TRIVIA COMPILED BY
Hot off from the enthusiastic reception of it’s predecessor, Series 21 rolled in a few significant developments ahead of the next chapter of the Thomas brand.
Ian McCue had progressed to Director of Creative Content at Mattel, overseeing fellow brands such as Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder, but remained firmly involved as Senior Producer while handing over his previous duties to former production manager then line producer Micaela Winter, the first female producer since creator Britt Allcroft. With Andrew Brenner busily head writing fresh CBeebies vehicle Pablo, he consigned himself to script editing duties for returning writers Davey Moore, Helen Farrall and Lee Pressman, the latter contributing the most for the season.
Adhering to the target audience more, added flourishes of contemporary music and flash camera movements were implemented, as were expressed inflections. Though exagerrated in Journey Beyond Sodor, this allowed more flexibility for the characters, breathing more personality and emotion.
While Series 20 was a landmark in it’s own right, so was 21. Half of the run focused on females, Terence the Tractor came back for his first speaking role since Series 5, Bulgy the Bus made a surprise return and the character of Rosie was relaunched, becoming alot more rosier! As if that wasn’t enough, it tied the series together with sister show TUGS, giving Brendam Docks’ long-obscured crane the ability to speak and christening him “Big Mickey”, on-screen! This was the work of Railway Consultant Sam Wilkinson, also co-director of The Star Tugs Trust; the preservation of the screen-used TUGS models.
Certain storylines positioned themselves before or after the events of Journey Beyond Sodor, albeit, in a scattered pattern. For example, Rosie’s actual re-introduction played out in The Fastest Red Engine on Sodor and Edward’s move from Tidmouth to Wellsworth became neatly tucked away until A Shed for Edward.
Produced side-by-side with it’s timely follow-up, it ran for 18 episodes rather than the traditional 26, with the production team opting to instead devote time and energy into the quality of a big world of adventures…
VOICE ARTISTS (USA ONLY)
JULES DE JONG
HANNAH THE TRAM COACH
CARLY THE DOCKSIDE CRANE
21.4 STUCK IN GEAR
WRITTEN BY DAVEY MOORE
The morning after a heavy storm, Emily nearly hits a fallen tree branch. Harvey arrives with his crane arm to clear the line, but Harvey is embarrassed by all the people looking at him and cheering - and drops the branch.
Later, he sees a whole tree lying across his track and decides to push through the tree, but soon discovers that part of a branch has become stuck in his crane gears, limiting his movement. He is embarrassed, especially because this wouldn't have happened to any of his friends without cranes. He decides to carry on like normal and pretend nothing has happened.
Thomas hears a funny sound, but Harvey denies it. Then Harvey's crane stops completely. Cranky asks if he's done moving the crates, Salty arrives, followed by Bill and Ben - but Harvey distracts them all with a game of I Spy.
Harvey begins looking for a place to hide, but his crane keeps getting in the way. Harvey tries to fix his crane himself, by pushing it up against the wall of a tunnel, but ends up derailing himself. Salty nearly crashes into him, still playing I Spy.
Thomas helps Harvey and asks him why he didn't just go to the Steamworks. Harvey is really useful and helps everyone all the time, he can ask for help when he needs it.
Victor has Harvey's crane as good as new in no time - maybe better than new - this takes some getting used to. Harvey accidentally tosses a crate and twists up his chain, but he asks for help this time.
21.5 RUNAWAY ENGINE
WRITTEN BY HELEN FARRALL
Millie has been given extra work by collecting gravel for the Earl's Dino Park, while Stephen and Glynn are left in charge of giving tours round the Estate. The Earl tells Glynn and Stephen of the jobs they have to do, but they’re too busy laughing and joking to hear what he’s saying. As the day goes by, Millie becomes agitated when Stephen or Glynn fail to clear up garden waste, so she dumps it in front of their shed. Unfortunately, Stephen makes fun of her by impersonating her temper, resulting in hurting her feelings.
