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Check out the Lost Media Wiki’s page on the Thomas & Friends: Down the Mine pilot!!!



In the early 1980s before The Railway Series books by Rev W. Awdry of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends were receiving the greenlight to be adapted into a television series, a low-budget pilot episode was made and was pitched to several networks in April 3, 1983. The pilot was based off the story called Down The Mine from the eighth book from The Railway Series, Gordon the Big Engine. Visually the pilot is largely consistent with the final series, using similar camera angles and featuring the same locations as the final episode. The pilot was used strictly for screening purposes, however, a shot from the twenty fifth episode of the first season, Down The Mine (which is also the name of the pilot), was re-used from the pilot episode. Thomas sits on a hand built plastic chassis, with plunger pickups providing power to his motor and smoke unit. Minor details such as lining and lamp irons are missing. This chassis caused much trouble during shooting, and so the decision was made to use modified off-the-shelf Marklin chassis for the final series.

Photos of Gordon's pilot model, by engine builders Martin Gill and David Payne can be found in an interview with Christopher Noulton by Sodor Island Fansite.[1]

Gallery

The_Missing_Thomas_and_Friends_Pilot_-_Lost_Media

The Missing Thomas and Friends Pilot - Lost Media

SewerReviewer’s video on the subject.

Lost_Thomas_the_Tank_Engine_Pilots_-LostMedia

Lost Thomas the Tank Engine Pilots -LostMedia

Scribbles to Screen's video mentioning the "Down the Mine" pilot (5:41-9:00).

References

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