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Henry Gets the Express

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"Express coming through!"
"But that's my line!
— Henry and Gordon

Henry Gets the Express is the third episode of the twentieth season.


One morning, Gordon is not ready to leave the sheds, as his firebox had not been cleaned out the previous night. Thomas tells Gordon not to be surprised if another engine replaces him for the express and suggests that Henry could do it based on his own experience, but Gordon doubts that Henry would be capable of doing it, claiming that things have changed since the last time he pulled the express. When Henry becomes nervous, Thomas cheers him up, and the two engines leave the sheds.

Thomas brings the coaches to Knapford, where the Fat Controller is waiting for Gordon. Thomas tells him that Gordon is not ready for the express and suggests that Henry fill in for him, to which the Fat Controller agrees, believing it will teach Gordon a lesson.

Gordon finally has his firebox cleaned out and arrives at Knapford to fetch his train, but finds the Fat Controller there instead. The Fat Controller scolds Gordon for not leaving the sheds, and assigns him to goods work for the rest of the day, much to Gordon's horror.

Meanwhile, Henry is making good time with the express, and his passengers and the railway staff are impressed by his affability. Gordon, on the other hand, is not enjoying his work, and grumpily arrives at Brendam Docks with his goods train, only to be given a train of coal as soon as he arrives. As Gordon is taking the coal train, he stops at a junction to allow Henry to pass by with the express, and becomes annoyed when Henry mimics him.

When Gordon returns to Knapford, he asks the Fat Controller if he can go back to pulling the express, but the Fat Controller tells him that he has to the Blue Mountain Quarry. Rheneas greets Gordon when he arrives at the quarry, but Gordon is still feeling cross. As Gordon begins to leave, the trucks put on their brakes, then release them and cause Gordon to hit a buffer stop. Gordon is finally fed up with his work and orders to be uncoupled at once.

That night, Henry returns to the sheds, and tells Gordon that he will be more than happy to let him pull the express again. Gordon begins to grumble about the work he had to do, when the Fat Controller arrives at the sheds and scolds Gordon for not doing all of his jobs earlier that day. He then orders Gordon to pull the Flying Kipper as a punishment, and threatens to make Henry the express engine permanently if he does not do it. Thomas and Henry tease Gordon by claiming that the Flying Kipper is not an easy job, but Gordon is determined to prove them wrong and leaves the sheds.

When Gordon returns to the sheds the next morning, the Fat Controller tells him that he can go back to being the express engine again. Gordon is delighted, but when the other engines notice how smelly he is, he leaves to be washed. Henry jokes about this, and all the engines laugh.


A passenger also speaks. He is voiced by Rob Rackstraw in the UK dub.



  • The mentioning of James taking the Flying Kipper is a reference to the seventeenth season episode, The Smelly Kipper and/or the special, Tale of the Brave.
  • According to Helen Farrall, Rheneas' role was originally intended for Peter Sam, but this was changed during the final stages of the episode's development.
  • A remix of the first several notes of the "Watermill Theme" can be heard at the very beginning of the episode.
  • When Gordon leaves the shed to take the Flying Kipper, a slow remix of Ashima's sad theme is heard. 
  • This is the first episode where Rheneas is voiced by John Hasler.


  • When Gordon pulls up next to Cranky, his brake van changes from a grey one to a brown one. Also when Gordon couples up to the coal trucks, his previous train on the other track disappears.
  • Paxton can be seen on the upper terraces of the Blue Mountain Quarry, but there are no standard gauge rails up there. As the trucks say "Not so useful!" Paxton disappears, then reappears in the following shot.
  • When Gordon is asked to pull "the Flying Kipper" and he reverses back into the shed to sulk, he goes back way too far, indicating he passed the buffers at the back of the shed.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ヘンリーか?ゴードンか? Henry or Gordon?

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