Toby is a GER C53 steam tram who came to Sodor after his tramway closed down. He has two coaches named Henrietta and Victoria and a luggage van named Elsie. He works on Thomas' Branch Line and originates from the Great Eastern Railway.
Toby is old but wise, hardworking, and knows enough about running branch lines to justify running Thomas' with Thomas and Daisy after Percy's accident with the trucks. He is also savvy enough to control the trucks. However, his advanced age and design means that he is weaker than the other engines. While Toby is always ready to work hard without any fuss, he can be a bit temperamental sometimes, especially when young and inexperienced engines who are full of themselves make things difficult for him. However, work at the quarry line often soothes off his moods without any cause of grief to anyone, except of course his old faithful coach, Henrietta.
Since the fifth season, Toby had been portrayed as being nervous about the capabilities of his work and uncertain about being an old steam tram, believing that he is not a proper engine, only good enough as a museum piece and not really special at all.
Toby enjoys listening to the birds in the birdhouse next to his shed. He also is friends with the pigs at Farmer Trotter's Pig Farm.
Since King of the Railway, Toby has been portrayed closer to his original wiser and more jovial personality, having more subtle shades of nervousness.
Toby was inspired by a GER C53 0-6-0T Wisbech steam tram (classed as J70 by the LNER) seen by the Reverend Wilbert and Christopher Awdry on a holiday at Yarmouth, hence Toby's origins. The J70 trams were all withdrawn from service in 1955 and none have survived in preservation.
In the Railway Series, Toby was painted brown with black cowcatchers and sideplates (which sported "LNER" in bright yellow letters) before working on his tramway, where he was repainted greyish-brown with grey sideplates and cowcatchers. After helping James he was repainted chocolate-brown with olive frames and blue sideplates.
In the television series, Toby has consistently been painted brown with grey sideplates and cowcatchers. Toby has a number "7" painted on his sides in bright yellow with a red border.
In the Railway Series, he carries two plaques on the sides of his cab stating that he works on the NWR, his number, and the last time and place that he was rebuilt.
In various books released by Publications International, the top side of his sideplates are red, going along with the bufferbeams.
- Season 100 - Geoffrey's Real (cameo), Toby and Philip, Trouble Trucks, The Lost Letters, and Sidney Helps Out
- Colm Feore (Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Ben Small (UK; Hero of the Rails - eighteenth season)
- Rob Rackstraw (UK; nineteenth season onwards)
- William Hope (US; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Yasuhiko Kawazu (Japan; first - eighth seasons)
- Tomohiro Tsuboi (Japan; ninth season onwards)
- Kōichi Sakaguchi (Japan; Misty Island Rescue only)
- Espen Sandvik (Norway; Hero of the Rails - seventeenth season)
- Herman López (Latin America; Hero of the Rails - Den and Dart)
- Jürgen Theuns (The Netherlands)
- Tom Deininger (Germany; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Volker Hanisch (Germany; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Mieczysław Morański (Poland; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Jarosław Domin (Poland; Marion and the Dinosaurs only)
- Albert Cohen (Israel; Thomas and the Magic Railroad)
- Gadi Levy (Israel)
- Fadulli Costa (Brazil; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Miguel Ángel Poison (Spain)
- Michel Lasorne (France and French speaking Canada; eighth - twelfth season)
- Bernard Demory (France and French speaking Canada; Hero of the Rails onwards)
- Petri Hanttu (Finland)
- Vladimir Antonik (Russia; thirteenth - sixteenth seasons, Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure)
- Denis Bespalyy (Russia; King of the Railway onwards, excluding Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure)
- Rob Rackstraw gives Toby a West Country accent.
- Toby is Christopher Awdry's favourite engine. This is because while on a trip in Yarmouth, he and his father got to ride in the cab of a J70 tram, thanks to Wilbert's good friend, the late Reverend Charlie Rand.
- Due to an illustration error in Thomas Comes Hom], the illustrations of "Toby's Megatrain" show Toby with a face at the rear cab as well as the front cab. This is the only time in the Railway Series that Toby has been illustrated with two faces.
- One of Toby's models is currently on display in Japan at the Hara Railway Museum (previously on display at Nitrogen Studios) and is currently wearing his scared face mask. Another was previously on display at Drayton Manor but the model was stolen from the display in early 2011.
- In the fifth season episode Baa!, Toby revealed that his favourite station is Maithwaite.
- In an interview with SiF , Andrew Brenner stated that Toby was one of his favourite characters, along with James, Bill and Ben.
- Between Hero of the Rails and Blue Mountain Mystery, Toby's crew regularly drive him from his rear cab instead of his front one.
- His second season bell sound was heard after Ryan stops the pirate ship during the wide shot of Arlesburgh Harbour in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
- Toby went through numerous changes throughout the TV series. These include:
- Season 2:
- His bell changed sound.
- Part of his front handle is gone, presumably broke off during production.
- Season 3:
- The handle on his front lamp vanished.
- Season 4:
- His bell sound returned back to it's original sound.
- He had a unseen whistle (a lower pitch of Percy's).
- Hero of the Rails:
- His side-rods and pistons disappeared.
- His bell sound changed to the same as Flora's.
- His cabs appeared to be blackened out.
- He has decreased in size and is the same height as Henrietta.
- Season 2:
- He was confused for being electric by Bridget Hatt in the episode, "Toby and the Stout Gentleman"
- One of Toby's screen used face masks is owned by Twitter user ThomasTankMerch.