Trevor the Traction Engine

Trevor the Traction Engine

Trevor the Traction Engine is a fictional anthropomorphic character from "The Railway Series" children's books by the Rev. W. Awdry, and the spin-off TV Series "Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends".

Trevor is an agricultural engine – a traction engine designed for general farm work – and is one of only two steam-powered road vehicles that appear in the books (the other being George the Steamroller).

Trevor loves to work in the orchard and give rides to children. He is also used to saw logs and (in the TV series) once helped out at the harbour on Thomas' branch line. He is very versatile and can work almost anywhere.

He has made friends with BoCo and Edward, but is very quiet and shy. He loves the railway and has no prejudice against any of the engines. He now lives at the vicarage orchard at Wellsworth on Edward's Branch Line.


Trevor first appeared in the story 'Saved from Scrap'. While resting between duties, Edward the Blue Engine sees Trevor in Wellsworth scrap yard, adjacent to Edward's branch line. Trevor says that he is due to be cut up the following week. Shocked, Edward mentions this to the local vicar. Following a demonstration at the scrap yard, the vicar arranges to buy Trevor for use in his orchard. He also engages the services of Trevor's former driver, a local craftsman called Jem Cole, who previously used Trevor to thresh corn, saw wood, haul goods between farms, and for other odd jobs. The story ends happily with Trevor doing what he likes best: giving rides to children at the annual church fête.

Trevor's second appearance in the books was in the story "Trevor Helps Out". Here, Trevor is working in a field adjacent to the junction between Edward's Branch Line and the main line. He is sawing wood, providing power to a saw bench through a continuous belt from his flywheel. While he is working, Edward passes with a train of 'clay-hood' wagons carrying china clay. Suddenly, a broken rail causes a coupling to break and half the train is left behind. Edward is now too far from the guard to hear him whistling, so Trevor starts blowing his own whistle furiously to attract the attention of Edward's driver, and hence prevent a bigger accident. In appreciation of Trevor's actions, the Fat Controller agrees to send Trevor to the NWR Works at Crovan's Gate for boiler repairs, at his expense.

On video

Trevor made an appearance in "The Great Discovery" and has been seen in the opening sequences of the new Season 12 series.


In The Railway Series book "Edward the Blue Engine", Trevor is always painted black with gold boiler bands and chimney cap.

Trevor's second appearance is in the much later book "Thomas and the Twins". In this he has a distinctly 'odd' appearance when compared with real preserved traction engines in general. This may be because he is painted all-over green, including his smokebox, and has bright yellow boiler bands. Traction engines and railway locomotives "always" have their smokeboxes painted black, presumably so as to not show the dirt from oil, ash and soot. On the other hand, his boiler is drawn larger than in the earlier book, with a diameter much more in keeping with the proportions of an 8nhp traction engine.

Throughout the television series, Trevor's shape resembles the pictures in the earlier book, but is consistently painted dark green with red wheels, black smokebox and gold boiler bands. However, he is correctly modelled with a third (middle) boiler band, which is 'missing' from the book illustrations; an omission which contributes to his 'odd' appearance in the book. This is an unusual occurrence, where the TV series portrayal of a 'Thomas' character is closer to the real thing than the book illustrations.

Ertl produced a model called "Scrap Trevor". It featured a rather rusty version of Trevor , as well as a bogie well wagon that had "Saved From Scrap" printed on the side.


Trevor is based around a William Foster & Co. traction engine built in the 1920s for farm work and hauling heavy loads. Many of them are still used and looked after by steam enthusiasts, and are often the highlight of vintage vehicle rallies. He is also based on the Rev. 'Teddy' Boston's traction engine [ "Fiery Elias"] . (Boston was a great friend of the Rev. W. Awdry.)

ee also

*Traction engine
*Cadeby Light Railway – "former home of the 'real' Trevor"

External links

* [ Picture library of "Fiery Elias" in action at various steam rallies]


*Awdry, Rev. W., "Edward the Blue Engine"
*Awdry, Christopher, "Thomas and the Twins"
*Awdry, Rev. W. and G.,
*Awdry, Christopher,
*Clutterbuck, Martin, [ "The Real Lives of Thomas the Tank Engine"]
*Sibley, Brian, "The Thomas the Tank Engine Man"

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