Rev. W. Awdry who wrote the Thomas books went to a huge amount of trouble to invent the history and culture of Sodor and its railways, very little of which information ever found its way into the books. Sodor was said to be between the Isle of Man and the British mainland. A bridge connected Sodor to the real town of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Within the books British Rail is called The Other Railway.
The North Western Railway has had running rights into Barrow Central Station since the agreement with the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1925. There is a Scherzer rolling lift bridge of 120 ft (37 m) span and double track over the Walney Channel, designed by Topham Hatt and erected in 1915. The NWR built its headquarters at Vicarstown in 1915, but the administrative offices were relocated to Tidmouth in 1926. Until the construction of the Jubilee Road Bridge in 1977, the NWR had rights for a car-ferry and worked an intensive and profitable service. British Rail had running powers over the Bridge to operate the joint NWR/BR suburban service from Barrow to Norramby.Can you believe he bothered to make all that up?
I have to say I have never been a big fan of Thomas but I do admire the dedication of those who have collated all this data on incredibly minor characters, such as these from Wikipedia:
Wilbert the Forest Engine was brought to the railway to help Donald and Douglas when they were overworked, but when Percy was involved in an accident with some porridge [etc etc… ] Wilbert is a Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST…
Bulgy was a red and cream double-decker bus who hated railways and had very left wing political views. He tried to steal Duck and Oliver's passengers by pretending to be a railway bus … he is now a henhouse by Duck's branch line.