“We'll show that red rotter!”

Big Ideas! is a magazine story.


James has been tasked with pulling a heavy goods train and is not pleased at all. Later that day, James meets Peter Sam at a point where the standard and narrow gauge tracks meet. Peter Sam tells James all about a water-skiing display on the lake and how unfortunate it is that James is too big to come and see it. James is very rude in his reply and states that little engines can only carry little loads. Peter Sam ignores James and leaves.

Later, a big landslide crashes down over the narrow gauge line, blocking the track. Peter Sam is worried because they won't be able to clear it in time for the display on the lake. Rusty has an idea and the two of them set off urgently with empty trucks to meet James, who had fetched some engineers and new track. James is rude to the little engines again, repeating his statement about little engines only being able to carry little loads. Then, Skarloey shows up to help take James' load. The little engines leave for the worksite and the engineers worked around the clock to clear the blockage and repair the track.

It was very late when Peter Sam took the workmen back to James. The rude red engine stares in amazement as he sees four more little engines arrive with their enormous lines of heavy trucks. Rusty tells James that lots of little engines make light work and James has to admit that, for little engines, they certainly have big ideas!



  • The 2010 release is slightly rewritten and removes the exclamation mark from the title.


  • Rusty is said to have "chuffed" and is seen letting off steam in one illustration, but Rusty is a diesel.
  • Peter Sam has his old funnel.
  • Peter Sam's trucks are scaled down standard gauge trucks.