Henry is a large mixed-traffic tender engine who usually looks after the goods work on the North Western Railway. Originally built as a hybrid between two engines, Henry was a failed design and had trouble steaming, which caused trouble for both him and the Fat Controller.

After an accident with the Flying Kipper, Henry was sent to Crewe, where he was rebuilt to a new, more powerful design, curing his steaming issues. He is a kind engine, but tends to be grumpy and vain, and is sometimes a bit of a worrier. Despite his problems, he always tries his best to be Really Useful.


The Railway Series

Henry's origins are shrouded in mystery; it is not known who built him, but what is known is that he was built using plans for Sir Nigel Gresley's A1 class, which were stolen by a rival builder. However, the spy sent to steal the plans blundered and stole the wrong plans, resulting in a hybrid between a Gresley A1 and a GNR C1 class. Henry proved to be a failed design, and in 1922, he was sold to the North Western Railway, which desperately needed another engine during its locomotive crisis.[1]

Henry was vain and shallow during his early years, and shortly after his arrival, he came to a stop in the Ballahoo Tunnel out of fear that the rain would spoil his paintwork. Despite numerous attempts to make him move, Henry refused to leave the tunnel, and he was left bricked up inside the tunnel. However, when Gordon burst his safety valve and Edward was unable to pull the Express by himself, Henry was allowed to come out of the tunnel, much to his delight. Henry helped Edward pull the Express and was rewarded with a new coat of blue paint, as his old livery had been spoiled during his stay in the tunnel.[2]

However, much to his annoyance, Henry found out that he had a superficial likeness to Gordon, and many people confused the two together. This was worsened during a visit to the Works, when Henry was given some of Gordon's spare parts when he needed repairs.[3] When he was offered a new coat of paint, Henry chose green again, thus putting an end to the Gordon/Henry confusion.

Unfortunately, Henry was left humiliated after he was sent to the tunnel to clear a blockage and was been hosed by an elephant he had accidentally frightened. After Gordon and James went through their own troubles, Henry went on strike with the two engines; he refused to do his work properly, and when he did, he behaved badly. The Fat Controller shut the big engines up in the sheds and had Thomas, Edward and Percy do their work for them. After several days of being left in the shed, Henry began to feel sorry, and was allowed to come out of the sheds.[4]

Henry had always been a poor steamer since he was first built, but his stay in the tunnel made things worse; he was often short of steam and was weaker than the other engines, and moaned about this to the other engines. Unfortunately for him, Henry found little sympathy, especially when his trains were late.

During a period when the Main Line engines were given a shipment of poor coal, Henry suffered the worst. Despite numerous attempts to cure his steaming problems, Henry could only pull trains sporadically, and was sometimes unable to pull trains at all. At last, the Fat Controller decided to look into the matter personally, and asked for the opinion of Henry's Fireman during a passenger run. The Fireman explained that Henry's firebox was too small and lacked the size to burn the coal efficiently, and suggested purchasing the high-grade Welsh coal used on the Great Western Railway. Although he knew the Welsh coal was expensive, the Fat Controller agreed to buying some in order to give Henry a fair chance.

When the Welsh coal came, Henry's performance vastly improved; he now had the strength to pull trains, and was almost comparable to Gordon in terms of strength. The Fat Controller offered him the chance of pulling the Express if he pulled the "Flying Kipper" well, but on the night that he was to take the Flying Kipper, Henry was badly damaged when he collided into a goods train at Killdane, as the points had been left frozen by the ice and snow. Henry was sent to Crewe Works in 1935 and was rebuilt drastically, returning to Sodor as a Stanier 5MT.

Thomas & Friends

During his early years, Henry was afraid of the rain, and once ran into the Ballahoo Tunnel out of fear that the rain would spoil his paintwork. Despite many attempts to make him move, Henry refused to come out of the tunnel, even when the rain had passed. Henry was left bricked up in the tunnel, but was allowed to come out when Gordon burst his safety valve and could not pull the Express.

However, Henry never truly got over his fear of the rain, even after his stay in the tunnel. When he arrived on Sodor, Thomas spoke to Henry about his fear, but Henry brushed it off, claiming he hardly worried at all. When Henry fell ill one morning, Thomas took his morning train for him, but blundered when he left the station before he could be coupled up.

When it began to storm one day, Henry refused to leave the sheds, even though he had a passenger train that was waiting at the station for him. Thomas went to the sheds to see him, and tried to help Henry get over his phobia by showing him that rain was only water and that it would not harm him. Thomas' plan worked, and Henry finally managed to get over his fear of the rain once and for all.[5]

Whilst taking the Flying Kipper along the Main Line, Henry was left startled when he spotted a ghostly-looking sailboat coasting along down the track. He was told by Salty that he had come across the "Lost Pirate", who was searching for his buried treasure. Henry continued to come across the phantom boat and ran away from it several times, but was unaware that it was only Skiff.[6]

When the Great Railway Show was being held on the Mainland, Henry was taken to the show to represent Sodor in the strength competition. However, Henry ended up losing the event, and told Philip that he came in last place when the diesel boxcab went over to congratulate him.[7]

Personality and Traits

Technical Details



Background Information

Shape Consistency

Two Henrys?


The Railway Series

Thomas & Friends




Wiki-wordmark The Henry article has a Photo Gallery.


  1. The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways
  2. The Three Railway Engines
  3. The Railway Series: Surprise Packet
  4. Troublesome Engines
  5. The Adventure Begins
  6. Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure
  7. The Great Race
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