King of the Railway

R Healy

KING OF THE RAILWAY is the seventh Thomas & Friends Direct-To-DVD Special produced by HIT Entertainment.  It is the first special to be written by new Head Writer, Andrew Brenner, and the first to be animated by Arc Productions, who took over from Nitrogen Studios in 2012.

King of the Railway marks the beginning of the Brenner / McCue era of Thomas & Friends, with a new Head Writer, Production Company overseeing the animation, and a new focus and vision for the brand’s future.  The story sees the Earl of Sodor, Sir Robert Norramby, return from his travels after many years away to begin his ‘master plan’ of restoring and developing Ulfstead Castle into a major tourist attraction.


King of the Railway was written by Andrew Brenner, Head Writer for Thomas & Friends. 

Songs Of The Special

Working Together
Searching Everywhere

Written and Composed by Robert Hartshorne
Performed by Sam Blewitt

It's Going To Be A Great Day
Written by Joe Phillips
Performed by Sam Blewitt

King of the Railway is the first Thomas feature to be produced by team who are not working on the Thomas TV Series as well.  Arc Productions have split duties on the production, with one team doing the movie, the other concentrating on the TV Series separately.

Voice Cast

























Key Production Team

Marion Edwards



Karen Barnes



(HIT Entertainment)

Ian McCue

Halim Jabbour



(ARC Productions)

Brian Lynch



Robert & Peter Hartshorne



Sharon Miller



Sam Wilkinson


Rob Silvestri

Reviews & Blogs

SiF’s resident ‘Blogger’, Simon Martin, takes on the task of reviewing King of the Railway, and gives his thoughts and opinions on the 2013 Special.  Has the writing and production come far enough to meet his expectations?

Ryan takes a look back at the momentous Rainhill Trials, where Rocket defied the odds and showed everyone that steam locomotion had a part to play in the future of the railway network, and how the modern railway could have been very different if the Stephensons hadn’t won!

Loey Machan takes us on a journey across a millennium of Sodor history – from the very early days of Sodor & Man to present day with the reinstatement of the Earldom to the Norramby family.

The fans have spoken and given their verdict on King of the Railway – click the link above to see what they thought of the 2013 Special!

Merchandise & Tie-Ins

Check out the many DVDs, BluRay Discs, Books and Toys related to the King of the Railway special!

King Of The Railway on

King of the Railway on

Related Videos

Featuring trailers from the UK, USA and Japan, Official Music Video for Go Go Thomas, clips from the Special, Remix Music Video, fan-made tribute Music Video, iPad App reviews and more!


Long ago, before there were any railways on the Island of Sodor, the Island was ruled by Kings.  The best loved of all these Kings was King Godred, who protected the Island from invaders with his Knights in shining armour and wore a golden crown, ruling over a Golden Age. 

However, King Godred suffered a great loss.  One night, thieves stole his golden crown and hid it from him.  The thieves were captured, but the crown was lost and never seen again.


The ruins of King Godred’s Castle still stand tall and proud on the hills above the town of Ulfstead, and is now part of the Earl of Sodor’s Estate, overlooking the many railway lines that now cover his former kingdom.

Far across to the south of the Island, Thomas and Percy are having fun shunting trucks of cargo at Brendam Docks. 


The two tank engines have found a way of making the work fun, bumping and bashing the trucks between each other and onto the middle line.  Cranky is anxious about their game and warns them that they could cause an accident.

Thomas and Percy insist they are being careful and carry on playing.  But as Thomas shunts another truck into place, it hits the others with a jolt and causes one of the crates it’s carrying to break open. 


Cranky is cross, and Thomas and Percy are concerned and then... curious about the contents inside.  At first, Percy thinks it’s a robot, but Cranky dismisses this and informs them both that it’s a suit of armour.  Thomas becomes more curious still.  Who does this mysterious suit of armour belong to?

A few days later, Thomas and the other engines are all sent to the Washdown to be given a special scrub and polish.  Thomas is curious as to why the Fat Controller is so insistent that they are all cleaned so urgently. 


James and Emily tell him that Spencer is coming from the Mainland with a special visitor, and the Fat Controller explains that his old friend, the Earl of Sodor, is coming home after many years away travelling the world.  Every engine and every station is to look it’s best for his arrival.

The engines are excited and hurry to line-up at Knapford Station for the Fat Controller’s lavish celebration.  Belle rings her bell to herald their arrival, and the Brass Band strike up a tune to play him into the station.  The Fat Controller proudly introduces The Earl, and he steps from the carriage completely bewildered by the spectacle. 


