Main Line Engines
Author Wilbert Awdry
Illustrator Peter and Gunvor Edwards
Publication date 1966-Present
Published by Edmund Ward
Egmont Publishing
Publication Order
Preceded by
Very Old Engines
Followed by
Small Railway Engines
Main Line Engines is the twenty-first book in the Railway Series.


Dear Friends,

Bill and Ben are a shameless pair. I meant to write about Main Line Engines, and give the twins a treat by letting them into the first story. But I couldn't keep them in order! Before I knew it they had crept into the others. They even wanted me to change the book and make it about them!

But I have been very firm. I am still calling it Main Line Engines. That will serve Bill and Ben for ragging poor Gordon so disgracefully.

He hasn't got it over yet!

The Author


The DiseaselEdit

One day, Bill and Ben are working at the China clay area on Edward's Branch Line. They had left some China clay trucks only to find them gone. Evidence is that the oil left behind was from a Diesel before the mess was cleared up. The twins then played a taunt on the diseasel by going around twice in different arrangements thinking that the Diesel grew even worse by seeing clones of Bill and Ben. Edward arrives to stop the cloning process and the twins apologised to BoCo, the diseasel who took their trucks by mistake for playing such a foolish game. Both BoCo and Edward become good friends to each other.

Buzz BuzzEdit

James believes that he will shoo the bees away with steam to both BoCo and Duck who are talking about Bill and Ben. At the station to take the express, two porters carried a beehive onto the trolley only for it to fall off because the porter driving the trolley stopped dead short to nearly run over an old woman standing in front of him. The beehive breaks and some bees swarm around James' crew and sat on James' boiler. James evenly got stung by one bee who had its feet burnt. The mess was cleared up, BoCo took James' train and the others laughed at James' red nose. James thinks they are being very silly indeed and the bees went to another beehive to stay.

Wrong RoadEdit

British Prime Minister Harold Wilson tells Sir Topham Hatt that a Branch line is used for smaller engines and in response to this, Gordon and Henry aren't allowed to run on these. One night after Gordon says that Branch lines are "vulgar" and won't let BoCo pull a mainline express, the station was crowded and thinking there was a green flag waving, Gordon accidentally sets off with passengers protesting at the rear. The Fat Controller gives a simple warning to Gordon and Edward goes first, only to travel all the way to Barrow because of signalling confusions. Gordon stays at Brendam and BoCo saves him from being the target of a trick from both Bill and Ben the next morning.

Edward's ExploitEdit

The big engines say that Edward should be preserved and withdrawn now, but Duck says to shut their mouths up and BoCo rallies in that Edward is better than them. With Bill and Ben on a Brakevan tour, Edward has to take its passengers home through the rain until his crank pin breaks and slam his left wheel chassis upwards. With connections to the train secured, Edward went all the way to the station arriving at eight o' clock as Henry waits with his special train. The Fat Controller later sends Edward to be mended but Donald and Douglas were the last ones to accept BoCo as a friendly Diesel on Sodor.



  • A majority of this book such as "The Diseasel" and "Wrong Road" takes place on Edward's Branch Line.


  • In the first illustration of "Wrong Road", Thomas' valence is curved again like John T. Kenney for Branch Line Engines.
  • In the first illustration of "Edward's Exploit", James' dome is red. The illustrators must've coloured it in the wrong colour by accident.

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