Thomas the Tank Engine is partly to blame for a 'scandalous' lack of female train drivers, the shadow transport secretary has said.
The lastingly popular children's books - later made into television shows - were written in Rodborough by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry.
Christopher Awdry, Wilbert’s son for whom the books were originally written, subsequently added further books to the series, one including an engine named Wilbert the Forest Engine, which resides at the Dean Forest Railway in the Forest of Dean.
But Labour MP Mary Creagh thinks the stories are part of the reason only 1,000 women are employed as train drivers today, equivalent to 4.2 per cent.
Mrs Creagh said: "In the Thomas the Tank Engine books there are almost no female engines. The only female characters are an annoyance, a nuisance and in some cases a danger to the functioning of the railway.
"There is a preponderance of men in the transport industry and I am very keen to unpack some of the myths that stop women from taking up what are often highly paid and highly skilled jobs."
She did, however, add that Thomas is full of "wonderful stories" and is "incredibly popular".