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"Hello, Sir. My name is Hugo! I'm a rail-zeppelin."
— Hugo introducing himself to the Earl of Sodor

Engine of the Future is the twenty-third episode of the twentieth season.


On the Island of Sodor, a very unusual, fast engine has arrived on Sodor. He races past the narrow gauge engines, the mainline engines and the Fat Controller. When he arrives at the station at Ulfstead Castle, he introduces himself as Hugo. Sir Robert Norramby decides to go for a ride, so he climbs aboard and they set off.

At Knapford Station, James and Percy are believing rumours that Hugo is not really an engine. The Fat Controller asks Thomas to take him to Ulfstead Castle to find Hugo, which he does with Percy, James and Philip making up excuses to go see the engine as well. When they arrive, the Fat Controller can hardly believe what he is seeing. Although, he decides to ride him too. When Hugo starts up, Thomas and Stephen believe that he's amazing.

Hugo is discovered by James and Percy on the way, but Philip complains that he missed him. Back at the castle, the other engines think that Hugo will replace all of them, so they begin to worry. Hugo then returns to the castle and the Fat Controller is happy that he had a splendid ride.

Later that night, the engines are at Tidmouth Sheds and they talk about how worried they are. Emily says that she does not want to be replaced as she loves working on the railway, which James and Edward agree with. Henry does not want to be sent to the scrapyard and Gordon does not think he will be replaced at all. Just then, Hugo arrives at the sheds the first time and asks if there is room for him to rest, but the engines tell him that they are unfortunately full and attempt to scare him off by telling him off that they are for steam engines only. Before Hugo could get off the turntable, Percy is about to go out and make his mail delivery, so he offers him to stay in his shed, but Gordon denies it as he still does not want all the steam locomotives to be replaced. Fortunately, Hugo assures everyone that they will find a different location to sleep at, so he moves away.

Very early in the morning, the engines are still hostiling Hugo. He then wonders why they're all being rude to him and Thomas explains that it is only because he is trying to replace all the steam engines. He does not want to believe it. Percy then tells him that Stephen claimed that he can do whatever he wants, which makes him say that he does not have couplers, so he cannot pull trucks and coaches at all, and he moves away from them again. The engines, realising that they have hurt his feelings, feel terrible about how unkind they were to him, so they have to do something to cheer him up.

Later, Hugo is to take some important passengers from Knapford Station to Vicarstown. Percy is about to apologise to Hugo for what they did, but is already setting off. All day long, he carries passengers from one place to another.

That evening, Hugo comes back to Knapford Station, sees the engines again and they make up for the mistake they made by cheering for him and putting on a party. The Fat Controller wonders what the commotion is about and Thomas explains that they are putting on a welcome party for the new engine. Percy finally apologises to him for not being very nice to him and officially invites him to sleep with them at Tidmouth Sheds. Hugo is very grateful for what the engines are doing and they see it as a very friendly thing. At nighttime, he finally sleeps with the Steam Team at the sheds and dozes off to sleep.




  • A flashback from King of the Railway is used.
  • When Hugo arrives at Ulfstead Castle, the music heard is the opening fanfare of Also sprach Zarathustra composed by Richard Strauss.
  • Jules de Jongh voices Caitlin in this episode instead of Rebecca O'Mara.
    • This is also the first time since the fourteenth season to have Jules de Jongh as part of the UK cast.
  • This episode marks Lady Hatt's first speaking role since the seventeenth season episode, The Afternoon Tea Express.
  • When Hugo arrives at Ulfstead Castle, Sir Robert exclaims, "Great Scott!", possibly a reference to the Back to the Future character, Doctor Emmet Brown, who's catchphrase was "Great Scott!".


  • When the engines whistle at Hugo at Knapford station the first time, many of their whistles do not emit any steam.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese みらいのきかんしゃ Engine of the Future
Spanish El tren del futuro Train of the Future
Polish Lokomotywa Przyszłości Locomotive of the Future
Romanian Locomotiva viitorului Future Locomotive
Turkish Geleceğin Lokomotifi Locomotive of the Future
Czech Lokomotiva budoucnosti Locomotive of the Future
Portuguese A Locomotiva do Futuro The Locomotive of the Future
Russian Паровоз будущего Locomotive of the Future
Hebrew קטר העתיד Locomotive [of] the Future
Italian La Locomotiva Del Futuro The Engine Of The Future
Dutch De Locomotief van de Toekomst Locomotive of the Future

Home Media Releases


US DVD Boxsets


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