It has since been revealed by Christopher Awdry that the book had been created in the 1980s. The book was to be a follow-up to Wilbert the Forest Engine, with the Fat Controller obtaining the new loco he hoped for.
The Austerity Engine may have appeared.
- According to Chapter 15 of The Thomas the Tank Engine Man entitled "Really Useful Engines", Christopher Awdry explains that he submitted the outline for Barry, but the response from the young fans was that they wanted Thomas and his friends, not anymore new engines. So he quoted: "But, I haven't altogether given up; you could say Barry is dead but not yet buried!"
- Additionally, it has also been suggested that the publishers demanded to have more Thomas centric books. This was likely compounded by the fact that, at the time, the television series based on the books was running strong and had catapulted Thomas into the spotlight.