Thomas first met Hong-Mei during his passenger run after saying he is the number 1 engine. However, Hong-Mei points out she is China’s number 1 engine, and the two have a race to see who’s the better number 1.
Unbeknownst to Thomas, Hong-Mei has spilled her delivery of rocks as she races. This causes Thomas to derail on a shortcut line through the mountains. Hong-Mei comes to Thomas’ rescue, revealing she took the shortcut line as well and made Thomas come off the rails with her carelessness. She pulls Thomas back onto the tracks and the two engines decide that two number 1 engines are just as good as one number 1 engine.
Hong-Mei is a good-natured but cheeky tank engine from China who loves to race. She’s also blue like Thomas, and out to prove she’s the No. 1 blue engine!
Hong-Mei is based on the China Railways GJ 0-6-0T class. 122 members of this class were built and primarily saw industrial usage in places such as steelworks, with some remaining into service well into the 2000s. In addition to service in China, some members of the class worked in North Korea and Vietnam. Five are preserved.
Hong-Mei is painted blue with yellow lining and a red stripe along each of her side tanks. Her handrails, boiler bands and cylinder lining are brass, her wheels are red with light grey rims, and her number is painted on the sides of her tanks in yellow.
- Chipo Chung (UK/US)
- Hong-Mei's name means "red plum" in Chinese.
- Hong-Mei is painted with the number Yī, the Chinese equivalent to the number 1, on both of her water tanks.