- “Here comes Gordon!"
"And here comes big strong Henry!”
- ―Thomas and Henry
Big Strong Henry is the seventeenth episode of the tenth season.
Winter is coming to the Island of Sodor, and all the engines are preparing for the cold weather. Farmer McColl is building a new shed for his cows, and he needs lots of bricks, iron, and concrete to finish building it.
At Tidmouth Sheds, Sir Topham Hatt declares that he needs a strong engine to fetch them. Henry volunteers immediately, but Gordon intervenes, boasting he is stronger and that he will do the job. Even though Gordon and Henry are just about the same size, after careful thinking, Sir Topham Hatt decides that Gordon will pick up the building materials, and Henry will deliver the empty trucks for Gordon to collect. Henry is upset, but Percy, Emily, and Thomas all reassure Henry they know he is big and strong. Percy says Henry could pull ten trucks of sand, Emily says he could pull twenty coal trucks, and Thomas states that he could pull fifty flatbeds of iron and steel, and calls him "Big Strong Henry." Gordon is unimpressed, but Thomas tells him that Henry will show him, and Gordon sets off.
After delivering the empty trucks, Henry sets off, wondering how he can prove that he is strong like Gordon. He meets Percy at the water tower, and Percy tells Henry to pull five heavy trucks from the nearby line. So, Henry switches tracks and couples up, and he pulls the trucks forward just as Gordon pulls up. Gordon angrily orders Henry to put the trucks back, as they are his trucks to pick up for Farmer McColl later, and he steams away. Percy still believes that Henry is stronger than Gordon, making Henry feel much better.
Further down the track, Thomas is waiting. Thomas tells Henry of the many trucks loaded with hay bales on the siding, and Henry decides to pull them. He couples up and pulls them out of the siding, but because Henry is pulling so many heavy trucks at one time, he cannot stop them from pushing him down the hill. At a bend at the bottom of the hill, Henry derails and the trucks are smashed, leaving hay bales everywhere. Henry is left very upset.
Edward brings Rocky to help lift Henry back onto the track, as well as Sir Topham Hatt. He orders Henry to return the hay bales to where he found them, taking only one truck at a time. Henry is very miserable, as now he realizes he's not as strong as he thinks he is.
Meanwhile, Gordon has delivered all the materials for Farmer McColl, and Sir Topham Hatt tells him to go collect his cows. Gordon feels very proud of himself, boasting that he is indeed stronger than Henry but does not realise that the cattle truck doors are improperly shut. At the signal, Gordon meets up with Henry, who is still returning hay bales. Henry notices the cows escaping from Gordon's wagons, and Gordon does not know what to do. However, Henry sees that the cows are heading towards the hay on his flatbed, and he gets an idea. Henry slowly chuffs down the track towards Farmer McColl's farm, and the cows hungrily follow him all the way. Farmer McColl is very pleased that all his cows are safely home... except for one, who is still mooing at Gordon.
That night, Thomas and Percy apologize to Henry for getting him into trouble, but Henry accepts it as his fault for wanting to be "Big Strong Henry." However, Emily responds that he's something even better: "Very Helpful Henry." Henry smiles and states that even the strongest engine needs help sometimes, and asks Gordon if he agrees. But Gordon, embarrassed, does not answer and his face turns red as a signal.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Edward (does not speak)
- Rocky (does not speak)
- Farmer McColl (does not speak)
- James (cameo)
- Molly (cameo)
- George (cameo)
- Jem Cole (cameo)
- Farmer Trotter (cameo)
- Cyril the Fogman (cameo)
- It is possible that the field where Henry derailed is the same that James and Molly pass at the beginning of the episode, just removing the tree and putting a third track in its place.
- This marks George's last appearance until The Great Discovery, and currently his final episodic appearance.
- In the US, this episode aired before Edward Strikes Out, so the audience would not know who Rocky is.
- In a deleted picture, where Gordon, Molly, and James are passing by, the snowy tree is replaced by a third track.
- The narrator says Percy collected trucks of logs, but there was only one truck.
- Gordon's puffing sound is heard when Thomas says "Here comes Gordon" but it is not heard before or after Thomas said that.
- The narrator says that Henry pulled the trucks out of the sidings, even though they were in a mainline and he just pulled the trucks few centimetres from their original place.
- The track where the five trucks of hay stand dead ends in the bushes.