The Great Race

TRIVIA COMPILED BY
R Healy

The Great Race is the ninth Thomas & Friends Direct-To-DVD Special produced by HIT Entertainment.  It is the fourth special to be written by Head Writer, Andrew Brenner.

The Great Race takes Thomas and his friends on a grand musical adventure to The Great Railway Show on the Mainland, where engines from all over the world compete in feats of strength, speed, looks and ability.  It introduces us for the first time to the grand terminus at Vicarstown, takes us on a trip along The Other Railway, and introduces us to no less than 13 new International Engine friends.

 

The story revolves around Thomas’s desire to compete alongside the International Engines at the Great Railway Show, trying to make himself faster, stronger and more striking with a new paintjob and streamlined casing!  But it’s only when he meets a beautifully painted engine called Ashima that he discovers that all he needs to do to compete is be himself... but that’s easier said than done when the Diesels’ tricks end up causing an accident, meaning Thomas can’t go to the show until a last minute emergency arises where Thomas’s help is desperately needed...

Songs Of The Special

All song lyrics written by Andrew Brenner

All songs composed by Oliver Davis

 

Will You Won’t You?

Performed by

The Cast (UK / US)

 

Streamlining

Performed by

John Hasler / Teresa Gallagher (UK)

Joseph May / Teresa Gallagher (USA)

 

I’m Full Of Surprises

Performed by

Kerry Shale (UK / USA)

 

You Can Only Be You

Performed by

John Hasler / Tina Desai (UK)

Joseph May / Tina Desai (USA)

 

The Shooting Star Is Coming Through (Streamlining Reprise)

Performed by

Keith Wickham (UK)

Kerry Shale (USA)

 

Be Who You Are (You Can Only Be You Reprise)

Performed by

The Cast (UK / US)

 

He’s Full Of Surprises

Performed by

Ian McCue, Andrew Brenner, David Stoten, Oliver Davis

The Great Race was written and produced as a tribute to the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, an attempt to reflect the cultural diversity of the event and the sportsmanship shown between the competing nations, whilst also reminding viewers that it's you can only be yourself and that's what counts.

 

Fisher Price and HIT Entertainment began a heavy advertising blitz, with the special receiving wide-spread coverage in the global press, with some commentators accusing the series of trying to pander to political correctness through the introduction of such a swathe of new international characters as an attempt to redress balance.

STEAM ENGINES

Ashima the Indian Engine

Axel the Belgian Engine

Carlos the Mexican Engine

Frieda the German Engine

Flying Scotsman

Gina the Italian Engine

Raul the Brazilian Engine

Rajiv the Indian Engine 

Shane the Australian Engine

Vinnie the American Engine 

Yang Bao the Chinese Engine


DIESEL ENGINES

Ivan the Russian Diesel Engine

 

OTHERS

Etienne the French Electric Engine

 

Voice Cast

STORYTELLER

MARK MORAGHAN

 

VOICE ARTISTS

JOHN HASLER

TINA DESAI

KEITH WICKHAM

MATT WILKINSON

TERESA GALLAGHER

NIGEL PILKINGTON

RUFUS JONES

DAVID BEDELLA

STEVE KYNMAN

JOE MILLS

ROB RACKSTRAW

ROBERT WILFORT

BOB GOLDING

JOHN SCHWAB

REBECCA O’MARA

JONATHAN FORBES

OLIVIA COLMAN

JONATHAN BROADBENT

TIM WHITNALL

TOM STOURTON

 

VOICE ARTISTS (USA ONLY)

WILLIAM HOPE

JOSEPH MAY

DAVID MENKIN

JULES DE JONG

GLENN WRAGE

CHRISTOPHER RAGLAND

Key Production Team

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Christopher Keenan

 

PRODUCER

(HIT Entertainment)

Ian McCue

 

PRODUCER

(ARC Productions)

Robert Anderson

 

MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS

Chris Renshaw

 

VOICE DIRECTOR

Sharon Miller

 

RAILWAY CONSULTANT

Sam Wilkinson


DIRECTOR

David Stoten

Mattel Creations unveils Thomas & Friends: The Great Race movie (Licensing Biz)

 

Thomas & Friends: The Great Race movie unveils diverse train line-up (Metro)

 

Thomas the Tank Engine Goes Global For New Film (BBC News)

 

Thomas the Tank Engine Gets 13 Diverse New Friends In 'The Great Race' Trailer (Entertainment Weekly)

