The Big City Engine (also known as the Foreign Engine) is a smug express tender engine who worked on the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and later British Railways.


The Railway Series

The Big City Engine once stayed the night at Tidmouth with Gordon and Duck. The three engines were involved in an argument about the confusion between the mainline stations in London. Gordon remembered a trip to King's Cross (LNER) in his youth, and believed that London was restricted to Kings Cross. The Big City Engine thought that London was Euston (LMS). Duck thought that London was Paddington (GWR), as he had once worked there. 

Unbeknownst to them, they were all correct, as there were a number of stations in London for different railway companies. Even so, Gordon and Duck still continued the argument when the Big City Engine went back home. Because of this, Gordon was eager to find out, but he was most disappointed to discover that when he travelled to London the station he arrived at was St. Pancras. [1]


The Big City Engine was rather pompous, conceited, and single minded, as well as argumentative.

According to his Wooden Railway description, he is a quarrelsome engine from London, he travels from time to time for an overnight stay at the Big Station.

According to his Take-n-Play description, the Big City Engine is a pompous character that thinks London trains are the best. During his visits to Sodor, the other engines always get upset with him.

Technical Details


The Big City Engine is based on an original build London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) "Patriot" Class 4-6-0. These engines were given the nickname "Baby Scots" because the design was based on the Royal Scot Class.

All of the original "Patriot Class" engines were scrapped. However, a replica of No. 5551, to be named "The Unknown Warrior", is currently under construction.


The Big City Engine is painted in the British Railways (BR) Brunswick green with red lining livery. His wheels and cylinders are painted grey. His buffer beams are painted red with silver buffers. He presumably has a BR crest on the sides of his tender.

The Big City Engine's Wooden Railway and Take-n-Play toys have green wheels and a crest on his tender with the initials "BCE" in red.

Background Information

Thomas & Friends

The story "Gordon Goes Foreign" from The Railway Series book, The Eight Famous Engines was originally going to be adapted for the second series of the television series. To save money, the production crew wrote in concept art that Henry or Douglas' model would be modified to represent the Big City Engine. [2] It is also noted that the engine would have a new face mask and smoke deflectors. However, due to the expensive budget, the episode was cancelled before filming was under way, and thus the engine never materialised in the television series. [3]




The Railway Series

Main Series


Thomas & Friends

Behind the Scenes




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