Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
This article is about the character. You may be looking for the magazine story.

Flying Thistle is a big crimson express tender engine who works on a railway on the Mainland.


Flying Thistle arrived on Sodor as a visiting engine. Percy was the first to meet him, but the other engines did not think he was real at first. He arrived to run an express line that had not been used in a while. While running it, he broke down and was helped back by Donald. He was later cheered up by Gordon.[1]

Bill and Ben once mistook Flying Thistle for Gordon.[2]


When the Flying Thistle first visited the Island of Sodor, he was rather snooty, believing himself to be too important to talk to the other engines. He was later humbled when Donald rescued him and he was cheered up by Gordon, and he is said to have made friends with the other engines by the end of his stay.

Technical Details


Flying Thistle is based on a London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) A3 Pacific. Gordon and Flying Scotsman are also based on this engine along with their brothers and sisters. Flying Scotsman is also Flying Thistle's first namesake, with his second being another member of his class: the Knight of Thistle (formerly Knight of the Thistle, until the "the" part of the name was removed in December 1932). Knight of Thistle was built in 1924 and entered service in August of the same year; it was withdrawn and sold for scrap in June 1964.


Flying Thistle is painted crimson with yellow lining and light grey wheels. He has a gold nameplate on the sides of his middle wheel arch with his name on them in black. He has a crest painted on the sides of his tender.


Magazine Stories


  • Flying Thistle's depiction is often inconsistent: in some versions of The Visitor he has a face, while in others he has only a smokebox door.



* RWS only | ** T&F only