It is 100 years since the birth of Thomas the Tank Engine creator, Rev W Awdry. When I went on a train ride in Wales some years ago, I wondered why the train had a Thomas the Tank Engine face on it. Apparently, the narrow-gauge former slate railway running inland from Tywyn in mid-Wales was the world's first preserved line, its society being formed in 1951 and WV Awdry was one of its earliest members. "He came and volunteered for the first time in '52. He and his family had a fortnight's holiday in Tywyn and he worked as a guard," says David Mitchell, the line's former managing director. "He used to come and oil fishplates and work on the track and things like that in his younger days. And when he died he left us the contents of his study which we have recreated here."
I can only assume his connection with the rail line led to the face. Whether I am correct on that or not, the article I read at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13872542 reminded me of that trip. The photograph below I took the day I visited.