Magic Railroad Revealed

The mysteries of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, as investigated and discovered by SiF members! Read here how the story has unfolded, and how seven years on from its original release, Magic Railroad has regained prominence in the hearts of fans.

The rumors about the movie have persisted for years,  especially regarding a supposed villain: PT Boomer, also sometimes referred to as ‘Pete Boom’. Boomer could be seen for a split-second in the trailer falling off the viaduct with D-10, seen confronting Burnett Stone in one page of the movie’s coloring book, and speculated as being the author of the ‘huge explosion’ that caused Thomas to tumble down the mountain in the storybook version of the movie published by Random House. Snippets of evidence here and there.  It was comparable to pointing and asking about a long-lost relative seen in family photos, but no one remembers or knows anything  about them.  Remaining unanswered, interest in the topic would fade away only to resurface once in a while.

Boomer references in story and colouring books
PT Boomer references in storybook adaptation (left) and colouring book (right)

That all changed in late February 2007 when SIF member Jim Gratton had the good fortune of finding a copy of the original script for Thomas and the Magic Railroad, dated May 19th 1999.  What was written in May 1999 and released in July 2000 differed greatly in scope,  revealing that a number of major plot twists and scenes were cut from the final product. Thus we began our interesting journey!

It goes without saying that the discoveries made during this journey are the result of the collective effort of SiF members and other contributors whose sharp memory, recollections and encouragement were instrumental in taking us all to our destination. These contributions are acknowledged by name throughout the Magic Railroad site! What follows here then, are the most significant revelations of things that fans missed out on and rediscovered along the way!

The mysterious PT Boomer
All about the intended human protagonist of the film whose role and scenes were dropped from the final cut of the movie!

Prior to the release of Magic Railroad, there were images and information on the official website regarding a human villain within the movie with the moniker: P.T. Boomer.  As the months prior to the release wore on, all references to said character were removed and covered up accordingly from the site.  The only traces of Boomer now known to still exist within the movie, aside from the presumably vaulted Director's Cut  version - are as follows:

PT Boomer is described in the original cut of the script as being "a drifter through choice", having left Indian Valley forty decades ago following the incident which has seen Lady locked up and hidden away from harm in Burnett Stone's Muffle Mountain hideaway.  Boomer was intended to be Burnett Stone's adversary, the real culprit responsible for why Lady went too fast and crashed,  not Diesel 10 as identified in the theatrical release.

PT Boomer, jealous of the relationship that Burnett had with Tasha (Lily's Grandmother), bullied Burnett into allowing him to take Lady for a run and crashing her in revenge.  After the accident, Boomer fled Indian Valley and Burnett (as we all know) spent years trying to restore her to no avail.  Boomer is described in the script as being "a drifter through choice".  He returns now a good forty years later a bitter and dark character, hell-bent on completing his revenge by finding and destroying Lady for good.

Boomer is the reason behind Mutt's unease, and the reason for bringing Lily to Shining Time rather than letting her go on to Muffle Mountain.  Boomer spends much of his time throughout the movie confronting Burnett Stone and Billy Two-Feathers, and digging into the mountain looking for Lady.

Boomer has no (said) ownership or connections with Diesel 10, only meeting the mechanical clawed menace just before the movie's climatic chase scene.  Boomer does not believe in magic and places his faith instead in the power of money.  When he finds Thomas on Muffle Mountain after setting off an explosion that hurtles him off a precipice, he refuses to perceive Thomas as anything but an oversized toy. Thomas is the reason why Boomer ends up on Sodor through the Magic Railroad portal.  In the script he's transported back in Thomas's cab, however in the filmed version Boomer is insteas carried along in Thomas' wake.

Ryan was very fortunate to track down the original actor who played the character of PT Boomer - Canadian actor Doug Lennox, who was more than happy to answer our questions regarding his involvement in the Movie and recount his experience on-set:


Hi Ryan
 
Yes I spent 6 weeks on the Isle of Man shooting the complete scirpt of "Thomas" and was very proud of my work.
 
I was told after production that even though my performance was a highlite, my character (Boomer) was too frightening for the young kids
 
Yes I had filmed all the scenes before hitting the cutting room floor
 
If you find any ... let me know
 
I never saw the final cut before the screening ... that was done in Los Angeles and I live in Toronto Canada but yes all my scenes are in the origional, wherever that is ... I was completely involved in all the principal photography and post production prior to the unit moving back to LA. I only saw those missing scenes for looping or clarifying audio
 
I was told of their decision to cut me via telephone
 
I hesitate to speculate ... however .... while filming, the DOP and 1st AD as well as most of the crew kept telling me that my performance was making the film my own ... maybe I stole too many scenes from Peter?? (joke)
 
It's interesting that the gift to cast and crew at the wrap party was a very cool black winter jacket with the logo "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" stitched on the front and a crest of Thomas on the back ... I'm in the process of moving and because the jacket is worn out I was thinking of tossing it. I was considering removing and keeping the logo and crest and maybe giving it to someone with a child who is a Thomas fan ... I also have an original piece of art work from the set designer with autographs on it from the entire cast and some of the crew as well as other scenes without autographs as well as other memorabilia.
 
Anyway ... I hope this sheds more light on "Boomer" and again keep in touch whenever....
 
Doug

There was always something odd about the crossroads scene in the movie, where a lost biker gets directions from Burnett Stone, and drives off just as Stacy and Lily pull up. Even though this short scene is redubbed, the biker clad in an overcoat presents a dark contrast and appears somewhat menacing.

PT Boomer evidence
Yes, this is indeed "PT Boomer" at the Crossroads scene in the movie!