Realising his wrong doings, Stephen sets off to make amends with Millie, but cannot find her anywhere, giving him a horrifying realisation that she must have run away. Knowing he must find Mille, Stephen scarifies his tours round the Estate and heads to the Main Line to search for Millie. Unfortunately, Stephen runs out of water while on the Main Line and stranding his passengers in the process.
Suddenly, to Stephen's great relief, Millie, along with the Sir Robert on board, find him, both revealing that they Millie had gone for a new motor for the Estate castle's turntable. The Earl also reminds Stephen and that he and Glynn hadn't listened to his orders yesterday morning. Suddenly, the Grumpy Passenger complains about being on the Main Line wasn't part of the tour, but luckily, the Earl offers him a free lunch back the castle.
Back at the Castle, Glynn sternly asks where Stephen and Millie had gone, but now it's their turn to tease him for having “quite a temper.” Even Glynn finds this funny and all three have made up at last.
21.6 PA PROBLEMS
WRITTEN BY LEE PRESSMAN
Every station on Sodor has a public address system, to tell the passengers which trains leave from which platform. At Knapford, Edward finds the Fat Controller installing a brand new system which he claims is much more modern and up-to-date, even though there was nothing wrong with the old system. Noticing Edward is taking a train to the scrapyard, the Fat Controller has the old speakers loaded into one of his trucks. Edward delivers his trainload of scrap to Reg, who is in a very musical mood today.
After the new speaker system is installed, the Fat Controller decides to make the first announcement over it himself. However, to the passengers and engines the new speakers only give out screeches and garbled words and no one can understand which train goes where. This results in Toby taking vacationers to the Quarry, Thomas taking the quarry workers to the beach, and Percy delivering pigs to Callan Castle!
Meanwhile, Edward finds Reg has repurposed the old speakers to play music while he works and is having a wonderful time. Back at Knapford, the three tank engines have returned with their very disgruntled passengers, and they all tell the Fat Controller that his new PA system isn’t working. Hearing a workman try to make announcements and getting only more screeches, the Fat Controller frantically tries to adjust the system but only manages to break it completely. The Fat Controller then admits that the old speaker system was perfectly fine and has probably been destroyed by now. Edward overhears this and quickly goes back to the scrapyard to get the speakers from Reg.
When Edward returns to Knapford, the Fat Controller declares him a hero for saving the old speakers. Edward notes that Reg deserves the credit for saving them, because old things can still be useful. Soon the old speakers are reinstalled and all is back to normal at Knapford, while Reg happily goes back to providing his own music at the scrapyard!
21.7 HASTY HANNAH
WRITTEN BY LEE PRESSMAN
One morning Toby brings Henrietta to the Steamworks to be reupholstered. Without his faithful coach to work alongside him, Toby dejectedly returns to Knapford yard where the Fat Controller introduces him to a new coach. Hannah looks just like Henrietta, but painted yellow and carrying a pair of side lamps. The Fat Controller leaves the two to start work, confident they’ll get along fine.
As they set off, Hannah quickly decides Toby is a “slow coach” and is excited at seeing James speed past. Toby notes that neither he nor she was built to go fast and he prefers to be “steady and safe”. Hannah urges Toby to do something different and suggests by going faster Toby could get his work done quicker. She surges into him, speeding them both up and causing a near-miss with Bertie at the level crossing and another with Percy at a junction.
Toby only manages to stop when they reach a station to collect passengers. Hannah doesn’t like sitting in the station and as soon as the Guard’s whistle blows she forces Toby quickly onward. Soon they go up Gordon’s Hill and Hannah refuses to use her brakes as she and Toby speed down the other side. After just barely staying on the rails at the bottom of the hill, a visibly shaking Toby pulls into a siding, uncouples from Hannah and runs off to the Steamworks.
