This Strange Engine is the ninth studio album by the British neo-progressive rock band Marillion, released in April 1997 by the Castle Communications imprint Raw Power. It was the first of the three recordings, which Marillion made on a contract with Castle between being dropped by EMI Records in 1995 and eventually going independent in 2000. The album was recorded at The Racket Club in Buckinghamshire, England, between August and November 1996 and was produced by the band themselves.
Without promotional efforts of a major record label, This Strange Engine continued the decline in mainstream success for Marillion, reaching only number 27 in the UK Albums Chart and staying there for three weeks. It sold significantly better in the Netherlands, home of one the band's most loyal audiences, peaking at number 10 on the charts. Two singles from the album were released: "Man of a Thousand Faces" and "Eighty Days". For the first time in the band's history, no song cracked the UK Top 40 as the first single reached number 98 and the second one failed to chart at all.
The fourth track, "Estonia", was written after singer Steve Hogarth met Paul Barney, who was the only British survivor of the disaster when the cruise ferry Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea on 28 September 1994, killing 852 people. This is the only song of Marillion to feature a balalaika. On European editions, if the last track is carried on playing, at approximately 29:35, there is a hidden track of Hogarth having a fit of laughing.