There was one unnamed red engine featured in The Railway Series. Three more unnamed red engines appeared in the magazine stories.

The First Red Engine


The First Red Engine
  • Class: L&YR Class 28
  • Builder: Horwich Works
  • Designer: George Hughes
  • Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
  • Configuration: 2-6-0, originally 0-6-0
  • Top Speed: 70 mph

This red engine once tried to push Henry out of a tunnel, but without success. It is unknown what happened to the engine following this event.

This engine was originally illustrated to be James. However, children wrote to the Reverend asking why James was red before he got repainted in the third book. With all the confusion, Awdry decided that it was not James, but was instead a different character altogether.


The engine's personality is somewhat unknown; it is possible he/she is a helpful and obedient sort, having tried to push Henry out of the tunnel, by order of the Fat Director.


This engine is based on an L&YR Class 28 with an added pony truck, a Belpaire firebox and a Fowler tender, very much like James. However it might have been the same basis as the first one, since the earlier illustrations showed him/her as a 4-6-2.


This engine is painted red with yellow and black lining. He/she has red wheels and a red dome.


Railway Series


  • In the original, Middleton illustrations, the first and second red engines were depicted as the same character, hence them having had the same wheel configuration.
  • The engine's role in The Sad Story of Henry was replaced by Thomas when the story was adapted into the television series. Ironically, James took his/her role in the special, The Adventure Begins.


The Red Tank Engines

The Red Tank Engines
  • Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)

Two Red Tank Engines appeared in a magazine story. They were never named and their origins are not known.


Both Engines are painted red with yellow lining and black wheels.

The Picture Engine


The Picture Engine
  • Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)

A Red Tender Engine once appeared on a picture in the Fat Controller's office.

This engine appeared in Thomas and the Tiger.


The Picture Engine is painted red, with black lining and a black smokebox.

* RWS only | ** T&F only