There, he tells Henrietta how horrible it’s been working with Hannah. Henrietta calms Toby down and tells him he needs to fetch Hannah, otherwise he’ll get in trouble with the Fat Controller. Toby dutifully returns only to find Hannah is now running with James, who is going as fast as he can. Hannah is enjoying herself until the high speed starts to shake her so much rivets and other pieces start flying off of her. Growing frightened, Hannah yells for James to stop but the red engine just keeps going until Hannah’s coupling breaks and she shoots into a dead-end siding.
Toby finally catches up and Hannah confesses that going fast is fun, but also dangerous. They both return to the Steamworks where Henrietta has just had her new seats finished. Spotting Hannah, she reveals the two of them are sisters and that Hannah has always wanted to go fast. Toby happily takes Henrietta back to work while Hannah stays behind to be mended. As they leave Toby tells Henrietta he hopes Hannah has learned something from her experience and will want to go more slowly, but Henrietta replies that it’s unlikely if she knows her sister!
21.8 CRANKY AT THE END OF THE LINE
WRITTEN BY LEE PRESSMAN
One morning Thomas arrives at Brendam Docks, and whilst exchanging greetings with Salty and Porter, all three suddenly noticed that Cranky has started to make an awful creaking sound as he rotates around. Porter and Salty are quick to tease, but Cranky isn’t amused, citing the salty sea air as the cause of it. But as Cranky sets about unloading Thomas’ trucks, Salty muses that for every creak, Cranky gets one step nearer to the scrapyard – it isn’t helped that Thomas starts talking about ‘big new fancy cranes’ from the mainland.
When Sir Topham Hatt arrives for a meeting with the dock Manager, Cranky unfortunately begins to stress over Sir Topham hearing his creaking – not helped by Salty’s ‘warnings’ about it either. But in trying to avoid trouble, Cranky ends up causing trouble, dumping cargo into the sea and sending barrels flying. This leads to Cranky trying to work twice as fast to prove to Sir Topham that he doesn’t need to replace him with a fancy new crane.
That evening Thomas expresses his concerns about Cranky to the others, meanwhile Cranky is pulling an all nighter work shift, working all into the night stacking cargo, Cranky even continues working into the next day without any sleep at all. Unfortunately for Cranky this backfires when Sir Topham Hatt shows up, and is flabbergasted by the state of the quay. Cranky tries to quell Sir Topham by claiming it’s all alright, but ends up lifting a dock worker literally into the air, which only causes Sir Topham to become even more concerned, and isn’t helped when the dock Manager shows up and expresses concerns over Cranky’s new workaholic status…
Edward and Thomas later chat about the situation, Thomas tries to reassure Edward that Sir Topham and the dock Manager discussing big new cranes doesn’t mean anything, but is corrected when Sir Topham arrives and tells the two they’re off with him to Mainland to look at big fancy new cranes at their workshops…
Cranky meanwhile tries to keep working into the night, but gives in to his insomnia, just as Thomas and Edward arrive back from the Mainland crane works with loaded trucks…
Cranky unbeknownst to the others then experiences a nightmare that he fell backwards into the sea and wakes up instantly – he spots Sir Topham looking up at him and panics. He swings around and ends up looking down on a brand new fancy crane. Panicked, Cranky tries to plea with Sir Topham that he’s still useful and shouldn’t be replaced, but the Sir Topham laughs it off, saying Carly wasn’t brought in to replace him, but to help him look after the docks. Cranky objects at first, but as Carly starts work, he realizes that they actually aren’t all that different, for Carly creaks just as much as he does!
21.9 NEW CRANE ON THE DOCK
WRITTEN BY LEE PRESSMAN
Carly is the new crane at Brendam Docks and is brimming over with enthusiasm to be really useful. As the docks begin to get busy, Percy arrives and ignores Cranky, letting Carly unload him instead. Salty points out that Cranky can take a rest, but Cranky thinks there is still enough work to go around.
