The Railway Series is a set of story books about a railway system located on the fictional Island of Sodor. There are 42 books in the series, the first being published in 1945. Twenty-six were written by the Rev. W. (Wilbert) Awdry, up to 1972. A further 16 were written by his son, Christopher Awdry; 14 between 1983 and 1996 and a further book in 2007. Another book was released in 2011. Nearly all of The Railway Series stories were based upon real-life events. As a lifelong railway enthusiast, Awdry was keen that his stories should be as realistic as possible. The engine characters were almost all based upon real classes of locomotive, and some of the railways themselves were directly based upon real lines in the British Isles. Characters and stories from the books formed the basis of the children's television series Thomas and Friends. Audio adaptations of the Railway Series have been recorded at various times under the title The Railway Stories.
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