The Fat Controller tries to tell him that the celebration is to mark the Earl’s return to Sodor, but the Earl thinks the occasion is for someone else’s benefit and steps back into his carriage, insisting that he has to be at the Estate by 2pm.

Despite his best efforts, the Fat Controller cannot make the Earl understand.  He insists that they carry on and steps back into his carriage, and wishes them an enjoyable day as he leaves the station. 


The Brass Band strike up again with a livelier tune, but the Fat Controller looks across despondently and they realise there’s little point.  The party’s over before it’s even begun... and poor Percy arrives late to discover he’s missed everything!

The next day, Thomas is sent with a shipment of cargo to the Earl’s Estate.  Here, he meets Millie, the narrow gauge engine who runs the Estate Railway for the Earl.  Because the Earl has been away for such a long time, she has been stuck in her shed with nothing to do – but she is very enthusiastic to get to work now that she’s out and about again! 


The Earl is delighted to have her back in action also to help with his ‘plan’ – however, he knows his ambitions will still fall short of his expectations so long as King Godred’s golden crown remains missing.

That evening, another part of The Earl’s plan came into effect – bringing Spencer back from the Mainland to work for him as a private engine. 


Spencer is very smug about the arrangement and boasts about it to the other engines, but Gordon doesn’t find it impressive at all, saying that ‘Really Useful Engines’ do ‘Really Useful Work’ such as pulling Express trains or hauling heavy goods.  The other engines agree, but Spencer is adamant that his work is ‘Really Useful’ and that Earls and Dukes only appreciate the ‘finest’ engines and the ‘fastest’...

This leads to an argument between Gordon and Spencer over who’s faster.  Gordon insists he is because he pulls the Express, but Spencer is steadfast that he is because he’s streamlined. 


Percy suggests that the two engines should have a race to determine who really is the fastest engine out of them both.  Spencer is confident and agrees immediately, however, Gordon is slightly more apprehensive, but agrees to participate all the same first thing the following morning.

But when Percy brings Gordon’s coaches to the platform so the Express can run, Spencer is nowhere to be seen.  Both Percy and Gordon think he must have decided not to participate after all – only to be caught unawares as Spencer glides through Platform 2 and takes an early lead. 


Gordon wastes no time in playing catch-up, but it is not easy with the heavy Express Coaches rattling along behind him.  Just as he finally catches up to Spencer, Gordon is surprised to see him veering off the Main Line and off toward the Earl’s Estate to begin his day’s work.

Spencer’s work with the Earl includes trips to the Docks for important business with the Dock Manager, and a trip to the Blue Mountain Quarry... to collect stone for the Estate.  Spencer is most embarrassed to be seen puffing out of the Quarry with dirty trucks, but Thomas and the other engines are left wondering what the Earl has planned...

Later at Knapford station, Hiro, Emily, Percy and Gordon are all speculating what the Earl is building and why, when Toby steams in with an urgent message for Percy.  Henry has broken down at the Docks with a burst safety valve and the Fat Controller has asked for Percy to go and pull the heavy goods train to the Earl’s Estate. 


Percy is excited, he will finally know what the Earl is up to and steams off at once.  But the others are left bewildered – Percy is too small to pull such a heavy train on his own!

When Percy reaches the Docks, he meets James – who has also been asked to pull the train, and then Thomas pulls in saying that he has also been asked to pull the train.


The three engines argue, and when James defiantly backs down into position, Thomas and Percy draw in front and block his path.  The Fat Controller soon arrives and is pleased to see the three engines are ready – he wanted them to pull the train together, and so that’s what they do – all the way up to the Earl’s Estate at Ulfstead Castle.

When they steam into the Estate, they see that the Earl has brought in new rails, sleepers and building materials – and he’s also got Jack the Front Loader hard at work.  Jack and Thomas are delighted to see each other again – and Jack explains that he’s helping the Earl to rebuild Ulfstead Castle. 


Thomas, Percy and James shunt the heavy goods train into three sidings – but the Earl notices that one of the containers that Thomas is pushing into a siding was actually supposed to go to the Steamworks instead.  Thomas, Percy and James are full of questions and want to take it for him, but The Earl suggests they all go together and see what’s inside.

At the Steamworks, all is revealed.  The Earl proudly introduces them to Stephen.  Thomas, Percy and James are amazed – they have never seen an engine quite like him before, and even Stephen is quick to admit, no-one has seen him in a long time and there will be a lot of work to do before he can turn his wheels again. 


