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"James is scared of the smelly fish! James is scared of the smelly fish!"
— The Troublesome Trucks teasing James

The Smelly Kipper is the twenty-second (twelfth in Australia) episode of the seventeenth season.


One evening at Tidmouth Sheds, James is teasing Percy about being scared of the dark, so Henry challenges him to take "The Flying Kipper" that night.

When James arrives at Brendam Docks, he notices a terrible smell. Porter, who is shunting the trucks for the Flying Kipper, explains that it is the fish. James explains that he usually pulls coaches, so he goes back to Tidmouth Sheds to wake Henry up.

Henry remembers the promise James made, however, James tricks the big green engine into thinking that it was just a dream, so Henry, without dillydallying, sets off to pull the Flying Kipper.

However, the deliveries were late, getting Henry into trouble with the Fat Controller the next morning. Henry explains the "dream" he had last night, but Thomas and Gordon explain that they heard Henry and James' conversation, thus telling him it was not a dream after all.

James starts to feel silly and explains to the Fat Controller that the fish were too smelly for him, but the Fat Controller decides that, smelly or not, James is to pull the train that night to make up for his broken promise.

That night, when James arrives to take the Flying Kipper, he bumps into Cranky's hook while he was unloading, and the red engine is covered in fish. Soon James takes the Flying Kipper, and is praised by the Fat Controller the next morning.

James soon notices a fish on his running board and he is immediately sent to the washdown.




  • Some elements of this episode are borrowed from the Railway Series story, Sliding Scales from Henry and the Express which also had James pulling the Flying Kipper, albeit unsuccessfully. The premise of this episode is also used in the magazine story Fish and Fog!
  • The lines "The smell was even stronger now. James hurried as fast as he could to deliver the fish," are omitted in the US version.
  • Going by production order, this is the twelfth episode of the seventeenth season.


  • When James returns from the docks for the first time, the footage is not cut properly when James reverses off the turntable and into his berth.
  • When James reverses out of the docks, the two troublesome trucks at the front of the Flying Kipper have disappeared.
  • James reverses into the pallet of fish, but the fish fall onto his smokebox rather than his tender.
  • At the end of the shot where Gordon says "it looks like he's brought a present for the Fat Controller," a small black box glitch briefly appears on the screen by Thomas' wheels. In the same scene, Gordon is missing his lamp irons. In a clip of the episode on the show's official YouTube channel, Gordon's lamp-irons are added back.
  • The narrator incorrectly refers to the pallet of fish Cranky is moving as Cranky's hook.
  • When the narrator says "James was not happy at all," James has no lamp, but in the next close-up shot his lamp suddenly appears.
  • When James is back at Tidmouth Sheds and notices the fish on his running board, his mouth moves to say, "Oh!". However, he makes no sound.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Dutch De Stinkende Haring The Stinking Herring
French James et le poisson Stinky James and the Stinky Fish
Japanese サカナなんてこわくない Who's Scared of Fish
Norwegian Den stinkende sild The Stinking Herring
Polish Pociąg z rybami Train with Fish
Greek Το βρωμερό τρένο The Stinking Train
Spanish El Apestoso Kipper The Stinky Kipper
Portuguese O Vagão Fedido The Stinky Wagon
Hungarian A Büdös Hering The Smelly Herring
Latvian Smirdošs Zivju siļķe Smelly Fish Herring
Italian Alla Larga dal Pesce Away from Fish
Russian Запах Джеймса The Smell of James
Ukrainian Смердючий Лосось Smelly Salmon
Romanian Scrumbia Mirositoare Smelly Herring
Czech Smradlavý Kipper Stinking Kipper
Chinese 臭臭詹姆士 Smelly James
German Der Stinkende Hering The Stinking Herring
Thai ท่าเรือสุดเหม็น Super Skunk at the Harbor
Lithuanian Dvokiantis silke Smelly Herring
Korean 제임스와 야간 수송열차 James and the Night Train Transport

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