Speculation ran even higher when we discovered the scripted build up to the scene included a heated exchange between PT Boomer and Burnett Stone over Lady's whereabouts. There is also a teasing reference in the script and in Bruce Simpson's storyboards, that PT Boomer's preferred mode of transportation is - a motorcycle.
 
Here is Doug's response to a follow-up question about the scene:


The scene at the crossroads was shot as in the script and Stone (Peter) and Boomer (me) had a very dramatic confrontation which was one of the gems removed... (Doug Lennox to Ryan - 24 March, 2007)

PT Boomer can be seen again for a second during the movie's climatic chase scene where a figurine representing the character can be spied lying prone atop the rear of  Diesel-10 as it races toward the tunnel - see screencapture below. 

PT Boomer on D-10's back!
Boomer figurine lying prone as spotted by SiF's Ci, Sean-Bot and Crow T.

Finally, the image below is from the theatrical trailer that can be found in the Special Features section of both the U.S. and U.K. DVD versions of the movie. Tantalizing evidence of PT Boomer that was inadvertently left in the trailer by the studio!
 
PT Boomer falls off viaduct in TATMR Trailer
Compare apparel color & style of this Boomer to that of the motorcyclist at the X-roads scene.
A Compendium of P.T. Boomer's Scenes
The table below summarizes PT Boomer's appearances in the movie's script, and we have every reason to believe that these scenes were filmed. A few scenes (prefixed with an asterisk) were added in later revisions (July) of the 19th May, 1999 script.

Previous Scene
Boomer's Scene
Following Scene
Billy (on train) waves to two children in field.
*Boomer's motorcycle cuts in front of Rainbow Sun at level dirt road crossing.
Billy talks to Patch about shadowy lines seen on the map.
(With Billy) Patch mounts horse and rides away.
Boomer confronts Billy outside of Shining Time Station about Burnett Stone's whereabouts. Boomer punches hanging flower basket as he leaves, breaking a flower that Billy picks up.
Billy talks to Stacy inside station (Burnett Stone's drawing).
Diesel 10 at the carved boulder with Splodge.
Shining Time street. Boomer rifles through a pile of local newspapers  before the newspaper boy picks them up for his route. Boomer notes that one of the papers had Burnett Stone's name and address written on it.
Thomas and the engines confer.
Grandpa's workshop - Lady's painting.
Boomer confronts Burnett Stone outside of his Muffle Mountain cottage (night).
Lily: Big City
Lily in passenger train coach.
*Cameo of Boomer rummaging inside of Muffle Mountain Station phone booth after Burnett phones Stacy that Lily missed her stop.
Shot of Lily in coach
Sodor: Weakened Mr. C lying down in grass.
Cameo of Boomer on Muffle Mountain searching for Lady.
Extended cut scene with Billy and Patch
See previous scene
Cameo of Boomer observing Billy and Patch.
Lily meets Jr. inside Shining Time Station.
Stacy driving Lily to meet Burnett.
Boomer on motorcycle confronts Burnett Stone at the crossroads.
Lily and Stacy arrive as motorcycle departs.
Patch and Lily riding horse.
*Boomer confronts Billy again at Shining Time Station. Motorcycle loaded with dynamite.
Lily meets Jr. again at Shining Time Station  - Jr. takes Lily to Sodor.
Mountaintop: Burnett asks Patch about Lily's whereabouts.
Boomer confronts Patch riding horse and pursues him with motorcycle.
Sodor: campfire scene with Mr. C and Lily.
Thomas and Lily arrive on Muffle Mountain via Magic Railroad portal

Boomer sets off explosion on Muffle Mountain.

Thomas slips down Muffle Mountain.
See previous scene
*See Bruce Simpson's storyboard of Boomer caught in Thomas' wake.
Thomas disappears into Magic Railroad portal
See previous scene

*Boomer inside of Magic Railroad.

Lily reunited with Burnett Stone in Muffle mountain workshop.
Lady arrives on Sodor through magic buffers.
*Cameo of Boomer arriving on Sodor carried along on Thomas' wake, whereupon  
a) Diesel 10 grabs him by mistake whilst pursuing Thomas.( May 19th script) or...
*b) Lands directly atop Diesel 10's after emerging. (filmed version)
Diesel 10 chase sequence begins.
Burnett steams off with Lady.
Burnett Stone and Boomer exchange words during chase ("no you won't dialogue..." in the movie)
Mr. Conductor shouts warning about the viaduct.
Viaduct crumbles and collapses.
Diesel 10 and Boomer fall off viaduct into Barge. *Sludge-covered villains are towed off to sea.
The heroes gather together as seen in the movie.

Update: 2013-Feb-20:  We've discovered the filming of one of Doug Lennox's scenes as PT Boomer in the raw unused news footage taken by the BBC when they covered the movie's filming on the isle of Man in August 13, 1999. Featured only for a few seconds, the footage covers the filming of scene 27AA from the August 9, 1999 version of the script where:
P.T. Boomer is checking through a pile of 'Shining Times' He stops at one - scribbled in the top corner are the words 'Burnett Stone - Muffle Mountain'. Boomer gives a satisfied smile as a young boy collects the pile of newspapers and cycles away.

P.T. Boomer searches through newspapers!

The two frames above were taken from the clip. During filming it appears that the young boy on a bike became a teenager on roller skates :P 
 
The news footage can be previewed on the AP Archive's website.

