The Little Engine Who Raced Ahead is the seventeenth episode from the nineteenth season.
Thomas is in the yard at Knapford Station when he spots something yellow and odd-looking. Percy jokingly suggests it may be a banana and he steams away. He doesn't get very far at all however when he collides with a strange yellow and green engine. The little, energetic diesel boxcab introduces himself as Philip. The new engine tells Thomas and Percy that he has come to Sir Topham Hatt's railway to shunt cars and he races excitedly away to find his cars.
Philip, full of energy and kenn to make a good impression, sets to work shunting cars all over the yard. Presently, Philip introduces himself to a big engine who was filling up with water. The big engine is Gordon and he finds Philip somewhat annoying. Philip offers to get Gordon some cars, which the big engine is not impressed by. Philip says he is only trying to be helpful and Gordon tells him that the most helpful thing he can do is to get on with his work and keep out of his way. Philip doesn't listen and Gordon explains that he pulls the express and very fast. Philip thinks he is very speedy too and invites Gordon to watch how fast can pull some cars to the other side of the yard. Gordon, who is not in least bit interested, goes away to pull the express. Philip doesn't know and when he comes back to the water coloumn with the cars, he wonders where Gordon has gone. Thomas arrives and says that Gordon will have gone to take the express.
Philip races to Knapford to try and find Gordon and sees the big engine pull out of the station with his carriages. Philip chases after him, rushes through a red signal and has a near-miss with Hiro. Thomas tells Philip that Gordon will be back later.
Philip cannot wait for Gordon to come back and keeps going to the station to check the time on the big clock, which doesn't please Sir Topham Hatt. As Philip is shunting the train for Oliver, he hears Gordon in the distance and rushes into Knapford Junction to meet him. Philip gets a big surprise when he sees Gordon thundering towards him on a same line. Philip hastily reveres back to the station where Sir Topham Hatt scolds him.
Later, Philip is still determined to show Gordon just how fast he can go. Philip challenges Gordon to a race, but Gordon is trying to rest and asks Philip to go away. Philip mistakes Gordon telling him to go away as the signal start a race. Philip races away as fast as he can and Gordon goes back to resting.
Along the line, Philip meets Edward and Emily and he explains that he is racing Gordon and asks if they have seen him; of course, they haven't. Philip thinks this means he is winning. He races all the way to Brendam Docks and he is very excited to have won the race with Gordon. Humoring him, Edward, Emily, Salty and Porter all cheer for Philip the winner.
That night, Philip follows his new friends back to Tidmouth Sheds where he boasts about winning the race with Gordon who is not at all happy and offers to show Philip just how he fast he can go tomorrow. Philip agrees to have another race, as long as Gordon remembers he won the first one. All the engines laugh, expect for Gordon.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- The Guard
- Oliver (cameo)
- Hiro (cameo)
- Paxton (cameo)
- Stafford (cameo)
- Annie and Clarabel (cameo)
- Toad (cameo)
- Cranky (cameo)
- The Teacher (cameo)
- The Bird Watcher (cameo)
- One of Dowager Hatt's Friends (cameo)
- M.C. Bunn
- Knapford Station Yard
- Sodor Suenspsion Bridge
- Animal Park
- Brendam Docks
- Sodor Shipping Company
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Tidmouth (mentioned)
- Rasmus Hardiker joins the voice cast.
- This episode marks Philip's first appearance in the television series.
- Philip waking up Gordon is sillar what Thomas did in Thomas Gets Tricked and The Adventure Begins.
- The events of this episode are referenced in Philip to the Rescue, the special, The Great Race, and the twentieth season episode, Toby's New Friend.
- The Polish title for the episode refers Philip as a steam engine, but he is actually a diesel boxcob.
- In the UK version, when Porter says "Hooray!" both his UK and US voices are heard.
- When a clip of the episode is released on the Official Youtube Channel, it was listed Youtube Tour, but the error was fixed.
- When James arrives after Thomas and Percy meet Philip, he whistle, but no steam comes out of his whistle.
- In the shot of Gordon's tender at the water tower, the waterpipe phrases through his tail lamp.