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Preface

Welcome to the COMPLETE Shining Time Station Episode Guide! Our team of reviewers were able to write detailed episode summaries and notes thanks in large part to the Shining Time Station fans who uploaded their old VHS taped episodes up to YouTube. To preserve the 'surprise' for those of you who haven't seen them, we've enclosed the detailed episode summaries within 'spoilers'.

 

Shortcuts to all Shining Time Station season and associated episode guides are provided at the top and bottom of every page. We hope that you enjoy reviewing them and conclude as we have, that this series was indeed special and one-of-a-kind. Without further ado, we welcome you all to...

Reach for the steam, reach for the whistle
Go where the railway runs
Reach for the words, reach for the story
Follow the rainbow sun

 

To a Shining Time Station
Where dreams can come true
Waiting there for you

 

So much to see, so far to travel,
So much to learn, to know
Friends by your side, hopes to hold onto
Who knows how far you'll go

 

To a Shining Time Station
Where dreams can come true
Your own imagination
Waiting there for you...

Full episode details for Shining Time Station Season 1 (1989)

A Place Unlike Any Other

Production #1 (1.01) - First Aired: 1989-JAN-29 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by N. Middleton & D. Dobrydney

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Banjo-playing passenger (Richard Stillman)

 

Episode Synopsis: In the first episode, we are introduced to the main characters and inhabitants of Shining Time Station. Stacy Jones, the new station manager, arrives at Shining Time Station and shows her nephew, Matt, around the charming old station. Matt meets the magical Mr. Conductor and Harry Cupper, the new engineer, and his granddaughter, Tanya, are also introduced.

Episode Morals:
  •  Even small jobs can be important.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:
  •  I've Been Workin' On the Railroad

Featured Picture Machine Song:
  •  Start Where You Are

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:
  •  Thomas' and Gordon (Thomas Gets Tricked)

  •  Edward and Gordon (Edward Helps Out)

Episode Notes:

  • Schemer does not appear in this episode.

  • The episode features one of the few times the waiting area beyond Harry’s workshop door is seen.

  • The shot of Matt being surprised by Mr. Conductor while dusting the mural wall was used for Matt's character oval in the original Season 1 "clip show" opening sequence.

  • The first Picture Machine video is an excerpt from the 1939 George Pal Puppetoon "Philip's Calvalcade."

  • Scenes from the second featured Picture Machine music video "Start Where You Are" were recorded at the Keansburg Amusement Park in New Jersey.

  • Continuity Goof #1: The cobwebs on the bench beneath the window at the station exit disappear and reappear between shots. It is particularly noticeable during the scene where Stacy and Matt play make-believe at the ticket counter.

  • Continuity Goof #2: Stacy goes behind the ticket counter to get the tap dancer’s ticket. However, when the dancer starts singing, Stacy is back with Matt, Tanya and Harry.

  • The banjo-playing passenger asks Stacy for a ticket to "Leaping Log, Alabama". While "Leaping Log" is a stop on the Indian Valley Railroad Line, it's not known if Richard Stillman ad-libbed identifying the state, or if it was part of his script. 

Does it Bite?

Production #2 (1.02) - First Aired: 1989-FEB-05 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by D. Dobrydney

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Clown (Michael Bongar)

Episode Synopsis: Interacting with new people causes a certain amount of anxiety for both Matt and Tanya. But as they get to know Harry and Mr. Conductor, the children learn how to overcome their fears and make new friends.

Episode Morals:

  • It is normal to be nervous when meeting new people and new situations.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Camptown Races

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • Don't Be Afraid (sung by Eric Troyer)

 

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • The Sad Story of Henry (Come Out, Henry!)

  • Edward, Gordon and Henry (Henry to the Rescue)

 

Episode Notes:

  • Two firsts in this episode: Tanya meets Mr. Conductor, and Schemer is introduced.

  • The shot of Stacy sticking the clown’s ticket in his mouth was used for her character oval in the original Season 1 ‘clip show’ opening title sequence.

  • In the opening scene, Mr. Conductor mentions "Doodletown" instead of the familiar "Doodlehaven". Since this is early in Season 1, perhaps the producers were still defining the towns and stops along the Indian Valley Railroad.

  • Because he's too busy sobbing about Henry, Mr. Conductor does not actually blow his whistle to start either of the Thomas stories, though the whistle sound effect is heard. 

  • The photo Harry shows Matt is of a Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad articulated steam locomotive, possibly an H-8 class engine with a wheel configuration of 2-6-6-6. However, Harry’s reminiscence of his first exposure to railroads is accompanied by footage of preserved Union Pacific Railroad locomotive #844. Some of this footage was used in the credit sequences for all three seasons.