Update: 2013-Jul-20:  Additional very brief glimpses of PT Boomer's cut scenes were revealed by Japanese Twitter user hohosnowman, found in a British narrated TATMR trailer featured on a Japanese cartoon VHS tape (circa 2000).  The scene pictured below of Boomer carrying a box of dynamite takes place  in the lead up to his confrontation with Billy where he alludes that he's going to blow up Muffle Mountain. Patch and Lily had just arrived at the station beforehand. In the final cut, it lies between Patch & Lily riding the horse and Lily meeting Jr. the second time at Shining Time Station.

Boomer carrying box of dynamite
From the July 23, 1999 version of the script - Scene 91
EXT. SHINING TIME STATION - PARKING LOT- DAY
We find P.T. Boomer, who is putting a box on the back of his motorcycle.

The next two scenes of Boomer at the switch and of the explosion itself takes place between Thomas and Lily appearing on Muffle Mountain and the dislodged Thomas sliding down the steep embankment.

Boomer at the dynamite switch!

The above scene's audio is barely discernable in the Japanese trailer clip, but here's the dialogue from the August 9, 1999 version of the script.
EXT. SHINING TIME - MUFFLE MOUNTAIN - DAY
 
P.T. Boomer is on  the mountain.
P.T. BOOMER
I'm going to get my revenge, Burnett Stone - on you - and that engine! Do you know what revenge sounds like?
He sets off a huge explosion.

the explosion!

John Bellis as Thomas
Then, there was the Isle of Man cabbie who was recruited for the role of Thomas, and was later never heard of again. Here, we recount what happened to John Bellis and the original voice of Thomas in Magic Railroad.

On what he thought would be a routine pick up from Douglas Airport on the Isle of Man, Fireman, and part time Taxi Driver, John Bellis found himself in the company of Britt Allcroft and her associates, who had arrived on the Island to scout locations for the Magic Railroad film.  However, what was meant to be an ordinary job for Mr Bellis, instead turned out to be an extraordinary event.  Having only heard him utter a meagre few words, Britt knew that John was the right man to voice Thomas himself, turning to tell her colleagues "I have just heard the voice of Thomas. The man is exactly how Thomas would sound!" A few days later, she offered John the part, and he accepted.

Speaking of his good fortune at the time to BBC News, "It's fantastic. I'm a bit shelI-shocked and have to keep pinching myself to remind myself that it has really happened."  He continued: "All the lads at work have been really supportive, all the management have been really supportive and they are all going round singing Thomas The Tank Engine tunes." 
 
But despite being flown out to Toronto to begin recording with his co-stars, John's fate was later changed a meagre few months before the film was due to go on release.

American test audiences, who viewed the Director's cut of the film, disliked the Liverpudlian tones that John used for Thomas, and argued that he made Thomas sound too old.  And so, suffering the same fate as fellow cast-member Doug Lennox, ended up losing his part and sinking without trace, returning, as he had intended to do so, to his own job as a Fire-Fighter on the Isle of Man.  In a statement following the decision in April 2000, Mr Bellis said he was "gutted", but wished the film-makers well. "It was supposed to be my big break," he said. "But it hasn't put me off and I am hoping something else will come along."

The part of Thomas later went to Eddie Glen, who, despite giving Thomas a more youthful English accent, was actually a Canadian (Toronto) voiceover who had starred in numerous other children's productions such as Nickelodeon's Angela Aneconda.

In the end, John Bellis was acknowledged in the movie's credits as the 'Transportation Coordinator'  with the 'Isle of Man Unit'.

Michael Angelis as Percy and James
Longtime Series Storyteller Michael Angelis was initially not overlooked by the movie's producers, and was invited by Britt to voice James and Percy.

The faithful UK Thomas narrator from 1991 onward, Michael Angelis also suffered at the hands of the American Test Audiences that the Magic Railroad Director's cut was subjected to.

During the same test screening, the American audience opined that Angelis sounded too old  and unconvincing to the viewer who were alledgedly expecting younger-sounding characters.  In the UK narrative, James is particularly notorious for his very strong and rather animated Liverpudlian accent.

For want of a set of more youthful sounding voices, the parts later went to Canadian character actresses  Linda Ballantyne (Sailor Moon) for Percy; while Susan Roman, (Sailor Moon, Care Bears, Beyblade, Tin Tin) took over the role of James (albeit again, like Thomas, voiced with British accents).

OFFICIAL SOURCES
Thomas Finds His Voice - BBC News July 16th 1999
Thomas Movie On Track - BBC News July 15th 1999
Thomas Loses His Voice - The Independent 1 May 2000

Absent friends - George and Cranky
We were surprised to learn that both Cranky the Crane and George the Steamroller had roles in the early script versions of Thomas and the Magic Railroad!

About Cranky
Cranky had a non-speaking cameo role in two scenes throughout the course of the movie - first in a cut music video (The Friendship Song) and later in the scene where Splatter and Dodge question Diesel 10 about why he let Mr. Conductor escape.  Cranky drops a crate of  fruits and vegetables on top of Splatter and Dodge for comedic effect.  Quite a contrast to the theatrical version in  which the script was altered to have Diesel 10 covered in coal beneath the coal hopper. For yet another version of this scene, refer to Bruce Simpson's artwork in the  Storyboards section of this site!

Although it has been revealed by Dave Axford  that Cranky's scenes were never filmed, the crane was definitely briefly present on the set. In this photo from this Canadian Society of Cinematographers article (see Feature Articles page), Cranky can be seen in the background. It turns out that he was in the process of being refurbished by Dave Axford when word came down from the producers that Cranky's scenes would not be featured in the movie.

mr_revealed_crankyspot.jpg
Can you see Cranky? Photo: CSC

But that did not stop Cranky from making a cameo of sorts in the final movie. 
 
