Book 1 - The Three Railway Engines - 1945
Summaries by R Healy
Written by Awdry in 1943 to entertain his son, Christopher, who was suffering from measles at the time, this was the first book in what was to become The Railway Series. The book tells the stories of kind Edward, pompous Gordon and foolish Henry.
Edward's Day Out
The book opens with Edward being given the chance to go out of his shed again after some time, much to the outrage of the others in his shed. Following trouble with a guard who’s late, Edward has a wonderful time running through the countryside, and earns the chance to do it again the following day.
Edward & Gordon
The next story tells of Edward’s encounter with the resident shed braggart Gordon. He promises a splendid sight when he rushes through with the Express, however, all that Gordon gets to pull that day is dirty trucks, and they prove too much for him as he becomes stranded on a hill, and has to be rescued by Edward. However, Gordon forgets his manners and speeds off into the distance following Edward’s assistance. Despite feeling unappreciated, Edward gets his reward when his Driver promises him a smart new coat of paint!
The Sad Story of Henry
A third locomotive, Henry, deciding to stop in the middle of a tunnel to avoid the rain, much to the dislike of his passengers and the Fat Director. They try pulling him out and pushing him out, but in the end, have to give up and leave him where he is to teach him a lesson. He soon realises the error of his ways, and fears it’s too late to rectify them.
Edward, Gordon & Henry
Henry is given a second chance following Gordon’s chance breakdown outside the opposite tunnel to where he is stood. Edward is the only engine available in the yard to try and push the train, however, proves ineffective and there’s only one engine left to help – Henry. The Fat Director gives him another chance and with Edward’s help, they help to bring the train home again. That evening, Gordon is helped home by Edward and Henry and all three engines become friends in light of all that’s happened, and Henry learns by his mistakes. He is given a new coat of paint following his troubles, and chooses to be painted blue to match his new friends.