 

Carlos the Tank Engine: Thomas To Make Foreign Friends In Bid For Global Success (The Telegraph)

 

With The Introduction Of Foreign Trains, 'Thomas the Tank Engine' enters 'The Great Race' Debate (NewsTalk)

 

Meet Raul, Yong Bao and Ashima - the new multicultural characters brought in to help revamp Thomas the Tank Engine (Daily Mail)

 

Thomas The Tank Engine’s Expanding World (The New York Times)

 

Thomas the Tank Engine’s New Aussie Mate To Debut In Movie (Adelaide Now)

SiF’s original Blog Reviewer returns to lead the charge on The Great Race Review, with contibutions by Ryan, Ciremi, Chris The Xelent, Christopher, The Colonel, Charlie, SkarloeyRailway01, UpsideNow, Metamorphical, Melshiri &; Halfbaked8

When we wanted a blog to tie in with The Great Race about Flying Scotsman, there was no better man to do it than Simon Martin - author of the British Railway Stories and a passionate supporter of the engine.

 

Here, he talks about his own experiences with Scotsman and why the locomotive remains such an iconic fixture in the hearts of millions.

Ryan discusses Ashima’s Spiritual Home on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway in the heart of India!

The SiF Team talk about their favourite engines built for strength.  Engines capable of pulling the heaviest loads over the longest distances!  With special guest entries by Nick Ozorak of the Roundhouse Podcast, and Chris Eden-Green of Steam Locos In Profile!

The SiF Team talk about what they think are the most beautiful and handsome engines to grace the rails!  With special guest entries by Nick Ozorak of the Roundhouse Podcast, and Chris Eden-Green of Steam Locos In Profile!

The SiF Team talk about their favourite engines built for speed!  Record breakers and icons in the minds of millions!  With special guest entries by Nick Ozorak of the Roundhouse Podcast, and Chris Eden-Green of Steam Locos In Profile!

The SiF Team talk about their favourite engines built for use outside of the UK, and engines brought from overseas to work in the UK!  With special guest entries by Nick Ozorak of the Roundhouse Podcast, and Chris Eden-Green of Steam Locos In Profile!

Related Videos

Our Playlist with official content from The Great Race, featuring trailers, interviews with the cast and crew, toy reviews, and SiF Admin Ryan being interviewed by BBC Radio Scotland regarding The Great Race!

 

Our playlist showcasing the best of the fan content made in honour of the Great Race, with excellent remakes with custom-made models and toys, reviews of the feature from other fans, and various other fun features

 

Our musical playlist, showcasing remixes, instrumentals, original compositions and cover versions by Michael Melton, TheTuggsterIntensifies, UpsideNowMusic and Awdry’s Angels

 

It’s another beautiful day on the Island of Sodor, and Thomas is pulling The Local on his way to Vicarstown Station. 

 

Everything is going splendidly until Annie hears a familiar whistle approaching in the distance... she and Clarabel try to distract him, but as soon as Thomas hears it too – he’s got his mind set on one thing, and no amount of protests from his faithful coaches are going to hold him back!

As Gordon thunders into view behind him, Thomas puts on full steam and pounds his pistons to the next signal box.  The coaches wail at him to slow down, but Thomas is too excited to listen, and powers his way along the line, determined to beat the big Express engine to the ‘Finish Line’.

 

Gordon doesn’t care a bit, he’s not racing.  Despite Thomas’s ‘victory’, he still overtakes him and rushes past with the Express.

Not long afterward, still racing, Thomas arrives at Vicarstown Station – the terminus of the Fat Controller’s Railway.  He looks out across the bridge beyond, remembering the time he and the other engines went to the Mainland, and wishing he could go back.  Annie and Clarabel remind him that it won’t be today!

Just then, a big green engine with two tenders backs his way into the station.  Thomas has never met an engine like him before, and is over-awed at how grand he appears. 

 

Thomas gushes excitedly to the newcomer, whilst Gordon stands in adjacent platform feeling rather awkward and irritated – particularly when the engine passes comment that he never knew there were famous engines on Sodor.  He’s not being serious – he’s being cheeky because he knows who’s listening!

The engine glances across and says “Hello” to Gordon.  Thomas is curious about how they know each other.  Gordon reluctantly explains that this engine is one of his “Doncaster Brothers”, The Flying Scotsman.

