James is a vain red mixed-traffic engine who works on the Main Line.


James is a boastful engine who likes to show off. He loves to pull the Express whenever he gets the chance. He has mixed traffic duties on the main line, but often strives to only perform tasks he feels as important. James was brought to the railway to the railway to help out when there was a new engine needed. However, he was given wooden brakes and they burned up into flames as he was being pushed by his troublesome trucks when he was taking a goods train. He derailed at a cow field and Thomas came to his rescue! James was sent to the Works to be mended and returned with a gleaming red paint job and a new boastful attitude to match! James became very conceited and had a number of misadventures including a top hat and some bootlaces. James was shut up in the shed but proved himself a really useful engine when he managed to help out with an extremely naughty goods train. He was then rewarded with the Express! James learnt sense since those escapades, but he is still rather fond of himself up in his smoke box!


James is very proud of his splendid red paintwork. He hates pulling trucks and believes that he should only pull coaches. He thinks himself superior to the others and can be shallow, boastful, naughty and vain, particularly to those who appear old-fashioned, weak, slow, or dirty. This has caused him to have somewhat of a rivalry with Toby. However, on a number of occasions, he has found himself in need of help from those whom he has insulted and is, in the end, apologetic.

James was the last engine to retain a prejudice against diesels. However, after stalling on a cold day, he was rescued by the Works Diesel and James had to admit that nothing was wrong with diesels. This appears to be one of the few lessons that has stuck. Despite this, James still shows his hatred of diesels on a couple of occasions, especially towards unfriendly ones.

Despite everything else, James has shown a caring side, is normally hard-working and like everybody else, wants to be a responsible, reliable and really useful engine on The Fat Controller's railway.


James was originally painted in the L&YR's mixed traffic black livery with red lining, but after an accident. He was repainted NWR red with gold stripes and black lining to cheer him up.




  • In Toby's New Whistle, James revealed that he once had a three-chimed whistle.
  • In the television series, James has been painted four different liveries, more than any other engine. These include his Black, Red, Busy Bee (Black and Yellow), and his pink livery.
North Western Railway
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