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“I'm here to name an engine. I don't know what it's called yet, so I shall have to read it for you. I therefore name this engine... bless my soul! No, not that, it's Ivo Hugh!”
―Mr. Hugh

New Little Engine is the fortieth book of The Railway Series.

Foreword

Dear Friends,
Peter Sam has been working on the Talyllyn Railway in Wales. The Thin Controller's Railway became so busy that he had to bring Peter Sam home to help. Sir Handel was jealous, but Peter Sam told us about the time he was ill while he was in Wales. It seemed too good a story to waste, so I decided to share it with you. I hope Peter Sam isn't too upset...
The Author

Stories

Speedkiller

Rusty is given the tedious job of spraying weedkiller on the rails. Meanwhile, Rheneas has to fetch another coach after a huge influx of visitors, making him late. He has to slow down at a steep hill for some hedge cutters, spoiling his chances of a good run. Thanks to the weedkiller, Rheneas eventually grinds to a halt and slips down the hill. His crew puts sand on the rails and Rheneas makes his way up. Though the passengers have little time to enjoy the scenery at the lake, they are pleased with Rheneas' brave efforts.

Sir Handel's Plan

Sir Handel is jealous when Peter Sam is brought back from Wales to help with the engine shortage, and when he thinks he sees Peter Sam grinning at him from the shed, he deliberately knocks his firebars loose and is relegated to the shed. As the days pass and no one comes, Sir Handel worries he will stay there forever. When the Thin Controller finally comes, Sir Handel admits his mistake. The Thin Controller thanks Sir Handel for fessing up and arranges for him to receive some new firebars on the condition that he behaves himself. He neglects to tell Sir Handel, however, that they had only been delivered that morning.

Dirty Water

Peter Sam tells Kathy and Lizzie, two young holidaymakers, a story about the water on the Talyllyn Railway. He remembers that something was put to the water to enhance its flavour, but one day he found it tasted awful. His crew was unconcerned, but when he started from a station, a spray of filthy white sludge spewed out of his funnel. Talyllyn took his train, but unfortunately for him, he had to stay on a siding for the visitors. It was later discovered that too much of the special powder was put in the water, and Peter Sam got a good washout. Kathy and Lizzie find the story hilarious.

I Name this Engine...

There is much gossip on the Skarloey Railway about the identity of a new engine, but even the details of the naming ceremony are being kept under covers. When the day comes, and Skarloey is chosen to pull a special train to collect the guests and pull them back to Crovan's Gate. However, on the way back, a sow and her piglets stray onto the line, and the guests have to capture them and put them in their field. At last, they arrive at the ceremony, and when Mr. Hugh does the naming, he is amazed to discover the engine has been named in his honour.

Characters

Speedkiller

Sir Handel's Plan

Dirty Water

I Name this Engine...

  • Skarloey
  • Rheneas
  • Sir Handel
  • Peter Sam
  • Duncan
  • Duke
  • Mr. Roger Sam
  • Mr Hugh
  • Ivo Hugh (does not speak)
  • Gertrude and Millicent (cameo)
  • Kathy and Lizzie (mentioned)

Locations

Speedkiller

Sir Handel's Plan

  • Skarloey Engine Sheds

Dirty Water

I Name this Engine...

  • Skarloey Engine Sheds
  • Crovan's Gate (mentioned)
  • Glennock (mentioned)

Trivia

  • This book is the last of several things:
    • The last book to be published by Kaye & Ward. In 1998, parent company Heinemann Books sold the series' copyright to Britt Allcroft, who gave the rights to publish books to Egmont.
    • The last book to feature the Skarloey Railway and its engines, rolling stock and staff.
    • The last book to have the word "engine(s)" in the title.
    • The last book where Thomas does not appear since his introduction.
  • This is the only book of The Railway Series not to feature any standard gauge engines.
  • In the foreword, Christopher Awdry acknowledges the help given by members of the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society in the preparation of this book.
  • The events of this book take place in 1996.
  • Speedkiller is based on a real event that occurred on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway.

Goofs

  • Throughout the book, Peter Sam is missing half of his running gear.
  • In Speedkiller:
    • Rheneas is depicted as a 0-4-2.
    • In the first illustration, Rusty is seen with a circular window on the left side of his cab.
    • In the fourth illustration, an identical window is seen on the other side of his cab where a door should be. 
  • In the fourth illustration of Dirty Water, the Talyllyn Railway's coaches are actually Skarloey Railway coaches.
  • In I Name this Engine:
    • Duke is missing his tender.
    • In the first illustration, Sir Handel's buffers are round as opposed to their normal oval shape.
    • In the second and third illustrations, Skarloey's dome is painted red.
    • In the third illustration, Ivo Hugh appears between Duke and Duncan, but his tanks are not covered.
    • In the third and sixth illustrations, Duke is missing his tender.
    • In the penultimate illustration, the curtain on Ivo Hugh's side is white, but in the final illustration, it is purple. Additionally, in the third and sixth illustrations, Ivo Hugh is missing the blue stripes on the front of his tanks.
    • In the sixth illustration, Duke is missing his coupling hook. Additionally, Rusty is are not shown to be at the naming ceremony, though the text says that "all the engines except Skarloey" were there.

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