But Victor is confident that it won’t be long before the old engine is running again and looking as good as new.  The Earl confides in Thomas that he has a very special job for Stephen as part of his big surprise, but it’s best not to say anything just yet. 

That night in Tidmouth Sheds, the other engines are full of questions about the very old engine too – and all of them are very keen to meet him!  The following morning, Emily has a convenient excuse to visit the Steamworks – she is taking Henry to get his safety valve mended.

When she arrives, she is disappointed to find no engines at all... until she hears a voice calling to her from above.  Henry asks why Stephen is up there, and he jokingly replies that “They’re turning me into an aeroplane!” – and then explains that they’re actually examining his undercarriage. 


Very soon, Toby, Edward and Gordon arrive to see Stephen as well – Victor is surprised and asks if they all need repairs.  Gordon and Edward make feeble excuses, but Toby openly admits they’ve all came to see Stephen.  Even Thomas and Percy steam in from the other end to make a return visit!

Stephen is overwhelmed by the attention, and proceeds to tell his new friends all about the days when he was brand new.  How he and his engine friends replaced horses, had races to see who could run the fastest and work for longest – and how he surpassed them all, and went on to work at the mines and later at the Docks. 
He was lightning fast for his time, but new engines were so fast and so strong that he became surplus to requirements and gracefully retired.  Percy asks if Stephen ever saw Knights in shining armour.  Stephen laughs and insists that he may be old, but he isn’t THAT old... and he never saw dinosaurs either...!

Over the next few weeks, the men work hard to restore Stephen to his former glory.  But he is sad that he cannot be really useful again, and wishes that he could go out and work like Thomas, Percy and James. 


Thomas wants to cheer him up, so against the advice of James and Percy, he tells Stephen that the Earl has a special job for him, which does make the old engine smile again.

Thomas, Percy and James have a special job of their own at the Earl’s Estate.  The Earl and Millie lead them along the new railway line, which leads up to the Castle Drawbridge and into the heart of Ulfstead Castle itself. 


They have been given the special task of helping the Earl’s workmen construct the new roof on Ulfstead Castle – by drawing forward and placing the beams into position.

At the Steamworks, Henry’s repairs are completed and he can finally puff back to work.  Stephen is keen to find out what work he is supposed to be doing too.  He cannot wait any longer, so he races out of the Steamworks and like a brave knight of old, he begins his quest to find out what his new special job is!

Out on the Main Line, Gordon is pulling the Express when he gets an unpleasant surprise sneaking up on the outside line – Spencer!  The two engines resume their race and Gordon gives Spencer a worthy challenge – until something appears in the distance on the track in front of Gordon. 


Stephen is chuffing quietly and slowly along the Main Line along Gordon’s Express line.  Gordon screeches to a stop to avoid crashing into him, and Spencer takes an easy lead over him.  Stephen is unperturbed, he is going as fast as he can – and that’s as fast as Gordon would be allowed to go now too!

Back at the Castle, the three engines are trying to work together, but jolts and bumps are stopping them from cooperating as well as they should.  One big jolt causes one of the roof beams to fall, sending it crashing to the ground, covering the engines in dust and dirt. 


There’s no harm done, but James is furious – he’s filthy and wants to go to the Washdown at once, but Thomas is firm and reminds him that they need to finish the job, otherwise the Castle won’t be finished on time.  James is indignant, but stays all the same.

At Brendam Docks, Stephen’s quest for his new job continues.  However, he finds that not all of the engines on Sodor are friendly when he meets “Mr Oily” Diesel, who biffs a truck in his direction and tells him to get out of the way.  When Stephen asks about his new job, Cranky is bemused, Stephen is much too old and weak for the type of work they do at the Docks. 


Diesel haughtily agrees and sidles away, telling Stephen to leave the work to the “modern engines”.  Paxton meekly apologises on Diesel’s behalf and follows on, whilst Stephen makes his way out of the Docks and back to the Main Line.

The work on the  Castle comes to a satisfying end as Thomas, Percy and James bring the final beam into place.  The Earl is very proud of them and praises their efforts, but James still wants to go to the Washdown to get all the dirt and grime off his paintwork!

