Labour's shadow transport secretary has claimed the popular children's series Thomas the Tank Engine "perpetuates cultural stereotypes about the sort of work men and women do."
Mary Creagh, who is campaigning for more women in the train industry, told the Daily Telegraph:
Thomas, the fictional steam locomotive, was created in 1946. The majority of the main characters in the popular TV and book series, are male.
But Thomas has two coaches, called Annie and Clarabel, who often warn him of potential hazards.
This episode of the TV show Thomas & Friends starred an engine called Emily:
Ms Creagh praised Undergound Ernie, the popular animated series on CBeebies which includes more prominent female train engines and other characters, but added that "again it is called Underground Ernie, not Underground Rosie."
She later took to Twitter to explain her argument further:
She is calling on the industry to do more to recruit female drivers, including targeting adverts in women's magazines and offering more flexible hours for childcare.
The train drivers' union Aslef, which is also campaigning on the same issue, says around 4.2 per cent of train drivers are women.
Hit Entertainment, the company which owns the rights to Thomas & Friends, admitted to the Telegraph that there was a "historical imbalance", but said more female engines are "in development" and that "every engine has a job to do...gender is irrelevant."