discontinued)
- Micro Rubber Engines
- Push Along
- Minis (classic, robo, neon, graffiti and advent calendar)
- MV Sports (in three pack with Thomas and Mavis; discontinued)
- Pre-Cut Model Engine Books (discontinued)
- Rail Rollers
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