Troublesome Engines

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Troublesome Engines is the fifth book in The Railway Series of children's books written by the Rev. W. Awdry. In this book we are introduced to Percy the Small Engine.

Troublesome Engines

Henry and the Elephant

Henry (in a new coat of green paint) and Gordon have been lonely since Thomas went to his Branch Line. They now have to shunt their own coaches. They complained dreadfully. Edward and James did odd jobs, but soon James started grumbling and left Edward to do it all himself. One day, the circus arrives, and all the engines are excited. However, once James is picked, Henry and Gordon start grumbling again. One morning, Henry has to take some workman to a tunnel that is blocked. The workmen go inside, try to dig at the blockage and run out. The blockage grunts and moves. Henry was sent in to push the blockage out of the way. When he tries, the blockage pushes Henry out of the tunnel. It is revealed that the block is a large elephant. The elephant ran away from the circus. He is given some sandwiches, cakes, and water to calm him down. As the elephant began his fourth bucket of water, Henry let off steam. This scared the elephant and he poured water over Henry. Henry was cross the rest of the day. When he got back to the sheds, Gordon and James said that Henry had been badly treated.

Tenders and Turntables

Gordon is boasting about how tender engines are more important than tank engines. He complains that it's not fair for the Fat Controller to make tender engines shunt their own trucks. One day, Gordon is on the turntable, but it is very windy. The wind is so strong, that Gordon can't get centred properly. He must pull his next train backwards. James sees Gordon and laughs. Gordon warns him to be careful, but James take no notice. When he got to the turntable, it spins easily. Too easily. James is spun around like a top. When he finally stops, he is very dizzy and goes to his shed. That night, Gordon, Henry, and James think about what they will do. Gordon says he has a plan that will make the Fat Controller look silly.

Trouble in the Shed

Gordon, Henry, and James decided to go on strike. They won't work unless their coaches are shunted for them. The Fat Controller has Edward shunt for a few days, and the trains run as normal. But the big engines are being very rude to Edward, wheeshing at him and calling him a "black wheel". The Fat Controller goes to a workshop to find another engine. He meets a small, green engine with four wheels. He calls him Percy and takes him back to the yard. Edward shows Percy around. Percy shows Edward how to get back at the big engines for being rude to him. Then, the Fat Controller calls Thomas to help out on the main line, and shuts Gordon, Henry, and James in the sheds.

Percy Runs Away

Thomas and Edward have been working the main line, while Percy runs Thomas' branch line. The Fat Controller will let Henry, Gordon, and James out of the shed if they are good. The big engines agree. Thomas, Edward, and Percy are sent to play on the branch line for a few days. Percy is very cheeky whenever he sees the big engines. Edward warns Percy that he must be careful on the main line and must whistle to the signalman when stopped. Percy stops at a signal box, but forgets to whistle. Too late, he sees that he is on the same line as Gordon, who is pulling the express. Gordon is able to stop just inches from Percy, but Percy begins to run away. He tries to stop a little while later, but sees that he doesn't have a driver or fireman. A signalman notices that Percy is in trouble and puts him on a runaway siding. Percy stops when he hits a large bank of earth. Gordon comes to help Percy out. Percy apologises for being cheeky. Percy is still cheeky, because that's the kind of engine he is, but he is alwasy careful when on the main line.

New Characters

  • Percy

Other Info

  • Starting in this book, and for every book after, Henry is painted in green. The one exception is in "Henry Sees Red", in which Henry is in a red undercoat.
  • The change in Henry's coat of paint was because several fans wrote in to the Rev. Awdry saying that they couldn't tell the difference between Gordon and Henry.

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Book series: The Railway Series
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