"Derek is very reliable.”

"It makes no difference to me. I don't need a back engine.”

―Henry and Gordon

Edward the Very Useful Engine, retitled Edward the Really Useful Engine in some releases, is the twenty-third episode of the sixth series.


Gordon thinks that Edward is old and should be retired. Henry and James agree with him, but Percy is concerned about this. He tells Emily and the Fat Controller about what Gordon said about Edward, who attends to the matter immediately.

The Fat Controller arranges for Edward to teach Oliver to run a new loop line, while Derek does Edward's work, Henry was happy about this, but it makes no difference to Gordon. Edward enjoys working with Oliver, but Derek does not enjoy working with the trucks and BoCo's at the Steamworks, especially when they hold him back on Gordon's Hill. Derek feels overheated on Gordon's line, and it is too late to switch him to the middle line, so the guard tries to flag him down, but Gordon passes by and tries to push Derek up, but it is no good.

Gordon's crew sends for Edward to help both engines, and as the strange train sets off and pulls into the station, Gordon feels rather embarrassed and is told off by the Fat Controller for saying rude things about Edward who has proven to be responsible, reliable and very helpful after he sends Basil to take Derek to Crovan's Gate. The next day, Gordon apologises to Edward and tells him that he really is a useful engine. Now, there is no more talk about Edward retiring.


  • Thomas
  • Edward
  • Henry
  • Gordon
  • Percy
  • Emily
  • Sir Topham Hatt
  • James (does not speak)
  • Oliver (does not speak)
  • Boco (does not speak)
  • Derek (does not speak)
  • Basil (does not speak)
  • Aurora, Ariel and Anna (do not speak)
  • Duck (cameo)
  • Alice and Mirabel (cameo)
  • Isabel and Dulcie (cameo)
  • Toad (cameo)
  • Allicia Botti (poster; cameo)


  • Knapford
  • Tidmouth Bay
  • Maron
  • The Windmill
  • The Viaduct
  • Tidmouth Sheds
  • Gordon's Hill
  • Shunting Yards
  • The Lighthouse
  • Maithwaite
  • Callan
  • The Loop Line


  • This is the only episode David Mitton wrote solo to date.
  • An alternate shot from Thomas the Jet Engine is used.
  • This is one of the six episodes of the sixth season re-narrated by Michael Brandon in the US and Michael Angelis in the UK with music composed by Robert Hartshorne.
  • Three posters at Knapford read "Allicia Botti in concert tonight at the castle."
  • In Michael Angelis' 2005 re-narration, the term "freight cars" is used at the beginning.
  • This is the last episode until the thirteenth season episode Snow Tracks, to be narrated by three people in the English dubs.
  • In the US and UK, it was paired with Molly's Special Special and Respect for Gordon.
  • In the deleted scene, Oliver was seen pulling the express instead of Edward.
  • Despite Edward being the titular character, he only has two lines throughout the whole episode.
  • Not counting on stock footage from Edward's Brass Band and Trusty Rusty, this would be Stepney's last appearance until the twelfth series episode, Rosie's Carnival Caper.


  • In the American narration, after Alec Baldwin says, "Sir Topham Hatt spoke severely to Gordon," a voice can be faintly heard saying "Take six."
  • Tidmouth Bay is incorrectly shown as being located on the Loop Line.
  • When Gordon gets closer to Derek to push him, the guard is seen waving a red flag, but in the very next shot, he is in the brake van.
  • Duck has Oliver's whistle sound at the beginning.


  • Books - Edward, the Very Useful Engine and Help the Little Edward (Germany only)
  • Magazine Stories - Edward to the Rescue! and Really Useful Edward
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