It was springtime on Sodor. All of the engines were working hard, but they weren't too busy, since tourist season hadn't started yet. That day, all the engines were excited.
Sir Topham Hatt had sent Edward and Gordon to a heritage railway on the south coast to bring attention to steam preservation. They had only just returned that day, and all the engines wanted to go to Tidmouth Sheds to hear about their adventure.
When Thomas had finished his duties on the branch line, he asked his driver if he could head to Tidmouth, too. The driver asked the signalman's permission, and he said yes. Thomas couldn't wait to hear from Edward and Gordon. He wanted to ask them a question that had bothered him for a long time.
When Thomas arrived, Murdoch, Rosie, and Henry were already there.
"Well, to get there, we double-headed a special down the Southern. Not the old Southern, mind you, but a new one," Edward was saying.
"You should have seen the looks on those diesels' faces when they saw us!" chuckled Gordon. "We arrived in the middle of a big celebration. There were so many engines! You should have been there!
"Oh, and Murdoch," said Edward, "we saw one of your sisters there. A 9F. Not Eve, another one. She asked about you."
"What did you say?" asked Murdoch.
"I told here you were up for scrapping!" Edward joked. "No, I told her that you were settling in fine here."
"I am," said Murdoch happily.
"There was a Black Five, too, Henry," said Gordon. "He told me to tell you that you make your brothers proud."
Henry turned red and smiled.
"There was even a Dock Tank!" exclaimed Edward. "She couldn't believe it when I told her she had a sister here on Sodor."
Rosie beamed from ear to ear.
"Was there an E2?" asked Thomas. Gordon raised his eyebrows, and Edward and Henry exchanged glances.
"Um . . . no. Sorry, there weren't any E2s there," said Gordon hastily.
"What railways have E2s?" asked Thomas.
"Er . . . Ah . . ." Edward tried to answer.
"What's going on?" asked Thomas. "I just want to know about my brothers and sisters."
Just then, James steamed in. "James," asked Thomas, "what happened to my brothers and sisters, the E2s?"
"Oh, they were all scrapped. I thought you knew, Thomas. You're the only survivor," said James nonchalantly.
"James!" exclaimed Edward.
"What? He's almost a hundred years old. He had to find out some time!"
Thomas gasped as the news sunk in. It struck him like a hammer blow. He was the last of his kind. The only survivor.
His driver sensed a problem and backed him away. "Come on Thomas, let's get you some coal and water."
Thomas rolled away, but the engines couldn't forget the look on his face.
Rosie and Murdoch had already left in a hurry, leaving just the four big engines.
"James, how could you be so insensitive?" demanded Edward angrily.
"Edward, you're the last of your kind too! And no one's even heard of the K2s!" replied James indignantly.
"But Thomas is different! He was younger than I was when I heard about my class!"
"That's a lie! You were, like, thirty! He was fifty!"
"But, but, but . . ." Edward spluttered.
"Thomas has always been a bit . . . less mature than us," said Gordon. "It's the way tank engines are."
"That's not to say he's a baby," said Henry, "but he's a bit more . . . sheltered than we were."
"He did have to find out sooner or later," said Edward quietly. "But not like that."
"Don't forget," said James. "I'm the last of my kind too. And I knew my sibling better than you or Thomas did."
Edward said nothing.
"He's probably headed back to his branch line," said Henry.
"I'll go talk to him," said Edward thoughtfully. "James, come with me. You two, stay here and see if you find Molly. If you do, tell her to head to Ffarquar. Toby should be up there already."
Edward's driver seemed to understand Edward's plan and ran to clear it with the signalman.
Night was falling. Thomas sat by himself in a siding beside some coal trucks in the shunting yards at Ffarquar.
Last of your kind. The only survivor. The words ran through his head endlessly.
"Well, I guess I did have to find out eventually," he said bitterly.
He heard puffing and looked up. "Go away!" he shouted. "I don't want to talk to anybody right now!"
"But we want to talk to you," said Edward, drawing forwards. Beside him were James, Molly, and Toby.
Thomas was a sad sight indeed. He hadn't bothered to get a washdown, so he was filthy. The coal dust in the air hadn't helped. He faces was covered in tears.
"See, Thomas," said Toby gently, "We've all been in your place. I'm the only J70, James is the last 28, Edward's the only K2, and there aren't any Claud Hamiltons left except Molly."
"We know how you feel," added James.
"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?" screamed Thomas. "YOU ALL FOUND OUT RIGHT AWAY, BUT YOU HIDE IT FROM ME! DO YOU THINK I'M STUPID? THAT YOU COULD JUST HIDE IT FOREVER?"
"Certainly not!" said Edward. "We just thought it would be . . . best if we waited."
"And we kept putting it off . . ." said Toby.
"We would've told you eventually," said James.
"Some friends you are," sniffed Thomas. "You think you get to decide what I should find out?"
"We're sorry, Thomas. We really are," said Toby. "But we want to tell you something."
"I only arrived a few years ago," said Molly, "but Sodor is my home now. I love it here. I found something I hadn't had in a long time - a family."
"See, Thomas, you might be the last of your class, but you're still here," said Toby.
"You have a job, and friends, and a home," said James.
"You have us," said Edward.
Thomas said nothing for several minutes. At last, he smiled.
"And I'm glad to have you."