Beloved steam train Thomas the Tank Engine has undergone a major revamp to include new female characters from around the globe.
The little blue engine will set off on new adventures to places including China, India and Australia in the latest series of the popular children’s show.
As part of the revamp two new female steam engines Nia and Rebecca will join Thomas on his adventures – replacing Henry and Edward, as the series aims to become more gender-balanced.
The new series of Thomas and Friends, subtitled Big World! Big Adventures!, began airing yesterday on Channel 5’s Milkshake.
Sky News reports that as well as Nia and Rebecca other ‘strong girl characters’ are being introduced for the 22 series of the popular show.
Including Isla, an Australian flying doctor plane, Noor Jehan, a royal express engine from India, Hong-Mei, a number one blue tank engine from China, and Charubala, a female railway controller from India.
While multicultural characters from the film Thomas and Friends: The Great Race Ashima from India, Yong Bao from China and Shane from Australia will also be appearing in the new series.
On the shows website it says: ‘Thomas brings viewers of all ages along with him on incredible adventures around the world!
‘With everything you know and love about the show, plus a new show format that includes more music, more laughter, and more action-packed stories than ever before.
‘Thomas will travel to exciting new places including China, India and Australia.
‘He will take children around the world to explore and discover new countries, cultures, animals and friends!
‘And with the Steam Team by his side, including new engines Nia and Rebecca, he will teach valuable life lessons and fun songs that everyone can enjoy.’
Male characters Henry and Edward are being replaced by Nia and Rebecca, in a bid to have more characters to appeal to the shows female fan base.
However for young fans of the two male engines don’t need to fret as they are not going away and will continue to be part of the show – with plenty of new episodes that feature both engines.
Thomas and Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! airs daily at 7am on Channel 5’s Milkshake.