Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia

The Flying Kipper

5,966pages on
this wiki
This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the train or the Philippine DVD.
"The Kipper is due."
"Who cares? This is good cocoa!
— The guard and fireman
The Flying Kipper

David Mitton


David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona


Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


Ringo Starr (UK/US)
George Carlin (US)

Air date

December 4th,
1984 (UK)
April 30th,
1987 (AUS)
April 2nd,
1989 (US)
August 7th,
1990 (JAP)
June 3rd,
1993 (George
Carlin US

Previous episode

Henry's Special Coal

Next episode

Whistles and

The Flying Kipper is the nineteenth episode of the first season. In the US, this episode aired on Shining Time Station episodes Happy Accidents and Dan's Big Race.


One night in winter, after his day's work is done, Henry is told by his driver that they will be leaving early in the morning to pull "The Flying Kipper", a train from the quay that carries fish from the harbour to the mainland. The driver tells Henry that his special coal is working so well that if he pulls the Flying Kipper nicely the Fat Controller will let him pull the express, a thought that makes Henry very happy.

Early next morning, Henry arrives at the quay ready to pick up the Flying Kipper. Everything goes very smoothly and Henry leaves the harbour without a hitch. After getting the vans to come along quickly and quietly, Henry quickly begins to enjoy his journey marvelling at the countryside as the sun rises.

Soon Henry comes to a yellow signal indicating caution. Henry's driver initially prepares to stop, until he sees the signal is down meaning that the line ahead is clear. With that, the driver allows Henry to continue at full speed. What the driver does not know, however, is that the points from the main line to a siding had been frozen, and the signal, which should have been set at "danger", had been forced down by snow.

In the siding is a goods train which had pulled in to let the Flying Kipper pass and the engine's crew is enjoying cocoa in the brakevan. However the crew notices that it is nearly time for Henry to pass by, so the crew leaves to return to their engine. Their escape comes just in time, as Henry comes flying down the siding at full speed and, unable to stop, crashes straight into the train causing a massive wreck which completely destroys the brakevan and causes Henry to derail.

A few hours later, the clean-up effort is underway. Henry's driver and fireman had jumped clear before the crash, but Henry is left on his side dazed. The Fat Controller comes to talk to Henry and kindly reassures him that the accident was not his fault, but was caused by the weather. He then tells Henry that he is going to be sent to Crewe, an excellent place for sick engines. As well as repairing him, they will also give him a brand new shape and a larger firebox. As a result, Henry will feel much better and will not need special coal anymore.

A few weeks later, Henry returns from Crewe. Although he enjoyed his time there, he is happy to return to the Island of Sodor. A lot of people wait at the station to welcome him home and see him in his new shape. When he rides through, he looks so splendid and strong that the crowd gives him three cheers much to Henry's gratitude. A lot of children are now often late for school as they want to wait to see Henry ride by and often see him pulling the express. He is able to pull it so well that Gordon feels jealous, but that's another story.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book, Henry the Green Engine.
  • One of the workmen at the harbour resembles Ringo Starr.
  • While the narrator talks about the harbour, there is an engine seen moving in the background, this is presumed to be Marklin.
  • The crash in this episode is most likely based on a real event that occurred in 1876 at Abbots Ripton in Huntingdonshire (now in Cambridgeshire), England. 
  • Upon closer inspection, the engine at the front of the goods train appears to be James.
  • This was the only episode to keep its two yellow splits transitioning from the intro when it was aired individually.
  • Henry no longer has wheel arches after his rebuild, but he later regains them in the following season.


  • Henry's eyes jitter in the close-up of him in the shed.
  • Henry gains two lamps after he leaves the harbour, and loses one near his left side that was seen before he left the harbour.
  • In two scenes, Henry's lamps are obviously small light bulbs, as they stick out. Some blue wires can also be seen attached to the lights.
  • Henry's lamps are removed for the crash and then put back on after he derailed.
  • The track beside the goods train disappears and reappears several times.
  • In the last close-up of Henry, he is in his old shape. In the previous episode, there was a nearly identical close-up of Henry in his new shape. From this, it can be judged that the episodes were filmed concurrently and the editors mixed up the footage. In the same shot, a small gap can be seen between Henry's eye and his face mask, and some sticker lining on his cylinder is peeling off.
  • In the US version, the term "guard" is used at one point.
  • The arrangement of the trucks in the Flying Kipper changes when Henry is diverted onto the siding.
  • Henry is partially in his new shape with his second dome when he crashes.
  • As Henry approaches the green light, the edge of the set can be seen ahead.
  • There is a hand pushing Henry when he crashes into the goods train.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Spanish El Pez Volador The Flying Fish
German Der fliegende Bückling The Flying Kipper
Norwegian Den flyvende laks The Flying Salmon
Welsh Y Trên Penwaig The Train Herring
Dutch De Vliegende Vis The Flying Fish
Italian Lo Scambio Ghiacciato Icy Exchange
Japanese フライング・キッパー The Flying Kipper
Finnish Funky Silli A Funky Herring
French Le hareng volant The Flying Herring
Croatain Leteći Bakalar Flying Cod
Brazilian Portuguese O Peixe Voador The Flying Fish
Danish Flyvefisken Flying Fish



Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki