James the Red Engine

Promotional picture of James in full CGi
Number 5, previously 52135, and 1
Class L&YR Aspinall Class 27/Hughes Class 28 2-6-0 Mogul Experiment hybird with Fowler tender, originally L&YR Aspinall Class 27/Hughes Class 28 0-6-0 hybrid
Livery L&YR black with red lining (1912-1923), NWR red with blue and yellow lining (since 1923)
Line Tidmouth-Barrow-in-Furness mainline
Built 1912

Horwich Works


Designer George Hughes
Date of Birth June 19, 1912 (age 105)
First Appearance Thomas and the Breakdown Train
Voice Actors Keith Wickham (UK)
Kerry Shale (US) (Hero Of The Rails - Season 18)
Rob Rackstraw (US) (The Adventure Begins (onwards), (UK/US) (All-New Shining Time Station), (The Adventures of Thomas and the Magic Railroad) and (Thomas and Friends the Motion Picture)

James is a bright red tender engine, the Main Deuteragonist & a supporting character in UK series Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, one of the minor characters of the specials (ex. King of the Railway and Tale of the Brave) and one of the two main tritagonists in King of the Railway and the main Antagonist Tale of the Brave.

Behind the Scenes

James first appeared in the Railway Series in 1946, in the book Thomas the Tank Engine. He was painted black at this point. At the request of the publishers, Awdry dedicated the next book to the character. It was in this book that James received his red paint and his personality.

In the book The Island of Sodor: Its People, History and Railways, it is claimed that James is based on a rebuild of a Class 27 locomotive of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, designed by George Hughes. However, as with most of the early Railway Series characters, this is a case of retroactive continuity.

Martin Clutterbuck has pointed out that the character also strongly resembles an Austrian Goods engine of the Glasgow and South Western Railway, and Awdry himself used an engine of this class to represent James on his model railway. As with Edward, it is possible that he rejected this prototype for the character's official "biography" on the grounds that an English locomotive would be geographically more likely to end up on Sodor.

James as a model

According to the Rev W Awdry himself, James is a "Class 28" Hughes rebuild of the Lancashire and Yorkshire's Class 27 designed by Aspinall. Hughes added a Belpaire firebox and extended the footplate and sandbox. The engine below, the first of the series from the Horwich works (5th March, 1912), was fitted with a Schmidt superheater. The changes for James are quite obviously the new front pony truck added "experimentally", suggested by the real loco's large front overhang, and thus converting an 0-6-0 into a 2-6-0, besides the removal of the front sandboxes. James 2-6-0 Professionally made (a G&SWR Mixed traffic loco designed by Drummond.) It was painted red with yellow lining as in the books. a beautiful model, but there was one way the motor, though of a well-known and reputedly reliable make, was so unreliable, that the engine could never be put into regular service (Note W.A. 1989 Loco was sent 1983/84 to Stewart Reidpath for fresh chassis and Motor and returned completely transformed). James II, which the Reverend converted from the Triang 3F just as Hornby would do for its production James.

James in Thomas and the Magic Railroad

Susan Roman voiced James in the film, Thomas and the Magic Railroad James first appeared in Tidmouth Sheds being annoyed by a fly He was briefly threatened by the evil Diesel 10 before being teleported out by Mr Conductor Junior (Michael E. Rodgers). At the beginning the fly annoying him was a reference to Buzz, Buzz.

James in the Guinness Book of Records

A large scale working replica of James (along with Thomas, Percy, Harold and Jack) was created by BBC Visual Effects (UK) for a 2003 live stage show tour. This battery powered locomotive is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest model railway engine ever built, at 2.64 x 1.5 x 6.52 metres.

"Real Life" James

The Mid Hants Railway repainted one of its engines – a Southern Railway N class – into the livery of James. The engine retained this colour scheme for many years, and participated in the Railway Series golden jubilee celebrations at the National Railway Museum. This engine was the only replica Thomas character to be certified to run on the main line.

It created a certain amount of controversy among railway enthusiasts, who felt that it was inappropriate to paint a historic main line locomotive in such a garish livery. Nonetheless, the locomotive was popular with the railway's younger visitors.


  • In the TV Series, James makes a large number of cameos before his actual debut story. This leads to a continuity error in James and the Coaches.
  • In the Railway Series and The Adventure Begins, James was painted black before his accident and was given his red coat to cheer him up; he is red throughout the TV Series He speaks in Calm Down Caitlin.


James' theme is his Season 1 theme.

Theme (T,J&H Version)

James's T,J&H Theme is His Season 1 theme

Counterparts (Male Version) (Hero Version)

Attention niels epting WARNING: You may add appropriate counterparts. But, do NOT delete any.

Counterparts (Female Version)

Attention niels epting WARNING: You may add appropriate counterparts. But, do NOT delete any.

Counterparts (Villain Version)

Attention niels epting WARNING: You may add appropriate counterparts. But, do NOT delete any.


Attention niels epting WARNING: You may add parodies. But, do NOT delete any. Complete parodies list

  1. James/Thomas (same series)
  2. James/Tayo
  3. James/TUGS
  4. James/Sonic
  5. James/Arthur
  6. James/Rio (2011)
  7. James/The Simpsons
  8. James/Shrek
  9. James/Winnie The Pooh
  10. James/Toy Story
  11. James/The Lion King
  12. James/Sesame Street
  13. James/Sooty
  14. James/Veggietales
  15. James/Bob The Builder
  16. James/Happy Feet
  17. James/The Lorax (2012)
  18. James/Fireman Sam
  19. James/Postman Pat
  20. James/Pingu
  21. James/Noddy's Toyland Adventures
  22. James/Oakie Doke
  23. James/Brum
  24. James/Tots Tv
  25. James/Rosie & Jim
  26. James/Teletubbies
  27. James/In the Night Garden
  28. James/Joshua Jones
  29. James/Charlie Chalk
  30. James/The Animal Shelf
  31. James/The Wind in the Willows
  32. James/See Spot Run
  33. James/Gremlins (1984)
  34. James/101 Dalmatians
  35. James/101 Dalmatians - The Animated Series
  36. James/101 Dalmatians (1996)
  37. James/102 Dalmatians
  38. James/BBC Television Children's Favourites
  39. James/Dora the Explorer
  40. James/Rosie
  41. James/Old Bear
  42. James/Harry Potter
  43. James/Scooby-Doo


See Also

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