TATMR Timeline

A researched summary of the movie's production timeline - and beyond...

Thomas and the Magic Railroad Production Timeline and History
Please note: Timeline is currently being reconstructed. Dates prefixed with an asterisk (*) are approximate.
*1995 (late)
*1996 (early)
Britt Allcroft is contacted by Barry London - then Vice-Chairman of Paramount who later became Chairman and CEO of Destination Films.
"...I got a phone call from Barry saying that he wanted to meet me because at that time his daughter was 3 and was a big fan of the show on television." 
Source: April 25, 2000 article from Hollywood Reporter. 

Britt Allcroft signs contract with Paramount Pictures to write full-length feature film with the working title: "Thomas and the Magic Railroad.".

It is stated that the movie will be filmed at Shepperton Studios and in the United States.

(Source: Hollywood Reporter)

*1998 (Summer)
While vacationing in Scotland, Britt Allcroft hears of the Isle of Man's tax incentives to filmakers.Britt visits the Isle a few days later, and is impressed with the beauty of this Sudrian-like locale. (Source: American Cinematographer)
Official announcement that Gullane Pictures and Destination Films (Barry London) will adapt Thomas to the big screen for a summer, 2000 release. Britt Allcroft describes  the movie as a musical film version blending live action and model animation.


Britt finishes Revised Production Draft of script.


Icon Film Distribution acquires U.K distribution rights for the movie. (Source - the Variety) 


Peter Fonda, Alec Baldwin, Mara Wilson officially cast in their roles. Isle of Man resident and part-time firefighter John Bellis will voice 'Thomas'.
Source: BBC News.


John Bellis is interviewed by the BBC.
Source: BBC News
Filming officially begins on the Isle of Man.


The Model Studio (24 West, 940 Landsdowne) preparation begins. 


Principal Photography on the Isle of Man complete. Cast and principal crew fly out the next day (28 August) 


John Bellis (Thomas) flies into Toronto, Keith Scott flies in from Australia (Diesel 10)


Michael Angelis flies into Toronto from London, Patrick Breen arrives from New York. Britt rehearses lines with John Bellis.


Britt rehearses with all of the Voice Talent 


Voice Talent records their lines at DAVE Studios, 49 Ontario Avenue Toronto between 9:00-5:00.


Model Shoot tests


Principal Photography on the Model Shoot begins.


Principal Photography shoots in the Strasburg Pennsylvania area on the Strasburg Railroad, and during the weekend at the Amtrack Station in Harrisburg (Lily's city station scenes).


Legendary Composer/Songwriter John Barry signs deal with producers to compose the score plus 4 original songs for the new movie. (note: JB later resigns from project)
(Source: Business Wire)


Principal Photography on Model Shoot is complete.


Green Screen Photography begins (Live Action)


All filming is now considered complete - Picture Wrap
The Britt Allcroft Company launches the much anticipated Thomas and The Magic Railroad Section of the official Thomas the Tank Engine website.
*2000-03 (late)
A compulsory 2nd test screening of the movie is shown at a shopping mall in suburban L.A. to a test audience mainly comprised of children in the 5-6 age group. Based on the studio's evaluation team recommendations, Britt Allcroft is forced to make drastic edits to the movie.
Source: SIF Correspondance with Britt Allcroft, Doug Lennox, Russell Means, Doug Axford et al
Test Screening Aftermath:
John Bellis (Thomas) and Michael Angelis (James, Percy) are dropped from thir roles.(Source - The Independent)
Actor Doug Lennox is notified by the studio via phone that all scenes with his character - PT Boomer will be cut because they were "too frightening to children". (Source: Doug Lennox)
Character Actor Neil Crone is informed that he will need to redub his lines for Diesel 10 originally voiced in a Russian accent. (Source: Neil Crone)
New voice talent auditions held at DAVE Studios.: Eddie Glen (Thomas), Susan Roman (James) and Linda Ballantyne (Percy) are recruited.
Voice talent actors record their lines at DAVE Studios: Eddie Glen (Thomas), Susan Roman (James) and Linda Ballantyne (Percy)
*2000-06 (late)
Britt Allcroft and editor Ron Wisman complete work on the final edition of the movie.


UK charity premiere of movie at London's Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square. Approximately 2000 children invited to screening attended by Britt Allcroft, Mara Wilson, and Michael E. Rodgers. The screening was followed by a childrens' party. (Source: ITN Clip Archives)

U.K. Theatrical Release
Actor Peter Fonda participates in an online CNN Entertainment Chat interview about his work on the movie. Read the transcript here: 'Actor Peter Fonda on the Thomas Movie'


The movie's Premiere is shown in two theatres in the Loews Cineplex Century Plaza in L.A. The 11 a.m. showing draws a big family crowd, including Barry London's daughter, Samantha. The event was also attended by several of the cast and film crew members, including Britt Allcroft. After the showing, a children's party was held at the ABCenter, while the adults attended a party later that evening hosted by Barry London at his estate. (Source: The Variety)


On Sunday 23 July, 2000 the movie's premiere in Toronto was at 2 PM at Paramount Theaters, 259 Richmond St. W. All the proceeds went to Operation Herbie at the Hospital for Sick Children. Mara Wilson was also on hand at a 12:30 a pre-show reception next door at Chapters. The Premiere's ticket price? $15.00 CDN. (Source: The Toronto Star 2000-07-22)


U.S. Theatrical Release


Australian Theatrical release