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


The Railway Series

The Big City Engine once stayed the night at Tidmouth, where he got into an argument with Gordon and Duck about what the name of the station in London was. Gordon claimed to have visited King's Cross and thought that was the station's name; the Big City Engine thought that it was Euston, and Duck thought that it was Paddington as he had once worked there.

Little did the engines know that they were all correct, as there were many different stations in London for varying railway companies. Even so, Gordon and Duck still argued about it after the Big City Engine went home. When Gordon was given the opportunity to travel to London and find out the name of the station, he jumped at the chance, but was most disappointed to find out that the station he arrived at was St. Pancras—none of the three engines knew that London had several major stations, not just one.


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 a London, Midland and Scottish Railway "Patriot" Class 4-6-0. These engines were given the nickname "Baby Scots" as the design was based on the Royal Scot Class. All of the original "Patriot Class" engines were scrapped, so it can be assumed that the Big City Engine was as well. However, a replica of No. 5551 known as The Unknown Warrior is currently under construction at the Midland Railway in Butterley. Given the fact that he has no nameplate, it is plausible to assume that he is one of the few Patriots who never got a name during their working service.

If this character appeared in the television series, the Big City Engine would have been based on an LMS "Black 5" with smoke deflectors.


The Big City Engine is painted in Brunswick green with red lining. His wheels and cylinders are painted grey. His buffer beams are painted red with silver buffers. His Wooden Railway and Take-n-Play toys have green wheels and a crest on his tender with his initials 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. The Big City Engine would be made using a modified version of Henry's model with a different face mask and smoke deflectors.[1] However, due to budgetary restraints, the episode was cancelled, and thus the engine never made an appearance in the television series. [2]



  • If Gordon Goes Foreign was televised, the Big City Engine would be the only locomotive whose basis is different in The Railway Series and television series.
  • The LMS Patriots were a very common sight in the North West region of British Railways.[3] However, not too many were stationed at Barrow in Furness, even though could be seen in that region, during their working lives despite the fact that they used on express trains in that region, the only two exceptions recorded were No. (4)5551 and No. (4)5537 Private E. Sykes V.C. during the 1940s and 1950s respectively.[4]



The Railway Series

Main Series


Thomas & Friends

Behind the Scenes




* RWS only | ** T&F only
*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Fandom will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.