Emily arrives and Cranky is eager for the work, but Carly quickly helps her instead. Another ship docks and Cranky hastily unloads it, resolving to work quickly before Carly can get the jobs, moving on to unloading Edward's train before he even comes to a stop. While Cranky is busy with Edward's load, he doesn't notice Carly reloading the ship he just unloaded. When he notices, Carly apologizes and promises to work even harder to make up for her mistake. Cranky decides that, he too will work even harder!
All day, Carly works very hard - Cranky tries to work harder, determined to be the one to show her how it's done! Then there is trouble - the two cranes bump into each other, spilling their cargo all over the docks and tangling their hooks together.
Salty wisely points out that though they've both been working hard, they're pulling in opposite directions. Salty tells a oceangoing tall tale about a two headed monster who learn to work together, Cranky and Carly have to listen to him because they are still tangled. Once the cranes begin to communicate and work together, they managed to get untangled. Thanks to Salty's story, Carly and Cranky learn to pull together and work well together for the rest of the day.
Cranky notes that it's great to have two cranes working in harmony - and Big Mickey turns around and says "don't you mean three?"
Everyone is shocked, particularly Cranky, who asks in surprise why he hadn't spoken all those years - Big Mickey points out that Cranky had never spoken to him either. Salty notes that the cranes will be like the Three Musketeers.
21.10 UNSCHEDULED STOPS
WRITTEN BY HELEN FARRALL
It was just another day on Thomas’s branchline as Thomas and Bertie were preparing to have another race starting at Dryaw. Soon, the race began, and Bertie drove off. Thomas however could not go because Albert’s wife and Thomas the baby were boarding Annie. As soon as the whistle was blown from the guard, Thomas was off.
Bertie was racing onward but Thomas was catching up. Annie and Clarabel, however, do not like the racing. Suddenly, black smoke started coming out of Bertie. Thomas kept racing but at a level crossing, he came to a stop. Bertie’s driver noticed that Bertie’s engine was broken and therefore their race was over.
Bertie is worried his passengers will be stranded due to his engine being broken. Thomas then offers to drop off Bertie’s passengers at Bertie’s stops as well as his stations on his own route. Bertie thanks Thomas for helping him.
Thomas continues his run with his passengers but stops at McColl’s Farm. An elderly passenger soon tells Thomas that Bertie always drops him off between stops. Thomas claims that he can stop between stations like Bertie does but this shocks Annie, Clarabel and his driver.
Annie and Clarabel then tell Thomas that he should only stop at actual stations and not between stations. Thomas says that he was just being really useful and that nothing could go wrong. However, Annie says that this will lead to trouble. All the unscheduled stops lead to Thomas being not on time. His passengers are cross due to being late.
Thomas arrives at Knapford Station very late due to the unscheduled stops. The Fat Controller knew about Bertie’s broken engine and about the unscheduled stops. He warns Thomas he will have extra passengers and he expects Thomas to still be on time.
The next day, Thomas decides not to stop at any of the unscheduled stops at all. However, he did not want to leave anyone stranded at their spot, so he just picked up the passengers at the unscheduled stops. Once again, The Fat Controller reprimands Thomas for being late. Thomas tries to come up with an excuse by saying it takes longer for the extra passengers to get on and off, but The Fat Controller became suspicious about the whole situation. It shouldn’t make much of a different if Thomas is stopping at the same Stations.
The Fat Controller then starts spying on Thomas to check if he is on time with the passengers. Soon, Thomas was on his way back to Knapford and was once again late. The Fat Controller soon scolds Thomas for being late and makes other arrangements to help Bertie’s passengers.
Thomas has a shock! He sees Bulgy pull up on the level crossing. Thomas thought Bulgy was still a henhouse. Bulgy then tells Thomas that he was a henhouse for a while, then a vegetable stand and now he is back in service as passenger bus as the arrangement for Bertie’s passengers. Bulgy soon claims that roads are better than rails just like in the old days. The Fat Controller threatens Bulgy that if he turns anti-rail again, he will be turned back into a henhouse. The Fat Controller now expects Thomas to be on time again because he no longer needs to worry about Bertie’s stops.
