Very Famous Engines is the tenth Adventures on Rails short released on 30 March 2018.

Very Famous Engines
Season B, Episode 10
Air date 30 March 2018
Written by MainLineEngines
Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
Saving the Mountain Engines
That's What Friends Are for


Flying Scotsman recounts his long overhaul and past and other significant railway achievements.

It was a beautiful Spring morning on the Island of Sodor.

Thomas the Tank Engine was chuffing down his Branch Line on his way to Knapford. Presently, they reached the Station and all the passengers disembarked.

Just then, the Fat Controller came up. "Ah! Thomas! I have a very special job for you. I am assigning you the 'Local'."

"What's that, Sir?"

"You will take a train that stops at every station on the Main Line and terminates at Vicarstown."

"How exciting. When shall I start?"

"You will start later today. Do a good job please."

"Don't worry. I will!"


The Fat Controller walked away.

"This will be great. Vicarstown is a great place to see engines that come from the Other Railway when they bring passengers here," Thomas told Annie and Clarabel.

Later that day, Thomas was ready to depart. The Guard blew his whistle, waved his green flag and Thomas started off along the line.

"Its been a long time since we've been up the Main Line, hasn't it?" commented Thomas.

"Yes indeed," agreed Annie. "It's nice to be out and about."

They were soon approaching Vicarstown.

Thomas smiled. "You know, I remember the old days when I used to work at this very station. But all I did was shunt trucks and coaches."

"And now you get to run your own branch line with us," replied Clarabel.

Thomas slowed to a stop at the platform.

Just then, he heard a familiar whistle.

"Express coming through!"

"Hullo Gordon!"

"Hullo Thomas. What brings you all the way up here?"

"Oh! The Fat Controller asked me to pull the 'Local'," replied Thomas.

"The 'Local', huh? Probably the lamest reason to have you out on the Main Line."

"It's a very special job."

"Indeed. But so is the Express."

Then, between the two engines, Thomas noticed a set of Express coaches.

"Who's are these?" he wondered to himself.

Just then, backing towards them came an engine with two tenders.

"Wow! Who's this with two tenders?"

The engine glided into the station and backed down on the coaches.

Thomas looked at the engine.

"Hullo. I'm Thomas. And you're . . ."

"Flying Scotsman," replied Gordon.

"Ah! Yes!" exclaimed Thomas. "Of course, you two are brothers. You visited Sodor way back after all your class was withdrawn."

"Indeed. As a little surprise for my little brother," said Flying Scotsman.

"Little brother?" muttered Gordon to himself.

"And what brings you here today?" asked Thomas.

"Well, I've been doing regular trips here actually. Lots of visitors are keen to visit the North Western Railway."

"And a lot want to ride with you too."

"Well, I am quite famous, if I do say so myself."

"Oh there you go again," complained Gordon. "Oh, 'I'm better than everyone', 'Gordon's my little brother'. You do realise I was built before you, right?"

Thomas laughed.

"Never mind, Gordon," smiled Flying Scotsman. "It's nice to be out and about again."

Thomas stopped. "Again? What do you mean?"

"Well, I've been in the Works for a very long time."

"Really? Why?"

"Well, it's a pretty long story. I'm not sure if I have time."

Just then, the Stationmaster walked up.

"Listen up! Some urgent track repairs are needed on the Bridge. Scotsman, your train will be delayed until the track is repaired."

"Well, looks like I do as long as you don't have any trains."

"Nope. I'm not due to go back to Ffarquhar 'till much later."

"All right then. Let's begin."

Then the Flying Scotsman began his story.

"I was built at Doncaster in 1923 after Gordon's trail had been successful enough to start the production of the LNER A1. I was numbered '1472', which was still the Great Northern Railway's numbering scheme."

"Anyways," continued Flying Scotsman. "I became a flagship locomotive for the LNER as I appeared at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924 and 1925. It was at the former where I was observed by a man named Alan Pegler, but he comes later into the story."

"Later that year, I was re-numbered '4472' which is probably my most well known number!"

"Well, I don't know what I do if I weren't the number 1," chimed in Thomas.

"Four's better than 11001 at least," Gordon muttered to himself.

