|James and the Diesel Engines|
1984 - present
James and the Diesel Engines is the twenty-eighth book of the Railway Series.
To hear James talk sometimes you might have thought that he ran the Fat Controller's Railway on his own. He certainly needed no help from diesels - or so he imagined. The other engines were more sensible, and realised that diesels could take some of the weight off their own couplings. But now the Fat Controller tells me that James has had a change of heart. These stories tell you how it happened.
BoCo is showing a visiting diesel around the line. When the diesel finds he is to share a shed with steam engines, he is disgusted and insults them, leading James to nickname him "Old Stuck-Up". The diesel sleeps outside the shed, and, when he wakes up the next day, remembers he has to refuel and be cleaned. In the part of the shed where BoCo and Bear sleep is a cleaning stop. The diesel decides to use it, but goes forward too quickly, slips on the oily rails and crashes into the back of the shed.
The engines are fed up with James' complaining about diesels having two cabs and boasting about his importance. He becomes worse than ever when he has to take a goods train one misty day. James has to whistle to alert the signalman to switch the points, but another engine whistles first and the confused signalman switches the points as a wellwagon is going over them, causing it to go sideways into a signal.
During a discussion about paint one night, Henry remarks he is thankful he doesn't look like a fire-engine, like James, but James makes a crafty rejoinder and the joke turns to Henry. Henry, furious, broods over paying James out and bangs around so much the coupling on his tender breaks, with the movement knocking part of Henry's fire onto the line. Edward comes to take Henry's train and tells the others. James notes that Henry has never made comments about fire engines since.
One wintery day, James takes on too much water at Crovan's Gate and his injector fails. A diesel comes to the rescue, and although James feels humiliated at first, he quickly befriends the diesel and has since never made fun of diesels.
- Old Stuck-Up
- The Fat Controller
- The Works Diesel (does not speak)
- Edward (does not speak)
- Douglas (does not speak)
- Bear (does not speak)
- Toby (mentioned)
- Mavis (mentioned)
- Flying Scotsman (mentioned)
- King James I (mentioned)
- This book features the last appearance of the old Tidmouth Sheds with eight berths.
- In the second illustration of "Old Stuck-Up", Henry does not have buffers.
- In the first and second illustrations of "Fire-Engine", Donald speaks but only Douglas is seen.
- James' cab roof is red.