After that, Thomas soon challenges Bulgy to another race to Knapford. Bulgy declines with his famous line “Down with railways!”. Thomas takes that as a challenge and races away anyways with Annie and Clarabel screaming their displeasure behind him.
21.11 PHILIP'S NUMBER
WRITTEN BY LEE PRESSMAN
Many engines on the Island of Sodor have a number painted on their side. For example, Thomas is number 1. But, Philip has the number 68 painted on his side. When Philip stops at Wellsworth with a goods train, Gordon teases him about having the number 68. Thomas tells Philip that it does not matter what number he has if he does his jobs well. Philip then decides to figure out why he was given the number 68.
When Philip arrived back at Knapford Station, The Fat Controller gives him the job of delivering spare parts to the Steamworks. Before Philip departs he questions The Fat Controller about why he has number 68 on his side. The Fat Controller doesn’t know because he already had the number 68 when he first arrived on Sodor. The Fat Controller reassures Philip that he will check the records when he has time.
Philip thanks The Fat Controller for telling him that he will find out why he was given his number. The Fat Controller also jokes there could have been 67 Philips. Philip imagines all those other Philips running around him. Toby soon snaps Philip out of his daydream. Philip then decides that he would figure out the reason he was given the number 68 sooner.
When he arrives at the Steamworks, Philip decides to ask Victor why he was given the number 68. Kevin came up with the idea Philip is 68 years old. Philip then imagines himself being 68 years old. Victor then tells Kevin that Philip is a young engine and that he can’t be 68 years old. Victor then gave Philip the idea to ask someone at the Dieselworks why he was given the number 68 because Victor knew more about steam engines than diesels.
Philip proceeds to the Dieselworks and when he arrives he spots Paxton and Sidney shunting trucks. He asks both diesels the question about why he was given the number 68. Paxton was not sure, but Sidney asks Philip if he has 68 wheels. Paxton laughs saying Philip does not have 68 wheels. Sidney has another answer. Unfortunately, Sidney forgets his new answer to Philip’s question. Soon, while traveling around Sodor still wondering what 68 stands for, Philip sees numbers everywhere! It was all Philip could think about.
Later while traveling along the Main Line, some sheep escape their sheep pen and onto the tracks. Philip stops and tries to shoo away the sheep. These sheep happened to be Farmer McColl’s sheep and he soon woke up and ran to try to get his sheep off the line. Philip keeps trying but then knows that Gordon would be coming with the express any minute. The sheep finally started to move.
Gordon by then was nearby pulling the express but Philip was determined to save the sheep. Philip asked Farmer McColl to uncouple him from his train and then went on to stop Gordon. Fortunately, Philip stopped Gordon. Gordon is cross, but Philip then proceeds to tell Gordon that sheep had been stranded on the line. Gordon thanks Philip for stopping him.
Farmer McColl puts his sheep back in the pin while counting the number of sheep. The Fat Controller soon arrived on Winston asking about what happened. Gordon and Philip tell The Fat Controller that Philip prevented a nasty accident from happening. Gordon also told The Fat Controller that Philip was being modest and was extremely brave.
The Fat Controller commends Philip for his brave deed and Farmer McColl says Philip saved his whole flock of 68 sheep. The Fat Controller was about to give Philip the answer for why his number was 68 but the incident provided Philip with a reason satisfactory enough.
Philip decides it does not really matter anymore to him because he saved 68 sheep. The Fat Controller then told Philip that everyone would remember that from his actions and Gordon apologizes for teasing Philip about his number. Gordon then tells Philip that when it comes to being brave, he’s number 1!
