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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.

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

As the scene opens, we see a gentleman dressed in a railroad conductor's uniform looking around the deserted, cobwebbed waiting room of a railroad station. Hearing someone approaching, he magically vanishes. In walks a lady with a small boy. This, we will soon learn, is Stacy Jones and her nephew Matt. Stacy welcomes Matt to Shining Time Station and after gazing around the station, with its elaborate murals and arcade full of games, the awestruck boy can only stammer out that it looks nice. Stacy laughs and whispers a secret: there’s just “something” about this place!


Stacy then begins to show Matt around the station. First, there is the Information Desk, where passengers can ask what time the trains arrive and so forth. Matt gets behind the desk while Stacy pretends to be a passenger with a question. They continue their make-believe at the ticket counter, where Matt punches a ticket for Stacy. This is also where it’s revealed that Shining Time Station is on the Indian Valley Railroad. Next, Stacy brings Matt over to the waiting area, with a bench so passengers can rest.

Stacy shows Matt some activities passengers do to pass the time as they wait. Last of all, there is the Arcade, with music, games and movies. Matt starts to watches an old cartoon in the Arcade picture machine, but the movie is cut short when the crank breaks off. Stacy says the crank probably needs some glue and she’ll fix it later.

With the tour complete, Stacy asks Matt what he thinks of the station. Matt says the station is different than he expected, and as a train rushes past, he and Stacy ask the same question: do trains ever stop here? Stacy brings Matt close to her and shares her dream of making the old station as great and busy as it was when her grandmother ran it a long time ago. She enlists Matt's help and tells him that an engineer from the railroad will be coming by to visit, and might decide to stay and help too. In the meantime, the two of them will start cleaning up the station.


Stacy gives Matt a nickel to put in the Jukebox so they have some music to work by. Matt inserts the nickel and it’s revealed that the Jukebox is populated by a band of tiny puppet musicians. The band members realize that someone wants them to play a song. After a brief tiff about what to play, they decide to just perform something they know, and play “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad.”


While Matt dusts the large wall mural, he hears a voice telling him he missed a spot. Suddenly, the gentleman from earlier reappears. Only a few inches tall, he introduces himself to the shocked Matt as Mr. Conductor and compliments Matt for cleaning the windows of the signal box in the mural, which is where he lives. Mr. Conductor says Matt reminds him of his friend Thomas. Matt asks if Thomas lives with Mr. Conductor in the signal box, and Mr. Conductor explains that Thomas is a steam engine who lives on the Island of Sodor. Since Matt likes trains and stories, Mr. Conductor decides to tell Matt about Thomas the Tank Engine and his encounter with Gordon the Big Engine.

After the story is finished, Mr. Conductor disappears and Matt excitedly tells his aunt all about the little guy living in the wall. Stacy already seems to know about him, revealing that he is shy and travels a lot. She also warns Matt not to mention Mr. Conductor to the new engineer when he arrives, because he might not understand. Just then, the engineer enters with a little girl in tow. He introduces himself as Henry "Harry" Cupper and the girl as his granddaughter, Tanya.


Harry tells Stacy that he hasn’t decided whether he’ll take the job to help her run the station, so while they negotiate, Matt tries to introduce Tanya to Mr. Conductor. However, Mr. Conductor is nowhere to be found and Tanya doesn’t believe Matt’s claim about “the little guy who lives in the wall.” Tanya does take an interest in the picture machine, and even manages to fix the crank with a bobby pin. This time a different movie plays, with a song that convinces Tanya that perhaps Shining Time Station is worth exploring.

Harry, meanwhile, is still skeptical about taking the job at Shining Time Station. However, when Stacy shows him a workshop he can call his own, Harry begins to warm to the idea since he always had to share a space with others in his previous job. He doesn’t like Matt getting underfoot though, and scolds him. This causes Matt to become upset and hastily exit the workshop. As he sits dejectedly on the steps leading to the platform, Mr. Conductor reappears and explains to Matt that he was off traveling with Edward. Matt asks who Edward is, which


makes Mr. Conductor realize that if Matt didn’t know Thomas, of course he wouldn’t know Edward. Mr. Conductor tells Matt a story about Edward the Blue Engine, who in helping Gordon up a steep hill proved that being small doesn’t mean one can’t be helpful. After Mr. Conductor disappears, Matt calls after him asking more about Edward. Harry spots Matt talking to the wall and asks Stacy if the boy is all right in the head. Stacy calls Matt over and he asks Harry if he’s going to work at the station. Before Harry can answer, they are interrupted by the appearance of the station's first passenger, a banjo-playing tap dancer who puts on an impromptu show for Stacy, Harry and the children.