We can support fan claims that Cranky's base  can be seen in the movie. Watch the scene where Diesel-10 slinks out of the engine shed at Knapford.  If you compare the screencaptures from the movie and the Series 5 episode of Cranky Bugs, you'll notice that the superstructure and rear portion of the crane match up with 99.9% certainty.

mr-cranky-proof.jpg
Scene from the movie (with magnified section), compared with one (mirrored) from Cranky Bugs (1998)

Further enquiries to our movie contact Dave Asling revealed this:


With regards to Cranky on set: We did set up the crane but it wasn't as a 'character' crane like Cranky. It was strictly set dressing. Virtually all of the original Thomas sets and models were shipped to Toronto so that we could assess which ones were in any way useable as 'filler' items when we were building the shooting environments. We had a large selection of generic train depot components that we could reposition around the sets to create visual interest or fill in blank looking areas. That's what this crane is, static set dressing.

We'd like to extend our thanks to Dave Asling for his insight and to SiF's Angus Su for pinpointing the scene.
 
About George

George

George, however, was a major player in the film, and a reluctant player in the plan between Diesel 10, Splatter and Dodge.  He was instructed to hit every one of the buffers on the railway to find out which ones led to the Magic Railroad, and ordered to destroy them.  His reward for doing this was to be the destruction of the Tidmouth Turntable which would instead be used as his own private roller-rink!
 
George's model was never taken out of storage, and his scenes were removed altogether from later versions of the script. We've summarized his scenes below for posterity's sake - in sequential order of appearance.

Previous Scene
George's Scene
Following Scene
After Mr. C's scenes with James at the sheds.
Thomas stops at level crossing to let George by. This scene also includes Bertie's drive-by as seen in the movie.
Mr. C. is on top of the waterfall/mountain.
Mr. C. looks for a bellflower to call Junior.
George watches Gordon enviously on the turntable. Diesel promises it to him.
George's daydream sequence
See previous scene
With D-10's prompting, George imagines himself on the turntable now converted to his own personal roller rink.
D-10 reveals his sinister plan
See previous scene
Diesel-10 orders George to destroy all of the buffers on the island  to ensure that the Magic Railroad connection is severed, and by doing so eliminating any threat Mr. C. may pose to his plans for diesel domination of Sodor.
Mr. C. "phones" Junior.
A weakening Mr. C. lies down.
George smashes a buffer, but Diesel-10 wants him to destroy them all no matter the consequence. George is beginning to have second doubts.
Patch spies PT Boomer on Muffle Mountain. Lily arrives in Shining Time Station.
Toby eavesdrops on Diesel-10, splatter and Dodge in the scrapyards.
George, Splatter and Dodge begin to fear Diesel-10's obsession with destroying all links to the Magic Railroad.
Toby's whistle causes Diesel-10 to lash his claw about and bring the shed down upon them (as seen in the movie)
Percy travelling at night along old siding.
Night: Splatter and Dodge try to bully an ever-reluctant George into destroying another set of buffers in the siding.
Night: Campfire scene with Mr. C and Lily.
James and Junior rematerialize after escaping Diesel-10 at the smelter.
George refuses to listen to Splatter and Dodge's orders to destroy the Magic Buffer. During the ensuing confusion, they derail themselves,
Lady materializes on Sodor through the Magic Buffers, as seen in the movie.

A bit more about Diesel-10
More revelations about Magic Railroad's mechanical menace: Diesel-10!

When you compare Diesel-10's role in the filmed version to that in the original script, the post-edit villain's persona appears to have adopted parts of the now-dropped PT Boomer's character.
 
Diesel-10  is introduced in the script at the same point where we meet him in the filmed version, but as a new engine brought in by the Fat Controller to help out while he is away.
 
Pinchy isn't revealed until Diesel-10 meets up with Splatter and Dodge to reveal his takeover plans.  A hatch built into Diesel 10 opens up to reveal his big snapping claw.

The scene where Thomas was meant to be covered in dust by Harold the Helicopter was intended to carry on through to the night Tidmouth Sheds scene to provide a bit of comic relief. Diesel 10 returns that evening following his initial attack and pours sneezing powder down Thomas's funnel. This causes Thomas to whistle rather strangely, and provides the reason for the sneezing-fit scene while at the gathering with the other engines the following day...another reason why James believes Diesel wants to destroy them!

We’ve been able to contact Canadian actor and improv comedian Neil Crone, whose character-voicing talents were heard in the movie as Diesel 10, Splatter and Gordon. What Neil shared with us is most revealing!


Hi Jim...thanks for getting in touch. Diesel 10 was a lot of fun. The weird thing is that my improv partner, Kevin Frank, and I first went in together to audition for the roles of the Troublesome Trucks. We had a ball improvising dialogue and we were hired.

While we were in the studio recording the troublesome truck stuff, there was a break in recording. On the screen at the time was some footage of Diesel 10. I was just fooling around and began to do a voice for him. I did a large, gruff, Russian dialect and it seemed to fit him perfectly. I didn't even realize that the mic was on.

All of a sudden Britt (Allcroft) who was directing the session cuts in on her talkback mic and says 'Say that again!'. I said 'Say what again?'. She asked me to do the Russian voice. So I did. She fell in love with it for the voice of Diesel 10 and that was that. We recorded the whole movie using that very cool (and very funny) Russian voice. 

Unfortunately when the print of the film went to Los Angeles, somebody somewhere there said they were worried somebody might find it a little offensive somehow. Totally dumb, but, they ended up by coming back to me and having me use essentially the same voice but without the accent. Unfortunate, as I (and I am sure Britt) thought the original was so much more perfect.

