Three Railway Engines
- Edward in "Edward's Day Out" has been shut in the shed for a long while and mocked by the other engines for no longer being good enough for service. Edward is visibly in tears until the driver takes pity on him.
- Henry being locked up in the tunnel in "The Sad Story of Henry", with no steam to even talk back to the engines passing by. No wonder publishers demanded a Happy Ending through "Edward, Gordon and Henry".
Tank Engine Thomas Again
- In "Thomas, Terence, and the Snow", Thomas cries after getting stuck in the snow without his snowplough. It's even sadder if you listen to Johnny Morris' crying in the narration.
Duck and the Diesel Engine
- Duck feeling betrayed by Gordon, James and Henry in Dirty Work, thanks to Diesel's lies and manipulation. Although it isn't in the book, Duck is shown to be crying in the TV version. Poor guy...
The Twin Engines
- The severity of Donald and Douglas' situation. Only one had been bought by Sodor, and the other was to be withdrawn and subject to the scrappers torch. It's only a deputation by Percy with saves them.
Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine
- The book pulls no punches that steam engines are becoming redundant, and any engine that is no longer "very useful" gets scrapped. This explanation is accompanied by a chilling image of a couple of dilapidated engines in the scrapyard awaiting their fate from a workman's blow torch with a broken look on their faces:"Engines on the Other Railway aren't safe now. Their controllers are cruel. They don't like engines any more. They put them on cold damp sidings, and then," Percy nearly sobbed, "they...they c-c-cut them up."
Very Old Engines
- How about the very first bit in Duck and Dukes? We, the audience, know things are going to be totally fine, but when Duck says that all engine dukes are scrapped, Peter Sam is sent into a turmoil thinking that his Granpuff is dead. And we don't even know how Sir Handel took it either.
- To top this off, Skarloey, and presumably Rheanes, Rusty and Duncan don't take this seriously, not even the Thin Controller.
- Gordon in "Tenders for Henry" when he finds out from boasting diesels that all his brothers were scrapped, save Flying Scotsman, and himself. In spite of this awful news, he carries on with his express duties. Serves as a double dose of heartwarming, as the Fat Controller feels so sorry for him, he arranges for Flying Scotsman to visit him as quickly as possible.
Duke The Lost Engine
- The last part in Granpuff. Duke being sheeted up because he was deemed "too old", while Falcon and Stuart get sent off to The Aluminium Works Plant at Peel Godred. Said project went bust, and then the two engines wound up on the SKR under the names of Sir Handel and Peter Sam respectively. And Sir Handel and Peter Sam talked about Duke when alone, for a good 22 years. Tell me that isn't depressing!
- The manner most of the original illustrators for the novels left is quite saddening. William Middleton was considered not good enough after one book and had his work redrawn and forgotten, Reginald Payne suffered a nervous breakdown after his first book and was unable to take service again, C. Reginald Dalby left after being offended by one too many criticisms from Awdry over his work, while John T. Kenney had to quit illustrating due to failing eyesight.