Thomas and Friends Trains and Tracks Product range in 2023

Thomas and Friends was the starting point of Thomas Online – as well as my son Thomas!

Whether you watched it as a child, or has a child who watches it, Thomas and Friends, originally known as Thomas the Tank Engine, has been a household name since 1984 for many families, with the Books dating back to 1945.

Thomas & Friends is a British children’s television series based on The Railway Series books by Awdry and later his son Christopher Awdry. It follows the adventures of Thomas, a human-like steam locomotive on the fictional North Western Railway on the Island of Sodor, with other engines including Edward, Henry, Gordon, and James, Percy, Toby, which work for the Fat Controller who wants his engines to be “really useful engines”.

Mattel has announced a 2D-animated reboot, Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go, which premiered on September 13, 2021 on Cartoon Network and Netflix, with new refreshed redesigns for Thomas and his Friends.

The most popular and wide-ranging merchandise are the models of the characters, some including accompanying railway systems. Other popular products include videos, books and magazines, computer games, audiobooks, annuals, colouring and activity books, jigsaws, board games, stationery, clothing, cutlery, household items such as curtains, duvet covers and lampshades, and soft drinks.


Thomas and Friends Wooden Railway
Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway (1992-2017, 2022-), otherwise called Thomas & Friends Wood (2017-2021); is a wooden railway system which includes Trains designed like the popular characters, and which has a patented “Clicketyclack” track design.

The models at this time were made from painted wood, with plastic being added for the wheels and faces. Metal was used for the magnets and axles. The wooden smokeboxes were replaced with plastic smokeboxes. By 2002, these models had more detailed, newer faces. The battery-powered line of characters was first released in the 1990s.  Learning Curve was also responsible for the creation of the Talking Railway Series in 2008. This series of engines and destinations could interact with each other through gold magnets found on the engines.

In 2009, this line was creating the new characters from the CGI series, and re-releases of the originals with CGI faces.

In 2017, the line went through a complete overhaul under the name Thomas & Friends: Wood. The engines were made smaller to cut production costs, and the track system were incompatible with the standard wooden track design without the use of adaptors. For a brief time, the toys were half-painted, leaving exposed wood in many sections, again to cut production costs. Fisher-Price resumed fully painting the engines in 2019.

On June 27, 2021, it was announced that Thomas & Friends Wood will be discontinued and replaced by a revival of the original “Wooden Railway” line. The line features new engine models with more accurate designs, increased levels of detail, and stronger durability. In addition, the older track system was restored; borrowing elements from the traction-rail and Clickety-Clack designs. It is currently unknown when it will come back to New Zealand.


Take-n-Play Thomas and Friends
Take-n-Play Thomas & Friends (formerly Take Along Thomas & Friends) is a series of die-cast ‘Thomas’ models made by Learning Curve and designed for preschool children.

First released at the start of 2002, the models are generally much chunkier.

In 2010, Take-Along was bought by Mattel and became a Fisher-Price line, and renamed Take-n-Play. New characters were released and the old models were re-released with upgraded paints and faces.

In 2013, the production of the Take-n-Play models was relocated to Thailand (whereas all prior models were manufactured in China). Further changes were made to the models, including redesigned wheels, updated faces that more closely resemble those of the CGI series rather than the model series.

In 2017, Mattel retooled the line into Thomas Adventures. There are characters from Journey Beyond Sodor: The Movie and other recent Thomas movies in this line as well as the models recycled from Take-n-Play. The line was discontinued in December 2018 and was retooled to work with the TrackMaster range.


Thomas and Friends TrackMaster
In 2007, HIT Entertainment’s subsidiary HiT Toy Company picked up the license to produce the Thomas Motor Road and Rail range. TrackMaster’s light brown colored track was easily connected to the previous blue track from TOMY by track adapters, which were included in every set until new releases after 2008.

In 2014, Mattel decided to take TrackMaster and completely reinvent it. The trains from this range would now be faster and be able to go up tall hills. This range also saw the track made more realistic. The coaches and rolling stock didn’t receive that treatment – they were made smaller so that the engines could go up hills without struggling because of big rolling stock.


Thomas and Friends Motorized
Motorized is a battery-operated toy system manufactured by Fisher-Price, Mattel in the US and was launched in 2020. It is a rebrand of the 2014 TrackMaster line and is virtually identical to it, although with new products being released alongside re-released older ones and an aim to be more simplistic with packaging and sets similar to the previous line before it.


Thomas and Friends 2022
Mattel (the makers) have condensed the ranges and turned it into Thomas and Friends – but it is the Trackmaster tracks and Motorized trains, and the Adventurew/ Take-n-play Diecast Push Along Trains. All previous trains should fit on this track. The trains now have the faces of the 2022 TV show characters – All Engines Go!

Through all of the changes with the Thomas and Friends range, we here at Thomas Online ensure that we stock all available Trains, Tracks,Playsets and merchandise, to ensure your engineer can adore all the latest and greatest products and ‘Feelings’ that Thomas and his friends have to offer.


Thomas And Friends Nz

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