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“That's not right! The Fat Controller wants me to be green with red stripes, not red all over, tomato sauce!”
―Henry blustering to the workmen

Henry and the Express is the thirty-seventh book of The Railway Series.


Dear Friends,
When I went to see Henry recently he was moaning about not having had a book to himself for ages.

"Yes," I agreed, "There's the story about patching up your smokebox..."

"And the time my wheel broke," he interrupted.

"What about when you came out of the Works before you'd been properly painted?" I said.

"You wouldn't...!" he said.

But I would and I have. It might teach Henry not to try to tell me what to do.
The Author


Out of Puff

The North Western Railway starts using a new type of coal, which creates more ashes and gives the engines indigestion. One day, Henry cannot make it past Wellsworth. Henry's crew discover his smokebox door is bent from the hot ashes, so they make paper mache to fix the gap. Henry gets home safely, but Donald and Douglas tease him by making breathless noises in the shed that night.


Henry is due for an overhaul, so the Fat Controller arranges for him to double-head the Express with James to Crovan's Gate. James is apprehensive but feels better after they make good time up Gordon's Hill - up to the point where things begin flying from Henry, hitting James and the coaches. No one is hurt, but the debris broke a carriage window, and both crews find that a steel rim from Henry's wheel has fallen off. James, trying to make light of the situation, jokes that Henry needs to be "retired".

Sliding Scales

With Henry away, the others take turns at pulling the Flying Kipper. It is James' turn and he is in a bad mood. He grudgingly sets off to Tidmouth Harbour, but just before he starts, a forklift spills its load onto the rails and fish goes everywhere. It is picked up, but the oil from the fish makes James slip helplessly. It is not until men hose the rails and put sand on them that James can move again.

Henry Sees Red

Henry is almost ready to return to work, but the workmen have to put an undercoat of red paint on him. Before they can put green on top, an emergency at Tidmouth forces Henry to take the Express. The brakes on Henry's last coach stop the train at Wellsworth, spoiling the chances of a good run at Gordon's Hill, and Henry has to uncouple it himself. Henry, however, is determined, and when he makes it to Barrow-in-Furness on time the Fat Controller rewards him with his normal green coat.


Out of Puff


  • Henry
  • James
  • Sir Stephen Topham Hatt III
  • Gordon (mentioned)
  • Bear (mentioned)

Sliding Scales

  • James
  • Gordon (cameo)
  • Duck (cameo)
  • Donald and Douglas (cameo)
  • Oliver (cameo)
  • Henry (mentioned)
  • Sir Stephen Topham Hatt III (mentioned)

Henry Sees Red

  • Henry
  • Sir Stephen Topham Hatt III
  • Edward (does not speak)
  • Gordon (does not speak)
  • Donald (does not speak)
  • James (cameo)
  • Duck (cameo)
  • Douglas (cameo)
  • Oliver (cameo)


Out of Puff


Sliding Scales

  • Island of Sodor
    • Tidmouth Sheds
    • Tidmouth Harbour
    • The Works (mentioned)
  • The Mainland (mentioned)

Henry Sees Red


  • This book marks the last of a few things:
    • The last book of The Railway Series where James appears in all four stories.
    • The last appearance of Gordon's Hill in The Railway Series.
  • In Out of Puff, Henry makes a reference to the story "Super Rescue".
  • Henry Sees Red, Sliding Scales, and Out of Puff may have been the inspirations for the thirteenth series episode Tickled Pink and the seventeenth series episodes The Smelly Kipper and Henry's Hero, respectively. Also, Henry puffing black smoke could've been slightly inspired for the tenth series episode, It's Good to be Gordon.
  • The events of this book take place in 1992.
  • Out of Puff is based on a real event that occurred on the Somerset and Dorset Joint Line.
  • Overhaul is based on a real event from The Railway Magazine in November 1924 to a Glasgow-London express near Weedon, Daventry, Northamptonshire.
  • This book has been translated into Norwegian (under the title Henry og ekspresstoget), and is the only Norwegian translated Christopher Awdry book.
  • Sliding Scales is based on a real event from the 1950's to a London and North Eastern Railway 2-6-0 following a fish train on the gradient to Forth Bridge.
  • This book was published around Easter 1993 before the third series episode, Mavis aired on 23rd April of that year.


  • In Overhaul, when Henry stops after his tyre breaks, the Peel Godred branch appears in the background. However, the way the line is set out implies that the line runs underneath the main line instead of joining up with it.
  • In Sliding Scales, when the crate breaks, there is no ice in it to keep the fish cold; but strangely, in the next illustration, there is a small puddle of water on the platform, assumed to be melted ice.
  • In Out of Puff, it was said that the new coal made the engines' smoke black, but in the fourth illustration, Douglas still has white smoke.
  • Henry is missing part of his valve gear throughout the whole book.
  • The 2013 reprint incorrectly states this book was published in 1987.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Norwegian Henry og ekspresstoget