"Help! I'm not a truck!"
— Percy on the coal tipper
Middle Engine

David Mitton


Phil Fehrle


David Mitton
(story idea)
Brian Trueman


Michael Angelis (UK)
Alec Baldwin (US)

Air date

October 3rd,
2002 (UK)
November 7th,
2002 (AUS)
January 30th,
2003 (Canada)
March 15th,
2003 (JPN)
February 27th,
2004 (KOR)
September 7th,
2009 (HUN)

Previous episode

Percy and the
Haunted Mine

Next episode

James and the
Red Balloon

Middle Engine is the fourteenth episode of the sixth season.


'Arry and Bert play a trick on Percy by shunting trucks in front and behind him, which leads to Percy being pushed onto the coal tipper by Henry by mistake. Percy is sent to work in the yard until the incident is sorted out, and the Fat Controller nominates James to do Percy's work after he makes a snide comment. When 'Arry and Bert play the same trick on James, he refuses to move and so Percy has to pull James to the Docks. Percy then jokes that James is learning to be a middle engine, leaving James humiliated.




  • The Coaling Plant manager has a Bronx accent in the American narration.
  • Scrap models of Thomas, Gordon, James, Toad, and Donald or Douglas are seen.
  • This episode marks two firsts for 'Arry and Bert:
    • The first time 'Arry is referred to by name.
    • Bert's first speaking role.
  • In the US narration, the same singular recording of the line "coal cars" is used throughout the episode. This is most noticeable when Percy is approaching the tipper.


  • At the start of the episode, the narrator states that "Thomas likes his branch line", though Thomas is shown at Maron, which is not on his branch line.
  • In the first close-ups of 'Arry and Bert, James is meaninglessly standing between them: stock footage from later into the episode is used. James cannot be seen next to Bert on 4:3 centre cut prints of this scene.
  • In the shot after Henry arrives, Percy is pushed onto the ramp. In the next shot, he is pushed onto the ramp again.
  • When Percy gets pushed onto the ramp he isn't tethered to it, but he is in the next scene.
  • Percy's siderods immediately change position when he's on the loading ramp.
  • When 'Arry and Bert roll alongside James, James and Bert's eyes are wonky.
  • Percy's steam platform is visible when he leaves with James and the trucks.
  • In a close-up of Percy being tipped over, the rails underneath him disappear.
  • Percy's cab windows are blacked out when he is on the tipper.
  • In some of the scenes of Percy being lifted, his wheels do not have counterweights.
  • James said he would not move, but in the shots when Percy is pulling him and the trucks, steam is coming out of James' funnel, as if he was moving.


  • Percy: Oh bother!
  • 'Arry: Little green piggy in the middle!
  • 'Arry: Little red piggy in the middle!
  • Bert: Just like Percy!
  • James: I am not like Percy, I am not a middle engine, and I'm not moving!
  • Narrator: And he didn't!
  • Manager: Right on time! But what is that big red engine doing in the middle?
  • Percy: Learning.
  • Manager: Learning what?
  • Percy: Learning to be a middle engine!


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Norwegian Midt i Mellom In the Middle
Japanese まんなかのきかんしゃ Middle Engine
Slovenian Lokomotiva na sredi The Locomotive in the Middle
Italian La Locomotiva Intermedia The Middle Engine
Hungarian A Középső Mozdony The Middle Engine
Russian Паровоз посередине The Steam Locomotive in the Middle
Czech Uprostřed In the Middle
Romanian Locomotivă de Mijloc Locomotive in the Middle
Slovak Prostredná lokomotíva The Middle Locomotive
Polish Środkowa Lokomotywa Central Locomotive
Chinese 中型火车头 Medium Locomotive
Korean 중간에 끼면? Pinched in the Middle?
Danish Midterlokomotivet The Central Engine
Swedish Mellanloket Between Engine
Thai เจมส์ไม่ชอบอยู่ตรงกลาง James Did Not Like in the Middle

Home Media Releases


DVD Packs


DVD Packs


DVD Packs





  • Percy's Chocolate Crash

DVD Boxsets







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