Terence the Tractor

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Terence the Tractor
Thomas and Friends character
File:Terence 1984.jpg
First appearanceTank Engine Thomas Again (1949)
Created byRev. W. Awdry
Voiced byTom Stourton (UK/US)

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Terence the Tractor is a fictional anthropomorphic crawler tractor from the children's book series The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry, and the spin-off TV series Thomas and Friends.

Terence first appeared in the Railway Series story 'Thomas, Terence and the Snow' from the book Tank Engine Thomas Again (1949). In this story, he is portrayed with a widow's peak – the guise that would be used as the basis for the TV series character.

Terence was teased about his caterpillar tracks by Thomas the Tank Engine when they both met each other for the first time. He laughs the joke off and gets back to business. He is slow but good enough – he can go anywhere, because of his caterpillar tracks. He becomes a good friend of Thomas after Terence helps Thomas out of a snow drift.

Terence's second appearance in The Railway Series comes in Christopher Awdry's book Toby, Trucks and Trouble. In the story "Toby Takes the Road", Terence had been brought in to help shunt trucks in Ffarquhar Yard while Percy was away dealing with the incident at the harbour involving Bulstrode. In the illustration showing Terence, Clive Spong depicted Terence with a rectangular face and no widow's peak. This detail was reproduced on all the illustrator's subsequent pictures of Terence in related publications.

Terence is the only named character in The Railway Series to have caterpillar tracks, although a nameless orange crane with caterpillar tracks is seen in Christopher Awdry's 'Washout'.


Throughout his life/appearances on Sodor, Terence has:

  • Rescued Thomas from a snowdrift (TV and Railway Series)
  • Helped rescue Mrs. Kyndley from her snowed-in house (TV and a book by the Rev. W. Awdry that wasn't a Railway Series book)
  • Helped haul trees in the forest (TV)
  • Helped Bertie out of the mud (TV)
  • Helped a snowed-in village with Thomas, Percy and Harold (TV)
  • Warned James how dangerous trees can be (TV)
  • Told Percy that Mrs. Kyndley's daughter was getting married (TV)
  • Helped Thomas out of a rockslide (TV)
  • Helped Elizabeth out of a snowdrift (TV)
  • Slipped down an embankment and into a pond (annuals)
  • Dug up a pot in his field (annuals)
  • Slipped and nearly sank in the cracked icy pond with a big tree until, Thomas rescued him (TV)

Behind the scenes[edit]

Terence was originally to be called 'Terry', according to a note on the first map of Sodor made by the Rev. W. Awdry: "Here Terry works."[1] However, at some point before Tank Engine Thomas Again was published, this was changed to the more formal name. Despite the size of Terence's face, his face did not have animated eyes, until The Great Discovery. Although not specifically defined by any of the Awdrys, Martin Clutterbuck has identified Terence's most likely prototype as a Caterpillar Model Seventy – the largest, and last, design of petrol (gasoline)-powered tractors in Caterpillar's range – of about 1934-vintage.[2]

See also[edit]

Other articles of the topic Children's literature : Tony De Saulles, Marijn Backer, Totally (book series), Joey Pigza, Lisa Suhay, Hairy Maclary Scattercat, How the Wizard Came to Oz
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  1. Sibley, Brian (1995). The Thomas the Tank Engine Man. Heinemann. p. 143. ISBN 0-434-96909-5. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  2. Clutterbuck, Martin. "Photo of 'Terence' (a Caterpillar 70) + historical notes". Retrieved 2007-02-12.


  • Awdry, Rev. W., Tank Engine Thomas Again
  • Awdry, Christopher, Toby, Trucks and Trouble
  • Awdry, Rev. W. and G., The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways
  • Awdry, Christopher, Sodor: Reading Between the Lines
  • Clutterbuck, Martin, The Real Lives of Thomas the Tank Engine – Terence's page
  • Sibley, Brian, The Thomas the Tank Engine Man

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