Following in the tradition of global franchising, Australia will soon have their very own anthropomorphic steam engine joining the cast of Thomas The Tank Engine.
A green and gold engine from South Australia, Shane will be modelled on the 520 class – a train first built at South Australian Railways’ Islington workshops in 1943 to help increase the flow of transport during the second World War, and a model with only two survivors.
Shane will carry the nickname “Whispering Giant”, into The Great Race, a name that refers to the engines ability to travel at high speeds while carrying such a large frame without a sound. Shane has been described as ‘carefree’ and sounds like he’s shaping to be a ‘good Aussie bloke’.
SteamRanger Heritage Railway, a tourist based train operation based in Adelaide, are hoping the film will raise awareness and funds to potentially restore the last operating 520 at its Mt Barker workshop.
Thomas and his pals have a history of light-euro centrism that’s been corrected in recent months with the addition of Ashima the Indian locomotive and Carlos the Mexican train to the latest Thomas project, The Great Race.
The Great Race will release to international audiences sometime in July.