Four Little Engines
Author Wilbert Awdry
Illustrator C. Reginald Dalby
Publication date 1955-Present
Published by Egmont Publishing
Edmund Ward
Publication Order
Preceded by
Edward the Blue Engine
Followed by
Percy the Small Engine
Four Little Engines is the tenth book of the Railway Series.


Dear Friends,

Sir Handel Brown is the owner of a little Railway which goes to Skarloey and Rheneas. Skarloey means "Lake in the Woods", and Rheneas means "Divided Waterfall". They are beautiful places, and lots of people visit them.

The Owner is very busy, so Mr. Peter Sam, the Thin Controller, manages the Railway. 

The two Engines, who are called Skarloey and Rheneas, grew old and tired, so the owner brought two others.

The stories tell you what happened.

The Author


Skarloey RemembersEdit

Sir Topham Hatt sends Edward to be mended at Crovans Gate, but he needs to wait. Edward meets Skarloey, an old narrow gauge engine on the Skarloey Railway. He talks about Rheneas whom the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sent him to be mended on British Railways, two newer engines (Peter Sam and Sir Handel), his coaches and the work until Edward was ready to be mended. Skarloey dozed happily in the sunset at the wooden railway shed on his narrow gauge line like the Talyllyn Railway where Talyllyn is working at.

Sir HandelEdit

Prime Minister Churchill sends Sir Handel and Peter Sam to the railway. Peter Sam was in good nature, but Sir Handel didn't like the railway and bullied the coaches by calling them "cattle trucks". He meets Gordon at Crovans Gate which the big blue engine was in a loss of words and the coaches get cranky by holding back on a steep hill. Despite some effort, Sir Handel behaves and has to work at the Skarloey Railway Slate Quarry by collecting some Slate Trucks from there. He derails on purpose and is punished for good by the Thin Controller.

Peter Sam and the Refreshment LadyEdit

With Sir Handel shut up in the sheds, Peter Sam has to work for himself. He collected the coaches and arrives at Crovans Gate where Henry tells him that if the narrow gauge engine is too late there, Henry leaves him behind back to Tidmouth. At the lake, Peter Sam sets off too quickly and the Refreshment Lady is left behind by accident. The train collects her and arrives at Crovans Gate. With only two things were both one, the woman chortles at Peter Sam's story and two, Henry's passenger train was just a guaranteed connection.

Old FaithfulEdit

The silly coaches start a cat fight against Sir Handel and he's eliminated from working on the railway. Peter Sam is away for maintenance at Crovans Gate and Skarloey is the only engine available to teach the "cat fighting coaches" a lesson. Somewhere at the top station, a spring breaks in his siderod and takes the entire train to the terminus. James puffs off with the Skarloey Railway's passengers to the North Western Railway. The Owner that evening tells him that Peter Sam is mended and it was Skarloey's turn to be checked for maintenance.

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill earlier resigns and Anthony Eden becomes the next British Prime Minister. His successor, Harold MacMillan will have Rheneas returning in Gallant Old Engine which was published in 1962.



  • "Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady" is based on an incident on the Talyllyn Railway. The engine in both the book and on television was at fault, but from the Train conductor - who happened to be Reverend Awdry and the woman was actually the driver's mother-in-law.
  • At the end of "Old Faithful", there is a short message about the Talyllyn Railway. It says "If you have enjoyed these stories, you will enjoy a visit to the Tal-y-llyn Railway at Towyn in Wales".


  • The plume of smoke from Skarloey is coming from behind the carriage shed. Awdry must've put it in the wrong place at the time of this goof.
  • Agnes is a third class coach in the stories of both "Sir Handel" and "Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady".
  • In the second illustration of "Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady", no sidings can be seen behind the carriage shed.
  • In the second illustration of "Old Faithful", Sir Handel's face changes size when he's derailed.
  • In the second illustration of "Skarloey Remembers", the engines' number plates are oversized.
  • In the fourth illustration of "Old Faithful", Skarloey is pulling four coaches not five. Awdry seems to have miscounted the entire coach stock of Skarloey's train in that illustration.

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