Thomas first met Hong-Mei during his passenger run after saying he was the number 1 engine. However, Hong-Mei pointed out she was China’s number 1 engine, and the two had a race to see who’s the better number 1.
Unbeknownst to either engine, Hong-Mei spilled some of her delivery of rocks as she raced. This caused Thomas to derail on a shortcut line through the mountains. Hong-Mei came to Thomas’ rescue, revealing she took the shortcut line as well and made Thomas come off the rails with her carelessness. She pulled Thomas back onto the tracks and the two engines decided that two number 1 engines are just as good as one number 1 engine.
Hong-Mei is a good-natured but cheeky tank engine from China who loves to race. She is also blue like Thomas, and out to prove she’s the No. 1 blue engine. Like Thomas, she can be careless and hasty at times, but always tries to make up for it. Hong-Mei is also a good sport, and knows when to put competition aside for the sake of helping a friend.
Hong-Mei is based on the China Railways GJ 0-6-0T class. 122 members of this class were built and primarily saw industrial usage in places such as steelworks, with some remaining into service well into the 2000s. In addition to service in China, some members of the class worked in North Korea and Vietnam. Five are preserved.
Hong-Mei is painted blue with yellow lining and a red stripe along each of her side tanks. Her handrails, boiler bands and cylinder lining are brass, her wheels are red with light grey rims, and her number is painted on the sides of her tanks in yellow.
- Series 22 - Number One Engine, Thomas in the Wild (cameo), The Water Wheel, Runaway Truck and Thomas and the Dragon
She will appear in the twenty-third series.
- 2018 - Meet Hong-Mei of China!
- Chipo Chung (UK/US)
- Mikoto Nakai (Japan)
- Agata Skórska (Poland)
- Orly Tagar (Israel)
- Anna Kumosiak (Germany)
- Montserrat Aguilar (Latin America)
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- Hong-Mei's name means "red plum" in Mandarin.
- Hong-Mei is painted with 一号 (Yī hào), means "number 1" in Mandarin, on both of her water tanks.
- She was the last new character produced in Adventures before the TrackMaster Push Along redesign.
- Hong-Mei has been modified for use on British Railways. She has added buffers, screwlink couplings and a brake pipe on both ends.