The Three Railway Engines is the first book of The Railway Series.
The big engines are teasing Edward that he won't be allowed out because he is too weak, but when the driver sees him upset he offers to take him out. Edward goes to get some coaches, and, after a few moments of panic waiting for the guard, they start off and Edward has an enjoyable day.
Gordon is bragging about pulling the Express, but when Edward is shunting Gordon comes past with a long train of coal trucks. Gordon deliberately stalls at a hill and Edward comes as a "banker". At the top of the hill, Gordon races ahead and Edward gets puffed out, but is pleased at the prospect of a new coat of paint.
One rainy day, Henry stops in a tunnel and refuses to move. His crew, the passengers, another engine and even the Fat Director try to get him to move, but to no avail. Eventually, they have him bricked up, and they bore a new tunnel.
Gordon is pulling the Express when he bursts his safety valve outside Henry's tunnel. Edward tries to pull the train, but can't. The Fat Director lets Henry out of the tunnel so that he and Edward can pull the train. They later help Gordon home, and Henry is rewarded with a new blue coat.
- The first three stories were first told in 1943, but, owing to wartime conditions, they were not published until 1945.
- The Reverend W. Awdry did not intend for the first three stories to be based on the same railway, but his publishers pressured him to bring Edward, Gordon and Henry together for a happy ending.
- In the Japanese version of this book, Edward's Day out is know as "Fun Day" and The Sad Story of Henry is known as "Sickly Henry".
- The 1998 Egmont edition included a foreward message by Christopher Awdry.
- The book was released digitally for Apple products on May 11th, 2012.
- In the second and third illustrations of "Edward's Day Out" a post appears between 98462 and Gordon.
- In the third illustration of "Edward's Day Out" Gordon is missing his tender.
- In the fourth illustration of "Edward's Day Out" Edward collects three coaches, but in the next illustration, he has five coaches with him.
- In the first and second illustrations "The Sad Story of Henry" Henry is a 4-6-2.
- As Henry runs into the tunnel Edward puffs through the other bore. However, when the passengers attempt to pull Henry out Edward is still puffing along in the direction he first came.
- In the third illustration of "The Sad Story of Henry" it's not raining on the left side of the illustration.
- It is stated that a second bore was dug after Henry was shut up, but in all the illustrations prior there were two bores shown.
- In the final illustration a man paints the top of Henry's tender, from ground level. Others are painting his boiler, but they are standing on his valence; for some reason, they're painting around his red stripes instead of simply painting over them.
- In the final illustration Gordon has circular buffers.
- Gordon's steampipes continuously disappear and re-appear.
- Gordon is portrayed as already having LMS running gear, square buffers and a six-wheel Fowler tender.