Meanwhile, Stephen has puffed into the Blue Mountain Quarry, where he asks Skarloey, Rheneas and Luke about his new job.  Skarloey and Rheneas are unsure, but Luke is sure that it won’t be a problem – they could always use another engine to get the work done. 
The two old engines are convinced and agree to let Stephen take some trucks of stone away.  But the four trucks he claimed to be able to pull in the old mines aren’t the same as the ones they use at the Blue Mountain Quarry!

He struggles to start with the four heavy trucks, and one by one, the train is cut back to one truck, which allows Stephen to start – however, he soon finds he cannot manage as the weight of the loaded truck pushes him through the Quarry and almost causes him to derail. 


Skarloey tells Stephen as kindly as he can that he isn’t suited the Quarry work.  Stephen chuckles bravely, and asks if there are any other mines on Sodor.  Skarloey tells him that there was one out by Ulfstead Castle ruins, but he’s not sure if it’s still working.  Stephen decides to take a look for himself and puffs away to see.

The Earl finally tells Thomas and the other engines that he is reopening Ulfstead Castle to the public – and he will be exhibiting his collection of antiques, statues, tapestries and medieval treasures from all over the world.  The only thing missing from it all is King Godred’s golden crown – which remains lost. 
But the main consolation is that Stephen will be the Castle’s Guide – and Thomas is given the special task of telling him.  Both Thomas and the Earl know it will be a very pleasant surprise for the old engine!

Across the Island, Gordon and Spencer are given a surprise also!  The two big engines are suddenly overtaken by two big blasts of colour and speed – neither of them have seen such a spectacle! 


At the next signal, they find out precisely who and what it was – two big Streamlined engines from the Mainland, Connor and Caitlin are doing test-runs and time-trials for the opening of Ulfstead Castle, and having a little race.  Gordon and Spencer timidly decline the offer to join in!

Stephen has finally made his way to the Ulfstead Castle Mines, hoping to find a busy bustling Mine where he can be really useful.  Instead, he finds an overgrown track, a derelict, quiet area and the old mine shaft boarded up – out of use. 


Stephen feels sadder still, he doesn’t think there’s a job for him anywhere – but he doesn’t realise that Thomas and The Earl are right above him, waiting to tell him all about his new role.

But before they can, there’s a long line of trucks filled with dirt and rubble waiting to be taken for dumping.  James has puffed off hurriedly to the Washdown, leaving Thomas and Percy to handle the train themselves. 


The Earl is concerned, but Thomas is confident they can manage – he’s too impatient to tell Stephen about his new job.  He pushes forward eagerly, when Percy suggests he should go to the front of the train to act as a brake against the trucks when they reach the top of the slope.

But it is too late – the trucks reach the top of the hill and begin their naughty tricks.  They drag Thomas and Percy down the hill, rattling, whooping and laughing as they go. 


Thomas and Percy brake hard, but there’s nothing they can do to stop the trucks and they hurtle down the hill!  They swing off the main line and into the branch line which leads to the mine – where Stephen is still standing! 

He hears the trucks coming and hurries forward through the boarded up mine shaft, which rips his funnel off.  The force of the crash causes a landslide, which blocks the entrance to the mine, but stops the trucks in their path. 


Thankfully, the trucks don’t suffer much damage, and Thomas and Percy pull them back with little difficulty – but they’re too far away to realise that Stephen is trapped inside the mine shaft!

Thomas puffs to the Steamworks to tell Stephen about his new job, but he is worried and puzzled when Victor tells him that he left already – asking about his new job. 
The other engines become worried too – and James scolds Thomas for telling Stephen before everything was ready.  Thomas is confident that they will find him, and so he, James and Percy set off to find clues.

Soon, the puzzle starts to come together – Cranky tells James that he was at the Docks, and Luke tells him that he had visited the Blue Mountain Quarry.  But none of them know where Stephen went next.

Darkness has fallen and Stephen is still trapped in the mine – puffing aimlessly trying to find a way out and whistling desperately for help.  He puffs back and forth through the mine, only finding dead-ends and damaged tracks. 
Worse still, he bashes into some rocks and starts a rockslide inside the shaft.  But as the dust settles, Stephen finds that there’s an old wooden chest among the rubble.  As he tries to bash it out of the way, he finds that the old wooden chest contains something very shiny and significant...

As dawn breaks over the Island of Sodor, Thomas is awake and eager to start the search for Stephen again.  When the Fat Controller arrives, he demands to know what Thomas, Percy and James are doing, and Thomas explains that Stephen has gone missing and that the engines need to go look for him. 
When the Earl arrives at Tidmouth, looking very worried, the Fat Controller realises how important the situation is, so he alerts the Sodor Search & Rescue Centre and agrees to let Thomas, Percy and James help with the search.