Anyway, we had a load of fun recording those voices.  Our improv background came in very handy as we did a lot of the lines on the fly. Kevin and I were actually asked to take the script and punch it up a little. My only regret about the film is that most of the cast received beautifully embroidered jackets. We got squat. Maybe because we were behind the scenes.

Anyway, I loved doing the film, largely as I was a huge Thomas fan. My kids, at the time of the recording, were just outgrowing their Thomas days. As far as the Eric Idle thing goes, I dont think it was him.  I'm not sure who the original voice for Diesel 10 was.

Hope this helps out with the site. Send me along the web url and I'll check it out. 

Cheers,

Neil (11 April, 2007)

Sodor Island Fansite would like to thank Mr. Crone for his very insightful reply and candid glimpse into what could have been! Even without the Russian accent, Neil's characterization of Diesel 10 is memorable. Visitors can check out Neil's other projects on his website.

More about Pinchy
The true origin of Pinchy's name.

Throughout the script, Diesel 10's appendage is always referred to as a 'claw' and never 'Pinchy', Diesel 10 is also in total control of its movements. In the movie, "Pinchy" has a will of its own, with Diesel 10 oftentimes addressing it. This intrigued me so I asked Neil Crone...


Neil, was the name 'Pinchy' your innovation for the movie?
Yes, Pinchy was something I came up with in the studio. Kevin and I improvised a whack of that dialogue.
~ Neil Crone, 11 May, 2007

As a footnote, in Calling All Engines, the rehabilitated Diesel 10's appendage is referred to as 'the giant claw'.

The original Diesel-10
The original voice of Diesel-10, as can still be heard in the movie's trailer and teaser!

Man of a 1000 voices - Australian Keith Scott
photo used courtesy of Keith Scott to SiF

Our research has finally identified the mystery voice behind Diesel 10 as heard in the movie's trailer and  teaser. It belongs to no one other than renowned Australian voice impresario Keith Scott! Keith recorded his lines with the original voice talent (Michael Angelis, John Bellis, Patrick Breen) on the 1st and 2nd September, 1999 at D.A.V.E. recording studios on 49 Ontario Street, Toronto. Below is a clip from the trailer featuring Keith's voice.
 
double click to play
We've at last heard from Keith himself who has kindly shed some light on this mystery!
 
From an email received from Keith Scott dated 22 August, 2008:


James --

My involvement with the THOMAS movie came out of the blue. I was just preparing to leave LA after finishing work on the ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE movie, when the producer of Thomas called me to a meeting saying she was after a "new" type of voice for Diesel, and could I do a kind of Orson Welles villain interpretation. (The ladies who had cast R&B had recommended me to her.)

After accepting me, I was as you note, quickly flown to Toronto and recorded my lines with the cast over two days.

The voice I ended up using changed a little during the recording, almost becoming the Billy Bletcher voice of The Big Bad Wolf (from Disney's "Three Little Pigs").

I then flew back to Sydney but was told I would be required for further work later in the year.

A couple of weeks later my US agent informed me that I was being replaced on the THOMAS movie but no hard feelings, etc. I was a little disappointed, but to be realistic that sort of thing happens on a daily basis in this crazy business.

The only rumor I heard (and I don't know if this is true) is that my characterization was a little too "heavy" and would possibly scare the youngest audience members.

That was 1999 and I didn't hear anything more to this day.

My own gut feeling was that the rest of the cast had a bit of a history with the THOMAS property (I think Michael had long been associated with the British TV version) and I was an outsider with no particular passion for the enterprise. Maybe they felt I just didn't have the right THOMAS "feel"

Let me know if you need any more from me. And good luck with your project.

Keith Scott

We'd like to personally thank Keith again for his insight and permission to use his photo. To get an idea of his vocal range for characters, visit Keith's website.  We also extend our thanks to Keith's agent Melinda, owner of  Blah Blah Blah for putting us in touch with Keith.

A bit more about Splatter and Dodge
More about Diesel-10's bumbling sidekicks!

In the script we initially meet Splatter and Dodge in the shadows of the Scrap Yard where they're watching Toby and Percy going in to collect materials -NOT when they meet Diesel 10 at their rendez-vous.
 
In the actual film, these two reform their ways at the last minute with no explanation.  However, in the film script we have obtained, it's George who reforms at the last minute and changes his mind, telling them to ram the magic buffers themselves, just before Thomas and Lady appear.  They do so, and ram into one another, much like Bill and Ben in Double Teething Troubles.

The villains' intended fate
When baddies fade away!

Diesel 10 would never have been seen in Calling All Engines had the original script been filmed verbatim.
 
When Diesel-10 and Boomer fall into the barge of sludge, they lie there for a second or two before either vanishing or  turned into sludge through the magic of C Junior's bandana. We can only speculate that the vanishing sequence was removed for the benefit of children, or that there were 'sequel' potential by not having them disappear altogether.

More about Mr. Conductor
Mr. Conductor's role in the script was much more extensive and physically demanding!

In his scenes on Sodor in the filmed version, Mr. Conductor is in-scale with his surroundings (normal-sized). In the scripted version, he seems to switch to his diminutive form of 18 inches tall in a few scenes, namely...
  • The Fat Controller's Office: TFC's letter and the telephone are described as being nearly as big as he is.
  • Engine shed (night): Mr. C. sleeps in a 'little hammock' instead of a bed (as seen in the movie).

Curiously, we didn't get the impression of 'Junior' being similarly proportioned in any of his 'Sodor' scenes.

In the movie, Mr Conductor has no means of knowing that his sparkle has gone. In the script, he decides not to travel with Thomas to the top of the waterfall where the clue is hidden. The depleted gold dust materializes Mr. C. a few hundred metres from his intended target.
 
