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“That Hugo is the engine of the future!”

Engine of the Future is the twenty-third episode of the twentieth series.


A very unusual, fast engine has arrived on Sodor. He races past the narrow gauge engines, the main line engines and the Fat Controller. When he arrives at the station at Ulfstead Castle, he introduces himself as Hugo, along with his driver, Franz, who is old friends with the Earl. Sir Robert Norramby decides to go for a ride, so he climbs aboard and they set off.

At Knapford Station, James and Percy are believing rumours that Hugo is not really an engine. The Fat Controller asks Thomas to take him to Ulfstead Castle to find Hugo, which he does, with Percy, James, and Philip making up excuses to go see the engine as well. When they arrive, the Fat Controller can hardly believe what he is seeing. Although, he decides to ride him too. When Hugo starts up, Thomas and Stephen believe that he is amazing.

Hugo is discovered by James and Percy on the way, but Philip complains that he missed him. Back at the castle, Stephen tells the other engines that Hugo will replace all of them, so they begin to worry. Hugo then returns to the castle and the Fat Controller is happy that he had a splendid ride.

Later that night, the engines are at Tidmouth Sheds and they talk about how worried they are. Emily says that she does not want to be replaced as she loves working on the railway, and James and Edward agree. Henry fears they will be sent to the scrapyard, but Gordon does not think he will be replaced at all. Just then, Hugo arrives at the sheds and asks if there is room for him to rest, but the engines tell him that they are unfortunately full and attempt to scare him off by telling him that they are for steam engines only. Before Hugo can get off the turntable, Percy is about to go out and make his mail delivery, so he offers him to stay in his shed, but Gordon denies it as he still does not want all the steam locomotives to be replaced. Fortunately, Hugo assures everyone that he will find a different location to sleep at, so he moves away.

Very early in the morning, the engines are still acting hostile towards Hugo. He then wonders why they are all being rude to him and Thomas explains that it is only because he is trying to replace all the steam engines. He does not want to believe it. Percy then tells him that Stephen claimed that he can do whatever he wants, to which Hugo tells them that he does not have buffers and couplers, so he cannot pull trucks and coaches at all, and he moves away from them again. The engines, realising that they have hurt his feelings, feel terrible about how unkind they were to him, so they have to do something to cheer him up.

Later, Hugo is to take some important passengers from Knapford Station to Vicarstown, which include the Fat Controller and his family, the Duke and Duchess of Boxford, the Mayor of Sodor, Lord Callan, and the Thin Controller. Percy is about to apologise to Hugo for what they did, but he is already setting off on his trip. All day long, he carries passengers from one place to another.

That evening, Hugo comes back to Knapford Station, sees the engines again, and they make up for the mistake they made by cheering for him and putting on a party. The Fat Controller wonders what the commotion is about, and Thomas explains that they are putting on a welcome party for the new engine. Percy finally apologises to him for not being very nice to him and officially invites him to sleep with them at Tidmouth Sheds. Hugo is very grateful for what the engines are doing and they see it as a very friendly thing, as does the Fat Controller and the others. At nighttime, when Percy does his usual mail delivery, Hugo finally sleeps with the Steam Team at the sheds and dozes off to sleep.





US and CAN

  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • William Hope as Edward and the Duke of Boxford
  • Kerry Shale as Henry, Gordon and Mr. Percival
  • Rob Rackstraw as James, Hugo and the Thin Clergyman
  • Christopher Ragland as Percy
  • Jules de Jongh as Emily, Caitlin and the Duchess of Boxford
  • Bob Golding as Stephen
  • Rasmus Hardiker as Philip
  • Keith Wickham as Sir Handel, Sir Topham Hatt, Dowager Hatt, Lord Callan, Franz and the Knapford Stationmaster
  • Tom Stourton as Duncan
  • Teresa Gallagher as Lady Hatt, Stephen Hatt and Bridget Hatt
  • David Bedella as the Mayor of Sodor
  • Mike Grady as Sir Robert Norramby


  • Going by production order, this is the thirteenth episode of the twentieth series.
  • A flashback from King of the Railway is used.
  • When Hugo arrives at Ulfstead Castle, the music heard is the opening fanfare of Also sprach Zarathustra composed by Richard Strauss.
  • On the Nick Jr. US broadcast of this episode, it was paired with Hugo and the Airship.
  • When Sir Robert Norramby sees Hugo for the first time, he says the phrase "Great Scott," an exclamation which is commonly used by fictional scientist Doc Brown in the Back to the Future movies.
  • This episode marks Caitlin and Duncan's only speaking roles in the twentieth series.
  • This marks Franz's only appearance.
  • This episode marks the first of a few things:
  • This episode marked the last of a few things:
  • A remixed snippet of James' theme composed by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell can be heard when he, Thomas, Percy, and Philip leave Knapford.


  • When the engines whistle at Hugo at Knapford station the first time, many of their whistles do not emit any steam.
  • On the Nick Jr. US airing, when Hugo blows his horn, the captions read "[blows whistle]."

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Motor do Futuro
Czech Lokomotiva budoucnosti
Dutch De Locomotief van de Toekomst
French La locomotive du Futur
German Die Lok der Zukunft
Greek Μηχανή Του Χρόνου
Hebrew קטר העתיד
Hungarian A jövő mozdonya
Italian La Locomotiva del Futuro
Japanese みらいのきかんしゃ
Korean 미래의 기차
Latin American Spanish El Tren del Futuro
Polish Lokomotywa Przyszłości
Portuguese A Locomotiva do Futuro
Romanian Locomotiva Viitorului
Russian Паровоз будущего
Serbian Lokomotiva budućnosti
Slovenian Lokomotiva prihodnosti
Spanish La Locomotora del Futuro
Turkish Geleceğin Lokomotifi

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