"And how did you obtain your name?" asked Thomas.

"Well," replied Flying Scotsman. "I was chosen to haul a prestigious Express train from London to Edinburgh in 1928. The train's name was Flying Scotsman and well, the rest is history!"

"Were you ever nervous for these long runs?"

"Quite right Thomas. The trip was very long and I did it non-stop."

"Really? How?"

"I'll tell you." The Flying Scotsman continued. "I was fitted with an eight-wheel tender which contained enough coal and water for me to make the non-stop journey in eight hours."

"Your crew must have had a lot of work!"

"Well, that's where I had a bit of surprise the first time I pulled the train."

"What happened?"

"Well, I was sizzling happily at the Station, ready to start. I saw the Stationmaster talking to my Driver and Fireman. Or so I thought as I realised that I did have my crew on board. I was puzzled then, but I brushed aside these thoughts as people gathered 'round me. Soon it was time to leave and we went off. I'd say we were about halfway when suddenly, I felt more men step into my cab!"

"Who were they?"

"Well, I soon found out! 'What's going on I asked?'"

"'We're changing shifts', answered my Driver."

"'What do you mean?'"

"'This journey's too long for just the both of us, so they're taking over', explained my Fireman."

"'But how did they get here?'"

"'Your tender has a special corridor to allow them to access the cab from the first coach,' continued my Fireman."

"'That way we won't have to stop the train.'"

"'Well, that makes sense. You'd best be going then.'"

"And so my first crew left for a well earned rest and the alternate crew took over and finished the journey safely and on time."

"Yes and he's so fancy because of his corridors," teased Gordon.

"Well, yes. Corridors proved very useful during my runs."

"I could never make such runs as that," commented Thomas.

"Well, Thomas, all trains are important. Even branch line trains. Without branch lines, people would have no where to go! Main line engines would be delivering passengers for no reason."

"It's no wonder why my branch is the pride of the line!" boasted Thomas.

"Every line on Sodor is important," muttered Gordon.

"Indeed," agreed Flying Scotsman. "There's plenty of variety here on Sodor. Narrow gauge, mountain railway, miniature gauge, quarry lines, docks, harbours and more. There's always something interesting on each line."

"I agree," replied Thomas. "All my great adventures have taken place on my branch line. Like my race with Bertie which I won!"

"Yes! I also recall that's where you got stuck in snow and had to rescued by Terence and where you crashed into the Ffarquhar stationmaster's house," teased Gordon.

"Well, that too," replied Thomas meekly.

Flying Scotsman chuckled. "The every day can bring lots of surprises on the railway."

"But back on the subject of racing, Scotsman, can you tell us about the day you reached 100 miles per hour," asked Thomas.

"Of course!" said Flying Scotsman.

And then he began.

"Prior to me, a Great Western Railway engine named 'City of Truro' had claimed to have reached 100 miles per hour."

"I know him," said Thomas. "He visited our railway and Duck constantly boasts how he was the first to reach 100 miles per hour and then Gordon tried to beat that and lost his dome on the viaduct!"

Gordon frowned. Flying Scotsman chuckled and continued.

"You needn't try too hard, little brother. Truro never actually reached 100 miles per hour."

"He didn't?" both Thomas and Gordon asked, puzzled.

"Not authentically and I'll explain," began Flying Scotsman. "The fact that he ran at 100 was never officially verified so he carried that title quite unofficially for thirty years. He had had his run in 1904. I am of course bias, but I do consider myself to be the first to have reached 100 miles per hour in 1934. Needless to say, it's a day I'll never forget!"

Flying Scotsman continued. "It was the final day of November, 1934 and I was preparing for a light test train."

"We have a lot of hard work ahead of us," said the Fireman.

"Indeed," said the Driver.

"To be honest, I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary for this run. Railway men were just coming to see me run, so I cheerfully coupled up to my coaches. I remember a man stepped into my cab."

"If we hit anything today, we'll hit it hard," the Driver told the man.

"I wasn't exactly sure what this meant but I was soon on my out of the station. As the journey progressed, I felt that I was working harder and harder. My fireman shovelled more and more coal into my firebox and the fire roared fiercely. All the while, the man kept an eye on my speed-o-metre. Presently, I felt I was reaching speeds I had never gone before! What's my speed?!"