In doing so, he loses the last of his gold dust, and grows noticably weaker as the time goes on.  In some scenes he is resigned to the fact that he doesn't have the strength to reach Thomas again.
 
The scripted scene where the engines are gathered together intended to have James fretting about Diesel destroying them all, Gordon blaming Thomas for losing Mr Conductor and Toby trying to provide a voice of reason!
 
In the scene where Mr. Conductor  is captured by Diesel 10's claw near the viaduct, the script describes him escaping by cutting a green/blue wire instead of a hydraulic hose as seen in the movie. Instead of being catapulted to the windmill by Diesel 10's claw, Mr. C. instead falls and bounces off a bush, which in turn sends him flying off to the windmill!

More about C Junior
The Scots connection!...

C Junior was never intended initially to be played as a Scottish character.  In the script, he's written in as a "British" character, but when mentioned by Mr Conductor to The Fat Controller - he's referred to as an "English Puppy in need of a good trainer".

An explanation for the change is revealed in this interview that Michael E. Rodgers gave to the Daily Record (Glasgow) on the 7th July, 2000 where he talks about auditioning for the part of C Junior.


Michael landed the role of the junior conductor in the film, which mixes model animation and live action, after the director fell for his Scottish accent.
 
Michael says: "They were looking for someone of about 19 and I was about 29 at the time. I didn't bother shaving and the casting director said I was good, but told me to come back looking like a surfer. The next day the director asked if I could do it in a British accent. I told her I was from Scotland and she said she loved Scotland, so I got to do it in my Scottish accent and got the part."

More about Patch
...To the land of Eire!

In the character notes in the script, Patch is described as a 12/13 year-old Irish boy. At the end of the story, we flash forward to the future where the now-adult Patch is married to Lily, and reside in Indian Valley with their children (and Mutt's descendant). A remnant of this extended scene can be seen at the end of the movie where you can see the "future" family in an overhead shot descending into the valley (see Filmed Scenes that were Cut section on this page).
 
In the movie's credits, the 'adult' Patch is listed as being played by actor Robert Tinkler.

Chaned Scene Sequences
A few scenes were reordered after the test screening

The point where Patch finds Lady and Burnett Stone in the Workshop was initially intended to take place later while Lily was returning from Sodor - NOT at the point early on in the movie before Diesel 10 begins talking to Splatter and Dodge.

More about Lady
The power of thought!

Lady was never intended to speak in Magic Railroad.  Her only means of communication throughout were telepathic where Thomas could somehow feel her pain and sadness while he is stood on Muffle Mountain.  He talks to her, but gets no verbal response.
 
Obviously, she was later written with lines to give Britt Allcroft her part in the movie, possibly to compensate for what will be revealed further down this page!

Americanisms
Our Sodor is part of the UK!

These lines were never intended to alienate the British audience, and in some points, the differences in American and British rail trminology were made fun of in the writing of the movie.
 
When Thomas is reading the sign at the beginning of the movie, he refers to the signature at the end as being Sir Topham Hatt.  In this version of the script, he is corrected by Gordon who refers to him as "The Fat Controller".
 
In one scene at the sheds, Mr Conductor refers to him again as being Sir Topham Hatt, and is corrected by James or Gordon who tell him it's "The Fat Controller".
 
Again, Conductor makes the faux pas of refering to the Sodor Railroad, but is corrected again by the engines who tell him it's the Sodor Railway!
 
Throughout the film, The Fat Controller is the a common reference of choice and endearment for Sir Topham Hatt.
 
However, the phrase "Fat Hatt" is coined more than once by Diesel 10...prior to it's single use in the filmed version where snatches Mr Conductor at the viaduct.

Intended Storyteller
The past and future Lily!

The biggest surprise of all would have to be that Mr Conductor was never intended to be the storyteller at all...
 
This honor was intended for Lily, 20 years on recounting the story to her young son.  Pouring over an album of old photos of the days following the events of Magic Railroad, with pictures of her, Mr Conductor, Stacy, Billy, Junior and The Fat Controller...!
 
Mutt is the great-grandfather to Lily's own dog, Jeff.  And 20 years on, she's married to Patch and now lives in Indian Valley. After visiting  her grandfather Burnett every summer following her adventure on the Island of Sodor, Lily has become a railroad engineer just like her Grandpa was!

Lines left in
Lines intended for characters that were dropped from the final cut of the movie!

Two sets of lines were left in that I know of which were intended to be aimed at characters who never appeared:

Diesel-10:
Come in, and join the party, George! (changed to Splodge in the movie)


Boomer:
Now I'll get you, Burnett Stone, and that engine too!
Burnett Stone:
No you won't (to Boomer), because the magic you refuse to believe in, will get the better of you!

Sir Topham Hatt monologue SiF Connection
Surprising but true!

I forget which one of SiF's Sir Topham Hatt's Monologues compared The Fat Controller to Alfred Hitchcock, but in the descriptive notes of the Magic Railroad script, he is referred to as having a Hitchcockian appearance on his posters...
 
Well done Ross Hayes or David Monash for unintentionally uncovering THAT one prior to our discovery of the original script!

Horse Power
Patch's enchanted horse!

In one scene in the movie, Patch and Lily ride the horse through the valley on the Magic Railroad's 'ley lines' (for lack of a better analogy*).
 
In the setup scene that was either unfilmed or cut from the movie, the horse is energized by magic gold dust that coats its hooves as it passed through a puddle of water. This explains why the horse is seen galloping to beat the band in the movie.
 