The man asks for and pays for a ticket to Leaping Log, Alabama, and continues to dance and strum his banjo as he exits the station. Harry has seen enough, and tells Stacy that he’s used to working in places where things are taken more seriously. However, he adds that it’s time for a change, and asks Tanya if she’d like to visit him at Shining Time Station. Tanya excitedly agrees and Harry kindly asks Matt to fetch his toolbox. As the episode closes, Stacy asks Harry what made him decide to stay. After taking in his surroundings, Harry can only reply that “there’s just something about this place.

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.

Detailed Episode Summary: SHOW

Shining Time Station is completely deserted, but Mr. Conductor’s disembodied voice can be heard loudly declaring something to be impossible, ridiculous and foolish. He materializes on the ticket counter and points to the train schedules lying next to him, almost walking off the counter as he complains that they are tommyrot, balderdash and cuckoo to emphasize about how wrong they are. Among other errors, the schedule says that a train can go from Point Pokey to Cloggyville in eleven seconds!


Just as Mr. Conductor is about to correct the schedules himself, Stacy enters and demands he stop what he’s doing. Those are the new schedules from the railroad, Stacy explains, and she is the only one with the authority to alter them. Mr. Conductor protests they aren’t train schedules even if they are new, which prompts Stacy to insist that Mr. Conductor surrender his pencil to her. Mr. Conductor stubbornly refuses and disappears, mentioning that a train can’t get from Butter Town to Chubby Corners in four seconds.

Stacy is confused, and is further distracted by the entrance of a strange-looking man in a tacky business suit. The man knows Stacy’s name, but still asks to be directed to the station master. Stacy takes her position at the information desk and says she is the station master. The man is initially surprised, but recovers and directs Stacy’s attention to the machines in the Arcade. He runs over, kisses the Jukebox and declares the machines his. As proof, he produces a long-term lease from the railroad which gives him control over the whole Arcade beginning that very day.


The man then begins regaling Stacy with his plans to bring new, loud, expensive machines to the Arcade, and asks if she noticed the new schedules he had printed. Stacy, beginning to catch on, says that those schedules are all wrong and will cause passengers to miss their trains. The man doesn’t care about that, indeed he considers it perfect. If passengers miss their trains, he reasons, they’ll have nothing to do and will thus go spend their money in his machines. Stacy starts to get angry and says the man really is a schemer. The man reveals that “Schemer” is what his friends call him and invites Stacy to do likewise. Stacy responds by tearing up Schemer’s worthless schedules and chasing him around the information desk, demanding to know what he did with the real schedules. Schemer relents and gives Stacy the schedules, saying it was just an idea as he leaves.


Now that she has the correct schedules in hand, Stacy begins calling out to Mr. Conductor, but is interrupted again by a clown who walks into the station juggling several rings. Stacy determines from the silent clown’s gestures that he wants to go to Dillylick, and informs him that the train will arrive in half an hour. The clown juggles his way back to the platform just as Matt comes in. Stacy explains that she needs to find “their little friend who lives in the wall” so she can apologize to him. Matt agrees to help Stacy look and heads to the workshop.


Matt finds the workshop empty and starts calling out to Mr. Conductor. Matt is just looking into one of the drawers in the filing cabinet when Harry comes in and brusquely asks Matt what he’s doing. Matt is momentarily frozen before he manages to say he’s looking for Mr. Conductor. Harry replies that if Matt wants to find a conductor he should wait on the platform, as there are none in his workshop and certainly none in his drawer. Harry asks Matt if he wanted anything else, and the boy mumbles that he was just leaving before running out.

Matt runs across the station and bumps into Tanya. Tanya invites Matt to see her grandfather in the workshop and maybe help him fix something. Matt says he doesn’t think Harry wants him in his workshop. Tanya starts to giggle and teases Matt about being afraid of Harry. Matt denies this but still refuses to go with Tanya, saying he’d rather look for Mr. Conductor. Tanya has to be reminded who Mr. Conductor is, thinking he’s a goblin or animal, and Matt hastily explains that Mr. Conductor is just a "little guy," and asks Tanya to help find him. Tanya becomes jittery, prompting Matt to ask who’s afraid now. Tanya declares she isn’t afraid of anything and the two children begin arguing when Matt spots Mr. Conductor laughing with Stacy. He invites Tanya to come over and be introduced.


