Terence the Tractor from Tank Engine Thomas Again - Terence and the Snow (1949)
Terence, as introduced in Tank Engine Thomas Again (1949)

While the Rev. Awdry was pedantic for visual accuracy with his rail characters, he was quite forgiving with artist C. Reginald Dalby's depiction of "Terence" the crawler tractor in Tank Engine Thomas Again - Thomas, Terence and the Snow (1949). Terence, as illustrated, has a number of noteworthy characteristics:

  1. Terence's real-life basis would need to have been built in the year 1949 or earlier,
  2. orange livery,
  3. single exhaust pipe stack and air-filter are mounted on the right side,
  4. radiator cap top of front radiator (top of Terrence's "head"),
  5. presence of a steering wheel (rare on crawler tractors),
  6. running board extends to almost the entire length of the engine compartment,
  7. manual crank in front - common in vintage crawler tractors,
  8. engine cowl has some aesthetic curvature on the sides, not square like most crawler tractors,
  9. in one of the illustrations, Terence's crawler tracks extend way beyond front of tractor! (artist error?),
  10. Terence's real-life basis would need to have been built 1949 and earlier.

It is interesting to note that a post-war (WWII) ban on non-essential imports provided a much-needed boost to UK crawler tractor manufacturers. Before then, the market was dominated by North American manufacturers. With that said, there's no guarantee that Terence's basis originated from a UK or North American make.

As such, pinpointing Terence's real-life basis becomes quite a challenge and very open to interpretation and opinion! We think the most prudent route is to present our site visitors with a number of potential candidates:

CATERPILLAR MODEL 70

Terence the Tractor

This is a 1934 CAT Seventy, one of nine remaining from an original build of 266. This is a good match for Terence down to the running board and fuel tank. This American-built machine is rather unusual in being powered by petrol (gasoline) rather than diesel, and was probably the last tractor ever to be so fuelled. Only 266 CAT 70s were built. Additional information about this machine can be found HERE.

ALLIS-CHALMERS L-O CRAWLER


Youtube video of Allis-Chalmers LO Crawler ploughing a field at Little Casterton in 2010
Note the multiple exhaust stacks that were a standard feature of the LO Crawler

Site visitor Mark Flood posits that Terence may have been based on an American-built Allis-Chalmers L-O Crawler (circa 1930s). The "L-O" model is essentially identical to the Allis-Clamers "L" model, but equipped to run on diesel fuel. According to the Allis-Chalmers Sales book for 1935, the L-O model had 6 forward speeds with the top-end being 6.47 miles per hour, a two reverse speeds - top being 3.07 miles per hour. Its orange livery, running board, similar engine valance, forward thrusting engine house, room to affix toolboxes on either side of driver's seat, plus the fact that early models of this crawler actually had a steering wheel before being replaced by levers in 1935, make the L-O model a good candidate for Terence's basis. It's interesting to note that the TV series modelmakers replaced Terence's steering wheel with levers.

FOWLER FD3 (or FD4)

Fowler FD3 Photo Copyright: Kris Ward www.leedsengine.info
Fowler FD3 at the Armley Mills Industrial Museum in Leeds
Photo courtesy and copyright Kris Ward (with our thanks)

John Fowler Co. was one of the leading manufacturers of steam-powered agricultural machines in the UK during the steam era. During WWII, the company plant in Leeds was granted government contracts to build tracked army vehicles for the Allied war effort. Fowler anticipated post-war demand for tracked agricultural vehicles, and in the subsequent years offered up four diesel crawler tractor models; most notably were the FD series (FD2, FD3, FD4). The FD3 made its first appearance in 1945 and as the model's name suggests, was equipped with a 3-cylinder 35 HP Fowler-Sanders engine. 700 FD3s were built until the 4-cylinder FD4 went into production in the latter part of 1946, when the company was sold to Ward. Only 14 FD4s were built before production ceased due to the new owners being confronted with legacy engine copyright issues. The FDs standard orange livery, general engine compartment shape, and presence of toolboxes on either side of the driver's seat puts it on the list of possible Terence candidates.

Terence makes an appearance in New Zealand

Above: The Fowler FD3's connection to Terence was not lost upon the organizers of New Zealand's Glenbrook Vintage Railway's Thomas weekend in March 2013. (Photo use: Creative Commons Attribution)

Terence was introduced in "Tank Engine Thomas Again" (1949).


Model Feature
Caterpillar is unique among industrial combines in retaining its identity unchanged for over a century of making distrinctively yellow earth moving equipment, and also by its strict control and promotion of modelling franchises. The combination enables the modelling of Terence to the last spark plug! See this CCM brass 1:24 model of the CAT 70, now out of stock (only 266 brass models released) but thus surely floating on EBay somewhere, as an immediate Terence-similar antecedent, the CAT 10.
CAT 70 model
Model of Terrence
A Spec-Cast 1:16 scale die-cast Allis-Chalmers K crawler tractor, complete with a steering wheel, can be suitably modified to resemble RWS Terence. Though discontinued, a few are still available from the Construction Scale Models online store.
Collector's Corner
Classic classic ERTL logo model of Terence
Discontinued take-along / take-n-Play model of Terence
Classic ERTL model of Terence
Take-Along Terence
Learning Curve Wooden Railway Terence
Bachmann Trains HO Terence
Classic ERTL model of Terence
Take-Along Terence

George <----

----> Bertie