- “I'm nothing without my crown!”
- ―Rajiv, Crowning Around
Rajiv is an Indian tank engine who was a contestant in the Great Railway Show. He competed in and won the Best Decorated Engine Parade. He usually carries passengers and goods from Kolkata to the north of India on the East Indian Railway.
Rajiv was invited to participate in the Great Railway Show and was shipped to the Mainland with the other engines on a ferry. He participated in the Best Decorated Engine Parade, competing against Carlos, Yong Bao, James and Emily. Rajiv was declared the winner of the event, much to James' disappointment.
After the Great Railway Show ended, Rajiv left the Mainland and returned to India.
Thomas later visited the Indian Railway to reunite with Ashima, where he was formally introduced to Rajiv since he never got to meet him at the Great Railway Show, before Rajiv's attention was drawn to Noor Jehan before being reminded to get back to work by Shankar. He later came across Thomas having derailed and landed in a mud puddle after passing a red signal and jumping the points as they were set against him. When Thomas asked for his help, Rajiv was hesitant until Thomas suggested doing so could earn him an extra polish to his crown. Excited by the idea of a reward, Rajiv went to get the Indian Breakdown Cranes, only to return to find Thomas having been helped back on the tracks by an elephant before Ashima arrived to see if Thomas was okay. Rajiv was upset over not being able to help himself, but Thomas apologised for wasting his time. After Ashima recognized the elephant as her old friend Trusty Trunky, the elephant hoses the mud off Thomas, but overdid it and splashed Rajiv slightly, causing him to cry out to watch his crown, before joining Ashima and Thomas in a good laugh.
Later on, a Bollywood movie was being filmed on the Indian Railway, and Rajiv explained to an excited Thomas and Ashima that it is an action movie, and he had a part in it. After being left stunned when Charubala and the director of the movie asked Thomas to bring the main actor to the site of the next scene for the movie, Rajiv departed to go get ready himself. He later met up with Thomas again at the site of the next scene for the movie, but was mostly busy with delivering supplies and props around the area. However, when he spotted Thomas attempting to rescue the main actor when he was filming a pre-staged fall onto a crash mat, he tried to stop Thomas, but was unable to. However, the director was impressed by Thomas' heroic action, and decided to keep it in the movie. As fans ran over to crowd Thomas, Rajiv tried to get a little attention himself by saying he taught Thomas everything he knew.
Some time later, after Thomas learnt of the tigers of India that are seen on Noor Jehan's jungle tours, Rajiv was given a special assignment to take two tiger fanatics to go find one, unaware that the fanatics were actually poachers looking to capture one to sell for money. When Thomas was able to find Rajiv and tell him while the poachers are busy clearing the line of a large tree branch, Rajiv was worried about what would happen if the poachers suspected anything, but Thomas had him keep the poachers distracted while he and Shankar set a trap for them. When the poachers became suspicious that Rajiv was leading them in circles and he feared they were about to discover it, Shankar appeared disguised as a tiger, catching the poachers by surprise, before Thomas arrived with a cross Charubala and the police, who arrested the poachers. Charubala congratulated Thomas and Rajiv for their efforts in protecting India's tigers, before all three shared a laugh when they noticed that Shankar had disappeared in the meantime.
Preceeding to show off one day, he would eventually lose his crown to a tribe of monkeys on a bridge, thanks in no part to a crane for dislodging it. Returning to Varkala Station in a panic, he refused to work until his crown was found, forcing the other engines to look for it while doing his jobs as well as their own. The crown kept escaping their eyesight and was finally found on one of Ashima's trains by a yard crew. Rajiv still wasn't pleased with his crown missing, and though the others (say for Shankar) reassured him, he actually found he didn't need his crown to be useful after saving Shankar from a runaway Noor Jehan. His strike earned him a reprimand from Charubala, who later praised his bravery and rewarded him with his crown, by that point he returned to his old self.
Rajiv is rather arrogant and vain, believing himself to be a "royal engine" due to his crown. He often makes patronising or belitting remarks to the other engines, but his heart is in the right place, he has a good sense of humour, and he does care for his friends deep down...though he'll often be sensitive if it comes close to his crown getting lost or damaged - he once had a panic attack when the former happened. It is possible Rajiv's overinflated self-importance may mask some insecurity, as he felt useless without his crown.
Rajiv is based off of the Fairy Queen, a 2-2-2 tank engine built in Leeds, England for the East Indian Railway Company. It is the oldest operating steam locomotive in regular service in the world. Built in 1855, it was originally used to haul post trains in West Bengal and was used on troop trains during the Indian Uprising of 1857. It was retired in 1909 after working in construction in Bihar and placed on display in Howrah. The Indian government gave the locomotive heritage status in 1972 and it was placed on display at the National Rail Museum in New Delhi until it was restored in 1997 for service working a luxury train between New Delhi and Alwar, Rajasthan. It is based at the Rewari Railway Heritage Museum, operated by the North Western Railway Zone.
Whereas the original Fairy Queen is broad gauge, Rajiv is scaled down to standard gauge. Additionally, his buffers are much closer together than the original Fairy Queen's.
Rajiv is painted royal blue with yellow lining, a black boiler, white wheels and golden details. His funnel is painted in the colours of the Indian flag.
- Nikhil Parmar (UK/US; twenty-second series onwards)
- Yuta Odagaki (Japan)
- Tomasz Borkowski (Poland)
- Mark Bremer (Germany; twenty-second series onwards)
- Danny Francucci (Italy)
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- His name means "lotus flower" in several Indian languages.
- Despite having white wheels with bronze rims in the television series, Rajiv's TrackMaster Push Along toy depicts him with plain bronze wheels.
- Rajiv is the first character other than Thomas to be the main character of an episode set outside Sodor.