 

Flying Scotsman revels in Gordon’s jealousy, and remarks that his name “almost makes him sound famous!” whilst cheekily winking at Thomas, who’s also enjoying Gordon’s deflated ego.

Flying Scotsman has important news – he’s been invited to take part in the Great Railway Show on the Mainland, taking part in the racing event with other very fast engines.  Gordon is aghast, but Thomas is intrigued.

 

Flying Scotsman explains that the Great Railway Show is a big competition where engines compete in feats of speed, strength and other activities – but he’s not heard if any Sodor engines will be attending.

Gordon, still jealous, dismisses it, saying he doesn’t want to go if engines like Flying Scotsman are going.  But Thomas is very excited, and desperate to show what he can do, competing alongside the Mainland Engines.  Despite his teasing of Gordon, Flying Scotsman kindly encourages Thomas and wishes him well for being part of the competition.

All across the Island of Sodor, there is an excited buzz about the Great Railway Show – every engine on the railway wants to go and be part of the fun!

 

Henry thinks he’d be perfect for feats of strength, Gordon knows he’d be a definite candidate for the speed competition, although Phillip begs to differ!  Even Devious Diesel wants to be part of the action.  Big engines, long engines, fast engines, strong engines, narrow gauge and miniature engines – all want to be part of the Great Railway Show!

At the Shunting Yards, the engines gather around Winston, desperate for the Fat Controller to choose them.  Despite their eagerness, the Fat Controller informs the engines that he doesn’t know who he’s taking to the Great Railway Show yet, and reminds them firmly that there is still a railway to run, so not everyone will be going.

 

But despite being as keen as every other engine on the Island, Gordon laughs off Thomas’s ambitions to join the chosen engines at the Great Railway Show – he doesn’t think he’s useful enough to be part of it.

That evening, Percy is still enthusiastic and bright, but Thomas is grumpy and despondent, convinced that he’ll be shunting trucks in the yard whilst everyone else goes to the Great Railway Show.

 

Percy tries to make him feel better by reminding him how good a shunting engine he is, but Thomas doesn’t care.  He wants to go more than anything.

Phillip is more encouraging, telling Thomas that he can do anything if he just puts his mind to it.  He likens it to the time he “beat Gordon in a race”.  Percy laughs and reminds Phillip that Gordon wasn’t even racing!

 

Phillip is annoyed to have his “victory” ignored, but continues firmly that it’s not the point he’s trying to make.  He’s trying to remind Thomas that anything is possible when you are determined enough to achieve it.  Thomas takes heart from Phillip’s words and begins to feel a bit better.

The next day, when out on the Main Line, Thomas tries to be as fast as Flying Scotsman.  Annie and Clarabel laugh it off but when  Thomas sees Caitlin rush past with passengers from the Earl’s Estate, he has another idea...

 

Thomas imagines himself streamlined, racing all over the Island of Sodor, admired by everyone who sees him racing past. 

When in actuality, he’s raced right through Knapford station and over-ran the platform – witnessed by the Fat Controller himself.  Thomas backs up feebly, but his excitement soon returns when he begins telling the Fat Controller all about his idea for streamlining him to win races for Sodor at the Great Railway Show.

 

The Fat Controller thinks this is a wonderful idea... when he’s streamlined, Gordon will be faster than ever before!  Thomas’s hopes are dashed again.

Later at Brendam Docks, Thomas is still feeling cross about not getting streamlined.  He’s complaining to Cranky about his woes when a ship arrives at the Rail Dock.  Thomas and Salty look on in amazement at the sight that awaits them.

 

The rails lower, the ship blows it’s horn and a huge group of engines make their way out and into the Harbour Yard.

Engines of all shapes, sizes, colours and types emerge into Brendam Docks causing a huge commotion.  The Dock Manager is taken aback, and calls to them to stop.  Axel, the big red Belgian engine explains that they are here for The Great Railway Show.

 

The Dock Manager explains that the Great Railway Show is taking place on the Mainland, and that they’ve come to the wrong place.  Axel addresses the other engines and leads them back onto the ship.

Thomas is so excited by the talk of the Great Railway Show.  He rushes to talk to the engines from the ship, and tries to ask them all about it.  He’s so distracted that he doesn’t notice that he’s blocking the way of some of the other engines who need to return to the ship.

