Hiro is an old Japanese tender engine, who is famously known as the "Master of the Railway" for his wisdom. He was the first steam engine on the Island of Sodor.
Prior to coming to Sodor, Hiro once worked on a railway line in Japan, where he was given the title of "Master of the Railway" and was known for being the strongest engine on his line. Hiro was later shipped to the Island of Sodor to become the first steam engine to work on the North Western Railway, and gave service to the railway for many years. However, Hiro began to break down overtime, and the workmen lacked the parts necessary to repair him. Until new parts could be shipped from his homeland, Hiro was left on a siding until he could be repaired, but the parts never came, and he was forgotten about and left to rust on the overgrown track.
Years later, Hiro was rediscovered by Thomas when the tank engine ran out of control and came to a stop in the woods he had been resting in. Fearing that he would be scrapped if he was not useful, Thomas decided to help restore Hiro, keeping him a secret from the Fat Controller while having the rest of the Steam Team and Victor help him. Hiro was patched up with spare parts so that he could move again, but was forced to leave his hideout before the last part could be delivered. Hiro attempted to run away from Spencer, but without the last part, he began to fall apart and broke down once more. Until he could be fixed again, Hiro was left on another siding, where the engines visited him and kept him company.
Although Hiro was safe with the other engines, Spencer now knew about him and threatened to have him scrapped by telling the Fat Controller about him, but he was stopped before he could do this. Thomas finally told the Fat Controller about Hiro, who agreed to have him restored at the Steamworks immediately. After undergoing an extensive overhaul, Hiro was restored to his former glory, and helped Thomas and Spencer complete the construction of the Duke and Duchess of Boxford's Summer House. However, despite everything that the engines had done for him, Hiro began feeling homesick. Thomas told the Fat Controller about this, and Hiro went back to Japan. (TVS; Hero of the Rails)
Hiro later returned to Sodor to help the engines out with the summer holiday traffic. Upon his return, he was sent to the Steamworks to be examined while the engines prepared a surprise party for him at Knapford. While the party was being prepared, Thomas tried to find a present to give to Hiro, but nearly delayed the party in the process. When the party did begin, Thomas apologized to Hiro for not finding him a present, but Hiro revealed that he was already happy being with his friends. (TVS; The Biggest Present of All)
After taking on some bad coal, Hiro began emitting black smoke as he was taking a train of heavy stone to Brendam Docks with Henry. Henry backed down and returned to the sheds out of fear that he would not be able to cope with the bad coal, but Hiro refused to give up managed to get the train of stone to the Docks by himself. However, when he needed to take a train of steel girders to the Docks, Hiro persuaded Henry into helping him with the train, and the two worked together again. Unfortunately, Hiro broke down on the hill, but Henry managed to push him to the Docks. After the girders were delivered, Hiro was repaired. (TVS; Henry's Hero)
After six years of having virtually no accidents, Hiro became badly damaged when he derailed at a bend due to some pipes from Thomas' train spilling across his line. With his left side badly damaged, Hiro was sent back to the Steamworks to be repaired, but Thomas feared that Hiro would have to wait for the new parts to arrive and tried to find some of the old parts that had been left in his hideout from when he was patched up. However, Hiro later revealed to Thomas that the Fat Controller had already ordered a supply of spare parts for him the first time he was overhauled. (TVS; Helping Hiro)
Hiro later took part in the Great Railway Show, and competed against Henry, Shane, Vinnie and Frieda in the strength challenge. However, the outcome of the event and its winner were never revealed. (TVS; The Great Race)
Personality and Traits
Hiro is painted black with gold lining and red wheels. The side of his footplate is painted grey, his number, 51, is painted on the sides of his tender in white, and he carries his name on gold nameplates on each of his smoke deflectors. When Hiro was in his "patchwork" state, he had several blue, green, purple and red parts.
- Ever since his first appearance, Hiro's return crank has been animated incorrectly.
- Hiro claims that he was the first steam engine to work on Sodor, as well as the oldest. However, his basis, the JNR D51 class, was not built until 1936, making him younger than most of the other engines on Sodor.
- According to John Lee, Hiro was originally going to have a different name.
- Hiro was the last character to be produced for the Take Along range.
- Despite participating in the Great Railway Show, Hiro did not receive his own Meet the Contender short, presumably because he was only included in the strength competition for filler.