Follow TV Tropes


Characters / Thomas The Tank Engine Humans

Go To

Back to the Main Page.

    open/close all folders 

    The Fat Controller / Sir Topham Hatt
"You are a really useful engine."

Voiced by: Keith Wickham (UK; Hero of the Rails - present; US; The Adventure Begins - present), Kerry Shale (US; Hero of the Rails - eighteenth season)

The Controller of the railway, makes sure all of his engines are doing their best. Stern and no-nonsense, but very caring towards all his engines.

  • Adult Fear: In Misty Island Rescue, his learning that Thomas has been lost at sea is akin to a parent learning that their child has been lost and possibly put in serious danger.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In some of the US episodes, due to them being Bowdlerized. For example, in the UK, he intended to leave Henry bricked up in the tunnel forever, while in the US he planned to let him out when he learned his lesson.
  • Bald of Awesome: Underneath his top hat is a shiny dome. He's also a competent railway controller.
  • Berserk Button: As learned from "Jumping Jobi Wood", he took offence when Ferdinand called him "boss".
  • Big Eater: Where else would he get his rotund figure? He even admits in the "Question Time with Sir Topham Hatt" cassette that whenever Lady Hatt thinks he's on a diet, he secretly visits Mrs. Kyndley for food.
  • Big Fun: While he is serious in his duties, he can have his moments of being fun-loving.
  • Big Good: Being the one who manages the railway, he’s the closest thing there is to one.
  • Bully Hunter: Often harshly disciplines any engine that is mocking or belittling another.
  • Butt-Monkey: If it's not his engines, then it'll be him. Any episode focusing on him will have him suffer some kind of indignity.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Reeeeally Useful Engine." and "You have caused Confusion and Delay." (This one however, has had several variations in Season 17)
    • "Early Days yet" towards his new Railway Inspection Vehicle, Winston. Which comes up when you find out he's a terrible driver.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Awdry originally created the Fat Controller as a nod to "pompous railway officials who gave out plenty of orders but never actually did anything", with some engines actually acting rather impudent towards at times. He also had a tendency for Cool And Unusual Punishments for disobedient engines. The books, and by extension the show, altered him into a stern but fair Father To His Men with insurmountable knowledge of the railway (and many other goings on in Sodor), which almost no engine would even think of upsetting. Of course, it helps that the books, the original Fat Controller retired and was replaced by his son, who was subsequently replaced by his son, explaining the change in character.
    • Some of his book character does manage to show through, though, such as him using the "doctor's orders" excuse to get out of pushing and pulling in the "Sad Story of Henry" episode.
  • Composite Character: Took the role of the Thin Controller in early adapted episodes.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's old enough to be a grandfather, and can be a Big Fun at times.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The show gives him a handful of these. Much in the style of the engines, he usually ends up playing the Butt-Monkey in them.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Some of his lectures towards the engine lean as this. Especially evident with Michael Angelis' literally deadpan take on the character.
    The Fat Controller: Tunnels aren't dance floors, and you are not a pop star.
  • Death Glare: Has given these to the engines in some episodes. Best shown in "Duck and the Slip Coaches" where he gave one to James after finding out that he stole Duck's idea on the Slip Coaches. Cue James' "Oh, Crap!" Smile.)
  • Drives Like Crazy: His old lorry Elizabeth asks if he's "learned to drive properly yet" back in Series 6. With Winston's introduction in Series 16, it seems the answer is "No".
  • Dub Name Change: In the American dub, he's always called "Sir Topham Hatt", because calling someone "fat" is seen as offensive in the US.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": In the UK dub, it's always "The Fat Controller". Averted in the US dub, where it's "Sir Topham Hatt".
  • Face Palm: Does this in response to Bill and Ben's bickering in "Percy's Lucky Day".
  • Fat and Skinny: The Fat to Mr. Percival's Skinny.
  • Fat Comic Relief: In some episodes.
  • A Father to His Men: To every engine, diesel, and vehicle on Sodor. He's loved for it.
  • Flanderization: While still a capable authority figure, The Fat Controller has become a noticeably more buffoonish and fallible character since Andrew Brenner's takeover as writer, with far more jokes at his expense.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Plays the Responsible Sibling to Lowham Hatt's Foolish Sibling.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Generally anything that is remotely sentient on Sodor is respectful and obedient to him. Whenever an engine (often the conniving Diesels) believes they have been rejected by him, it is pointed out he cares about all of his engines.
  • Happily Married: To Lady Hatt.
  • Hat of Authority: His dashing top hat, to signify his supreme authority over the railways.
  • Jerkass Ball: In Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure. In fact, some fans thought he was actually going to tell Thomas he had had enough of him and intended to replace and sell him. Though to be fair, his attitude throughout the special stems from the fact that Thomas is causing tremendous amounts of damage both physically and financially (meaning Sir Topham Hatt has to pay for repairs to the damaged coaches, listen to complaints from angry passengers, and deal with the repeated delays to the construction of the new branch line) and is refusing to take responsibility for his actions. Given that, it's understandable that Sir Topham Hatt seems sterner than usual. Then again, he was too harsh and unfair towards Thomas after the dynamite incident, not letting him explain that he was trying to save everyone and cruelly sent poor Thomas to his shed in disgrace, and giving off the impression he was just about ready to get rid of him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he can be strict when the engines get out of line, he is a kind man nonetheless and cares for the engines.
  • Legacy Character: In the original books, where his position had been passed down from father to son.
  • Leitmotif: In seasons 1-7, an ominous sounding tune is played when he's on screen. Especially when he's reprimanding an engine.
  • Momma's Boy: He's very close to his mother, Dowager Hatt.
  • Never My Fault:
    • No matter if an accident is caused by Troublesome Trucks, human error, or an act of God, he'll almost always scapegoat his engines. One of the most egregious examples of this is "Something in the Air", in which Henry goes off the tracks into the sea, an accident caused by human error. The Fat Controller instead chews out Henry, like it's somehow his fault the whole thing happened.
    • There was one aversion in "Thomas and the Rumors" where after Gordon causes a tunnel to collapse, he was having a stern word with Gordon's driver.
    • Subverted in "Wayward Winston". When he scolds Winston for rolling away, Winston politely but firmly points out that the Fat Controller didn't put the brake on, and the Controller admits that he's partially to blame.
  • Nice Hat: He's incredibly fond of his top hat, so much that it has slipped into Companion Cube territory.
  • Older Than They Look: He doesn't look a day over 30, and yet he's apparently old enough to be a grandfather.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In "Misty Island Rescue" he is so overjoyed at finding Thomas, he throws his hat into the air, not caring the least when it disappears into the mist.
    The Fat Controller: I can find another hat, but I can never find another Thomas.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Engines who work hard against adversity and without complaint, always make him proud, and he's always quick to tell them how proud he is of them.
    • After Duck and his crew prevented a serious accident in 'A Close Shave', he informed the Great Western engine he would personally go and tell City of Truro all about his bravery and heroism. Duck could only blush...
  • Punny Name: Sir Topham Hatt.
  • Railroad Baron: Duh. While stern and businesslike, is also sympathetic to his engines and certainly not evil.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Was an engineer in his own right, before becoming director of the entire North Western region. He knew Sir William Stanier and Sir Nigel Gresley, both amoung the most famous locomotive engineers the world had ever seen. His good standing with them ensured Gordon was purchased, and Henry was rebuilt, to give the railway the powerhouses it needed.
  • Sick Episode: He got a cold in "Dowager Hatt's Busy Day".
  • Silence, You Fool!: Whenever he is tired of the engines blurbing or whistling randomly (i.e., "Duck Takes Charge").
  • So Proud of You: Calls his engines "really useful" whenever they prove themselves.
  • Stern Controller: When his engines are out of line or caused any accidents, he'll resort to this.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: He keeps giving engines like Thomas, James, Gordon, and Percy important jobs, regardless of how much he yells at them for screwing up. As of now, it's not like he has another choice.
  • Tranquil Fury: The master of this trope. No matter what level of destruction the engines cause, his reaction rarely excels past a stern, snarky lecture. Nevertheless, none of the engines want to be on his bad side.

