Eileen Gibb was the author of a series of books featuring 'The Adventures of Sammy the Shunter' which were published by Ian Allan in a small, oblong format similar to the railway stories of the Reverend W. Awdry, whose 'Thomas the Tank Engine' the series closely resembled. The stories were still being reprinted in the 1970s.
Their author was Eileen Holder, born Eileen Mabel Gibb in Croydon, Surrey, on 3 August 1911, the daughter of Benjamin Gibb and his wife Mabel. During the Second World War, she was secretary to Sir Kenneth Clark,
where she met and became friends with many eminent artists, including
Henry Moore, Stanley Spencer and writers such as Philip Larkin.
After the Great War, "Captain Jack" (as he was known), moved to Keeping House in Beaulieu, Hampshire, taking the miniature railway and the bridge with him. Queen Mary and King George V were filmed taking a ride on a miniature railway at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924 to show that they were "one of the people", and shots of John Holder driving the train are often shown in programmes about the royal couple. (A brief, silent [but rather noisy!] British Pathe film with a clip is available on YouTube.)
For Robin, Eileen Gibb wrote stories featuring a new character called 'Tubby the Odd-Job Engine' which starred another Thomas look-alike. The series, launched in the first issue (28 March 1954) was illustrated for many years by Arthur W. Baldwin who had been associated with the Sammy the Shunter books. After a year or so, the short Tubby yarns began alternating with other characters ('Tracey the Tug Boat', 'Basil Bus Stop', etc.) but continued to appear until volume 14 (1966) when the series took on a wider focus and became 'Honeytown Tales', still featuring Tubby but also giving more space to other inhabitants of Honeytown.
I've yet to establish when the series ended but it was probably around the time that Robin folded in 1969. The few records that remain relating to Robin indicate that these later stories, published in the 1960s, were by actor Donald Bissett.
But what of Eileen Gibb? She made a number of contributions to Robin Annual (3-8, 1955-60) but beyond that seems to have given up writing in the early- to mid-1960s. After
her writing finished she engaged her creativity in many different forms,
including woodworking, pottery and painting. She was an artist in one form or another until her final stroke. She died in 2003, aged 92.
The Adventures of Sammy the Shunter:
1 Sammy Gets Streamlined. London, Ian Allan, Dec 1949.
2 Sammy Goes to the Circus. London, Ian Allan, Sep 1950.
3 Sammy Goes to Sea. 1951?
4 Sammy Goes to America. London, Ian Allan, Nov 1951.
5 Sammy Goes to Fairyland. London, Ian Allan, Aug 1952.
6 Sammy Meets Father Christmas, illus. Arthur W. Baldwin. London, Ian Allan, Nov 1952.
7 Sammy and the Old Engines. London, Ian Allan, Jun 1954.
8 Sammy Joins the Scouts. London, Ian Allan, Jun 1955.
9 Sammy Goes to the Pole, 1957?
Sammy the Shunter Bumper Book, illus. Jack Atkins. London, Ian Allan, Oct 1954.
Sammy Saves a Railway Line, illus. Jack Atkins. London, Ian Allan, 1965.
Billy the Bus series:
1 Billy and the Robbers, illus. Arthur W. Baldwin. Hampton Court, Surrey, Ian Allan, Feb 1953.
2 Billy Goes Exploring. London, Ian Allan, May 1953.
Sammy Rhymes series:
1 Sammy Goes to School. London, Ian Allan, Jul 1953.
2 Sammy Sees the Doctor. London, Ian Allan, Feb 1954.
Tubby the Odd-Job Engine, illus. Jill Franksen. London, Hulton Press, 1959.
My Trains Book. London, Ian Allan, 1953 (contains 'The Holiday Train' and 'Sammy on the Christmas Tree' by Eileen Gibb).
(The Sammy the Shunter covers I grabbed from a 2007 eBay sale. Tubby the Odd-Job Engine is from Robin Annual 5 (1957) and is © Look and Learn Magazine Ltd. Originally published 27 April 2007. My thanks to Carolyn Holder for supplying additional information for this update.)