Terence the Tractor

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Terence the Tractor, as portrayed in the TV Series

Terence is a fictional anthropomorphic crawler tractor from The Railway Series of childrens' books by the Rev. W. Awdry, and the spin-off TV series Thomas the Tank Engine 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 good friends with Thomas after Terence helps Thomas out of a snow drift. (view photo).

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.

Throughout his life on Sodor, he has:

  • Rescued Thomas from a snowdrift(TV and Railway Series)
  • Helped rescue Mrs. Kyndley from her snowed-in house (TV and Railway Series)
  • Helped haul trees in the forest (TV)
  • Helped a snowed-in village with Thomas, Percy and Harold (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)
  • Helped Thomas out of a rockslide (annuals)


  • 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 C. Awdry's 'Washout'.
  • Despite the size of Terence's face, his eyes do not move
  • Terence has had only two different facial expressions throughout the TV Series: most of the time he is seen smiling (as in the photo above), but in 'Faulty Whistles' he is seen "working hard".
  • Terence was the first character with caterpillar tracks in the TV Series (before Thumper, and several characters from The Pack : Oliver the big excavator and Byron the bulldozer).
  • His Latin American voice actor is Roberto Mendiola.
  • Terence appeared in Seasons 1-7 and he did cameos in Season 10 songs and The Great Discovery.

Behind the scenes

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.

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]


  1. Sibley, Brian (1995). The Thomas the Tank Engine Man. Heinemann, p143. ISBN 0 434 96909 5. 
  2. Clutterbuck, Martin. Photo of 'Terence' (a Caterpillar 70) + historical notes. Retrieved on 2007-02-12.


See also

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