Thomas & Friends confirms the full line-up of 13 new international engines for ‘The Great Race’
For the past 70 years Thomas & Friends has been entertaining and exciting children around the world, featuring fun and friendly talking engines from the vibrant island of Sodor.
After fevered media speculation and hype around the new global characters to be included in the new movie Thomas & Friends The Great Race, it has been officially revealed that The Great Race will include a lineup consisting of 13 magnificent new international engines.
Producers of Thomas’s latest CGI adventure were tight-lipped as they finalised the full lineup, but have now unveiled a fully international roll call of engines consisting of: ‘Ashima of India’; ‘Racing Vinnie’; ‘Axel of Belgium’; ‘Raul of Brazil’; ‘Etienne of France’; ‘Gina of Italy’; ‘Frieda of Germany’; ‘Yong Bao of China’; ‘Ivan of Russia’; ‘Carlos of Mexico’; ‘Rajiv of India’; ‘Shane of Australia’ and Britain’s ‘The Flying Scotsman,’ who is the brother of regular character Gordon.
The Great Race is the eleventh animated feature film for the world-famous blue engine, which will hit screens worldwide from May 2016. The new movie sees Thomas in an exciting adventure, where the fun-loving engine pulls out all the stops to find a way to test his mettle against a host of new engines at the Great Railway Show, making some special new friends along the way.
The special has a stellar voice cast that includes Bollywood actress Tina Desai (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) who will bring to life the beautifully painted and talented new engine, Ashima of India. This marks another milestone in the show’s 70-year heritage, as it will be the first time producers have paired Thomas with such a strong female lead character in the animated show.
“I am delighted to be part of this exciting new film as I’m a huge fan of Thomas! With new characters from around the world, the film has a wonderfully diverse and multi-cultural feel that I hope every child should be able to relate to and be inspired by in some way. My character Ashima really shines through as being strong and adventurous and I am particularly pleased that she will be such a positive role model for so many girls across the globe.” – Tina Desai
In The Great Race Thomas wishes he could represent Sodor at the Great Railway Show, which is taking place on the mainland. But the bigger engines just laugh at him and say he’s not big, strong or fast enough to compete with the best engines from around the world. Thomas is up against international competition from a host of new engines, including Raul of Brazil, Yong Bao of China, Ivan of Russia and the brightly decorated engine from India, Ashima, among many others. Thomas is determined to find a way to win – even when his plans all go wrong and the devious Diesel threatens his chances to compete. This exciting international musical adventure – where friendship always wins the race – promises to delight children and families across the world.
Thomas the Tank Engine™ was created over 70 years ago by a British clergyman, the Rev W Awdry, as a storybook for his son. That story quickly grew to become the award-winning global brand franchise it is today, enjoyed by families in more than 150 territories and in over 40 languages across multiple touch-points and formats, including: 400+ original TV shows; 11 feature-length films; 14 websites in nine languages; apps; toys (ranked number one property in the pre-school toys category in the UK and Australia and number two in the US); consumer products; publishing; live attractions and much more.
“The world of Thomas & Friends continues to expand with the introduction of 13 new engines from around the world in our very first, fully-fledged musical adventure, The Great Race. Showcasing our commitment to quality and innovation, this film will treat our fans to unparalleled production values, sing-along songs and many exciting new characters from countries. We’re incredibly excited to introduce audiences to Thomas’s new friends in The Great Race, a story that is our biggest and best yet!” – Christopher Keenan, SVP Global Content & Executive Producer at Mattel Creations
Products that will support The Great Race release include brand new Fisher-Price toy lines featuring 11 new engines and exciting playsets based on the tentpole release include the new TrackMaster™ Thomas Sky-High Bridge Jump Set, as well as CP and licensing deals across key categories including clothing, books, puzzles coming to retail in late summer in select markets.
Introducing the international engines:
- ASHIMA OF INDIA: Ashima is usually found working on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Southern India, where the steep incline makes the track very dangerous and difficult to climb. So it’s no wonder that a small tank engine like Ashima shows no fear. Beautifully crafted with hand painted decal Ashima’s a fun, feisty and likeable engine who is more than happy to help out wherever needed.
- THE FLYING SCOTSMAN: The Flying Scotsman is one of the most famous engines in the world. A large steam locomotive with two tenders, the Flying Scotsman holds the record for being the first engine to officially run at 100 mph. The Flying Scotsman has been travelled to Sodor before where he met with his brother Gordon. Now the brothers will compete against each other to see who is the fastest in the Great Race.
- RACING VINNIE: All the way from North America this big engine is not to be messed with. He is big and strong but his competitive nature could be his downfall.
- AXEL of BELGIUM: Axel is a smooth streamlined tender engine built for speed; his good looks and style have made him very popular with fans of steam. Effortlessly cool, he’ll be sure to win over more fans at the Great Railway Show.
- RAUL OF BRAZIL: This feisty little tank engine may look like a Diesel but he is in fact a steam engine. All the way from the sunny heights of Brazil, this little shunter is strong and agile, making him the perfect candidate for the Shunting race.
- ETIENNE of FRANCE: There is no denying that electricity on the railways is the way of the future, and Etienne is a fast electric locomotive, who has been setting world speed records in his home country of France. And now this formidable engine will be looking to continue his run of good fortune in the Great Race.
- GINA of ITALY: This little steam loco certainly packs a punch. Sweet and stylish, Gina can match the boys pound for pound when it comes to shunting freight in the yard. All the way from Italy, Gina will be turning a few heads when she appears in The Great Railway Show.
- FRIEDA of GERMANY: Frieda is a sleek blue streamlined engine from Germany. Beautiful and strong, Frieda will be entering the Strongest Engine race. She has come to show that anything boys can do, the girls can do better.
- YONG BAO of CHINA: Yong Bao is a kind and faithful tender engine from China, who pulls passenger coaches. He may not be the biggest tender engine or the strongest, but he once cleverly diverted an accident saving hundreds of passengers. Yong Bao was decorated for his bravery and painted bright red, which is a colour that symbolises celebration and happiness. Painted on his Tender is a Tiger which incites a sense of awe and admiration. Like Yong Bao, the Tiger is full of life and embodies the spirit of being driven to achieve and make progress. These qualities make Yong Bao a Really Useful Engine.
- IVAN of RUSSIA: Ivan of Russia may look mean, but he is one of the most charismatic characters to be found on the railway. He is a real comedian, who will put a smile on everyone’s face. And he’s especially proud of himself as he is the only Diesel locomotive competing in this year’s Great Railway Show.
- CARLOS of MEXICO: Carlos is a proud and happy steam engine from the heart of Mexico. Always wearing a smile, this engine is the life and soul of the Great Railway Show. Originally competing and winning the strongest engine race at the very first Great Railway Show, this engine continues to please the crowds and is now taking part in the Best Decorated Engine Parade.
- RAJIV of INDIA: Rajiv is a small tank engine from the East Indian Railway, who carries passengers and goods from Calcutta in the east up to the north of India. Set against the backdrop of the Himalayan Mountains, Rajiv’s beautiful colours help him to stand out from the rest, making him the perfect contender for the Best Decorated Engine Parade.
- SHANE of AUSTRALIA: Shane is one of the ‘Whispering Giants’ of the South Australian Railway – a big strong steam engine who was built for passenger and mixed freight work. Shane loves to have fun and his carefree ways have made him many friends on his long journey to the Great Railway Show.