But how did the magic gold dust get into the puddle? The answer to that question is provided below.
 
The gold dust residue drifted onto Lily's clothes when Junior dematerializes at Shining Time Station. It is subtly explained in the script later where Lily firsts meets her grandfather. The gold dust falls off of her dungarees and into the puddle as she gets out of Stacy's car.
 
* Turns out that this comparison to Ley Lines was right on target! See the Production Notes and the Magic Railroad-Ley Lines Connection  sections on the Fansite.

About the missing coal truck
More about the missing coal truck seen inside the Magic Railroad portal!

In the movie, Thomas spots the truck inside the magic railroad portal, then reverses to retrieve and deliver it to Muffle Mountain. Later in the hideout, Lily makes the Sodor coal/Lady connection and sends Patch to retrieve the truck from the top of the mountain.
 
In the draft version of the script, Thomas realizes that it's the missing truck, but doesn't stop to retrieve it. It's only after arriving at the top of Muffle mountain that he realizes its significance. Lily makes the same connection in the hideout. But Patch and his horse retrieve it from inside the Magic Railroad. The horse's hooves are permanently etched with magic gold dust, which enables it to access the Magic Railroad portal to retrieve the truck.

More about Mutt
More about TATMR's canny canine!

In the scripted scene where Patch is painting the Shining Time Station sign, Billy Two-Feathers is described as being Mutt's owner. Mutt is also attributed with preternatural abilities far above and beyond those of your typical canine.
 
And believe it or not, we've found 'Mutt'! 'Dita' is affiliated with a reknown troupe of stage actors - the Royal Shakespeare Company! She's (yes, she!) was still in the business as of March 18, 2005 in this article found on the Davidson College (NC) website: 'Dog's Life' is the Good Life for RSC Canine Star
 
More information about Dita and Mutt can be found in our  Animal Co-Stars of TATMR page!

Scenes that were cut?
Evidence of deleted scenes abound in the movie!

We have found evidence in the movie that lends credence to our claims that certain scenes were indeed filmed, but later cut from the final version.
 
In the movie, the scene where Billy Two-Feathers sees Patch off on his horse ends with Patch's line:
 
"So I don't think he's (Stone) a bad man, I think he's just sad."
 
In the script, the scene is extended to include Billy's warning to Patch to keep an eye out for a 'stranger'.
 
After Patch rides off, Billy and Mutt encounter PT Boomer waiting for them on the Shining Time Station platform. After a confrontational exchange about Burnett Stone's whereabouts and being stonewalled by Billy, an enraged Boomer leaves, but not before taking a swing at the hanging flower basket that Mr. Conductor had watered earlier. The script describes Billy picking up the broken-off  flowers that have dropped onto the ground.
 
In the movie, the extended scene was replaced with a cutaway scene where Burnett Stone enters his Muffle Mountain workshop, then picks up where the script left off with Billy entering the station to see Stacy Jones. Pay close attention to what Billy is holding in his hand in the screencapture below...

mr_billy_flowers.jpg
not just flowers for a pretty lady!

In the script as in the movie, Stacy discusses Burnett Stone's drawing with Billy. This scene is extended is the script with Billy handing the flowers over to Stacy, and telling her how they were knocked out of the basket.

Further to the cut Burnett Stone/PT Boomer crossroads scene, the script makes reference to a photograph being shown by Lily to Stacy Jones during the drive from Shining Time to Muffle Mountain to meet Lily's grandfather.  
 
The old black-and-white photo is described earlier in the script as being that of a school dance, where Lily's then-teenaged grandparents (Burnett and Tasha) can be seen dancing. In the same photo, a sulky PT Boomer is watching the couple.
 
As Stacy and Lily drive up to the crossroads, they notice the two men arguing, and Stacy asks Lily if she can borrow the photograph.
 
For a split second in the movie, you can see this vey photograph in Stacy's hand!

crossroadsphoto.jpg
Spotted by SiF veteran 'Ci' in this split-second scene in the movie.


The script includes a scene depicting Patch and Lily 20 years later as adults with two children of their own having a picnic. We're fairly certian that a remnant of this scene has been recycled and included in the final cut of the film, just before the movie ends.

The future Patch and Lily
Patch, Lily and their two children, 20 years after the events of TATMR.

MISC. EVIDENCE OF DELETED SCENES
2013-03-13:  We made another chance discovery in the L.A. Times in a slideshow of photos included with Russell Mean's obituary (see slide #6)

Filming Scene 63 from the Aug. 9, 1999 script
Britt & Co. preparing to film a scene that was later deleted from the movie

The still shows Producer/Director Britt Allcroft and Assistant Director David Coombs (far left) preparing to film a scene with Russell Means and Cody McMains (wearing a hat) on the Isle of Man in August, 1999. I surmise that it's from "Scene 63" in the August 9, 1999 version of the script, where Patch tells Billy of his encounter with Boomer while riding on a trail near Muffle Mountain: 
 
Billy joins Patch in the meadow that lies next to Shining Time Station.

PATCH (agitated)
Mr. Twofeathers, I've seen the stranger and he looks like he's trying to destroy the mountain. He frightened my horse.
 
Patch has now tethered his horse to a tractor, left in the middle of the meadow.
 
Patch then asks Billy what Boomer is looking for, and they make the connection between the shadowy lines seen on Billy's map and the faint trace of a path crossing the meadow. As Billy considers the signs, a chill wind rustles the grasses just as he spies Boomer glaring at them from the other side of the meadow.

About those rumors!
In this section, we investigate the rumors about Thomas and the Magic Railroad that have been circulating for years in the Thomas Community...

