Book 6 - Henry the Green Engine - 1951
Summaries by R Healy
This book was one of Awdry's crowning glories and it allowed a turning point for the character of Henry, who hadn't been to the author's specification due to an artistic misdemeanour. When greeted with an unfortunate accident, Henry's fortunes turned around, much to the pleasure of the author!
Henry is feeling sorry for himself due to his prolonged illness. The Fat Controller knows that a solution will have to be sought one way or another, meaning Henry's scrapping or by the suggestion of the fireman, the use of Welsh coal which may build up the heat in Henry's firebox. The Welsh coal happens to work a treat, despite the Fat Controller's reservations about importing it due to expense. Henry feels better than ever and goes like a rocket! But, the intentions of the author are different...
The Flying Kipper
Henry is chosen to take The Flying Kipper, a goods train of fish to markets across the Island. It's a cold winter and there's been a bad snow fall, which makes for trouble further along the line. Henry has a smooth run up until a point, unknowing that a signal has been forced down with the heavy snow and he's being diverted into a siding due to frozen points! Through pure chance, the crew of the train parked in the siding have just left the brake van, which is torn to pieces when Henry crashes into it, along with a good load of cocoa being ruined! The Fat Controller seizes the opportunity of the crash to rebuild Henry, sending him to Crewe to be given a new shape and larger firebox, eliminating the need for special coal and making Henry the engine he always deserved to be.
Gordon is cross and takes his aggression out at Henry's expense, complaining about the big green engine's new shape, his "galivanting off to Crewe" and Henry's whistling! Henry feels upset about Gordon's comments, but soon cheers up again when he's back at work. Gordon however is made to rethink what he's said about Henry's excessive whistling when he comes rocketting down the hill whistling loud and prolonged! It's not until two fitters knock his whistle valve in place that he can finally stop and give everyone some peace at long last! And Henry's utterance of Gordon's own words - "It isn't wrong, but we just don't do it!" pretty much sum up the whole situation!
Percy & The Trousers
Percy is cold and moaning about wanting a scarf to keep warm. The others tell him to stop being ridiculous and to forget about it, but Percy is adamant. The Fat Controller is trying to make a good impression on some visitors to the Railway, and as his bags are being carried across the line, Percy scuppers his plans when entering the yard so quietly the Porters cannot hear him. By doing this he ends up sending suitcases flying into the air, and smashing open a jam jar which covers the guests and makes the Fat Controller look foolish. Not, however, as foolish as Percy does with jam trickling down his face, trousers around his funnel and a top hat on his lamp iron. He is sternly told off, and hurries away to be cleaned, not wishing to have a scarf anymore!
Some rogue boys find it fun to drop stones on Henry's train as they pass a bridge. They break glass, hit the Fireman as he's shovelling and it's only by pure luck that the passengers aren't injured. However, there is an air of bad feeling, and requests to phone the police. But the Driver has a better idea...sneeze on the boys! On the return trip, they watch out for the boys and make sure they have plenty of ashes to shoot up at them as they pass the bridge. When they approach, Henry gives a good blast of ash and soot, making sure the stupid boys have something to think about in future as they walk home covered from head to toe!