- “Express coming through!"
"But, that's my line!”
- ―Henry and Gordon
Henry Gets the Express is the third episode of the twentieth series.
One morning, Gordon is not ready to leave the sheds, as his firebox had not been cleaned out the previous night. Thomas tells Gordon not to be surprised if another engine replaces him for the express and suggests that Henry could do it based on his own experience. However, Gordon doubts that Henry would be capable of doing it, claiming that things have changed since the last time he pulled the express. When Henry becomes nervous, Thomas cheers him up, and the two engines leave the sheds.
Thomas brings the coaches to Knapford, where the Fat Controller is waiting for Gordon. Thomas tells him that Gordon is not ready yet and suggests that Henry fill in for him, to which the Fat Controller agrees, believing it will teach Gordon a lesson.
Later, Henry sets off with the express. At first, he is a little nervous but soon starts to enjoy himself. Meanwhile, Gordon finally has had his firebox cleaned out and arrives at the station to fetch his train, but finds the Fat Controller there instead. The Fat Controller explains that Henry had to take it and Gordon now has to pull Henry's goods for the rest of the day, much to Gordon's disappointment.
Meanwhile, Henry is making good time with the express. His passengers and the railway staff are impressed by his affability. Gordon, on the other hand, is not enjoying his work, and grumpily arrives at Brendam Docks with his goods train, only to be given a train of coal as soon as he arrives. As Gordon is taking the coal train, he stops at a junction where Henry passes by with the express and becomes annoyed when Henry mimics him.
When Gordon returns to Knapford, he asks the Fat Controller if he can go back in pulling the express, but the Fat Controller says that he has to go to the Blue Mountain Quarry. Rheneas greets Gordon when he arrives at the quarry, but Gordon is still in a bad mood. As Gordon begins to leave, the trucks put on their brakes, and then release them, causing Gordon to jump the points and hit a buffer stop. Gordon is finally fed up with his work, and orders to be uncoupled at once so he can get back to his shed.
That night, Henry returns to the sheds and tells Gordon that he will be more than happy to let him pull the express again. Gordon begins to grumble about the work he had to do. The Fat Controller arrives at the sheds and scolds Gordon for not doing all of his jobs earlier that day. He then orders Gordon to pull the Flying Kipper as punishment and threatens to make Henry the permanent express engine if he refuses to do it. Henry and Thomas outsmart Gordon by claiming that the Flying Kipper is not an easy job, referencing the time when James had an accident with the flying kipper twice, but Gordon is determined to prove them wrong and leaves the sheds.
When Gordon returns to the sheds the next morning, the Fat Controller praises him for successfully delivering the Kipper on time and tells him that he can now go back to being the express engine again. Gordon is delighted, but when the other engines notice how smelly he is, he quickly leaves to go for a wash-down. Henry jokes that Gordon is, "the stinky express", and all the other engines laugh.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Kellsthorpe Road Stationmaster
- Edward (cameo)
- Percy (cameo)
- Emily (cameo)
- Paxton (cameo)
- Philip (cameo)
- Skarloey (cameo)
- Peter Sam (cameo)
- Big Mickey (cameo)
- The Teacher (cameo)
- The Blond-haired Boy (cameo)
- The Welsh Bird Watcher (cameo)
- The Lady with the Big Hat (cameo)
- Albert's Wife (cameo)
A passenger also speaks. He is voiced by Rob Rackstraw in both dubs.
- John Hasler as Thomas and Rheneas
- Keith Wickham as Henry, Gordon, James, Salty, the Fat Controller and the Kellsthorpe Road Stationmaster
- Steven Kynman as Porter
- Matt Wilkinson as Cranky
- Christopher Ragland as the Troublesome Trucks
- Rob Rackstraw as a passenger
- Joseph May as Thomas
- Kerry Shale as Henry and Gordon
- Rob Rackstraw as James and a passenger
- David Menkin as Porter
- Keith Wickham as Salty, Sir Topham Hatt and the Kellsthorpe Road Stationmaster
- John Hasler as Rheneas
- Glenn Wrage as Cranky
- Christopher Ragland as the Troublesome Trucks
- References to the first series episode, Edward, Gordon and Henry, the seventeenth series episode, The Smelly Kipper and the special, Tale of the Brave are made.
- John Hasler joins the US voice cast as he takes over the role of Rheneas in both dubs starting with this episode.
- This episode also marks Rheneas' only speaking role in the twentieth series and his last speaking role in an episode to date.
- When Gordon moans about having to take Henry's trucks, his line, "A goods train, a goods train. Oh, the shame!" mirror his lines said in the first series episode Edward and Gordon.
- When Henry passes Gordon with the express his line, "Hi, Gordon. Bye, Gordon," mirrors the line Thomas spoke in the sixth series episode, Thomas the Jet Engine when he passed Gordon at high speed.
- When Gordon attempts to stop the trucks from misbehaving, he tells them he'll have none of their nonsense and the trucks reply with "We'll give him nonsense," a reference to the second series episode Percy's Predicament.
- Throughout the episode, a reworked arrangement of Gordon's silly theme from the third series can be heard.
- When Porter shunts a plank wagon, Gordon's whistle sound can be heard, but in the next shot, steam emits from his whistle as he backs up.
- When the stationmaster said he wished Henry could pull the express forever, the express coaches have vanished.
- When Gordon pulls up next to Cranky, his brake van changes from a grey one to a brown one. Also when Gordon couples up to the coal trucks, his previous train on the other track disappears.
- Paxton can be seen on the upper terraces of the Blue Mountain Quarry, but there are no standard gauge rails up there. As the trucks say "Not so useful," Paxton disappears, then reappears in the following shot.
- When Gordon is asked to pull "the Flying Kipper" and he reverses back into the shed to sulk, he goes back way too far, indicating he passed the buffers at the back of the shed.
- When Sir Topham Hatt says "I think you'll find it's my decision which jobs you do, Gordon!" James is out of scale.
- The narrator reads the episode's title before it appears onscreen.
- The Dutch dub incorrectly credits Andrew Brenner as the episode's writer.
In Other Languages