    Lady Hatt

Voiced by: Jules de Jongh (US), Teresa Gallagher (UK)

The Fat Controller's wife.

  • Birthday Episode: She has her birthday in "Lady Hatt's Birthday Party".
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    Lady Hatt: "Well, thank you, my dear. I knew this was my special birthday party, but I didn't know it was fancy dress!"
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference:
    • In Season 1, her hair was short and curly, and she wore a light blue blouse.
    • In Season 3, she wore a blue button-down shirt.
    • In Season 5, it was changed to pink, and a pearl necklace was added.
    • As of Season 7, Lady Hatt's current outfit consists of a blue dress combined with a white trim sweater with a pink heart picture, with matching shoes, and matching hat with a pink hatband and matching flower.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: In "Rosie is Red", she wore a purple coat and hat.
  • Happily Married: To Sir Topham Hatt.
  • Nice Girl: She is very kind and gentle.
  • Nice Hat: She wears a hat just like her husband.
  • Older Than They Look: She's apparently a grandmother, but you wouldn't suspect it from her appearance.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In "The Green Controller", she tasks Percy to give out the day's assignments after the Fat Controller falls ill and loses his voice. She likes to "flourish" her speech, which confuses Percy into handing out the wrong assignments.
  • True Blue Femininity: She wears a blue dress, and she is feminine.