The engines look all over the Island for Stephen – even enlisting the help of Connor and Caitlin, but cannot find him.  Harold patrols from the sky, and Captain does a water-based search, but no-one can find anything.

Poor Stephen is still trapped in the mine – and running out of steam.  And to make matters worse, he’s puffed around in a loop, and is back at the tunnel he started from. 


The poor old engine finally gives up, out of puff and out of luck, he comes to a halt in the middle of the mine shaft.

But lucky for him, Thomas and Percy are still searching – and they haven’t yet looked down the old Ulfstead Mine.  Thomas isn’t convinced as this was where the trucks ran away, but Percy urges him to try anyway. 


So Thomas goes down to the old mine and calls out to Stephen, but with the mine entrance blocked by rubble, he doesn’t think Stephen is likely to be there.  Then, he sees Stephen’s funnel lying by the side of the track below the wooden supports – he must be there!

Thomas whistles and calls to Stephen, but there’s no reply.  He even begins to think that the funnel lying by the side of the line isn't even Stephen's, and most likely belongs to an old engine who used to work in the mines many years before.  He’s just backing away when all of a sudden, he hears Stephen’s faint whistle from inside the Mine. 


Thomas is very relieved, this means that Stephen is safe!  So he hurries off up to the Castle to fetch Jack.

Soon, Thomas and Jack arrive back at the Mine, ready to clear the rubble.  Stephen is out of puff, so he cannot reply to Thomas or Jack.  All he and his crew can do is wait and hope that they can clear the blockage and set them free! 


Jack works feverishly to clear the mess as quickly as he can, and as soon as the entrance is clear, Thomas puffs through to haul Stephen out and back to safety again.

The old engine is delighted to see Thomas – but after his misadventure, he doesn’t feel really useful at all.  But Thomas tells him that he has a special job on the Earl’s Estate, showing guests around Ulfstead Castle. 


Stephen is absolutely delighted and is already looking forward to starting his new job!  When they puff out into the open again, they’re greeted by the Earl, Jack, Harold, James and Percy, who are all delighted to see him back again, safe and well.

As Thomas hauls him off the wooden bridge, Stephen tries to tell the Earl all about the old wooden chest he found in the mine – but he’s cut-off mid-sentence when the rotten supports break apart and leave Stephen hanging perilously over the edge! 


Thomas tries to reverse back, but Stephen is far too heavy – any minute, they could go over!

Jack races to the rescue, holding the support in place and propping up Stephen’s tender, giving Thomas a better chance of pulling him back to safety. 


With a final big effort, Thomas hauls Stephen back from danger, and the Earl applauds both him and Jack for being so brave!  Crisis over, it’s time to get back to the Castle to prepare for the big day tomorrow...

The Earl’s big surprise is finally revealed.  Visitors come from far and wide to see the opening of the Castle, and Thomas, Percy, Gordon, James, Spencer, Jack, Connor and Caitlin are all guests of honour at the event, with Stephen bringing in a suit of armour, which appears to be moving all on it’s own! 


This time, Percy is certain it’s not in his imagination – but thankfully, it just turns out to be the Earl taking his place at the podium in fine style!

The Earl gives a speech welcoming everyone to Ulfstead Castle, introducing Millie and Stephen, and revealing that the final piece of his plan has finally been found.  Inside the old mine shaft, Stephen uncovered King Godred’s golden crown!  Everyone cheers, and Stephen gives a hearty toot of his whistle.

Despite the good atmosphere of the day, Thomas still feels bad about telling Stephen about his job – if he hadn’t done so, he would never have got trapped in the mine. 


But Stephen is quick to remind Thomas that if it hadn’t been for him, he would still be trapped – and if he hadn’t gone down the mine, he’d have never found the King’s crown.  This makes Thomas feel much better.

The Earl rounds off his festivities with a special event.  Connor and Caitlin will pay tribute to the Knights of old by racing from Ulfstead Castle to the Mainland. 


The two streamlined engines then suggest that Gordon and Spencer race with them – the Earl thinks it’s a splendid idea, and the Fat Controller agrees.  This time, the two engines have no hesitation in agreeing and join Connor and Caitlin at the starting line...

The four engines race out of the Estate and down the hill toward the Main Line, whilst Thomas and Stephen watch from above.


It has truly been a great day for the engines of the Island of Sodor!