Main Page

This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the train or the magazine story.

“The Kipper is due."
"Who cares? This is good cocoa.”
―The guard/conductor and fireman

The Flying Kipper is the nineteenth episode of the first series. It is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Henry the Green Engine.


One night in winter, after his day's work is done, Henry is told by his driver that they will be leaving early in the morning to pull The Flying Kipper, a special goods train from the quay that carries fish from the harbour to the Mainland. The driver tells Henry that his special coal is working so well that if he pulls the Flying Kipper nicely the Fat Controller might let him pull the express, a thought that makes Henry very happy.

At five o'clock next morning, Henry arrives at the quay ready to pick up the Flying Kipper. Everything goes very smoothly and Henry leaves the harbour without a hitch. After getting the vans to come along quickly and quietly, Henry begins to enjoy his journey, marvelling at the countryside as the sun rises.

Soon Henry comes to a yellow signal indicating caution. Henry's driver initially prepares to stop until he sees the home signal is down, indicating that the line ahead is clear. With that, the driver allows Henry to continue at full speed. What Henry and his crew do not know however, is that the points to the main line have been frozen towards a siding and the home signal, which should have been set at "danger" had been forced down by snow.

In the siding stands a goods train, which is waiting to let Henry pass. The driver and fireman are enjoying cocoa in the brake van when they see that it is nearly time for Henry to pass by, so they decide to go back to the engine. Their exit comes in the nick of time, as Henry comes barreling into the siding at full speed and crashes straight into the back of the train, causing him to derail and land on his side.

When daylight comes, the Breakdown Train is brought in and the clean-up effort is underway. The Fat Controller comes to talk to Henry and kindly reassures him that the accident was not his fault, but was caused by ice and snow. He then tells Henry that he is going to be sent to Crewe, an excellent place for sick engines. As well as repairing him, they will also give him a brand new shape and a larger firebox. As a result, Henry will feel much better and will not need special coal to run properly anymore.

A few weeks later, it is springtime and Henry returns from Crewe in his new shape. Although he enjoyed his time there, he is happy to come back to the Island of Sodor, and is welcomed home by a lot of people waiting at the station to see him in his new shape. When he rides through, he looks so splendid and strong that the crowd gives him three cheers much to Henry's gratitude. Unfortunately, a lot of children are now often late for school as they want to wait to see Henry puff by and often see him pulling the express. He is able to pull it so well that Gordon becomes quite jealous.




  • One of the workmen at the harbour just before Henry sets off resembles Ringo Starr.
  • While the narrator talks about the harbour, there is an engine seen moving in the background; this is the unmodified Märklin Engine.
  • The two shots where the narrator says "The Fat Controller came to see him" and "won't that be nice?" are both freeze frames.
  • Thanks to the increased clarity of the restored footage, it shows the engine at the front of the goods train appears to be James.
  • This was the only episode to keep its two yellow splits transitioning from the intro when it was aired individually.
  • Henry loses his wheel splashers after his rebuild, but he later regains them in the second series.
  • In the restored version, all of the night time footage is framed lower than on the original print. While thought to be due to film deterioration it would not make sense as the camera recorded vertically and any damage to the tops of the frame would show on the bottom of the next one. It was likely done to hide the top of the set backdrop which is visible as Henry passes through a station in the original print. The rest of the footage was possibly left lower by accident when trying to correct the framing of this one scene.
  • This was one of the few episodes in the US dubs where the word "caboose" was used instead of brake van. Caboose is the American term.
  • When Henry flies off the rails, his impact with the ground very obviously jars the surrounding trucks and crates; this effect was not simulated but was instead a direct result of his very heavy Märklin chassis slamming onto the set.
  • A deleted scene from Coal is used.
  • This and Whistles and Sneezes were the last two episodes of the first series repeated in 1987 on Children's ITV until Thomas' Christmas Party on Wednesday 30th December.
  • This is the first episode where an engine comes off the rails on screen.


  • Henry's eyes jitter in the close-up of him in the shed.
  • When Henry is waiting in the harbour, one of his eyes are wonky.
  • Henry gains two lamps after he leaves the harbour and loses one near his left side that was seen before he left the harbour.
  • In two scenes, Henry's lamps are obviously small light bulbs as they stick out. Some blue wires can also be seen attached to the lights.
  • Henry's lamps are removed for the crash and then put back on after he derailed.
  • The track besides the goods train disappears and reappears several times.
  • In the two last close-ups of Henry, he is in his old shape. In the previous episode, there was a nearly identical close-up of Henry in his new one. From this, it can be judged that the episodes were filmed concurrently and the editors mixed up the footage. In the same shot, a small gap can be seen between Henry's eyes and his face mask and some sticker lining on his cylinder is peeling off.
  • The arrangement of the trucks in the Flying Kipper changes when Henry is diverted onto the siding.
  • Henry is partially in his new shape with his top feed when he crashes.
  • As Henry approaches the green light, the edge of the set can be seen ahead.
  • A crew member's hand can be seen pushing Henry by the tender when he crashes into the goods train. This is immediately visible in both the original and restored footage.
  • In both US versions, the term "guard" is used at one point when Henry's train with the Flying Kipper was ready to go, marking this the first time in the US version a conductor is called by its original British, Japanese, and international term.
  • The edge of the set can be seen in the top left corner when Henry goes back over the viaduct.
  • During Henry's crash, the transition from his impact with the goods train to him leaping off the rails is very delayed. As a result, he appears to suddenly jump off the rails whilst stationary.


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Peixe Voador
Chinese 飞行鳟鱼号
Croatian Leteći Bakalar
Czech Létající Ryba
Danish Flyvefisken
Dutch De Vliegende Vis
Finnish Sähäkkä Silli
French Le Hareng Volant
German Der fliegende Bückling
Greek Ο Τσάρλι και το Παστό Ψάρι
Hebrew דג מעושן מעופף
Hungarian A Száguldó Hering
Italian Lo Scambio Ghiacciato
Japanese フライング・キッパー
Norwegian Den Flyvende Laks
Polish Latający Pikling
Romanian Scrumbia Zburătoare
Russian Летучий лосось
Serbian Leteča Haringa
Slovak Lietajúci Kipper
Slovenian Leteči Slanik
Spanish El Pez Volador
Swedish Den Flygande Laxen
Thai เฮนรี่เจออุบัติเหตุ
Ukrainian Летючий лосось
Welsh Y Trên Penwaig

Home Media Releases


DVD Packs


DVD Packs


  • Coal and other stories
  • The Biggest Ever Christmas Collection
  • The Complete Series 1

DVD Boxsets

  • Complete Series 1-10
  • Classic Collection
  • Series One and Series Two Double Pack







  • The Flying Kipper




DVD Boxsets







DVD Packs







*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Fandom will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.