which were previously adapted for the first series in 1984. It was made to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the franchise. The special was
originally released as a Walmart exclusive in the US and later as an ASDA exclusive in the UK before becoming widely available in both countries.
A long time ago, there was a little railway known as The North Western. Edward is a blue engine who shunts coaches for Gordon the Express Engine, Henry the Green Engine and James the Red Engine. There was also a little e2 engine named Thomas.
Thomas the Tank Engine is enjoying his new life running the branch line, of which he is very proud and considers the most important part of the railway. His two coaches, Annie and Clarabel, agree with him. Thomas loves them both very much, although they are both old and need new paint. When taking trains, Annie can only take passengers. But Clarabel takes passengers, luggage and the guard. Thomas and his coaches often sing to each other while taking trains and journeys often proceed smoothly. Annie and Clarabel know how important pleasing the Fat Controller is to Thomas and whenever he is angry, he is not angry at them.
Apparently, life has been harder at the yard since Thomas left to run his branch line. With no tank engine to shunt or fetch coaches for them, Henry, James, and Gordon must shunt in the sidings and fetch their own coaches which soon makes them very cross, causing the Fat Controller a great deal of trouble. In addition, while Thomas, being a tank engine, does not need a turntable, the larger tender engines do, as it's dangerous for them to go fast backwards.
When Gordon arrives at the junction, a group of boys joke around and taunt him by calling him a tank engine. Thomas, who is waiting at the junction, laughs and suggests that Gordon should "scrap his tender and get a nice bunker." James flies by with his train and laughs as well. Gordon warns James that he may also stick on the turntable, but he claims that he won't because he's "not so fat as him."
He stops at Elsbridge Station. Thomas impatiently waits at the station for Henry who is running late so he can pick up passengers. James has recovered from his accident and now has a new coat of red paint. He starts learning how to pull passenger trains with Edward. At the platform, he accidentally showers water over the Fat Controller's new top-hat and then, afraid of the consequences, starts off suddenly.
Eventually Henry feebly arrives, complaining that his system is out of order. As far as Thomas is concerned, Henry's only problem is his own laziness. Thomas, desperate to leave, dashes out of the station as soon as the guard blows the whistle. But Thomas goes so fast he does not give the guard time to get aboard, leaving him behind. The guard waves his red flag, but it is no use and Thomas is well on his way and out of the station. During James and Edward's run, James almost forgets to drop off his passengers and to top everything off he disturbs an old lady with his hiccups after remembering about the horrible time when James crashed. James is scared of what the Fat Controller will say.
Thomas sings to his coaches as usual, but Clarabel does not sing as she is sad that her guard has been left behind. Annie tries to tell Thomas that they have not got a guard aboard, but Thomas is in too big of a hurry and does not listen. The two coaches try to apply their brakes, but they cannot without a guard. Luckily, Thomas stops when he reaches a red signal. He and his crew wait for the guard to find out what is the matter, but of course he was left behind and only Annie and Clarabel know that. Finally, they cry that he has been left behind. Soon the passengers notice the guard running down the tracks, trying to catch up to Thomas. He is very hot, so he has a drink to cool down and tells everyone what happened. Thomas apologises for the incident, but the guard assures Thomas it was not his fault. The signal drops and Thomas and his crew proceed the trip. With the guard back aboard, both Thomas and his coaches feel reinvigorated and manage to reach the end of the line in record time.
That day, the Fat Controller visits James in the shed and severely warns him that if anything else goes wrong, then James will be punished by being painted blue. James hates the idea of losing his red coat, however, rather than calming down, James gets very angry and takes it out on the coaches while bringing them to the station. He grumbles about having to fetch them on his own, unlike Gordon. To make matters worse, none of the passengers dare go near James, which makes him even crosser.
One windy afternoon after lamenting to Thomas about the recent work, Gordon arrives at the other end of the line with his train and heads for the turntable. The turntable is by the sea, so the wind is very strong and unless an engine is perfectly balanced on the turntable, it becomes difficult to turn. Gordon is in a bad mood and is unable to get perfectly balanced, and neither his driver nor fireman can get him to cooperate. After trying again and again, they give up and he is forced to pull his next train tender first.
James pulls the coaches very roughly and runs too fast for comfort. Eventually, the coaches force James to stop. His driver explains that James' rough treatment has caused a leak in a coach's brake pipe. The crew inspects the damage and the guard's one and only recommendation is to plug the leak with newspaper and a leather bootlace. However, none of the crew have a leather boot lace on them. The guard asks the passengers to step out of the train to see if any had a leather bootlace and soon finds a man with one, who initially refuses to give it up. The guard explains that without the boot lace, the train cannot continue. The other passengers get very angry, both at the railway and at the man. Under pressure, the man finally hands over the boot lace and the damage is temporarily repaired allowing James to finish the journey.
James, sadder and wiser from the experience, carefully proceeds on his way, knowing that he is going to be in a lot of trouble with the Fat Controller, and takes care to never bump coaches again.
- Annie and Clarabel
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Coffee Pots (mentioned)
Characters introduced Edit
- Main article: The Adventure Continues/Transcript
- This special is a follow-up to The Adventure Begins.