  • An old-style microphone can be seen in this episode on the ticket counter, which would imply that the station has a public address system.

And the Band Played Off

Production #3 (1.03) - First Aired: 1989-FEB-12 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by D. Dobrydney

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • J.B. King, Esq. (Mart Hulswit, voice only)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • One Man Band (Russel Brown)

Episode Synopsis: When a new train is scheduled to serve Shining Time Station, Stacy gets excited, and she thinks she can remember the timetable in her head when the superintendent of the Indian Valley Railroad gives it to her over the phone. However, when a passenger asks about the schedule, she accidentally gives misleading information to him. Meanwhile, the kids make musical instruments to play music for the passengers of the new train.

Episode Morals:

  • Mistakes happen, especially when one is impatient.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • Learn From Your Mistakes

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas' Train (A Big Day for Thomas)

  • Thomas and the Trucks (Trouble for Thomas)

Episode Notes:

  • This is the first time we hear the voice of Mr. J. B. King, Esq. He would not appear in person until episode 15, "Promises, Promises."

  • This is the first episode where Mr. Conductor wears an outfit other than his usual uniform.

  • This is the first time we hear of Schemer's ulterior motive of taking over Shining Time Station.

  • This is the first time that Mr. Conductor is mentioned to Harry.

  • The closing shot of Harry laughing with Mr. Conductor behind his back was used for Harry's character oval in the original Season 1 "clip show" opening sequence.

  • When Stacy learns about the new train, the telephone conversation is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poem "The Naming of Cats". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Pitching In and Helping Out

Production #4 (1.04) - First Aired: 1989-FEB-19 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by M. Cooper

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Scuba Woman (Annette Holloway)

 

Episode Synopsis: Stacy tries to fix the station’s clock, while Matt and Tanya discover ways to use a ball of string to be both creative and helpful.

 

Episode Morals:

  • Helping others, no matter who they are, is important.

  • Creative solutions can be found just by using simple tools or objects.

  • There are numerous ways to have fun if you keep an open mind.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Railroad Corral

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • None

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas and the Breakdown Train (Thomas Saves the Day)

  • James and the Coaches (James Learns a Lesson)

Episode Notes:

  • Mr. Conductor has lived at Shining Time Station since Stacy’s grandmother ran it.

  • Mr. Conductor keeps a parrot in his house on the mural.

  • This is the first time a Thomas story isn’t started by Mr. Conductor blowing his whistle. Instead, he clicks two wooden spoons together.

  • Mr. Conductor demonstrates that he can drum using two wooden spoons. This is a nod to Ringo Starr’s career as a drummer for The Beatles.

  • Annette Holloway, who played the "Scuba Woman," also served as the show's assistant stage manager.

  • At one point Mr. Conductor dubs Tanya “Tanya Lasagna”. This nickname is referred to again in Season 2 by Mr. Conductor’s cousin (George Carlin).

Show and Yell

Production #5 (1.05) - First Aired: 1989-FEB-26 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by D. Dobrydney

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Ventriloquist (Alan Semok)

Episode Synopsis: Matt and Tanya take an interest in ventriloquism, and decide early on to put on a show to demonstrate their newfound talent. When the play is a disappointing failure, Stacy, Harry and Mr. Conductor all try to encourage the children to practice their skills. They then try again with much more positive results.

Episode Morals:

  • Some tasks are difficult at first, but with practice, we can master them.

  • We can succeed if we don't give up.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Freight Train

Featured Anything Tunnel Song:

  • Bounce Back (sung by Vaneese Thomas)

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Troublesome Trucks (Foolish Freight Cars)

  • James and the Express (A Proud Day for James)

Episode Notes:

  • The “John Bull” was originally put on display in the Smithsonian Institute in 1884. A replica was built in 1939; however the original locomotive was steamed in 1981 in honor of its 150th anniversary, making it the oldest operable steam locomotive in North America. The footage of the “John Bull” which accompanies Harry’s story about Isaac was provided by the Smithsonian Institute and might be a depiction of the 1981 re-steaming.

  • This is the only time a member of the Flexitoons team had an onscreen role in an episode of Shining Time Station. Normally Alan Semok did the puppeteering for Grace the Bass.

  • Tito (Jonathan Freeman) does not appear in this episode. According to the Boy Brothers, the band leader is too busy counting his nickels.

  • Nitpick: When the "Freight Train" number ends and Schemer walks over to the ticket desk, Harry is still bopping away even though the music ended moments ago!

  • Continuity Goof: When the ventriloquist leaves to catch his train, he has his two puppets but has left his suitcases behind!