    The Ffarquhar Policeman

"The law is the law and we can't change it!"

The policeman of Ffarquhar.

  • Inspector Javert: He believes that Thomas is a criminal all because he doesn't have cowcatchers or side plates.
  • Jerkass: Where do we begin? First he complains about Thomas whistling him a good morning, then calls him "dangerous to the public" and "regular law breaker" because he doesn't have cowcatchers or sideplates, even though Thomas had been on the quarry route many times without a single fatality.
  • Knight Templar: He's convinced he is doing good by labeling Thomas as a danger to the public.
  • Lawful Stupid: Fits this trope to a T. He didn't seemed concerned about the fact Thomas went on the line many times without a cowcatcher and never had an accident and just wrote "regular law breaker" on his notebook.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Gets rang at and frightened by Toby for being mean to Thomas.
  • Warts and All: Thomas expected him to be as kind as the previous one, but finds out that he was anything but.

    Dowager Hatt

"Hold on to your hats!"

Voiced by: Keith Wickham

The Fat Controller's mother.

  • Accidental Misnaming: In "Dowager Hatt's Busy Day", she takes over Sir Topham Hatt's job of running the railway when Sir Topham Hatt catches a cold. When she addresses the engines, she calls Emily "Emiline", "Emerald", "Ermentrude", "Elma", and "Esmeralda", and Gordon "Geoffrey", "Gregory", "Gerald", and "Gavin".
  • A Day in the Limelight: She gets her own spotlight episode in "Dowager Hatt's Busy Day".
  • Big Fun: Her son must take after her.
  • Characterization Marches On: Her appearances in the model era didn't show much in terms of personality. It wasn't until the show went CGI that her Big Fun and Cool Old Lady traits would become prominent.
  • Cool Old Lady: She's an old woman and she enjoys having fun.
  • Doting Parent: Can behave like this to her son at times. An example would be in "Buckled Tracks and Bumpy Trucks".
  • Dreadful Musician: Not a very good musician.
  • Genki Girl: She is fun-loving and energetic.
  • Nice Hat: Just like her son.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: In "Dowager Hatt's Busy Day", she temporarily takes over as controller of the North Western Railway while Topham is sick. She didn't have a single clue how to run the railway. She mixes up the engines' jobs and has them pull all sorts of bizarre trains. Luckily, Emily helped her out.

    Allicia Botti

"I can't possibly travel in coaches riddled with mice!"

Voiced by: Jules de Jongh

A famous singer who frequently performs concerts on Sodor.

  • Characterization Marches On: In her first appearance, she admires Percy for being "So sweet and dirty like a proper steam train", yet later in "Toby's Triumph", she doesn't like how Toby is dirty.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Allicia Botti hasn't been seen since the end of the Nitrogen era. Although, she was indirectly mentioned in Season 18's "Emily Saves the World".
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: She screeches upon seeing a mouse in "Thomas, Percy, and the Squeak".
  • Nice Hat: She wears a black hat.
  • Opera: She's an opera singer.

    The Thin Controller / Mr. Percival

"You have caused delay and confusion!"

Voiced by: Kerry Shale (US), Keith Wickham (UK)

The Controller of the Skarloey Railway. Prior to his introduction in season 9, the railway was run by Sir Topham Hatt. His mode of transport is a red bicycle.

