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“Now if I had two tenders I wouldn't have to stop so often, and I wouldn't have to listen to silly little engines!”

Tender Engines is the twentieth episode of the third season. In the US, it aired on the Shining Time Station episode, Mr. Conductor's Movie in 1993.


Gordon gets tired of being given advice by the other engines while taking on coal and water and claims that big engines have big needs and little engines are just annoying. Later, Gordon is impressed when he sees a visitor with two tenders and says that if he had two tenders, he would not need to stop as often, nor be teased.

However, he becomes depressed when Diesel gloats the diesels' victory over steam engines on the mainland. His mood worsens when Duck and Henry tease him about boiler-ache. He perks up when he is told by the Fat Controller that he will never be scrapped on his railway and that the visitor had two tenders due to the lack of coal and water in between stations on the Mainland, but while Gordon feels much better, Henry is cross and grumbles that he deserves two tenders for his work.

Duck, planning a trick, coerces Henry into pulling some spare tenders. Henry is delighted, but is less than thrilled when he finds out that they are dirty, old and filled with boiler sludge, much to the other engines' amusement. As Henry grudgingly pulls them through the station, he is teased back by Gordon with the same insults he had used earlier.




  • This episode is based on the story Tenders for Henry from The Railway Series book, Enterprising Engines.
  • A photograph from this episode was released as a Royal Mail stamp in 2011 to mark the Reverend Awdry Centenary.
  • One of Henry's "tenders" has LMS written on the side, a possible reference to his basis, the LMS Black 5 Class. Some of the other tenders have "NE" on the sides, indicating that they are North Eastern Railway 4,200 gallon tenders.
  • Flying Scotsman was originally intended to have a larger role in this episode, but due to budgetary constraints the entire locomotive model could not be constructed.
  • This marks Diesel's last speaking role until the sixth season episode, The World's Strongest Engine.
  • This episode marks the only appearance of the Flying Scotsman before The Great Race.
  • This is the first episode in which one of the Scottish twins appears without the other. In this case, Donald appears without Douglas.
  • The modern television description refers to Flying Scotsman as 'a two-engine', instead of referring to him as having multiple tenders.


  • When James first arrives at the coal chute to speak to Gordon, his pony truck is derailed.
  • When James leaves the coal loader, his eyes are wonky.
  • Flying Scotsman's second tender is a standard LNER corridor tender when it should be an auxiliary water tender.
  • When Henry bangs the trucks, one bounces upwards.
  • Henry's face is loose when he complains about always working hard enough for two tenders.
  • In the restored version, when Henry passes over the viaduct, Percy is seen on the track below. As Percy exits the shot, a shadow passes over the set. This is presumably a "crew-member's" hand picking up Percy before he falls off the set.
  • Before Henry comes out with the tenders, James' first wheel is crooked.
  • Henry passes Thomas twice while pulling the tenders.
  • In the restored version, a tripod camera is seen when Gordon says "Don't be vulgar!"
  • Studio equipment can be seen when Gordon leaves Tidmouth.


Home Media Releases


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