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“Now if I had two tenders I wouldn't have to stop so often, and I wouldn't have to listen to silly little engines!”

Tender Engines is the twentieth episode of the third series.


Gordon gets fed up with being given advice by the other engines while taking on coal and water and claims that big engines have big needs and little engines are just annoying. Later, Gordon is impressed when he sees a visitor (The Flying Scotsman) with two tenders and says that if he had two tenders, he would not need to stop as often, nor be teased.

However, he becomes depressed when Diesel gloats the diesels' victory over steam engines on the mainland. His mood worsens when Duck and Henry tease him about boiler-ache. He perks up when he is told by the Fat Controller that he will never be scrapped on his railway and that the visitor had two tenders due to the lack of coal and water in between stations on the Mainland, but while Gordon feels much better, Henry is cross and grumbles that he deserves two tenders for his work.

Duck, planning a trick, coerces Henry into pulling some spare tenders. Henry is delighted, but is less than thrilled when he finds out that they are dirty, old and filled with boiler sludge, much to the other engines' amusement. As Henry grudgingly pulls them through the station, he is teased back by Gordon with the same insults he had used earlier.




  • This episode is based on the story Tenders for Henry from The Railway Series book, Enterprising Engines.
  • A photograph from this episode was released as a Royal Mail stamp in 2011 to mark the Reverend W. Awdry's Centenary.
  • One of Henry's "tenders" has LMS written on the side, a possible reference to his basis, the LMS Black 5 Class. Some of the other tenders have "NE" on the sides, indicating that they are North Eastern Railway 4,200 gallon tenders.
  • Flying Scotsman was originally intended to have a larger role in this episode, but due to budgetary constraints the entire locomotive model could not be constructed.
  • This marks Diesel's last speaking role until the sixth series episode, The World's Strongest Engine.
  • This is the last episode to use Gordon's grumpy music cue. This music cue was previously used in The Trouble with Mud and Gordon and the Famous Visitor.
  • This episode marks the only appearance of the Flying Scotsman before The Great Race.
  • This is the first episode where Donald appears without Douglas, as well as the first episode where either of the Scottish twins appears without the other.
  • The modern television description refers to Flying Scotsman as 'a two-engine,' instead of referring to him as having multiple tenders.
  • This was the only episode until the twenty-second series episode, Confusion Without Delay where The Flying Scotsman appears. He is revealed to be the last of Gordon's brothers but Gordon does not appear to recognise the Flying Scotsman in this episode.
  • Big Mickey, the fire station, a grey building, a large brown building, the steel company and steel rig from TUGS appear in the episode.


  • When James first arrives at the coal chute to speak to Gordon, his pony truck is derailed.
  • When James leaves the coal loader, his eyes are wonky.
  • Flying Scotsman's second tender is a standard LNER corridor tender when it should be an auxiliary water tender.
  • When Henry bangs the trucks, one bounces upwards.
  • Henry's face is loose when he complains about always working hard enough for two tenders.
  • Before Henry comes out with the tenders, James' first wheel is crooked.
  • Henry passes Thomas twice while pulling the tenders.
  • In the restored version, a tripod camera is seen when Gordon says "Don't be vulgar!"
  • Studio equipment can be seen when Gordon leaves Tidmouth.


  • [Duck catches Gordon taking on water from an ordinary stand pipe, as the water is under repair]
  • Duck: I wouldn't drink too much of that water if I were you, Gordon. It might give you boiler-ache.
  • Gordon: Pah! What's this? Educating Gordon Day?! First James, and now you, Duck! Big engines have big needs. Little engines are just annoying.
  • Duck: Don't say I didn't warn you.


  • Diesel: Everyone knows that tenders are a mark and distinction, but I'm afraid that no amount of tenders will save you in the end. We diesels are taking over, and we don't need tenders to make us important, not even one.


  • Gordon: [disappointed after hearing Diesel's remark the day before] I'm not happy!
  • Duck: I know. It's boiler-ache.
  • Gordon: It's not boiler-ache. It's...
  • Henry: Of course, it is. That water's bad. Your boiler must be full of sludge. Have a good washout, then you'll feel a different engine. (Last two sentences are switched around in the US dub.)
  • Gordon: Don't be vulgar!


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Chinese 煤水车
Czech Tendry
Danish Kulvogn Eller Ej
Dutch Kolenwagens
Finnish Hiiltynyt Veturi
German Lokomotiven mit Kohlewagen
Greek Το μέλλον των σιδηροδρόμων
Hungarian Szerkocsis Mozdonyok
Italian Locomotive Bisbetiche
Japanese たんすいしゃがほしい
Korean 탄수차 때문에 생긴 일
Norwegian Kullvogner
Polish Wagony z Węglem
Romanian Locomotive Tender
Russian Нежные паровозы
Serbian Tenderi i Lokomotive
Slovak Tendry
Slovenian Lokomotive s Prikolicami
Spanish A Cada Uno Lo Suyo
Swedish Kolvagnar
Thai รถฟืนพ่วงท้าย
Ukrainian Тендерні паровози

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