- “That's not right! The Fat Controller wants me to be green with red stripes, not red all over, like....like tomato sauce!”
- ―Henry blustering to the workmen
Henry and the Express is the thirty-seventh book of the Railway Series.
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.
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, 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 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".
With Henry away, the others take turns at pulling The Flying Kipper. It's James' turn and he's 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.
- Donald and Douglas
- The Fat Controller
- Edward (does not speak)
- Gordon (does not speak)
- Duck (cameo)
- Oliver (cameo)
- The Works Diesel (cameo)
- Mermaid Liverpool (cameo)
- Bear (mentioned)
- Diesel 199 (mentioned)
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Tidmouth Harbour
- Gordon's Hill
- The Mainland
- The Railway Works
- The Viaduct (mentioned)
- This book marks the last of a few things:
- The last appearance of the Works Diesel.
- The last book in 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 season episode Tickled Pink and the seventeenth season episodes The Smelly Kipper and Henry's Hero, respectively.
- 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.
- Sliding Scales is based on a real event from the 1950's to an London North Eastern Railway 2-6-0 following a fish train on the gradient to Forth Bridge.
- 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, ice (which should have been used to keep the fish cool) is strangely absent. But, 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.