21.12 BIG FREEZE
WRITTEN BY HELEN FARRALL
There is a deep freeze on the Island of Sodor, and it causes all kinds of problems for the railway. Schedules are changed, speed restrictions are enforced in icy areas, and most importantly, there is a coal shortage! The steam engines try to use less coal, but after a day or so, the Island’s supply has completely dried up. Diesel teases the steam engines for needing to use coal in the first place, which makes Thomas cross. Soon, all the engines are ordered back to their sheds, but Thomas sets off with Annie and Clarabel, thinking he has enough coal to finish his regular jobs for the day. Poor Thomas doesn’t get far, and ends up stranded out of coal at Kellsthorpe Road. He and his coaches worry about how the work on the Island will get done, and an answer soon presents itself.
A cavalcade of diesel engines emerges from around the bend, declaring that they will be taking over the regular workload on the railway. And so they do! Paxton pulls the mail, Arry and Bert tackle goods trains, and Dart, Den, and Sidney pull a “diesel express”. That night, all the engines are safe and warm back at Tidmouth Sheds, except for Thomas, who, along with his coaches, is still suck on the siding at Kellsthorpe Road. The three are so cold, icicles hang from their faces and frames. Annie and Clarabel try to sing “We Three Kings” to keep warm, but they are still freezing the next day. It is only when Diesel arrives with more coal from the mainland that they are able to move. Soon the steam engines are able to get back to work, and the cold weather lets up. Diesel is even seen as a hero by Annie and Clarabel!
21.13 EMILY IN THE MIDDLE
WRITTEN BY DAVEY MOORE
One snowy day, Donald and Douglas are assigned to deliver a long train of steel pipes to Vicarstown with Emily. Thomas warns Emily about the twins' notorious arguments with each other and with that, the three Scottish engines depart Brendam Docks, with Donald pulling the train at the front and Douglas and Emily push from behind.
Along the way, Douglas begins to tells Emily stories about the times when Donald got into many predicaments, causing Emily to rupt with laugher. Unfortunaley, her laugher echoes through the pipes, causing Donald to overhear them and become angry. Finally, Donald loses patience and demands to swap places with Douglas.
As the three approach Gordon's Hill, Donald begins to tell Emily about Douglas' recent accident, causing the same thing to happen all over again. Douglas stops the train halfway up the hill and demands to swap back, leaving Emily with the train all on her own. As the twins begin to argue and fight, a lump of coal falls from Donald's tender and rolls down the hill, turning into a huge snowball and knocks Emily off the tracks in the process.
Finally coming to even ground to blame themselves, the twins fetch help to get Emily back on the rails. With Emily now at the front and Donald and Douglas at the back, the twins happily agree that they should've let Emily be in front and them be at the back in the first place, but then they start to argue about their agreements.
21.14 TERENCE BREAKS THE ICE
WRITTEN BY LEE PRESSMAN
It’s nearly Christmas time, and on Sodor, the rails are icy and slick as the countryside is covered in a blanket of snow. Thomas has been sent to collect Christmas trees to take to market at Knapford, at the cutting site he is reunited with his old friend Terence the tractor. As the tank engine’s trucks are being loaded with trees, Thomas and Terence reminisce about the time when they first met. Thomas had thought Terence’s caterpillar tracks were ugly. The tank engine also thought his snowplow was useless. Thomas ended up stuck in a snowdrift one day without the later, Terence pulled him out all thanks to his caterpillar tracks.
That was long ago, and now Thomas takes care to wear his plow. Both agree it’s best to be sensible in order to stay safe. Thomas delivers his trees to Knapford, but the Fat Controller is very surprised when he realizes that he forgot to tell Thomas to collect a big tree for the Earl’s Christmas party at Ulfstead Castle. Thomas promises that once the men have unloaded his trucks, he’ll go back for a big tree in time for the party. More snow begins to fall…
When Thomas arrives back at the cutting site and tells Terence about the party tree. The tractor goes to fetch a huge one that is perfect for the Earl just across the frozen pond, which Terence begins to cross, much to Thomas’ disapproval. Terence collects the tree, but as he crosses the pond once again, Thomas realizes a patch of ice is starting to break away. He tries to warn Terence, but the tractor doesn’t heed Thomas’ advice and crosses the patch which breaks under him, causing Terence and the trailer to sink towards the icy water.