 

After a rough bump and rude comment from an American engine called Vinnie, he makes his way clear, but still pleads to go with them as the ship leaves the dock with room to spare on deck.

There’s good reason for the spare space on deck – there’s a Railway Show engine still on Brendam Docks, and Thomas discovers this to his peril when she bumps into the back of him, causing him to dangle off the edge of the Rail Dock!

 

Quickly, the engine is put into action to begin rescuing Thomas before he plunges into the water.  With a mighty haul, she pulls him clear of danger and back to safety with a great cheer from the Dock Workers.

But rather than be grateful for saving him from a dunking, Thomas is furious with the other engine’s carelessness.  He puffs around to face her, berating her and the other Railway Show engines for being show-offs who look down on others... before suddenly being at a loss for words!

 

The new engine is beautiful.  Painted pink with stunning henna style lining and decoration to compliment, Thomas has never seen such a design – and he’s awestruck.

The new engine is very apologetic, telling Thomas she didn’t intend to bump into him at all.  Thomas is still at a loss for words, so Salty speaks for him, encouraging civility between the two.  Thomas is embarrassed, but the newcomer laughs and introduces herself as Ashima from India.

 

Thomas is still cross and puffs sternly out of the Docks to continue working elsewhere, leaving Salty and Porter to attend to Ashima, who’s now lost in a strange place.

After shunting with Percy and Phillip in the yard, Thomas is working the Local again and meets Ashima again at Kellsthrope Road.  She’s lost, and trying desperately to get to the Mainland to participate in the Great Railway Show.

 

Annie and Clarabel try to encourage Thomas to help Ashima find her way there, but Thomas is still upset with her and tells her to find another engine to help her find her way to the Mainland instead – leaving her on her own.

As they puff along the line, Thomas gripes to Annie and Clarabel about Ashima.  Annie and Clarabel point out that her beautiful paintwork make her a natural candidate for the Great Railway Show, despite not being strong or fast.

 

Thomas is dismissive at first, but then he has an idea to get himself to the Great Railway Show.

Meanwhile, poor Ashima is making her way across the Fat Controller’s Railway, trying to find her way to the Mainland.  She tries to ask some of the other engines, but they’re all much too busy going about their business to stop and speak to her.  Even Thomas puffs right past her when he sees her again at Kellsthorpe Road.

 

Alone and confused, she finds herself at Maron Station where a disgruntled Annie and Clarabel are sitting in a siding, train cancelled and abandoned with no explanation.

Thomas has hurried to the Steamworks to see Victor about giving him a repaint, so he can look every bit as stunning as Ashima. 

 

But Victor and Kevin are working very hard to try and build Gordon’s streamline casing.  Victor tries to pacify Thomas, but he’s much too excited to listen.  He’s most insistent and won’t take no for an answer.

Across the island at the Dieselworks, Diesel is coercing Paxton, Den and Dart into taking part in his plan.  He’s collected three wooden crates from the Docks, and is going to place them on top of the three Diesels so that they look like his trucks.

 

Diesel figures that if he can make himself look stronger than Henry, who’s been selected for the Strength Competition, he can go to the Great Railway Show in his place!  However, his plan backfires a tad when his ‘train’ leaves the Dieselworks without him!

At the Steamworks, everything is ready for Thomas’s repaint when the Fat Controller arrives to inspect Gordon’s streamlining.  Thomas is so worried that he reverses suddenly, causing paint to fly everywhere.  The canvas sheets around him fall and reveal him covered from funnel to footplate in various splattered shades of paint, looking very coy.

The Fat Controller is surprised to find Thomas at the Steamworks.  Thomas explains that he had another idea – sending an engine painted with an exciting design. 

 

The Fat Controller forgets to be cross and congratulates Thomas on another good thought.  This will be a great move for the Best Decorated Engine award, but gently reminds him that he should be working on his Branch Line.

Thomas rushes back to Maron to find Annie and Clarabel gone, and meets Emily and James heading for the Steamworks for a fancy repaint for the Best Decorated Engine competition.  To make matters worse, Emily tells Thomas that Ashima has been pulling Annie and Clarabel.  He storms off huffily to find them.

Thomas finally catches up with them at Maithwaite Station and is stern with Ashima, accusing her of running off with his coaches.  Annie and Clarabel defend Ashima and scold Thomas for racing away like he did.

 

Thomas is humbled again by Annie and Clarabel, and realises he has been a very silly engine and behaved rashly.

