1. ITV Report

Flying Scotsman on track to star in new 'more diverse' Thomas the Tank Engine film

Thomas is set to get some new friends

The Flying Scotsman is to make an appearance representing the UK in a new Thomas the Tank Engine film that aims to take a more global perspective.

In the new animated film, Thomas And Friends: The Great Race, engines from around the world gather to complete at the Great Railway Show.

The UK's representative will be the Flying Scotsman, the express passenger train that has been running between Edinburgh and London since 1862, and which, it turns out, is Gordon's brother.

The story-line will allow the well-loved children's series to become more diverse, and features characters such as Ashima from India and Raul from Brazil.

Featured among 13 new international friends for Thomas will be Axel of Belgium, Shane of Australia, Carlos of Mexico and Yong Bao of China.

Toy-maker Mattel brought the brand in 2012 with plans to make it more diverse and the new film is on track to do just that.

Four of the new characters - who join the more established cast of trains such as Gordon and Percy - will be female.

Axel of Belgium

Ashima, voiced in the film by Bolywood star Tina Desai, is described as being as fast or faster than Thomas.

It is unclear how Thomas will react to that.

Raul from Brazil

Desai, who who starred in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, said: "With new characters from around the world, the film has a wonderfully diverse and multi-cultural feel that I hope every child should be able to relate to and be inspired by in some way."

  • Watch the trailer for Thomas And Friends The Great Race:

Thomas The Tank Engine was originally created more then 70 years ago by the British clergyman Rev W Awdry, as a storybook for his son.

The new musical adventure will be the 11th feature-length Thomas And Friends film.

Shane of Australia

Thomas And Friends: The Great Race is due to be released in May.