- “Usually, I take the dragon to the big square, but as you're a guest on our railway, I think you should have the honour!”
- ―Yong Bao to Thomas
Yong Bao (Chinese: 勇寶 or 勇宝) is a Chinese engine who took part in The Great Railway Show, competing in the Best Decorated Engine parade.
Long before Yong Bao went to the Great Railway Show, he worked in a station yard on his homeland railway, longing to pull passenger trains and constantly teased by the other engines. One day, a tiger snuck into the yard, with Yong Bao left fascinated by it and searching for it for many days. During the winter, he found it again and followed it along the tracks; leading him to save one of his fellow engines from falling off a cliff with hundreds of passengers on board. For his selfless bravery, Yong Bao awarded a new coat of Chinese red paint with yellow lining and a tiger emblem on his tender.
Yong Bao was invited to take part in the Great Railway Show's Best Decorated Engine Parade. He, along with the other eleven contenders, accidentally arrived on Sodor after the rail ferry they were on made a wrong stop at Brendam Docks instead of the Mainland. Yong Bao promptly returned to the ferry after realising this.
After the Great Railway show ended, Yong Bao left the Mainland and returned to China.
Yong Bao is a kind and faithful tender engine from China, who pulls passenger coaches. He may not be the biggest tender engine or the strongest, but he once cleverly diverted an accident saving hundreds of passengers. Yong Bao was decorated for his bravery and painted bright red, which is a colour that symbolises celebration and happiness. Painted on his tender is a tiger which incites a sense of awe and admiration. Like Yong Bao, the tiger is full of life and embodies the spirit of being driven to achieve and make progress. These qualities make Yong Bao a Really Useful Engine.
Yong Bao is based on a Chinese Railways RM class 4-6-2 Pacific, which were built by CSR Sifang Co Ltd between 1958 and 1966. Used in passenger service, these engines were eventually taken out of service by more powerful steam and diesel locomotives on the Chinese rail system. Three members of this class have been preserved; 1001 is on display at the China Railway Museum in Beijing, 1163 is preserved in Aioi, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan and 1247 is on display at the Shenyang Railway Museum.
Yong Bao was originally painted navy blue but after saving the passengers on a derailed train, he was then later repainted in Chinese red with yellow lining and his running board is painted green. His name is written on the sides of his cab in Traditional Chinese, and the design of a tiger is painted on his tender. He also bears a dragon face on the front top of his funnel.
- Yong Bao's name means 'Embrace' in Chinese. His colour red symbolises celebration and happiness while the tiger painted on his tender stands for awe and strength.
- Yong Bao has been partially modified to work on British rail, he has been given buffers like Hiro.
- Yong Bao has Traditional Chinese characters on his cab, though in China, Simplified Chinese characters are used standardly. However Yong Bao's symbol was changed from Traditional to Simplified characters permanently and his merchandise uses it.
- In a behind the scenes photo, Yong Bao was originally going to have flags that open out instead of the tiger face.
- In real life, Yong Bao would be too large for the British loading gauge.
- Yong Bao's tender wheels are actually reused from Marion's wheels, and his bell is reused from Belle's bell.
- Like Hiro and Carlos, Yong Bao has a knuckle coupler on his front and a chain and hook coupler on the back of his tender.
- Yong Bao has the same whistle sound as Vinnie at a slightly lower pitch.