Thomas is quick to devise a plan to use chains attached to his snowplow to pull Terence out, and after quickly getting everything into place Thomas pulls hard with the help of Terence. The tank engine slips at first but manages to pull Terence to safety. Just as Terence gets off the sliding ice, the connection between him and the trailer breaks, leaving the tree to sink into the icy pond. Terence feels sorry for not listening to his own advice.
At the Earl’s party the tree's lights are lit up by the Earl, in which it is revealed that as a substitute, a much smaller tree was used for the Castle, only its height cleverly hidden by a mountain of gift boxes.
21.15 DAISY'S PERFECT CHRISTMAS
WRITTEN BY DAVEY MOORE
Daisy the Diesel Railcar hates winter, but loves Christmas. The cold weather doesn’t agree with her, but the holiday cheer is more than enough to keep her spirits up. The thing she likes best about Christmastime is all the holiday traditions she’d been a part of over the years, including seeing all the festive lights at Vicarstown, taking children to the Small Railway for presents, listening to carols, and seeing the star on top of the Christmas Tree at the Search and Rescue Centre.
But this year, things don’t go as planned! When Daisy arrives at Vicarstown, the workmen are struggling to get all the decorations up. On her journey to the Small Railway, the children change the lyrics to “Jingle Bells” so they refer to Daisy, and when they arrive, the Miniature Engines have a snowy surprise for the children instead of presents. Finally at the Search and Rescue Centre, troublesome trucks disrupt the carol party with their own silly song and Harold places the star on top of the tree, instead of having lights on his rodars like usual. All of this breaks with the traditions Daisy has come to know, and she gets very upset.
When she arrives back at the shed that night, Daisy complains about all the broken traditions to Ryan, Judy, and Jerome, but they don’t see any problem with the day. Ryan explains to her that sometimes it's okay to break traditions or try new things, as long as everyone is happy and having fun. He reminds her that a few years ago, they didn’t spend Christmas together at all, but know they’re all happy together on that Harwick branch line. Daisy agrees, and Judy lights up the shed with special Christmas lights they arranged just for Daisy.
21.16 CONFUSED COACHES
WRITTEN BY HELEN FARRALL
One winter’s day Gordon finds Spencer taking the Duke and Duchess to their summer house. Spencer is still acting superior and the two quickly find themselves in a race. Gordon draws ahead, only to have to suddenly stop for a station. Spencer notes that special engines like him don’t have to stop at stations and he speeds away.
Next morning Spencer is at Knapford while the Duke and Duchess speak to the Fat Controller. Spencer brags to Gordon that he’ll be pulling a special train of Sodor’s most important people to the Boxfords’ New Year’s party at Callan Castle. Gordon counters that if he’s so important Spencer should be leaving from Platform 1 like he does every day. Spencer argues that if the number one is so special, why does Thomas have it while Gordon is only number four? Gordon wins the argument by pointing out that Spencer doesn’t even have a number!
The day after Spencer returns to Knapford to prepare for the Boxfords’ special train. While his coaches are being cleaned, Spencer has himself moved into Platform 1. Gordon soon arrives and is most upset to find Spencer in his place. After Spencer tells Gordon leaving from Platform 1 was his idea and it would cause delay to move, Gordon angrily moves into Platform 2. Philip and Thomas deliver Spencer’s and Gordon’s coaches, and the passengers climb aboard. The two trains leave, neither engine realizing they have each other’s coaches!
