Great Railway Show Engines


Ashima is a very beautiful engine with specially decorated paintwork, who works in the hill railways of India.  She has two sets of wheels, a lower set for working on the track, and a set above which helps her to work on the steep rack and pinion sections of her home railway, similar to the engines on the Culdee Fell Railway.


When Ashima first arrived on Sodor, she upset Thomas by backing into him at Brendam Docks, and nearly knocked him into the sea!  Eventually, Thomas warmed to the newcomer and the two became good friends.  Ashima taught Thomas and the other engines that they all have something inside themselves which makes them special, and encouraged Thomas particularly to be the best tank engine he could possibly be, at a time when he wanted to be anything but himself!

Ashima proved to be a really useful engine when she competed with Thomas in the Shunting Challenge, tying with him for the victory - and helped to save both Thomas and Phillip from danger in the midst of it all!



Axel is a big powerful engine from Belgium, built for speed and primed for action at the Great Railway Show’s ‘Great Race’ event.  Axel is described as being a smooth, streamlined tender engine built for speed; his good looks and style have made him very popular with fans of steam.   He took pride of place on the turntable below the castle with many visitors coming to see him ahead of the Great Race event.


But however effortlessly cool Axel is, he lagged behind his competitors at the Great Race throughout the event, but managed to make up for it, coming third.  This did nothing to ease his disappointment, and finished up looking rather aggrieved to have lost!



Traditionally, engines who work in China are painted in black, so Yong Bao’s striking red paintwork and tiger mural on his tender make him very distinctive and unique.  Whilst not being the biggest or strongest tender engine on his home railway, Yong Bao is a very heroic engine.


Once, he had to cleverly divert his train out of the path of danger, saving the lives of hundreds of passengers.  As a reward for his bravery, Yong Bao was decorated and painted bright red – a colour that symbolises celebration and happiness, and his tiger mural was created to incite a sense of awe and admiration. Like Yong Bao, the Tiger is full of life and embodies the spirit of being driven to achieve and make progress. These qualities make Yong Bao a Really Useful Engine.


However, despite his distinctive and striking livery, it wasn’t enough for Yong Bao to take home the trophy for the Best Decorated Engine.



Raul is a boxy little tank engine who looks very much like a Diesel engine!  He works in Brazil as a shunting engine on his home railway, and creidted as being very strong for such a small and light engine, which is likely what won him the Shunting Challenge at the Great Railway Show a few years ago.


Raul is fiesty and full of life, a real character on the railway, but his feistiness and fun loving nature didn’t win him the Shunting Challenge when Thomas and Ashima competed against him, despite putting up a determined fight against Thomas particularly!



Ivan has the distinction of being the only Diesel engine to be competing in the Great Railway Show – a fact that makes him particularly proud.  Whilst looking a bit intimidating, looks can be deceiving as Ivan is one of the most charismatic engines to be found at the Great Railway Show.  A real comedian who only wants to put a smile on everyone’s face and make them laugh.  Ivan competed against the other shunting engines in the Shunting Challenge.




Gina is a little green shunting engine who has come all the way from Italy to compete in the Shunting Challenge.  Described by those who know her as both sweet and stunning, Gina can hold her own against other engines, however, she did suffer an unfair disadvantage when Vinnie derailed two of her flatbeds in the middle of the Shunting Challenge.



Rajiv is a very old engine who works on the East Indian Railway, carrying passengers and goods from Calcutta in the east up to the north of India.  Because of his diminutive size, Rajiv can’t carry as much as other engines, but he’s still very much revered by his home railway and the engines he works with.


Set against the backdrop of the Himalayan Mountains, Rajiv’s beautiful colours help him to stand out from the rest, making him the perfect contender for the Best Decorated Engine Parade – winning the competition, much to the disappointment of James, Yong Bao and Carlos!



Shane is a big powerful engine from Australia, built for work on the South Australian Railway running for long distances between Melbourne and Adelaide, pulling both passengers and goods between the two major Australian cities.


Shane’s type of engine has the nickname of ‘Whispering Giant’, apt because he was so quiet around the other engines at the Great Railway Show, and because his class of engine has long boilers, and the class had the characteristic feature of requiring blower assistance while in yards to prevent blowback or drifting smoke into the cab, which is nearly entirely closed.  Hence why when drifting or in stations or stationary, the class were known to quietly whisper.  Shane however has a care-free attitude to life and made many friends at the Great Railway Show as a result – competing in the Test of Strength, using his immense strength and quick acceleration to his advantage in the course of the competition!



Vinnie is big, brash, bold and a bit of a bully – particularly when it comes to engines smaller than himself.  A very competitive engine, he came to the Great Railway Show to compete in the Test of Strength competition, and while it’s unclear if he won or not – he wasn’t the best of sportsmen at the Great Railway Show.


Vinnie bumped Thomas at Brendam Docks for getting in his way, then proceeded to try and chase Phillip all around the Great Race showground when he did the same.  But like all bullies, Vinnie got his comeuppance when Thomas and Ashima tackled him and saved Phillip from disaster, releasing Vinnie, derailing him and sending him into the path of a pylon.  He was rerailed and sent home in disgrace after the Great Railway Show.



Carlos is an engine who has visited the Great Railway Show various times, and with his proud and happy demeanour, he’s become a popular fixture at the Great Railway Show, credited as being the life and soul of the event.  Many years ago, Carlos won the Test of Strength competition at the very first Show. 


These days, the engines competing in that particular event are bigger, stronger and far more powerful than Carlos, but he’s still keen to be a contender, and in recent years, he’s changed over to the Best Decorated Engine event instead, where he still pleases the crowds.



Etienne is a unique fixture at the Great Railway Show, the sleek French Electric Engine is the only contender to run using overhead wires to power his movements.  Before coming to the Great Railway Show, Etienne already had a formidable reputation as a record breaker, setting world speed records in France.


Overall however, while Etienne was keen to compete and show what he was capable of, he is polite and gentlemanly at heart, and keen to make new friends whilst visiting the Great Railway Show.  However, it’s uncertain how keen Spencer or the others would have been to befriend Etienne when he cranked up his full power and powered his way into first place – setting a new speed record in the process!



Frieda the German Engine came to the Great Railway Show to compete in the Test of Strength event, the only female engine to participate in this particular challenge.  A strong engine built for Express and heavy freight duties, Frieda is always determined to show that anything the male engines can do, the female engines like her can do equally as well!


But whilst she’ll try to show she’s every bit as good as the male engines, she didn’t take too kindly to being mistaken for one!  When Thomas met Frieda at the Great Railway Show, he mistook her for Gordon, having seen her from behind.  She didn’t take kindly to the mistake and flounced off soon after!