James is the No. 5 red engine. He is a medium-sized engine whose six driving wheels are not as big as Gordon's but not as small as Thomas'. He has a fine scarlet coat and brass dome and thinks of himself as a Really Splendid Engine. Occasionally this leads to misguided ideas about the sort of work suitable for such a distinguished engine, invariably landing James in trouble.
James is a mixed traffic engine, which means he can pull both passenger coaches and freight cars. James is based on a Hughes Class 28 superheated 2-6-0 tender engine.