For other uses, see Harold (disambiguation).

Harold is a helicopter who patrols the Island of Sodor, searching for emergencies. He is part of the Search and Rescue Team. He is operated by two pilots.


The Railway Series

When Harold first met Percy, he stated that railways were "slow and out-of-date", but was proven wrong when Percy beat him in a race. When Thomas' brakes failed while boarding at a station, with an inspector Harold chased him down the line. For Christmas that year Harold brought Father Christmas to the party at Tidmouth Station. Harold also dropped hot drinks for Percy's crew when they were stranded in a floating river.

Thomas & Friends

He became friends with Duck after rescuing an injured sailor.

Harold used to live at Dryaw Airfield by Thomas' Branch Line. He keeps a watchful eye over Sodor in case of trouble and speeds to the rescue of anyone in distress.

As of Misty Island Rescue, he joined the Sodor Search and Rescue team and lives in his own hangar at the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre. Since joining the team he has been involved in a search for Thomas when he got lost, saving Bertie from the Shake Shake Bridge and helping Charlie to recapture an elephant which escaped from the Sodor Animal Park. Once, Harold's rotors became jammed, so Thomas and Duck took him to the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre.

He and the rest of the rescue team helped out after a big storm and they were rewarded with a new alarm bell for the rescue centre. He later found Percy and Diesel trapped in a flood at the Old Quarry and the rescue team helped them out. He also helped The Duke and Duchess of Boxford get to Callan Castle, after Thomas, Spencer and Bertie failed.

In the twentieth series, he and Percy's rivalry resurfaced at Christmas. Percy was struggling to get through the snow while delivering mail for Santa, so Harold offered to help, but Percy refused. Percy then left behind a sack of letters at Dryaw and Harold decided to get them to him. Percy, believing Harold was mocking his speed again, decided to race him, only to crash into a snowdrift. Harold again offered to help deliver the mail and this time, Percy agreed. While he was able to deliver the mail to Hiro, he ran out of fuel and was grounded in a field on the Mainland for the night. When Percy found out, he raced off to find him and then brought him some fuel, not wanting him to spend Christmas alone and believing "one good turn deserves another". The two friends then returned to Sodor.

Thomas and the Magic Railroad

Harold flew by at Tidmouth Sheds, spreading sneezing powder all over Thomas, Splatter and Dodge. In earlier scripts, he did not speak and he spread quarry dust in the quarry bowl all over Thomas, Splatter, and Dodge.


When Harold was first introduced, he was shown is very proud of being able to fly, and the speed and versatility this gives him. He somewhat tended to be cocky, as he believed that "railways are slow and quite out of date". This caused a bit of rivalry between him and the engines, particularly Percy, and he is usually nicknamed "whirlybird" for that, but he usually got his comeuppance in the end. Sometimes, he finds himself in need of Percy's help after he teases him for being slow. Despite this, he still works hard and deep down, he knows that the engines on the Fat Controller's railway, including Percy, are just as useful as he is. He is always helpful and highly alert whenever there is an emergency, especially on patrol. Because of this, he remains a friend to the railway.

However, since he joined the Sodor Search and Rescue Centre, he has acted a lot more mature and almost never teases the engines. He takes his job as part of the team very seriously and continues to remain on patrol. 

Harold also speaks in a manner reminiscent of an RAF pilot, using terms such as "wizard" and "old chap" in conversation.

Technical Details


Harold is based on a Sikorsky S-55 helicopter (also known as Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw), built in the UK as the Westland Whirlwind. He has added floats. Around 70 of these still survive in some form.


Harold is painted white with red lining. His name is painted on his sides, near his tail, in red.


Thomas & Friends


Learning Segments

Magazine Stories

Harold also appeared in the magazine stories, Bright Sight, Company for Cranky, Fishy Diesel!, Harold and the Broken Tree, Lost Luggage!, On Inspection, Percy's Plight, Ride and Slide, Sky High!, Smoke Signals, Smoky Sky, Sodor Goes Pop!, Sound of Silence, Steaming Along!, Stone Signal, The Best Band, The Great Air Race, The Great Statue Robbery, The Lighthouse Light and The Trainspotters

Annual Stories



  • One of Harold's models is on display in Japan at the Hara Model Railway Museum (previously on display at Nitrogen Studios in Canada).
  • Harold has gone through several changes throughout the Television Series:
    • Series 2:
      • His spinning rotors were achieved using a transparent disk.
      • In "Percy and Harold", "The Runaway" and "Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree", he is shown with a lamp.
    • Series 3:
      • His model's blades now spin when shown flying.
      • His blades become flimsy and slightly bent.
      • The lamp reappears only in Thomas, Percy and the Post Train.
    • Series 4:
      • His blades become straight again.
    • Series 5:
      • His blades go back to being flimsy and bent.
    • Thomas and the Magic Railroad:
      • His blades are straight once again.
    • Series 8:
      • The lamp becomes permanent.
    • Series 10:
      • His eyes now move with a motor.
    • Series 12:
      • He becomes rendered in full CGI.
      • His red lining becomes a darker shade of red.
    • Misty Island Rescue:
      • His main body becomes smaller.
      • His face becomes smaller and lowered slightly.
      • His lining changed back to the red shade it normally was.
  • In both of his appearances in the sixth series, Harold's unhappy expression was always visible behind his mouth on his happy face.
  • Harold's theme in the second series is a musical variation on the main score of the 1955 film, The Dam Busters.
  • The fifteenth series episode Stop That Bus! was the first time Harold has flown outside of The Island of Sodor.
  • In the television series, Harold has never had eyebrows. However, he did have them in the magazine stories Mountain Rescue and False Alarm and in illustrations by Ken Stott.
  • Harold was called Herbert in the French dub from the second to seventh series.
  • One of Harold's Wooden Railway toys appears in an episode of CW's show Smallville entitled "Nicodemus".
  • Despite having floats with fitted wheels, Harold has never been seen floating or being rolled.


"Hello," said Percy, "Who are you?"
"I'm Harold. Who are you?"
"I'm Percy. What whirley great arms you've got!"
"They're nice arms!" said Harold, offended. "I can hover like a bird. Don't you wish you could hover?"
"Certainly not! I like my rails, thank you".
"I think railways are slow!" said Harold in a bored voice. "They're not much use and quite out of date".

- A conversation between Percy and Harold in Percy and Harold, Percy the Small Engine.

The engines were just leaving the station, when they heard a familiar buzzing.
"I say you two, there's news flying about!"
"Where?" puffed Percy.
"All over the place. They're going to scrap the Post Train/the Mail Train and use me instead. Wings work wonders you know! Always!"
"Rubbish!" huffed Thomas.

- Harold boasting to Thomas and Percy in Thomas, Percy and the Post Train.


Non-rail vehicles

* RWS only | ** T&F only | *** Other Media only

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