RUMOR
One of  Boomer's secondary motives was to buy Shining Time Station and rip up the rails in order to build a freeway.

We were puzzled by this rumor, since there was no mention of this in the May 19, 1999 or later versions of the script. Given how scenes and storylines may change during production, we again asked actor Doug Lennox for his insight...


Hi James

Thanks for taking the time to keep me informed ... There was never any mention of tearing up the tracks for a freeway that I know of but what a wonderful villainous idea ... no I was just out to make Burnett's life as miserable as possible ... our feud goes back to our childhood... he just p*sses my character off ...

Doug Lennox, 25 May, 2007

A possible explanation for the origin of this rumor may stem from Mr. Conductor's dream sequence scene in the movie. In it, Stacy Jones laments the loss of the special magic that once protected the valley. Shining Time Station is seen in a state of disorder and decay, and a roadway can be seen to the left of the screen.

mr_revealed_rumors_dreamfreeway.jpg
With the magic gone, Shining Time Station is a special place no more

RUMOR
PT Boomer's name was changed to Pete Boom, because at the time of filming, there was a criminal in the news who went by the moniker - 'PT Bomber'.

In our earlier correspondence with Doug Lennox, we asked him about 'Pete Boom' to which Doug replied...


I only know my character as P.T Boomer not Pete Boom.
Doug Lennox, 24 March, 2007

Furthermore, we could not find any mention of a 'PT Bomber' in any of the major news media archives searched.
 
We may have a plausible explanation for how the name 'Pete Boom' began circulating amongst fans several years ago. Bobwinkle007 discovered  a reference to the character on an archived ERTL product page from the  Totally Thomas webstore. In the listing of ERTL 1/64 die-cast figures that were to be released in the spring of 2000, a 'Pete Boom' figure is listed.
 

mr_revealed_rumors_ertlboomer.jpg
A screencapture from the archived Totally Thomas.com ERTL product page

It's obvious that the news of PT Boomer's character being cut from the film reached ERTL just prior or during production of # 34327. The corruption of the name from PT Boomer to Pete Boom might be explained by how the name may have been pronounced e.g. PT (Petey). In any event, the figurine never made it to retail.

RUMOR
SiF's 'Blue Train Dude' alerted us to this rumor that appeared in the Saturday 14 August, 1999 issue of the Toronto Star by reporter York Membery for an article originally published in the Sunday Times. "Will film wreck Thomas' train?- Tank Engine gets makeover" 
"Insiders say Henry and James, Thomas' chums from the Island of Sodor, are set to become Brad and Chuck."

Aside from the sheer absurdity of the notion to the Thomas community, we speculated that the 'insider' deliberately provided misinformation to this journalist for unknown motives. We tracked down and contacted York Membery to see whether he could recall any specifics about his conversation with this insider. Here then, is York's reply:


Hi James,
You are indeed correct... the information I was given by a previously reliable source turned out to be incorrect, and as you are no doubt aware, getting the truth out of film company PRs (in time for a deadline) can sometimes be a challenge, if not impossible ... in short, the story turned out not to be true, and I believed we printed a retraction.
Hope this is of help.
Best, York

SiF would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to Mr. Membery for clearing up this matter  for us. :)

RUMOR
The Director's Cut of the film has been found in a Canadian city - in the Lloydminster Public Library!

This extravagant claim surfaced in April, 2009 stating that a YouTube member had at last discovered where the Director's Cut of Thomas and the Magic Railroad was safely tucked away - of all places, the Lloydminster Public Library in the small city of Lloydminster that straddles the Alberta and Saskatchewan border.
 
Being very skeptical of just how the DC would've ended up in a typical Canadian library warranted an investigation. Our suspicions were confirmed upon contacting the LPL by telephone:  They had no knowledge of a Director's Cut, and in talking further with one of the Librarians - Michelle,  we found that the rumor likely began from someone reading a passage in the Library's Winter, 2006 Newsletter about upcoming movie screenings at the Library. The aforementioned entry  found on p.4 of the Newsletter is reproduced below:


Thomas and the Magic Railroad - Sat, Mar 25

Eleven-year-old Lily ends up in the scenic town of Shining Time after she takes the wrong train on a visit to see her grandpa, a once happy railway engineer who now lives a solitary life. Lily embarks on an adventure via the Magic Railroad to the island of Sodor. However, the Magic Railroad and the lands it connects are in jeopardy from the villainous P.T. Boomer and the bully of the railway, Diesel 10 and his gang. Lily, together with Mr. Conductor and Thomas, must help her grandfather to once again believe in the world of hope, for he holds the key to the magic of the Railroad.

We can see how that description alone would lead someone to believe that they had at last found this movie's holy grail.
 
Michelle, who also authored the newsletter revealed that she had copied the movie's synopsis verbatim from the  Audio Cine Films Inc. (ACF) website, a Quebec-based film distribution company with whom the Library has a licence with to procure movies from. The run-time alone for the VHS tape (85 mins) is a dead giveaway that this was never the real deal.
 
ACF most likely received an early synopsis from the studio - Destination Films for the upcoming film either late 1999 or early 2000, before PT Boomer's character was removed from the storyline. ACF obviously did not update their site entry with the updated movie description that we're all familiar with.
 
For the record, if the Director's Cut resides anywhere, it will be in the Sony Pictures Films archival vaults in L.A, with whom Britt Allcroft had been investigating once we established a direct contact for her at Sony Pictures.
 
We wish to thank Michelle and the staff at the Lloydminster Public Library for their assistance in clearing up this misconception :)

Where can I get a copy of the TATMR script?
You can purchase a copy of the 19th May, 1999 script directly from Scriptfly.com