TRAINJOTTING CLASSIC: If Manhattan Island Was the Island of Sodor

From November 6, 2007

Thanks to Little G, we end up spending a lot of time in Sodor—that is, the mythical island on which Thomas the Tank Engine and his train friends operate. All of the trains in Thomas’ world have unique personalities, whether it’s the narcissistic engine James or the perky young train Percy.  

That got us thinking—if Manhattan was Sodor, and vice versa, where would the Metro-North cast of characters fit in in Thomas’ little technicolor world? 

New Haven Line = Henry


Henry is a long train that “tends to be somewhat highly strung and prone to illness,” according to The New Haven Line is highly strung as well–as in those arms extending to the electric catenary wires strung above the tracks. The most susceptible to foul weather of the three lines, New Haven is indeed prone to illness. Just ask any veteran rider of the line. 

The Harlem Line = Peter Sam


Peter Sam is “a happy and kind engine, but is a little vulnerable and often teased by the others.” Like Peter Sam, the Harlem Line suffers from a severe case of Middle Child Syndrome–not quite the doddering doofus that the New Haven Line is, not quite the beacon of efficiency that the Hudson Line is. 


The Hudson Line = Gordon


Gordon is “the fastest and most powerful of Sir Topham Hatt’s string — and he knows it. He’s always willing use his superior strength to help smaller engines out of trouble”. Same goes for the ruthlessly efficient Hudson Line—witness those 99.5% on time rates—which always boosts the performance of the entire fleet.


Metro-North President Peter A. Cannito = Sir Topham Hatt

Hatt is the “director of the Railway and is responsible for making sure the engines are always Right on Time and Really Useful. He has risen through the ranks from a railway engineer.” Cannito put in 21 years at Amtrak before getting tapped to run Metro-North. Both wear bespoke suits.  


MTA Board Member Mitchell Pally = Lady Hatt

Lady Hatt is Sir Topham Hatt’s wife and “a kind and gentile woman…who will also scold the engines when they act up or behave improperly.” Pally is the schoolmarm who wanted to do away with drinking on the trains.  

Slippery Rail Season = Lead Paint from China Used on Thomas Trains


Both lead paint and oily residue left on Metro North tracks force trains out of commission and leave their users gravely agitated.  

Finally, where, you ask, does our humble narrator, Thomas himself, fit into the equation? Thomas is described as a “cheeky, fussy little engine. He often gets into scrapes…but clouds never last long in Thomas’ world and he’s soon bustling about again.” 


Yes, that’d be you and me—the working stiffs shrugging off the floods and snowstorms and rude riders to turn up at our jobs in Sodor…er, Manhattan…each day.

This entry was posted in Harlem Line, Hudson Line, New Haven Line, Thomas & Friends. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s