Out on the main line the two engines race again, with Spencer noting his coaches have never felt heavier and Gordon jostling the passengers in his much lighter train. At Wellsworth, normally the first stop for the Express, Gordon screeches to a halt. Spencer rockets past and Gordon realizes he has the wrong train, just as the badly shaken Boxfords and their guests spill out of their coach. They quickly pile back in and Gordon sets off in pursuit of Spencer. Spencer, however, thinks Gordon just wants another race and continues all the way to Callan Castle while the Express passengers miss all their stops.
Once both engines arrive at the castle, they try to explain themselves to their annoyed passengers but the Fat Controller declares both of them to blame. By the time the two engines have taken the passengers to the right stations and returned to Knapford, it is nearly midnight. The Fat Controller tells the engines they should apologize to each other and make a fresh start for the new year. Spencer and Gordon do so and then happily watch as New Year’s fireworks burst overhead.
21.17 THE FASTEST RED ENGINE ON SODOR
WRITTEN BY HELEN FARRALL
James is a Splendid Red Engine and loves to boast at how fast he can go. He even goes as far as to race full speed into Knapford station and brakes at the last second with no preparation, much to the disapproval of Sir Topham Hatt and Emily, both try to reason with him, but James insists his showing off is completely harmless.
Thomas then arrives and is quick to put James in his place, reminding him of his accident back when he was painted black and had wooden brake blocks - once again, James is quick to deflect the opposing remark, and points out that nowadays his brakes are great, and being red is a sort of privilege. Thomas however is quick to remark that James’ title might soon be taken away from him, as Rosie has just recently been painted red herself, much to James’ dismay.
When he meets Rosie in her new livery, James is quick to challenge Rosie to a race. He is very surprised when the tank engine manages to keep pace with him. Their race is cut short by a red signal. When he attempts to stop, James’ brakes only just managed to stop him. They made a terrible squeaking noise as they did. Rosie then sends James off to the Steamworks to have his brakes checked. But on the way, his brakes fail to make the same noise. James leaves the Steamworks without concern. It turns out turn he is leaking brake fluid.
On his way home James decides to race down Gordon’s Hill, but when his driver tries to check his speed, he can’t turn James’ brakes on without the brake fluid! James careens helplessly down the mainline, through Knapford station and past a very concerned Rosie. James ends up racing into Tidmouth Sheds. His crew jumps clear before he crosses the turntable and ends smashing through one of the berths, earning bent buffers and a busted funnel.
The Fat Controller is quick to scold James, telling him off for his showing off and for not taking care of his mechanical fault before the problem got bigger. Luckily for James, Rosie doesn’t hold a grudge and cheekily remarks that for a while, he really was the fastest red engine on Sodor. Unfortunately, James’ accident was to have some unexpected consequences…
21.18 A SHED FOR EDWARD
WRITTEN BY LEE PRESSMAN
Edward and Philip spot James shoots past at a criminally reckless speed. Despite Edward's warning on racing, James’ brakes fail, causing him to rocket down the line, out of control and crash into the back wall of Tidmouth Sheds.
Due to the duration of the sheds' repairs, Edward has to find a temporary home, so he stays with Philip at Wellsworth. Unfortunately, Philip talks all night long, leaving Edward without a good night's sleep, so he decides to go and look for somewhere else – preferably quieter!
For the next few nights, Edward tries staying at Brendam Docks, but Salty sings sea shanties in his sleep. He also tries various places (even on-board a ship in rough seas), but everywhere Edward goes, it's too noisy.
Before long, Edward becomes so tired, that he falls asleep while doing his work, which results in running a red signal, nearly crashing into Gordon and eventually puffing on a collision course with Percy. Luckily, Philip wakes him up just in time to prevent an accident. Edward is grateful for his help and explains he can't stay up all night talking. Philip respects this and for the next few nights, Edward is able to get some sleep.
Eventually, Edward returns to the newly repaired Tidmouth Sheds. However, after some consideration, Edward decides to move to Wellsworth and live with Philip. The other engines are sad to see him go, but Edward is confident they'll see each other all the time. The engines also wonder who'll take his berth at Tidmouth Sheds, but that's a story for another day.