James and the Diesel Engines
James & the Diesel Engines
Author Christopher Awdry
Illustrator Clive Spong
Publication date 1984-Present
Publication Order
Preceded by
Really Useful Engines
Followed by
Great Little Engines
James and the Diesel Engines is the twenty-eighth book of the Railway Series.


Dear Friends,

To hear James talk sometimes you might have thought that he ran the Fat Controller's Railway on his own. He certainly needed no help from Diesels - or so he imagined. The other engines were more sensible, and realised that Diesels could take some weight off their own couplings. But now the Fat Controller tells me that James has had a change of heart. These stories tell you how it happened.

The Author


Old Stuck-UpEdit

The NWR is working very hard and Sir Topham Hatt calls BoCo and Bear as "versatile". One day, a rude Diesel comes to the railway representing British Railways. BoCo is to show this Diesel around, but abandons him when he saws he has to rest with James and the steam locomotives. BoCo says to stay outside in the cold while he joins his friends. The diesel named "Old Stuck-Up" by James behind his back needed refuelling and didn't know about Bear and BoCo's oil slip on the track. He slides in horror and crashes into the back of Tidmouth Sheds. Old Stuck-Up wasn't badly damaged and the sheds were repaired. Douglas tells the engines about this, Henry chortled and BoCo tells him following Henry's question that "versatile" is the word to keep him very cool indeed.

Crossed LinesEdit

Duck, Henry and the Scottish Twins were tired of James' complaining about Diesels. This came to an argument and the engines refused to talk to James. James has to do the shunting because Donald and Douglas have to help Edward at Wellsworth. The goods train James had to take was nearly ready when an engine whistled first but the signalman was confused before switching the points. James' train made a wrong turn and smashed into a signal causing it to split in half. The Fat Controller was cross about this and scolded James for what happened in the first place leading to the accident itself.

Fire EngineEdit

A discussion one night about paint leaves Henry remarkful that he isn't a fire engine but James makes a crafty rejoinder and the joke turns to Henry. The big green engine wants to pay James out and takes his passenger train into the countryside. He bangs around so much that the coupling between his cab and tender breaks causing his fireman to jump over into the cab. The movement of it worsened with a fire on Henry's line and his crew had to call the fire brigade. With the fire put out, Edward takes Henry's train and he never spoke again about fire engines because they are red all over the road vehicles. 

Deep FreezeEdit

One winter's day, James takes his passenger train and fills too much water at Crovans Gate, leading to an injector failure. A Diesel comes to help James and thinking he felt silly by this he was, but befriends the Diesel since never making fun of Diesels no more.



  • This book features the last appearance of the old Tidmouth Sheds with eight berths.


  • In the second illustration, Henry does not have buffers.
  • In the first two illustrations of "Fire Engine", Donald spoke but Douglas is seen.
  • James' cab roof is red throughout the book.

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