Thomas follows Ashima back to Knapford with Annie and Clarabel, lamenting his story to her about wanting to be repainted with a fancy new design like hers.  Ashima laughs at him, but she reminds him that it’s important to be himself.

 

Thomas doesn’t want to be himself though.  He wants to be faster, bigger, stronger.  He doesn’t see himself as anything special at all.  But Ashima sees it differently – every engine is unique and that’s what makes them special.

When they arrive back at Knapford, Ashima asks Thomas how good he is at shunting trucks.  Thomas is puzzled why Ashima would ask, but then she explains that he could enter the Shunting Challenge.  Thomas is overjoyed – maybe there’s a chance for him after all!

The next morning, he puffs off eagerly to find trucks to practice shunting with.  But when he arrives at Knapford Station yard, he finds Diesel shunting trucks already with great speed and skill. 

 

Diesel has marshalled a long line of trucks together, which he intends to pull in full view of the Fat Controller.  He snidely encourages Thomas to be patient, but Thomas is too anxious to wait so he decides to try and move them himself to clear a path.

Inside the crates, Paxton, Den and Dart hear a noise – they think it’s Diesel blowing his horn, and begin to push hard.  Really, it’s been Thomas blowing his whistle to move off, and he’s got no idea that the three Diesels are hiding.

Thomas is caught completely unawares and is sent hurtling through the yard, trucks swaying behind him.  The Fat Controller is impressed, but Diesel is aghast.  Thomas continues on to the junction, running completely out of control just as Norman is approaching with a goods train.

 

The signal is red, but Thomas cannot stop.  Still unable to stop, he runs right through the signal, and bashes into the side of Norman whilst Ashima and the Fat Controller look on.

A few days later, Emily and James emerge from the Steamworks completely repainted in beautiful new designs to compete in the Best Dressed Engine event.  Henry is very impressed when he sees them, he’s going to be in the Strength Competition.  Phillip gets to carry the flag.

 

Gordon, against Victor’s protests, emerges from the Steamworks completely streamlined.  He’s very proud of his new look, and rejects the name Gordon and demands everyone refer to him from here on out as Shooting Star!

Poor Thomas is at the Steamworks too.  Following his accident, he’s badly damaged and needs repair.  The Fat Controller tries to soothe him, and laments the fact he can’t be part of the festivities, as he had hoped to enter Thomas as part of the Shunting Challenge.

 

Thomas is still keen to participate, but the Fat Controller insists his repairs are paramount and instead chooses Percy to take his place.  Ashima tries to console Thomas too – she suspects foul play with the trucks.  Thomas wishes his friends well, and they set off for the Mainland.

At the Dieselworks, Diesel berates Den, Dart and Paxton for their failure in executing his plan.  He fumes that he would know better if he were under a crate... and gets his chance to prove it when one is dropped directly on top of him. 

 

Poor Den, Dart and Paxton have to give chase to rescue him as he blindly makes his way across the Island, wailing at them to “GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!”

Phillip leads Team Sodor to the Great Railway Show through Vicarstown Station to a chorus of cheers, waving and cheering fans and a rousing rendition of an old classic played with gusto by the Brass Band!

They soon arrive at the Great Railway Show on the Mainland, where all the other engines are preparing for their respective events, visitors are milling around taking photographs and admiring the scenes.  The Sodor engines are amazed at what they’re seeing. 

 

Engines from all over the world are present, and it’s a huge hubbub of activity and excitement as the big day unfolds.

Soon, Gordon spots Flying Scotsman meandering around the yard, and sidles up alongside to show off his new look, and his new name.  Scotsman is taken aback, and hardly recognises his brother in his new guise, but laughs off the name “Shooting Star”!

 

Gordon tells Flying Scotsman that he won’t be laughing when he wins the Great Race later that day.  Flying Scotsman says nothing, and leaves him on a siding to continue his own preparation.

Victor tries to cheer Thomas up by reminding him that he’s not the only engine who’s had to remain behind.  Thomas remains despondent, despite his best efforts.  Just then, Kevin rushes in with something on pallet, trying to get Victor’s attention.

 

Victor scolds Kevin for his interruption, but when he realises what’s on the pallet, he quickly realises the gravity of the situation – Gordon’s reassembly has missed his safety valve mechanism!  And because his final safety check wasn’t carried out because of his impatience, no-one has noticed.