Faith, Hope and Anxiety

Production #6 (1.06) - First Aired: 1989-MAR-05 (US)
Written by Brian McConnachie
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by S. Das

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

 

Episode Synopsis: Due to an emergency on the line, Harry has to break his promise to take the children fishing. As they learn to cope with the disappointment, Matt and Tanya discover that there is very often a bright side to a gloomy situation.

Episode Morals:

  • We all need to learn about how to cope with disappointment.

  • We are all able to turn a gloomy situation into a bright one

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Wabash Cannonball

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • Kite Song

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas & The Guard

  • Thomas Goes Fishing

Episode Notes:

  • This is the first episode to not feature guest stars.

  • The Magic Bubble sequence features an excerpt from "Red Ball Express," an animated short film by Steve Segal, created by drawing on clear film stock with felt-tipped markers, permanent pens, and rubber stamps.

  • The Jukebox Band's rendition of "Wabash Cannonball" features excerpts of preserved Norfolk & Western Class A articulated steam locomotive #1218. This footage was originally filmed for the 1987 documentary Steam People, a promotional film released by Norfolk Southern documenting #1218's restoration.

  • This episode features Schemer’s first declaration that Shining Time Station is haunted, which would become a running gag throughout the series as his interpretation of the unexplained phenomena at the station.

  • The “Kite Song” was released on the VHS cassette Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1.

 

Agree to Disagree

Production #7 (1.07) - First Aired: 1989-MAR-12 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by J. Gratton 

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Balloon Man (Allyn Gooen)

Episode Synopsis: Matt wants to read, but Tanya wants to play, and their differences finally lead to an argument. Some good advice from Stacy, Harry and Mr. Conductor helps Matt and Tanya see that people can disagree and still be friends.

Episode Morals:

  • It is okay to disagree.

  • No two people are exactly alike. These differences make life more interesting.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Abilene (sung by Rory Dodd)

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • We Do Things Differently (composed and sung by Elizabeth Swados)

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Thomas, Terence and the Snow (Terence the Tractor)

  • Thomas and Bertie (Thomas & Bertie's Great Race)

Quotes of Note:

  • Stacy: You know our motto - Shining Time Station, trains from here to everywhere.

Episode Notes:

  • Mr. Conductor gives Tanya the nickname "Tanya Banya" in this episode.

  • The title of Mr. Conductor’s book is a play on John le Carré's novel title "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold".

  • The song "We Do Things Differently" was released on video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs, Vol. 1."

  • The phone conversation in the scene where Stacy is speaking to J,B. King on the telephone is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading a few lines from his poem "Mungojerrie And Rumpelteazer". ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

Whistle While You Work

Production #8 (1.08) - First Aired: 1989-MAR-19 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by J. Gratton and S. Das

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Ed the Stilt Man (Clinton Smith)

Episode Synopsis: Schemer goes on an advertising blitz to promote his arcade while Stacy, Matt and Tanya try to clean up the station. While this is going on, Mr. Conductor does all he can to thwart Schemer's plan to cover up the Station clock and his signal house with adverts.

 

Episode Morals:

  • We must recognize that all jobs have value, especially in a group effort.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Pop Goes the Weasel

Featured Picture Machine Song:

  • Let's Work Together

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Tenders and Turntables

  • Trouble in the Shed

Quotes of Note:

  • Mr. Conductor: Some people walk in their sleep. Schemer probably runs.

Episode Notes:

  • Continuing his tradition of nicknames, Mr. Conductor uses "Tanya Savania" in this episode.

  • Schemer has to put on a pair of glasses so that he can see the station clock face more clearly.

  • Ed's overly long pant legs suddenly revert to normal pant leg size when the cut shot reveals that he is standing on stilts.

  • Eighteen years after this show was taped, Pluto would be removed from the list of planets in the solar system, making a total of 8, but if you followed Didi’s lead and excluded Earth, you’d still be wrong. The debate in scientific circles whether Pluto is a planet is still ongoing.

  • U.S. viewers may be confused by Edward's lament that he has 'gray wheels' in the story "Trouble in the Shed." This is because the line in the original UK version was 'black wheels,' which was a play on the word blackleg, which in turn is British slang for a strike-breaker. In this case, Edward was breaking the other tender engines’ strike against Sir Topham Hatt.

  • Guest star Clinton Smith was at the time a member of a stilt dancing team known as "Friends in High Places."

Two Old Hands

Production #9 (1.09) - First Aired: 1989-MAR-26 (US)
Written by Ellis Weiner
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by S. Das

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Passenger (guest: Richard Stillman)

Episode Synopsis: Mr. Conductor has avoided meeting Harry because he's worried that Harry won't like him. When Matt and Tanya include Mr. Conductor in planning Harry's surprise birthday party, they all learn an important lesson about the pleasure of giving.