  • Adaptational Name Change: The Thin Controllers of the Railway Series all shared the last name of 'Sam', not unlike the last name of 'Hatt' for the Fat Controllers. The TV series Thin Controller is named Percival instead.
  • Adorkable: Acts wonderfully dorky upon hearing about Thomas' return to Sodor in Big World! Big Adventures!.
  • All There in the Manual: Supplementary material says he's also in charge of the Culdee Fell Mountain Railway, which hasn't appeared in the television series.
  • Bald of Awesome: He's balding, hidden by his hat.
  • Catchphrase: Carried over from the Fat Controller, "Really Useful Engine." and "You have caused Delay and Confusion."
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": In the UK dub, that is.
  • Fat and Skinny: The Skinny to Sir Topham Hatt's Fat.
  • A Father to His Men: Much like the Fat Controller.
  • Legacy Character: In the original books, much like the Fat Controller, the title of Thin Controller was occupied by members of the Sam family. The TV series uses an original character and name for the title.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: He and his wife have five children.
  • Nerd Glasses: Wears these type of glasses.
  • Nice Hat: He has a bowler hat, to contrast the Fat Controller's top hat.
  • Railroad Baron: He's the controller of the Skarloey Railway, and, like Sir Topham Hatt, isn't greedy or evil like most examples of the trope.
  • Stern Controller: He can behave like this towards the narrow-gauge engines whenever they act up.

    Sir Lowham Hatt
"Don't hurry the children, Edward. Let them play!"

Voiced by: Kerry Shale (US), Keith Wickham (UK)

The Fat Controller's twin brother.

    Jenny Packard

"You'd make a mother proud!"

Voiced by: Harriet Kershaw

The owner of the Sodor Construction Company.

  • Abandoned Catchphrase: In the CGI series, she doesn't say "You'd make a mother proud!" anymore.
  • Benevolent Boss: She serves as this towards the vehicles of the Sodor Construction Company.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Has a large hips and chest.
  • The Bus Came Back: She returned to the series in season 23 after disappearing following season 12.
  • Catchphrase: "You'd make a mother proud!" in the model series.
  • Expy: She can be seen as this to Wendy, as they're both female construction workers. Sadly, the perceived similarities to Bob the Builder are what got the Jack and the Sodor Construction Company miniseries cancelled forever by HIT Entertainment.
  • Nice Girl: A very kind and friendly lady.
  • Oireland: Jenny is Irish, even though neither Alec Baldwin nor Michael Brandon give her the accent. However, Harriet Kershaw (her VA in the CGI series) does give her the accent.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Jenny can be stern at times, especially when she's dealing with Max and Monty. Max and Monty always apologize to her.
  • Redhead In Green: She has red hair and she wears a green shirt.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: She has red hair and green eyes, and she's the owner of the Sodor Construction Company, who ended up getting their own mini-series dedicated to them.
  • Sudden Eye Colour: Her eyes were blue in the model series, but they're now green in the CGI series.
  • Team Mom: Acts like a mother towards the Pack vehicles.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: She wears her hair in a ponytail, and isn't all that feminine.

    Sir Robert Norramby

Voiced by: Mike Grady

The Earl of Sodor and the owner of Millie and Stephen. Ulfstead Castle and the Dinosaur Park are on his estate. He is also Duke's current grace.

  • All There in the Manual: The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways contains a good chunk of his book counterpart's history.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: His book counterpart only appeared twice (Little Old Engines and Duke the Lost Engine), and was portrayed as easygoing, but had no real quirks. Sir Robert Norramby is easily one of the most energetic humans in the franchise.
  • Captain Oblivious: When he returns to Sodor after several years away in King of the Railway, he doesn't seem to be aware that his welcome back party is actually for him and leaves again after less than a minute.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He is very' eccentric.
  • Cool Old Guy: His very energetic nature presents him as this.
  • Failed a Spot Check: His book counterpart had no idea about Duke. It is unknown if it applies to him in the TV Series continuity, since Duke hasn't yet returned to the show.
  • Legacy Character: Similar to Mr. Percival, he was based off of a RWS character who had a title that was passed down from their predecessor. Unlike Mr. Percival, his name is mostly identical to his book counterpart.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Although he's usually laid-back and fun-loving, he can be this trope at times, as shown when he scolds Glynn and Stephen in "Runaway Engine".

    Sailor John

Voiced by: John Hurt

The main antagonist of Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure. The owner of the railboat Skiff, Sailor John is out to steal the treasure hidden inside the recently discovered pirate ship.

