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"I'm always going backwards. I have forward thinking views. I could be a leader if you know what I mean!"
— Toad

Toad is a Great Western brake van who escaped from scrap with Oliver and Isabel.


Toad worked with Oliver on the Great Western Railway before being threatened with the prospect of scrapping. Oliver, Toad, and an autocoach named Isabel ran away for the greener pastures of the North Western Railway, but Oliver ran out of coal en route. Luckily, they were rescued by Douglas and brought back to Sodor. In the Railway Series, Toad asked to be Douglas' brake van as a show of thanks. In the television series, Toad remains as Oliver's brake van.

When S.C. Ruffey began to start a trend of disrespecting the engines, Toad had the idea for Oliver to show him and his lieutenants the error of their ways. This turned out better than expected, for Oliver pulled S.C. Ruffey apart and won back the respect of the trucks.

In the television series, Toad was tired of always going backwards and wanted to be a leader for a change. The trucks decided to teach Toad to be careful what he wishes for by breaking away from Oliver on Gordon's Hill and, as a result, he narrowly avoided James, crashed into some level crossing gates, and stopped by taking a plunge into a pond. Afterwards, Toad decided that always going backwards was not so bad after all.


Toad is a polite, gentlemanly brake van. He is also somewhat imaginative and a bit of an optimist. Toad minds his manners well and always quick to refer to the engines as "Mr.", "Miss", or "Sir". He escaped from scrap with Oliver, with some help from Douglas. Toad is very loyal, keeps Oliver's trucks in order, and has his best interests at heart. He has a cunning streak within him should the trucks cause any particular bother and does like fun when it comes his way, but he is typically calm, obedient, and content in his work.

Technical Details


Toad is based on a Great Western Railway 16-ton brake van. Early vans were just 10 or 16 tons weight, but this gradually increased to 20 and 25 tons. A brake van on the Mid Hants Railway (No. 35907) is permanently dressed up as Toad. A number of these brake vans survive in preservation.


Toad is painted grey with "GW 56831" written on his side in white. Before being repaired in Enterprising Engines, and in an illustration portraying him before Escape from the subsequent book, Toad was painted brown. In the Railway Series, his face is the same colour as his bodywork, but in the television series he has a light grey face.


Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends

He was to appear in the sixth season with Oliver, but was cut out for unknown reasons.


Music Videos


Magazine Stories

Toad also appeared in the magazine stories, A Long Way Up!, The Great Race (magazine story)

Voice Actors


  • One of Toad's model was previously on display at Nitrogen Studios and is on display at Drayton Manor.
  • Toad's ERTL toy incorrectly states that his number is "5683".
  • Toad's name originates from a nickname ("toad") given to brake vans on the Great Western Railway. Toad is also based upon a brake van that carries the same number. It can also be considered a subtle pun: a brake van is 'towed' everywhere it goes.
  • Toad is the first brake van in the TV series to have a name.