Stacy tells Matt that she and Mr. Conductor have just been discussing train schedules on the Island of Sodor. Matt asks about how Thomas or Gordon are doing, and Mr. Conductor pulls out what looks like a watch from his vest to see if he has time. Matt sees that it’s not a watch but actually a bathtub plug, which Mr. Conductor confirms. He goes on to say he wears the plug to remind him that one day, the railroad will give him a gold watch as a reward for his years of service. Tanya, meanwhile, is still hanging back at the information desk, stunned by what she sees. Mr. Conductor says that he has some time, so he’ll tell a story about Henry the Green Engine. However, he warns them that it’s a very sad story, as Henry was left walled up in a tunnel after refusing to come out in the rain.

After he finishes the story, Mr. Conductor spots Tanya and asks if she ever wears green with red stripes. Tanya is more interested in finding out if Henry will get out of the tunnel, but Mr. Conductor looks at his bathtub plug and says that he’s late. However, he promises to tell the story when he returns and asks the children to shake on it. Tanya puts out her hand, but Mr. Conductor clarifies that he meant them to shake their whole body and shimmies away as Matt and Tanya do the same.


Stacy is amazed at Henry’s fear of rain, but says it goes to show that everyone is afraid of something sometimes. Matt and Tanya share some of the things that frighten them and Stacy counsels that the best thing to do when you’re afraid is to talk to someone you know about it. Just then, the mail train from Pelican Falls arrives and Stacy goes out to the platform to meet it. While they wait for Stacy to return, Tanya suggests she and Matt see what’s in the Picture Machine. Matt takes a look and says he sees flying saucers! He lets Tanya look while he turns the crank. The machine then plays a movie about not being afraid when meeting new people.

Schemer finds the children in the Arcade and genially asks their names and why they aren’t putting more money in his machines. Matt and Tanya reveal they have no more money, and Schemer’s attitude instantly changes. He rudely shoos the children away and tells them to go get some more money. Since he is now alone, Schemer decides he’ll have to spend some of his own money and puts a nickel in the Jukebox. Inside the Jukebox, Didi is too exhausted to play while Tito claims the nickel for his private collection. Schemer gets impatient for his song and starts shaking the Jukebox, before declaring he wants his nickel back. Tito refuses, so Schemer climbs on top of the Jukebox and attempts to look inside. He can’t see the band, but the band can see Schemer and become terrified of being exposed. Schemer gives up and leaves, walking past Matt and Tanya just as they're calling out to Mr. Conductor in his signal house on the mural. 


Stacy calls Matt over and asks him to bring a book to Harry in the workshop. Matt is hesitant and tells Stacy that Harry doesn’t want him there. Stacy reassures Matt and instructs him to tell Harry that she sent him. Matt reluctantly enters the workshop to once again find it empty. He quickly sets the book on the workbench and is about to run out when he bumps into Harry. Matt backs away nervously as he explains why he’s in the workshop. Harry asks if Matt ever found that conductor he was looking for. Matt concedes that he did, which makes Harry glad that there aren’t train conductors in his drawer, the idea of which makes him nervous. He goes on to say that while he isn’t the type of person who gets nervous, he does get scared. In fact, Harry tells Matt he had the biggest scare of his life when he was about Matt’s age.

He opens the book Matt brought and shows him a picture of a large steam engine and remembers the first time he saw one, the wheels appearing ten feet tall to him. Matt, incredulous, asks if Harry was really afraid of a train engine. Harry admits that he was at first, until he was allowed to ride in the engine and even blow the whistle. That experience made him want to be a railroad man from then on, Harry concludes. As he and Matt continue to look at the scrapbook, Tanya appears in the doorway. Mr. Conductor appears and calls out to Tanya that she ought to join them.


Instead, Tanya rushes over and reminds Mr. Conductor that he promised to tell what happened to Henry. Mr. Conductor agrees that he did promise, and shares his motto of never disappointing a child. After confirming that Tanya and Matt are indeed children, he tells the story of how Henry left the tunnel to help Gordon and Edward after Gordon broke down. When the story is over, Mr. Conductor asks Matt and Tanya if they are becoming great friends. The children nod and Mr. Conductor says that now they can help each other if they need it, then he sparkles away.

Schemer then returns carrying a tool box, declaring he is going to take the Jukebox apart piece by piece so he can get his nickel back. He takes out a toy plastic saw and hammer and starting banging on the Jukebox. Didi urges Tito to give up the nickel so Schemer will leave them alone. Tito relents and tosses the nickel out, hitting Schemer right on the forehead!


While he’s glad to have his nickel back, Schemer says that Shining Time Station is very strange and tells Stacy he’s having second thoughts about bringing his new, heavy, expensive machines to the Arcade.