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Thomas the Tank Engine is the fictional character in Reverent Wilbert Awdry’s The Railway Series about steam locomotives. Thomas who is celebrated and well-loved by children the world over is also the lead character in the TV Show titled Thomas and Friends.

Mattel, the company who owns the rights to the series, recently announced that two new characters will be added to the gang of friends. One of the new additions is a girl train from Kenya named Nia.

Nia, whose name means “purpose” in Swahili, is set to appear for the first time in 2018 in a new season of the TV show titled Big World! Big Adventures!. The season, which is partly the result of a collaboration between Mattel and the UN, has Thomas traveling the world and making a stop in Kenya.

Nia is described as an “adventurous and fun engine who teaches Thomas about friendship.” Nia is modeled after an actual 1920s train in the Kenya-Uganga Railway fleet. Fans of the TV show should look out for her in episode 22.

Definitely exciting news for fans of  Thomas and the series.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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