The Flying Kipper is the nineteenth episode of the first series.


One night in winter, after his day's work is done, Henry is told by his driver that they will be leaving early in the morning to pull The Flying Kipper, a special goods train from the quay that carries fish from the harbour to the Mainland. The driver tells Henry that his special coal is working so well that if he pulls the Flying Kipper nicely the Fat Controller might let him pull the express, a thought that makes Henry very happy.

At five o'clock next morning, Henry arrives at the harbour ready to pick up the Flying Kipper. Everything goes very smoothly and Henry leaves the harbour without a hitch. After getting the vans to come along quickly and quietly, Henry begins to enjoy his journey, marvelling at the countryside as the sun rises.

Soon Henry comes to a yellow signal indicating caution. Henry's driver initially prepares to stop until he sees the home signal is down, indicating that the line ahead is clear. With that, the driver allows Henry to continue at full speed. What Henry and his crew do not know however, is that the points to the main line had been frozen towards a siding and the home signal, which should have been set at "danger" had been forced down by snow.

In the siding is a goods train, which had pulled in to let Henry pass and the crew are enjoying cocoa in the brake van. However, the crew notices that it is nearly time for Henry to pass by, so they leave to return to their engine. Their exit comes just in time, as Henry comes barrelling down the siding at full speed and unable to stop, collides straight into the back of the train, causing him to derail and land on his side. His driver and fireman had jumped clear before the crash, but Henry is left dazed and surprised.

When daylight comes, the Breakdown Train is brought in and the clean-up effort is underway. The Fat Controller comes to talk to Henry and kindly reassures him that the accident was not his fault, but was caused by ice and snow. He then tells Henry that he is going to be sent to Crewe, an excellent place for sick engines. As well as repairing him, they will also give him a brand new shape and a larger firebox. As a result, Henry will feel much better and will not need special coal to run properly anymore.

A few weeks later, it is springtime and Henry returns from Crewe. Although he enjoyed his time there, he is happy to come back to the Island of Sodor. A lot of people wait at the station to welcome him home and see him in his new shape. When he rides through, he looks so splendid and strong that the crowd gives him three cheers much to Henry's gratitude. Unfortunately, a lot of children are now often late for school as they want to wait to see Henry puff by and often see him pulling the express. He is able to pull it so well that Gordon feels jealous of him, but that's another story.


  • Henry
  • Sir Topham Hatt
  • Gordon (does not speak)
  • Edward (cameo)
  • James (cameo)
  • Märklin Engine (cameo)
  • Troublesome Trucks (cameos)
  • One Little Boy (cameo)
  • The Stone-dropping Boys (cameo)


  • Tidmouth Sheds
  • Tidmouth Harbour
  • The Pond Runby
  • Wellsworth
  • Maron
  • Elsbridge
  • The Viaduct
  • Knapford Bus Yard
  • The Woodland Runby
  • Killdane
  • Knapford (deleted scene)
  • Crewe (mentioned)


  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Henry the Green Engine.
  • One of the workmen at the harbour just before Henry sets off resembles Ringo Starr.
  • While the narrator talks about the harbour, there is an engine seen moving in the background; this is the unmodified Märklin Engine.
  • The two shots where the narrator says "The Fat Controller came to see him" and "won't that be nice?" are both freeze frames.
  • Thanks to the increased clarity of the restored footage, it shows the engine at the front of the goods train appears to be James.
  • This was the only episode to keep its two yellow splits transitioning from the intro when it was aired individually.
  • Henry loses his wheel splashers after his rebuild, but he later regains them in the second series.
  • In the restored version, all of the night time footage is framed lower than on the original print. While thought to be due to film deterioration it would not make sense as the camera recorded vertically and any damage to the tops of the frame would show on the bottom of the next one. It was likely done to hide the top of the set backdrop which is visible as Henry passes through a station in the original print. The rest of the footage was possibly left lower by accident when trying to correct the framing of this one scene.
  • This was one of the few episodes in the US dubs where the word "caboose" was used instead of brake van. Caboose is the American term.
  • When Henry flies off the rails, his impact with the ground very obviously jars the surrounding trucks and crates; this effect was not simulated but was instead a direct result of his very heavy Märklin chassis slamming onto the set.
  • A deleted scene from Coal is used.


  • In the opening scene of Henry in the shed, his driver is nowhere to be seen when he speaks to Henry about pulling the Flying Kipper.
  • Henry's eyes jitter in the close-up of him in the shed.
  • When Henry is waiting in the harbour, one of his eyes are wonky.
  • Henry gains two lamps after he leaves the harbour and loses one near his left side that was seen before he left the harbour.
  • In two scenes, Henry's lamps are obviously small light bulbs as they stick out. Some blue wires can also be seen attached to the lights.
  • Henry's lamps are removed for the crash and then put back on after he derailed.
  • The track besides the goods train disappears and reappears several times.
  • In the two last close-ups of Henry, he is in his old shape. In the previous episode, there was a nearly identical close-up of Henry in his new shape. From this, it can be judged that the episodes were filmed concurrently and the editors mixed up the footage. In the same shot, a small gap can be seen between Henry's eyes and his face mask and some sticker lining on his cylinder is peeling off.
  • In the US version, the term "guard" is used at one point.
  • The arrangement of the trucks in the Flying Kipper changes when Henry is diverted onto the siding.
  • Henry is partially in his new shape with his top feed when he crashes.
  • As Henry approaches the green light, the edge of the set can be seen ahead.
  • A stagehand can be seen pushing Henry by the tender when he crashes into the goods train. This is immediately visible in both the original and restored footage.
  • Henry seems to hit the goods train twice.
  • The edge of the set can be seen in the top left corner when Henry goes back over the viaduct.
  • During Henry's crash, the transition from his impact with the goods train to him leaping off the rails is very delayed; as a result he appears to suddenly jump off the rails whilst stationary.


  • Pop-Up Books - The Flying Kipper and Henry the Green Engine

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