The man checked the speed.

"Goodness gracious, you're over 100!"

"Keep it up!" called the Driver.

"I did so as long as I could, but soon, my Driver reduced speed. As I approached the station, there was an enormous crowd of people waiting! Coming into the station, I saw none other than my own designer, Sir Nigel Gresley."

"Well done today, lads!" called Sir Nigel Gresley. "And a fine job, Scotsman."

"I was photographed so many times that day. It was a historic day and the LNER took great pride in that."

"So you became the first steam engine to officially reach 100," said Thomas.


"How did you feel when Mallard broke the record for the fastest steam locomotive in the world?"

"Well, I'll tell you. Now, A3s and A4s, we get along all right. We both take great pride in knowing that our designer is Sir Nigel Gresley, who's one of the most renowned Chief Mechanical Engineers. Even one of the A4s was named after him. I remember hearing the news and despite the fact that Mallard is an A4, I was glad that it was an LNER locomotive that held the title."

"Even today, that record still stands!" exclaimed Thomas.

"Yes, and so does Mallard. At the National Railway Museum, I have been able to talk to him."

"What about?"

"Ah, old times and our records, achievements and such. He's a friendly engine and it's always a pleasure to chat with him with a bit of banter too, of course!"

"Well, you do have a lot of achievements. I'm surprised there was a lot of uncertainty about your preservation."

"Preservation is a lot harder than you think. But just to clarify, BR controllers did not want us scrapped, they were sad to see us go and I was one of the top priorities to be preserved. The main problem was my high cost. It was a man named Alan Pegler who stepped in and bought me and had me restored as close as possible to my LNER condition."

"And thank goodness too. You looked ridiculous in that double-chimney," teased Gordon.

"I agree. It wasn't a proper Doncaster job and there's always been disputes over which shape and livery I should carry."

Then he continued. "After I was restored. Mr. Pegler prepared me for one of the most exciting moments of my life." He paused grandly. "A tour to the United States and Canada."

"That's amazing!" cried Thomas. "How were you allowed on North American track?"

"Well, for this I had to fitted with a cowcatcher, knuckle coupler, high-intensity electric light and air brakes."

"Cowcatchers indeed," commented Thomas. "Once, I almost had to fitted with cowcatchers to run on the Quarry line! Until Toby came in of course."

"Well, similar to a tramway, most track in North America is not fenced so there is that safety concern and hence why all engines are fitted with cowcatchers."

"And how did the tour go?"

"It went fine until 1972 when my owner began experiencing financial difficulties. He ended up in debt and finally declared bankrupt. I was stored in a Depot and had to wait and hope." (After a short pause). "Finally, a man named William McAlpine bought me and I returned to England. I was restored at Derby Works to my pre-tour look. Then, I took another trip; this time to Australia where I set yet another record."

"This was the distance record, right?"

"Yes, Thomas, it was. A mere 679 kilometres."

"Could you run that much, Gordon?" asked Thomas.

"I've never tried."

"Maybe you should."

"I'm not stupid. Last time I tried to break a record, everything turned awry."

Thomas laughed. "Go on, Scotsman."

"After Australia, I returned to the UK and remained on the Main Line for several years but eventually I needed an overhaul and money became a huge issue again. Once again, I had a new owner through Tony Marchington and I was restored over a period of three years. Marchington had a plan to construct a 'Flying Scotsman' village but that was rejected by Edinburgh and once again, I needed a new owner. Fortunately, the National Railway Museum bid and purchased me and I would run charter trains until my more than complicated overhaul."

"So you weren't in the most optimist condition?"

"I wasn't and the Museum was pressured into keeping me out and about. I think that contributed to why my overhaul took so long."

"When did your overhaul begin?"

"In 2006, right at the start of the new year and sometimes I felt like I might never run again."

"I heard that there were a lot of errors during your restoration process."

"Yes, ranging from faulty inspections to inexperience. At some point, I was taken completely to pieces! The Museum kept pushing my completion date further from what was originally estimated."

"Steam engines do need to repaired properly."

