Christopher Awdry was born in Devizes, Wiltshire in 1940, the son of the Rev. Wilbert Awdry, author of the Thomas the Tank Engine stories, and his wife Margaret. Awdry caught the measles at the age of two and while he was sick, his father told him stories about a train engine that would become the first stories of the Railway Series, and Thomas the Tank Engine. Awdry's father's last book in the series was published in 1972. Ten years later Awdry was writing articles for Steam Railway as well as some of Thomas stories for his son Richard. Awdry's father suggested that he send his stories to a publisher, who published them in 1983 as Really Useful Engines. After that, Awdry wrote a book a year for the Railway Series until 1996, as well as other books about Thomas the Tank Engine. Awdry is also President of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society as well as President of the Corris Railway Society, the Dean Forest Railway and the Furness Model Railway Club.