Henry is a large green mixed traffic engine on the North Western Railway who works on the Main Line, pulling heavy goods and secondary passenger trains. He lives at Tidmouth Sheds and also pulls "The Flying Kipper".
The precise story of Henry's origins will never be verified, but it is almost certain that he is the result of industrial espionage. In 1915, Sir Nigel Gresley of the Great Northern Railway began work on designing a new express locomotive of the "Pacific" wheel configuration, which had only been used on one other British tender locomotive. The resulting design heavily resembled a streched Ivatt C1 Atlantic. Work on the project was held back by the First World War and Gresley only returned to it in 1919. Work on a new design went quickly, and resulted in something superficially resembling the final product, but deemed to be mechanically unfeasible and so was dropped, with the plans being discarded into a safe.
According to stories, the Midland Railway had gotten word of Gresley's attempts to design a Pacific and belived that such an engine would give its rival a great advantage, and so resolved to build one first. Instead of creating their own design, however, several unscrupulous directors conspired to steal Gresley's. A prominent thief was hired, who broke into Doncaster Works and stole the drawings. The thief, and the Midland, were unaware that Gresley had discarded the drawings, and had recently completed some for the revised design. Unaware of the flaws, the Midland sent the drawings to a private contractor for construction, with the thief being kept around as insurance.
The resulting locomotive was riddled with flaws, with the main one being a firebox far too small for purpose, meaning the engine couldn't make enough steam. Basic attempts to correct the flaws only came with worse results. The Midland Directors were furious at the thief, claiming he'd botched the job, and dumped the locomotive on him, in lieu of cash payment. With a "white elephant" on his hands, the thief wished to dump it on the first buyer he could, though realised acting too soon would arouse suspicion, so arranged storage with the contractor. When in 1922, the "first" Pacifics emerged, the thief felt confident enough to sell, but soon faced another problem: The railways were grouping, and none of them would buy from such an obviously sketchy source.
Fortune would find the thief, however, when he discovered an advertisement from Topham Hatt practically begging for a express locomotive, with no questions asked. The thief seized the opportunity and convinced Hatt to buy his locomotive without a viewing and tests, passing it off as a second hand Robinson Atlantic, which was the locomotive Hatt desired. The thief provided false contact details before disappearing to parts unknown, leaving Hatt to discover he'd been swindled when the locomotive arrived at Tidmouth by boat. With no other choice, Hatt was forced to put the locomotive into service, naming it Henry.
Early tests seemed to go well, and Henry became overconfident, mocking Edward, who'd pulled the North Western Railway's express train, The Wild Nor' Wester, until then, as a small, old and unreliable machine. When the time came for Henry to prove himself on the Express, it was he who proved unreliable when he failed on the Hill. He struggled to make enough steam to climb the Hill, and his attempt came to and when his injectors failed at the top. It was Edward who came to the rescue, managing to get the Express to Vicarstown just 20 minutes late. Following this, Henry was sent to Crovan's Gate Works for a complete mechanical inspection and the true extent of his problems became apparent.
Henry is a kind, friendly, if somewhat grumpy, and generally well behaved engine. He is very proud of his strength and abilities, but tries not to allow it to go to his head, like Gordon and James, though he can be vain at times. He isn't too bright, is easily lead on, and can be worrisome, especially about things he knows little about or relating to illness. He is also something of a nature lover, finding sitting on a siding in the forest soothing, especially after a stressful day or a bout of illness. He is an incredibly cautious engine, and prefers to stay away from danger, but will always come to the rescue of his friends, if needs be.
Henry has been painted in the North Western Railway's green livery with red and yellow lining. The number "3" is painted on the sides of his tender in yellow and he has brass builder's plates on the sides of his cab.
Henry was originally painted in a dark green livery with red lining, likely a poor imitation of the Great Central Railway's livery. Following his release from the Ballahoo Tunnel in 1924, he was repainted into the North Western Railway's blue livery with red and yellow lining. He wore this until he was overhauled in 1932, when he was repainted into his current livery.
- He is a modified version of his design.
|North Western Railway|
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