The Eight Famous Engines

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The Eight Famous Engines

"The Eight Famous Engines" is Book 12 in the children's book series The Railway Series by the Rev. W. Awdry. It was the first book to feature John T. Kenney as the illustrator.

Percy Takes the Plunge

One day, Percy is talking to some visiting engines, telling them the events of "Percy's Promise". However, Henry is not very pleased, and tells the other engines to go away. Percy claims that water is nothing to an engine with determination, and reminds Henry of the time that he had gone into a tunnel because he didn't want the rain to spoil his lovely green paint with red stripes. Later that day, at the Harbour, Percy and Thomas were talking next to a Danger notice. Thomas warns Percy that he must not go past it, but Percy thinks that the board is stupid. A few days later, Percy asks the Trucks to bump him past the board when they get to the quay. He believes that once he goes past the board, he'll be able to stop the trucks. However, as is most often the case, the Trucks continue to push Percy until he is halfway in the water. When the Fat Controller hears of this, he comes to see Percy, and lets him know just how silly he is. That night, they bring floating cranes to get Percy out of the water, and, next day, he is taken to the works on Henry's goods train. Henry teases Percy, and asked him if he liked the water, reminding him that it's nothing to an engine with determination. He tells him he might like it better next time, but Percy is "determined" that there won't be a next time.

Gordon Goes Foreign

Gordon and Duck are having an arguement with a visiting engine from London. They can't decide what the big station at London is. Gordon says it's King's Cross, the Foreign Engine says it's Euston, and Duck says it's Paddington. Neither one can make up their minds, so they argue about it until the Foreign Engine goes home. For the next few days, Gordon tries to prove that the station at London is King's Cross by trying to go to London. However, his Driver always stops him before he is able to get there. One day, however, Gordon gets his chance, when the express engine going to London derails. He goes to London, and recives a huge welcome. The police even have to be called the control the crowsds, and Gordon makes the headlines of the "Sodor Times". When Gordon returns, the Fat Controller asks how he liked London. As it turns out, he didn't. He says London is all wrong now. It's neither King's Cross, Euston, or's St. Pancras.

Double Header

After Gordon returned fom London, James got the chance to pull the express for a while. This made him very concited. He started bragging about it to Toby, who is really not interested. One day, Toby is going to the works to get his worn parts mended. On the way there, Toby tries to stop at a station for some water, but a new signalman won't let him. Because he was new, he didn't know about Toby's small water tank, which had to be filled whenever they came to a station. Halfway to the next station, however, he ran out of water and was stranded on the Main Line. At the previous station, James heard all about Toby, and was very cross that he would be having to push him all the way to the next station to get water. To make matters worse, when they got to the station, a little boy laughed and said that James must have broken down, so Toby had to help him.

The Fat Controller's Engines

One evening, Thomas was going to the Big Station, and was surprised to find that, as well as all the other engines, some of the engines from the Other Railway were there. Recently, the Fat Controller has heard that the people from England have read the "Railway Series" books, but do not beleive that the engines are real, so he is taking his engines to England to show them. A few days later, Thomas was talking with Jinty, one of Percy's friends from the Other Railway, and bragging about his race with Bertie. He tries to show Jinty how he won the race, but ends up crashing through a set of buffers, and badly bending his front. The next day, all of the engines are ready to go to England. Gordon, Henry, James, Edward, Toby and Percy on a flatbed, and Duck were all lined up into place. Thomas had finally come back from the works with Annie and Clarabel, and got into place behind Duck, with Toby's coach, Henrietta, behind Annie and Clarabel. Finally, the cavalcade moved off to London. When they got to England, all the engines were placed in a big shed. Thousands of people came to see them and take their photographs. As the engines went home a few days later, everyone came to see them off. They told them that the "others" did their best, but nothing anywhere could ever compare to the Fat Controller's Engines!


  • This is the first book illustrated by John. T. Kenney.
  • This book features the introduction of Jinty and Pug, two of Percy's friends from the Other Railway. They have made a few minor appearences throughout the books.
  • This was supposedly the last book of the Railway Series. Awdry wanted to finsih the books after a nice round twelve. However, the publishers knew they had gotten into something good, and wouldn't let Awdry retire just yet.

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