Troublesome Engines

Reverend W. Awdry

Illustrated by

C. Reginald Dalby


Edmund Ward
Egmont Publishing


1950 - present

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Tank Engine
Thomas Again

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Henry the Green Engine

Troublesome Engines is the fifth book of The Railway Series.


Dear Friends, News from the Main Line has not been good. Sir Topham Hatt has been having trouble. A short while ago, he gave Henry a coat of green paint, but as soon as he got his old colour back again, Henry became conceited. Gordon and James, too, have been getting above themselves.

I am glad to say, however, that Sir Topham Hatt has, quite kindly but very firmly, put them in their place. And now the trains are running as usual.

I hope you will like meeting Percy. We shall be hearing more of him later.
The Author


Henry and the Elephant

Henry is called out to clear a blockage in his tunnel, but when he goes in, an elephant pushes him back out of the tunnel! The workmen give the elephant some water, but Henry surprises it by letting off steam and it sprays water all over him.

Tenders and Turntables

Gordon is in a bad mood and when he goes to be turned around for his next train he unbalances the turntable and has to take the train backwards. Thomas and James tease him, but later James is spun around by the wind on the turntable. The big engines have had enough, and make a plan.

Trouble in the Shed

The big engines refuse to get their coaches and so Edward is brought in to shunt for them. However, poor Edward is met with hostility and so Sir Topham Hatt buys a saddletank engine, which he christens Percy. The big engines refuse to come out, so the Fat Controller shuts them up and brings Thomas to work with Edward while Percy runs his branchline.

Percy Runs Away

The big engines finally see sense and agree to get their coaches ready, so the Fat Controller lets Thomas, Edward and Percy play on the branch line. Thomas takes Annie and Clarabel for a run and Edward takes some trucks to the quarry, leaving Percy alone. He strays onto the points, and Gordon scares him when he rushes into the junction. Percy runs away, and eventually, exhausted, runs in a sandbank. Gordon later commends him for preventing an accident and Percy becomes the new station pilot at Tidmouth.



  • The central theme of this book reflects that, at the time of publishing, there were labour difficulties on British railways.
  • In the fifth illustration of "Tenders and Turntables", C. Reginald Dalby and his daughter can be seen in the picture: Dalby is the man on the bench with the luggage, while his daughter is holding a dog on a leash.
  • In the third illustration of "Percy Runs Away", the Reverend W. Awdry, his wife Margaret and his childrenChristopher, Margaret and Helena can be seen in the picture: they are the family on the platform waving to Percy.


  • Henry has Gordon's buffers and blue paint in the second illustration of "Henry and the Elephant".
  • The flowers by Henry's Tunnel keep disappearing and reappearing.
  • In the second illustration of "Tenders and Turntables", the stripe on Thomas' splasher disappears.
  • In the fourth illustration of "Trouble in the Shed", Gordon has round buffers and a fully enclosed cab.
  • The engines in the workshop are said to be tank engines, but a few are actually tender engines.
  • In the penultimate illustration of "Trouble in the Shed" Thomas has a flat valence.
  • In the first illustration of "Percy Runs Away", James appears to be taller than Gordon. In the same illustration, Gordon is missing his neckholders.
  • In the second illustration of "Percy Runs Away", part of Edward's tender is painted a lighter shade of blue.
  • In one illustration of "Percy Runs Away", a fire hydrant disappears from between two lines.
  • Percy's position on the points changes between the fourth and fifth illustrations of "Percy Runs Away".
  • In the sixth and seventh illustrations of "Percy Runs Away", the sea can be seen on Percy's right, not his left as maps of Sodor indicate would be the case.
  • It is said that the big engines insulted Edward by saying that he had black wheels. But wouldn't this be insulting to James since he has black wheels?