Thomas the Tank Engine Wikia
For other uses, see Harold (disambiguation).

“Well done. Cheers, and keep up the good work."
"Cheeky chopper.”
―Harold and Rusty[src]

Harold is a white helicopter who patrols the skies of Island of Sodor, searching for emergencies. In the television series.

He is part of the Search and Rescue Team and is operated by two pilots.


Harold became friends with Duck after rescuing an injured sailor.

However, he still had a bit of a rivalry with Percy. Once, when the Mail Train was threatened to be scrapped, rumours began to spread that Harold would make the deliveries instead. However, Thomas and Percy worked even harder than ever to prevent that from happening and Harold's chances of taking over the mail run were stopped when the unpredictable strong winds caused him to be grounded.

One day, while checking for danger around the Skarloey Railway, Harold met Rusty, who told him that The Fat Controller had sent him to help the other engines. Harold then left, telling the little diesel to "Keep up the good work".

When Percy stopped at a broken signal, Harold was sent to take the mail for him and continued to tease Percy about being slow. However, the net of mail was too heavy on Harold, got him caught in a tree and caused Harold to fall into a haystack. Percy, who witnessed the incident, ran off to get help. Harold thanked Percy, who had the last laugh with the engines and this was the last time Harold had ever teased Percy.

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 that escaped from the Sodor Animal Park. Once, Harold's rotors became jammed, so Thomas and Duck took him to the Search and Rescue Centre.

Harold 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, Harold and Percy's rivalry resurfaced at Christmas, even recalling the first time that the two ever met. Percy was struggling to get through the snow while delivering mail for Santa, so Harold offered to help. Percy however refused and accidently left behind a stack of letters at Dryaw. Harold decided to get them to him, but 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, Harold 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 for a routine flyby and greeted the steam engines, accidentally spreading sneezing powder all over Thomas, Splatter and Dodge, dumped by Diesel 10. In earlier scripts, he did not speak and he spread quarry dust in the quarry bowl all over the three engines.


When Harold was first introduced, he was shown to be 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.

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

Since joining 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.

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. These were used by the United States Air Force to transport US troops during the Korean War. 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


Music Videos

Learning Segments

DVD Games



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, Ride and Slide, Sky High!, Smoke Signals, Smoky Sky, Steaming Along!, Stone Signal, The Best Band, The Great Air Race and The Great Statue Robbery.

Annual Stories



  • George Carlin's voice for Harold in the US version sounds like an impression of Jim Backus.
  • In both of his appearances in the sixth series, Harold's unhappy expression was always visible behind his mouth on his happy face.
  • He is the only member of the Search and Rescue team to be created by the Rev. W. Awdry.
  • He was the only non-human/animal character to be fully animated in the twelfth series.
  • Harold was the only character introduced after the first series to have a speaking role in Thomas and the Magic Railroad.
  • Harold appears in a Pixar short called "Float" as a ERTL like toy.
  • 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.
  • Harold is the second anthropomorphized helicopter to be voiced by Kerry Shale, who had previously voiced Chuck the American twin-rotored helicopter from Budgie the Little Helicopter.
  • In the television series, Harold never had eyebrows. However, he did have them in the magazine stories Mountain Rescue and False Alarm, in illustrations by Ken Stott, and in the book adaptation of Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree, illustrated by Clive Spong. Harold also had eyebrows in his Thomas Story Library book.
  • Harold was called Herbert in the French dub from the second to seventh series.
  • In the model series, Harold is shown to have two pilots operating him. In the CGI series however, he is only shown to have one.


"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