With pistons pumping and his firebox fizzling, Thomas races across the railway to get the safety valve mechanism to Gordon in time.  He races through Vicarstown Station toward the Rolling Bridge – which is rising up to allow a Tramp Steamer through.  Thomas knows there’s no time to lose and bursts through the barrier, up the rising bridge arm and makes a dramatic leap onto the other side, landing on the rails with a loud bump.

 

Thomas is very relieved – he’s going to make it!

But no sooner has he cleared the bridge than he realises he’s on the wrong track and heading straight into Connor’s path!  The quick thinking signalman changes the points just in time to allow Thomas to pass on another track... which happens to have Hiro heading for Vicarstown!

 

The signalman rushes to action again and changes him back just in time – but this time into the path of Sidney the Diesel!  With one last great effort, he switches Thomas into a loop and allows him to pass safely – before passing out on the floor of his Signal Box.

Percy is worried about the Shunting Competition, but Shooting Star is confident of his success in the Great Race.  But as Phillip tries to lead him to the Racing Tracks, he runs into the path of Vinnie, who menacingly threatens him the next time he gets in his way!

Soon after, Thomas arrives at the show ground.  He can’t believe how big the area is and wonders how he’ll ever find Gordon. 

 

He pulls up alongside a large blue tender engine, assuming it’s his friend, only to discover that it’s Frieda, the German engine – who’s competing in the Strength Competition, and quite offended to be mistaken for Gordon the Big Engine!

Whilst Percy cheers on Henry in the Strength Competition, Thomas tries to reach Gordon on the other side of the yard, but is blocked by Stephen leading the Parade of Decorated Engines. 

 

James and Emily are pleased to see him, but Thomas is becoming increasingly frustrated by not being able to reach Gordon to give him his safety valve mechanism in time for the start of the Great Race.

As the first results begin to filter through, Henry has come fifth in the Strength Competition – out of five engines, and James and Emily have lost the Best Decorated Engine award to an Indian engine called Rajiv.

Thomas soon finds Percy, Henry and Phillip and explains his predicament, and Phillip tells him that Gordon’s race is due to begin soon.  They race over to him as fast as they can, and Thomas tries to tell him about his safety valve.

 

But Gordon isn’t interested.  His mind is focussed on the race, and beating Flying Scotsman at all costs!  When the call to start is made, he rushes out of his post, followed anxiously by Thomas on the outside.

Ignoring Thomas’s pleas, he ploughs ahead.  He becomes increasingly confident and proud, outpacing Flying Scotsman and Axel, and drawing level with Spencer and Etienne, the French Electric Engine.

 

But as he gains momentum and an attempt at the lead, Gordon feels himself beginning to overheat.

Flying Scotsman can see what’s happening, and is firm with Gordon, demanding that he listen to him and his sensible advice.  Gordon is overheating at an alarming rate, losing speed rapidly and becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

 

He still tries to keep up and outshine the other engines, but loses his lead to Etienne and Spencer who race past as he peters out slowly and comes to a calamitous stop with a burst boiler.

Flying Scotsman, Spencer, Axel and Etienne keep racing.  Spencer is confident of a win, only to be overtaken at the last possible second by Etienne who races into first place.

The Sodor Engines are disheartened by their collective performance at the Great Railway Show.  Emily tries to encourage Percy ahead of the Shunting Challenge, but his heart isn’t in it – he thinks Thomas should take his place.

 

Phillip spies him across the yard and calls out to him, but he’s distracted from who he’s running toward and directly into... Vinnie!

Vinnie gives chase to Phillip throughout the yard, causing him to run into Carlos the Mexican Engine, who’s taking on coal – which spills out on to Vinnie!  Little Phillip is on the run again!

Emily and Percy try to talk Thomas into taking part in the Shunting Challenge.  Thomas is unsure, he thought Percy was going to compete, but he knows Thomas would stand a better chance of winning.  Thomas tries to encourage Percy to “be yourself”, but he still insists upon Thomas taking his place.

 

Thomas is reluctant, he’s badly in need of repair, but when Emily reminds him he’s Sodor’s last hope – he agrees to take part in the challenge.  However, he’s still unsure if he’ll manage to win.

Thomas lines up with the other engines competing in the Shunting Challenge – including Ashima.  The Sodor engines give him their support, watching from the sidelines as he prepares to start.

