"The Flying Kipper" in CGI

"The Flying Kipper" (occasionally known as "The Kipper Express") is the railwaymen's nickname for the overnight goods train, usually pulled by Henry, that carries fish from Tidmouth to the Mainland.

James appears to be the secondary engine to take the train when Henry is unavailable, as the former has been seen pulling the train several times.

Bio in the television series

At some point, instead of catching fish and taking it straight to Tidmouth in their boats, the fishermen at a small seaside village decided to have Thomas take it up in his vans. One day, Thomas was delayed by a crate falling on him and eroded ballast underneath the rails and by the time he arrived at Tidmouth, the "Kipper" was long overdue; Henry was so cross at the delay that he deliberately ignored Thomas' warning about the rails. This meant greater haste was taken to couple the vans to the Flying Kipper and by the time Thomas' crew had warned the yard manager about the rails Henry had left Tidmouth. Another attempt to warn a signalman down the coast failed when poor reception meant he was unable to hear the warning in time and at last Henry ran off the rails and into the bay. It was not until morning that Henry and the vans were able to be rescued.

Until the sixteenth season, the Flying Kipper seemed to have been replaced in favour of taking fish from the Norramby Fishing Village in trucks.

In the seventeenth season, when Caitlin was spending the night on Sodor, Henry decided to let her take the Flying Kipper so the engines could get some sleep. However, she was not being considerate and she woke up all the animals at the Animal Park. Later Henry challenged James to pull the "Kipper" but James tricked Henry into pulling it anyway; because of this, the "Kipper" was late. Sir Topham Hatt told James off and made him pull it the next night. At the docks, Cranky accidentally spilled some of the fish on James.

In Tale of the Brave, James had to pull the Flying Kipper whilst Henry was on the Mainland and unexpectedly met Gator. As Gator's lamp was out, James mistook him for a monster and ran away, derailing at the Fenland Track.

In Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, Henry was pulling the train, when he spotted what he thought was a ghost boat gliding along the rails. It was only Skiff, but Henry was so frightened that he ran into a siding and accidentally bumped his buffers. He later encountered Sailor John and Skiff again one afternoon and the same night as well, while pulling the Flying Kipper.

In the twentieth season, because Henry had pulled the express that day, the Fat Controller asked Gordon to pull the Flying Kipper. However the express engine refused to pull it, thinking it beneath him and smelly until Henry and Thomas tricked him into pulling it anyway. On another night, Henry was late with the Flying Kipper because Bradford noticed Henry's lamp had a crack in it so it had to be replaced before he could leave Brendam Docks.



  • In an interview with Sodor Island Fansite, Steve Asquith explained that complaints about fish being carried in open wagons were ignored due to the belief that children would understand a story better if they could see what was in the trucks. As a result, from the eighth season to the fifteenth season, all fish were carried unhygienically.


North Western Railway rolling stock
Annie and ClarabelHenriettaToadTroublesome TrucksThe Flying KipperCattle TrucksQuarry TrucksFlatbeds, Conflats and WellwagonsUtility VansUtility TrucksThe Breakdown TrainBrake Vans
RockyHectorMail CoachesEmily's CoachesFlora's Tram CoachThe Photographer's DraisineThe CalliopeThe Open-Topped CarriagesStephen's CoachesExpress CoachesThe Pump TrolleyMilk WagonsSalt WagonsTar WagonsBranch Line CoachesPlank TrucksFuel TankersOil TankersCream TankersJam WagonsHopper TrucksThe TravellerSlip CoachesJudy and Jerome

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