  • All There in the Manual: According to the official site, he was kicked out of the Navy.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: He's in the 20th century at the very least, and he acts like a typical pirate.
  • Bad Boss: Skiff seems to be in poor condition by the time Thomas meets him. Sailor John also seems perfectly content putting Skiff in incredibly dangerous situations.
  • Big Bad: Sailor John serves as the main villain of Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
  • Big Bad Friend: Sailor John is this to Skiff. Even though Sailor John is highly abusive towards him, Skiff still considers him a friend. Luckily, Skiff ends up betraying him for good, and joins Sodor.
  • Emergency Cargo Dump: Sailor John steals the lost pirate treasure and he and his railboat, Skiff, sail away with it. When they take on water, the weight of the treasure causes Skiff to sink. Skiff tells Sailor John to throw it overboard, but being the Bad Boss he is, Sailor John refuses, and orders Skiff to keep sailing anyway. Skiff responds by knocking both Sailor John and the treasure into the sea.
  • Evil Counterpart: Sailor John is this to Captain Joe, Skiff's current owner. While Captain Joe treats Skiff with respect, Sailor John abuses him by stomping on his deck.
  • Expy: Somewhat one of P.T. Boomer, a character cut from Thomas and the Magic Railroad, in that he's a human antagonist that acts as a Knight of Cerebus and utilizes explosives. However, in terms of goals and motivations, the two differ greatly. Boomer was out to settle a personal grudge, while Sailor John merely wanted money.
  • False Friend: To Thomas. He at first portrays himself as an amiable fellow, not unlike Sir Robert Norramby. But it doesn't take long until his obsession with the treasure shows itself and he breaks ties with Thomas after their second digging.
  • Flipping the Bird: A G-rated example. While sailing away, he salutes Thomas with his left hand. Unless a person's right hand is disabled or missing, saluting with the left hand is considered an insult.
  • Hidden Depths: He's a quite impressive engineer, as shown when he rigs up the pirate ship as an escape vehicle.
  • Heel–Face Turn: By the time of Big World! Big Adventures!, he's out of prison, and is seen happily waving to Thomas in a diner, indicating that they made peace.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The darkest antagonist of the series so far and the first human antagonist who tries to outright damage an engine with explosives.
  • Laughably Evil: Relatively speaking however, he's still a bumbling pirate who sails the rails for treasure.
  • Mad Bomber:
    • Attempts to throw lit sticks of dynamite at Thomas during the climax.
    • In the film, he throws a stick of dynamite at the Fat Controller's office to break into his safe to steal the treasure.
  • Nice Hat: Wears a sailor's hat.
  • Perma-Stubble: As befitting his nature as a pirate.
  • Ruthless Modern Pirates: Although it's unclear what time period the show takes place in, we can assume by the locomotives used, the technology, and the fashion that it's sometime in the 20th century. Sailor John is an incredibly vicious and greedy sailor, and he also refers to himself as a pirate as he gets arrested.

    The Thin Clergyman (Wilbert Awdry)

Voiced by: Rob Rackstraw

A clergyman who enjoys taking pictures of trains.

  • Creator Cameo: The author of the Railway Series himself.
  • Fat and Skinny: He's thin, while his friend, Teddy Boston, (The Fat Clergyman) is fat.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: His appearances in the most recent specials starting from Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure. Also has a few in episodes where he appears, but does not speak.
  • Good Shepherd: A very kind-hearted clergyman.
  • Nice Guy: Is very kind to the engines whenever he talks to them. He was also very apologetic to Bert after seeing the little engine get into trouble because of the Thin Clergyman not watching the puddles on the road.
  • Not So Above It All: While amiable in both the series and in real-life, he had a great deal of disgust for episodes that lacked the realism that he prided on having in his books... yet when James starts singing and bouncing near the start of Journey Beyond Sodor, he's seen swinging to the tune.
  • Rail Enthusiast: Both in real-life, the books, and in the show. It's most apparent in Tit for Tat, where he and the Fat Clergyman take pictures of pretty much every engine on Sodor. Plus, there's the fact that he attends events like The Great Railway Show.
  • The Vicar: Not directly stated in the show, but was one in real-life and it is apparent in his book title.
  • Suddenly Voiced: His first appearance didn't have him speak. His appearances in the adaptations of Small Railway Engines have him be much more talkative, due to taking an active role in the episodes.

    Reverend Charles Laxey

The Vicar of Wellsworth, and Trevor's owner.


Voiced by: Sheena Bhattessa

The controller of the Indian Railway. Introduced in Season 22.

  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Charubala wears some purple.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name means "pretty girl" in the Gujarati language.
  • Railroad Baron: Or, rather, Railroad Baroness. She's the controller of the Indian Railway, and is one of the more modern examples. She's also not evil unlike most examples.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: She isn't above being stern to her engines, and she is shown to have some authority as shown when she got some tiger poachers arrested in "Tiger Trouble".
  • The Smurfette Principle: The first female railway controller in the series.
  • Token Minority: Also the first railway controller to be a person of colour.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: