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“Edward is a useless old steam pot. He should be retired."
"But he doesn't have tyres."
"Retired means taken out of service."
"And not a moment too soon.”
―Gordon, Percy and Thomas

Edward the Very Useful Engine, retitled Edward the Really Useful Engine in some releases, is the twenty-third episode of the sixth series.


Gordon's hatred of Edward resurfaces, but he takes it to greater extremes this time: he insists that Edward is worthless and deserves to be unceremoniously retired. The other big engines agree with him, but Percy is concerned about this. He tells his driver about what Gordon said about Edward and the driver tells the Fat Controller, who attends to the matter immediately.

The Fat Controller arranges for Edward to teach Stepney to run the completed loop line, while Duck does Edward's work. Henry is happy about this, but it makes no difference to Gordon. Edward enjoys working with Stepney, but Duck does not enjoy working with the trucks, especially when they hold him back on Gordon's Hill. Duck is stuck on Gordon's line, and it is too late to switch Gordon, who is due any minute, to the middle line, so the guard tries to flag Gordon down. However, Gordon passes by and tries to push Duck up, but it is no good.

Gordon's crew sends for Edward to help both engines and as the strange train sets off and pulls into the station, Gordon feels rather embarrassed. He is then told off by the Fat Controller for saying very rude things about Edward, who has proven to be useful, reliable and very helpful. The next day, Gordon apologises to Edward and thanks him for his help, telling him that he really is a useful engine. The Fat Controller's plan has worked, and there is no more talk about Edward retiring from this point on.




  • This is the only episode David Mitton wrote solo.
  • An alternative shot from the previous episode, Thomas the Jet Engine, is used.
  • This is one of the six episodes of the sixth season re-narrated by Michael Brandon in the US dub and Michael Angelis in the UK dub with music composed by Robert Hartshorne.
  • Due to scenes on one particular set across the sixth series being filmed in one go, the scene at Knapford in this episode looks pretty similar to the scene at Knapford in Thomas, Percy and the Squeak. The same people are boarding the same trains, the same engines are in the same positions, and the same posters are up.
  • Three posters at Knapford read: Allicia Botti in concert tonight at the castle.
  • In Michael Angelis' 2005 re-dub, the North American term, "freight cars" is used at the beginning.
  • Despite Edward being the titular character, he only has two lines throughout the whole episode.
  • This is the last episode until the thirteenth series episode, Snow Tracks narrated by three people in the English dubs.
  • This episode seems to be loosely based on the Railway Series story, Super Rescue.
  • Not counting stock footage used of them in the seventh series, this episode marks the last appearances of the following:
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Callan Station.
  • In the Japanese dub, Duck's guard gains lines when he flags down Gordon.
  • Percy says that Edward does not have tyres, which is ironic as all locomotives and rolling stock have them, just not rubber ones.
  • The episode plot would later be similar to Old Reliable Edward.


  • In Alec Baldwin's dub, after he says, "Sir Topham Hatt spoke severely to Gordon," a director can be faintly heard saying "Take six."
  • When Gordon gets closer to Duck to push him, the guard is seen waving a red flag, but in the very next shot, he is in the brake van.
  • Duck has Oliver's whistle sound at the beginning.
  • In this episode, Gordon is referred to as "an express" instead of an express engine.


Gordon: Edward is a useless old steam pot. He should be retired.
Percy: But he doesn't have tyres.
Thomas: Retired means taken out of service.
Gordon: And not a moment too soon.

Trucks: Duck should play with other ducks, 'cause he's no good at pulling trucks! Quack, quack, quack, quack! Hold back! Hold back! [laugh]


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Chinese Mandarin 爱德华非常有用的小火车
Czech Eduard - nanejvýš užitečná mašinka
Danish Edward det gamle lokomotiv
Dutch Edward de Hele Nuttige Locomotief
French Edouard la Locomotive Vraiment Utile
Hungarian Edward Nagyon Hasznos Mozdony
Italian La Locomotiva di Spinta
Japanese やくにたつきかんしゃエドワード
Korean 꼭 필요한 기관차 (EBS)
에드워드, 꼭 필요한 기관차 (Adongmoonhak)
Latin American Spanish Edward, la Locomotora muy Útil
Norwegian Edward, det nyttige lokomotivet
Polish Bardzo Użyteczny Edek
Romanian Edward Locomotiva Foarte Utilă
Serbian Edvard, vrlo korisna lokomotiva
Slovenian Edvard, Zelo Koristna Lokomotiva
Swedish Edward, det nyttiga loket
Welsh Edward yn Helpu

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets




  • James and the Red Balloon and Other Thomas Adventures
  • Mud Glorious Mud
  • Engine Friends

DVD Boxsets


DVD Packs



DK DVD Boxsets