 

Episode Morals:

  • There is more pleasure in giving than receiving.

  • We can participate in activities despite feelings of shyness.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • A Railroader for Me

Featured Anything Tunnel Music Video:

  • Baking a Cake (performed by Rory Dodd)

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Percy Runs Away

  • Thomas Comes to Breakfast

Episode Notes:

  • The shot of Tanya showing her pen pal’s picture to everybody was used in the original “clip show” title sequence.

  • To start “Thomas Comes to Breakfast,” Mr. Conductor does not use his whistle. Instead, he twirls his present to start the story.

  • In addition to Cheese Giggles, Schemer stocks Potato Boom-Booms and Corn Whammies in his vending machine.

  • This is the first episode to feature a story from Series 2 of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. The use of "Thomas Comes to Breakfast" caused some continuity errors for US audiences as Donald and Douglas, the Scottish Twins, would not receive a proper introduction until the episode “Sweet and Sour” during Shining Time Station's second season. Additionally, Toby the Tram Engine would not be introduced to US audiences until the episode “Ring in the Old” later in the first season. Finally, the diesel railcar referred to in the story, a character called Daisy, would never feature in a story during Shining Time Station's original three seasons, although stories featuring her would eventually be released on American video.

  • The song “Baking a Cake” was released on US video as part of "Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1."

  • This episode marks one of the few times any attempt is made to explain Mr. Conductor's backstory.

Happy Accidents

Production #10 (1.10) - First Aired: 1989-APR 02 (US)
Written by Alan Kingsberg
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by S. Das

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Acrobats (guest: Karen Gersch & Barbara Rhind)

  • Passenger (guest: Susan Greenhill)

Episode Synopsis: Everyone seems to be having accidents at Shining Time Station, from a scheduling error to Schemer dropping meatballs. However, eventually everyone comes to accept that accidents sometimes happen and learns that the most important thing about mistakes is to make the best of them.

Episode Morals:

  • We must all learn to make the best of our mistakes.

  • We must learn to correct our mistakes instead of blaming others.

Featured Jukebox Puppet Band Song:

  • Wreck of Old ‘97

Featured Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Stories:

  • Coal

  • The Flying Kipper

Episode Notes:

  • Obviously Schemer is no good with math. A $2 sandwich with 4 meatballs equals 50 cents per meatball. Likewise, a $20 pair of shoes equals $10 per shoe.

  • Mr. Conductor does not use his whistle to start either of the two Thomas stories.

  • Rex and Tex play a banjo instead of a guitar in this episode.

  • Harry’s recollection of railroad rules is accompanied by footage from the 1926 silent film “The General” starring Buster Keaton.

  • In “The Flying Kipper,” after Henry’s accident, Sir Topham Hatt makes a reference to a place called Crewe, a town in England about 100 miles northwest of London. It is a reference to the location of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway’s workshops, where Henry will receive his new shape, which the Reverend W. Awdry patterned after an LMS Class 5 mixed traffic locomotive. British references such as this and the reference to Bournemouth (80 miles southeast of London) in “Thomas’ Christmas Party” would be strictly eschewed in Series 3 of Thomas (which makes its debut in season 2 of STS) to avoid alienating viewers outside the US.

  • This episode features another time Schemer puts glasses on to see clearly in the distance. He did it previously in "Whistle While You Work."

  • When the Dispatch Office telephones Harry at the beginning of the episode, the sped-up voice heard on the other end is actually a sped-up recording of T.S. Eliot reading from his poem Growltiger's Last Stand. Later, when a customer calls and When Harry informs them that the train to Pelican Falls is late, a sped-up recording of T.S. Eliot is heard again reading a few lines from The Naming of Cats. ~ contributed by Daniel Celano

 

Ring in the Old

Production #11 (1.11) - First Aired: 1989-APR 09 (US)
Written by Alan Kingsberg
Directed by Matthew Diamond

Summary by J. Gratton

Episode Characters/Stars:

  • Stacy Jones (Didi Conn)

  • Harry Cupper (Leonard Jackson)

  • Schemer (Brian O'Connor)

  • Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr)

  • Matt Jones (Jason Woliner)

  • Tanya Cupper (Nicole Leach)

  • The Jukebox Puppet Band

  • Nat (Guest star Nathaniel Kaz as himself)

  • Passenger (Gordon Gould)

Episode Synopsis: Schemer is determined to trash the old soccer arcade game while the kids eagerly await the arrival by train of Harry's friend, Nat. Matt and Tanya wonder about old age while Stacy and Mr. Conductor help them appreciate that young and old have a lot to offer each other.