"Yes. Honestly, I think your Works would have done a much better job."

"I'm not sure if the Fat Controller ever looked into the possibility of bringing you here."

"I kind of wish he had."

Flying Scotsman continued. "Well, the rest of the story as it is. I came back to service early this year and running regular services here too."

"That was amazing. Preservation has had its ups and downs," commented Thomas. "Isn't always easy either."

"Very well stated Thomas. You guys are lucky to be working on a functional railway. Dare I say the main reason for these problems is that preserved steam engines in general don't work on a regular basis. And there arises problems over boiler certificates, financial situations, etc. Your controller definitely knows how to run railways and keep steam engines in working order. Who's the oldest engine?"

"Edward," answered Gordon. "Built in 1896."

"And he's always available to work," added Thomas.

"Again, a huge testament to Sir Topham Hatt for having Works that can carry out difficult tasks that back then Crewe or Doncaster would've handled."

"That is true. About fifty years ago, heavy overhauls were usually carried out in England or even Switzerland, for the Mountain Engines!"

"It's always great to visit here. Diesels may have taken over the UK as the main source of rail transportation but I'm glad to know the steam will always be at work here."

"Real engines, as the Fat Controller often refers to us."

"I completely agree with him," finished Flying Scotsman.

Then the Stationmaster came up.

"The bridge is safe to cross now. You can take your train, Scotsman."

"Thank you very much. I'll be glad to come back again."

The passengers quickly boarded the coaches.

"Well, I have to go now. Continue working hard and keep steam alive."

"Goodbye, Flying Scotsman!" whistled Thomas.

"Until later, little brother," teased Gordon.


Then the Guard blew his whistle and waved the green flag."

"Flying Scotsman coming through!"

They watched until Flying Scotsman was out of sight.

"I better run 'round," said Thomas and he did so quickly. "Well, there's no question about why your brother is so famous. He's had many great adventures."

"I agree. But, so have we."

"You are right. Even the every day can bring surprises. Like when you fell into a ditch."

"Or when you fell down a mine."

"And then I shunted the Queen's coaches and you had the honour of having her as your passenger."

"Looking back, I can even laugh at some of my biggest mistakes."

"Same here. Honestly, I don't know what I would do if I wasn't on Sodor."

"Like my brother said, we are very fortunate."

"I agree. We should value our time here on Sodor and enjoy all the adventures that life has to offer. It's not always good, but we grow from it. If I hadn't had the opportunity to take trucks, I wouldn't have learned from Edward."

"Everyone makes mistakes. It's what you do to make amends."

"Exactly. I worked hard after that and eventually earned my own branch line. Even though I like the Main Line, I just don't feel familiarised with it. I guess the best adventures happen right at home."

"When we went to England, I was actually glad to get back home."

"There's really no place like Sodor. The majority of our memories are here."

"Like when I helped put out a fire."

"Or when Edward catched James after he ran away. Your escapade with the cows!"

"And Henry's sneeze!"

"What good times!"

Both engines laughed.

"In that case, I am looking forward to getting back to my Branch Line."

Just then, passengers started boarding Annie and Clarabel.

"Looks like I'm off. See you around!"

"I don't stop at the junction but I'll whistle!"

"Peep! Peep!" whistled Thomas in return and then he set off, toward Ffarquhar.




  • This short was inspired by The Great Race; specifically the opening scene of Gordon, Thomas and Flying Scotsman at Vicarstown. The short features a similar scenario.
  • The short takes place in 2016.
  • References to the following stories are made: Thomas's Train and Thomas and the Trucks from Thomas the Tank Engine; Thomas, Terence and the Snow and Thomas and Bertie from Tank Engine Thomas Again; Henry's Sneeze from Henry the Green Engine; Thomas in Trouble from Toby the Tram Engine; Off the Rails, Down the Mine and Paint Pots and Queens from Gordon the Big Engine ; Cows and Old Iron from Edward the Blue Engine; The Fat Controller's Engines from The Eight Famous Engines; Domeless Engines from Duck and the Diesel Engine; Thomas Comes to Breakfast from Branch Line Engines; Gordon's Fire Service from Thomas and his Friends.
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