Henry the Green Engine (Book)

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere

Henry the Green Engine is the sixth book of The Railway Series by the W V Awdry. In this story, all of the engines are given numbers, and Henry is given a new shape.

Henry the Green Engine


Henry has been feeling very sick lately. He moans about it all the time, but no-one takes any notice. The Fat Controller is threatening to replace Henry is he doesn't get better. One day, he joins the Driver and Fireman in Henry's cab. He notices that Henry is having trouble making steam properly. The Fireman blames the small size of Henry's firebox, and that Henry has the wrong sort of coal for his firebox. The Fat Controller has James get some Welsh Coal for Henry. When the Welsh Coal comes, Henry and hsi crew are very excited. Henry has to go off and pull a train. He does very well, and arrives at the station BEFORE Thomas, when he would usually arrive several minutes later.

The Flying Kipper

The "Special" Welsh Coal that Henry was given is working well. One night, Henry must take a train known as the Flying Kipper. The Flying Kipper is a train that is full of fish. The fish is brought in by boat. Henry is very excited. If he does well with the "Kipper", the Fat Controller might let him pull the express. He starts off with the train at 5.00. Henry is running well. All of the signals he passes are green. Until he finds one signal at cuation. Something's not right, the signal is yellow, but the home signal is down, which means "line clear". Henry continues on his journey. The signal should have been set at danger, ice had frozen the points from the main line to a siding, but snow had forced the signal down. A goods train was on the exact same siding that Henry had just turned onto. The Driver, Fireman, and Guard are drinking cocoa in the brake van. As the men get up to leave, Henry crashes into the train. He lies there for the rest of the night, until the next morning when the breakdown gang comes to help him. The Fat Controller knows that ice and snow caused the accident, and orders that Henry be sent to a worksshop called Crewe, to be given a new shape and larger fire box. When Henry returns, he feels wonderful, and doesn't need special coal. Unfortunately, many boys are often late for school, as they watch Henry go past, often times with the express.

Gordon's Whistle

Gordon has been very rude to Henry ever since he returned from Crewe. He complains that Henry whistles too much. "It isn't wrong, but we just don't do it," he says. Henry is rather upset by this. He feels much better after talking to Edward the next day. As he and Edward are in the station, the hear a loud whistling noise. Gordon comes through, looking very embarrassed, with his whistle blowing non-stop! His whistle continues acting up all day. The Fat Controller orders that Gordon be taken away, and have the noise stopped. Fianlly, a Fitter knocks Gordon's whistle back into place. Gordon goes home, happy that the shed is empty. But as Henry comes in, he whispers to no engine in particular (Gordon), "It isn't wrong, but we just don't do it."

Percy and the Trousers

NOTE: "Percy and the Trousers" was adapted by a story by C. Hamilton Ellis in the book, The Trains We Loved.

Percy complains that his funnel is cold, and that he needs a scarf. Henry says that engines don't wear scarves. One day, Percy was trying to surprise some coaches by coming into the station as quietly as he could. Two porters were taking a large load, and walking backwards to see that nothing fell off. But, Percy arrived so quietly that the porters didn't hear him. He crashed into the trolley, and got covered in jam, a pair of trousers, and a certain top-hat. The Fat Controller is very cross with Percy. The trousers and top-hat were his. He must now pay for the passengers' spoiled clothes, and tells Percy not to play tricks on the coaches. Then, Percy has to go back to the yard, wearing his new trousers-scarf around his funnel.

Henry's Sneeze

One day, Henry was taking a train when he saw some boys standing on a bridge. As he went under the bridge, the boys threw stones at the coaches, and broke some of thier windows. Henry, his driver, and his fireman all want to pay the boys out. Henry's Driver decides that Henry will sneeze on the boys. The next day, the Driver fills Henry up with sneezing powder and ashes. As Henry passes under the bridge, he sees the boys, with stones in hand, and sneezes covering them in soot. From now on, Henry's smokebox must be cleaned while he is in the yard, because the Fat Controller doesn't like him sneezing under bridges, and Henry has never seen any more boys with stones.


  • This is the only book to feature five stories. All previous and subsequent books have only four stories.
  • The six main engines (Thomas, Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, and Percy) are given numbers in this book. However, Thomas has had the number 1 ever since his first appearance.
  • Henry's rebuild came about because the illustrator, C. Reginald Dalby, was inconsistant with Henry's design. He made Henry look similar to Gordon. With Henry's new shape, no more mistakes were made.
  • "Henry's Sneeze" caused problems for Mr. Awdry, as it was very controversial. It described the boys as being “as black as niggers”. The book was published in 1951, but complaints did not arise until 1972. After a parent wrote to Mr. Awdry on the subject, he changed the line to “as black as soot”.

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