When the competition begins, Thomas has to learn how to compete quickly – as he’s beaten to a flatbed by Raul the Brazilian engine, who’s changed tracks to take it for his train.  Ashima calls to him to explain he needs to compete for every truck in the competition.  Every engine calls “Points!” when they want to change tracks.

 

Thomas soon learns what he has to do, and soon is snaffling up every truck he can get his buffers on to complete his train!

Then, trouble arises.  Phillip comes rushing through the competition area backwards, trying to get away from Vinnie, who puffs through the yard, knocking Gina the Italian engine’s flatbed trucks to the ground, blocking one of the lines.

 

The big bully finally catches up to the little Diesel Box Cab and gives him a heavy shunt toward the turntable well.

Vinnie slithers toward him, goading him as he approaches.  Phillip knows he has no escape – the only place he can go is the turntable well.  All hope seems to be lost, and Vinnie is sure of his ‘revenge’, until he finds himself being dragged backwards away from Phillip!

Thomas and Ashima have abandoned the competition and come to help their friend.  Vinnie scoffs at their efforts, belittling them and attempting to pull forward to overpower them.  But the pair have made a plan...

 

They haul Vinnie back far enough to be clear of the points to allow Phillip an assured exit, had the signalman change the points to be in his favour, and set against Vinnie!

Vinnie tries to break free from them before Phillip can escape, but he’s too late.  Phillip scoots past, whilst Vinnie bounces forward, coming off the rails, crunching through the dirt and into an electric pylon.

 

The impact causes the pylon to fall to the ground into Thomas’s path.  Ashima pulls him back just in time to avoid it hitting him, and the engineer switches the power off.

The two friends return to the competition, ready to finish.  The two get down to their last trucks and prepare to couple up their brake vans to the end of their trains.

 

Thomas is almost certain of a victory, but then he sees something on Ashima’s track.  Gina’s upturned flatbed is blocking the way.  Thomas makes a sacrifice and calls for the points to be changed for both engines, putting him on the track with the upturned flatbed, whilst Ashima gets to complete his train and be the first engine to finish.

The other Sodor engines are disappointed.  They can’t understand why Thomas would forfeit the race when he was so close to winning for them.

 

Ashima can’t understand why Thomas let her win at his expense.  Thomas gives a heavy sigh, he knows it wouldn’t have been a fair victory if he had won and Ashima’s track was blocked.  Ashima is grateful, but would have been pleased for her good friend if he had won instead of her.

But there’s an even bigger surprise to come.  The Judging Panel decide that given Thomas’s gracious show of sportsmanship, he and Ashima should share the trophy for their victory. 

 

Ashima is granted her win for completing the challenge in the fastest time, whilst Thomas is gifted with a win for sacrifice and effort to help another engine.  Both engines are delighted to share their victory.

When it’s all over, the Fat Controller comes to see Thomas, who tries to explain his presence at the show – Gordon’s safety valve, and Percy’s reluctance to take part.  The Fat Controller knows why Thomas has come – he’s trying to be a Really Useful Engine.

 

And after everything he’s done, in the eyes of his Controller and his fellow engines, today he’s been a Really Useful Engine indeed.

Meanwhile, Gordon is limping miserably back through the yard following his accident.  Flying Scotsman pulls alongside him to offer consolation, and graciously comments that the Sodor engines are made of sterner stuff than he thought.

At the end of the day, despite everything, Thomas is feeling disappointed.  Ashima has disappeared following the Shunting Challenge, and he’s not had a chance to say goodbye, despite looking everywhere for her.

 

It’s nearly time to go back to Sodor.  But then, he hears a sweet singing voice from nearby.  Ashima hasn’t left yet!  She is filling up with coal ready to go back on the ferry.

Thomas is pleased to see her again one last time, and invites her to join him and the other engines on their way home to Sodor.

 

Ashima is delighted to accept and agrees to catch the ferry at Brendam Docks when it stops there later on its way home.  She’s pleased to be going home, but she’s even happier to be spending some more quality time with her new friends.

That night, Thomas and the other engines puff home together.  They have all learnt a valuable lesson in appreciating their own strengths and what makes them special in their own way.  They know they don’t need fancy paintwork, special streamline casing or to be faster, bigger or stronger – they’re Really Useful Engines, and that makes them all winners!

As for Diesel... Paxton, Den and Dart lose him among the other crates... and end up finding him – on a ship heading away from Sodor!