Adventures on Rails is a series that was created on 20 June 2011 and spawned twenty seasons from 2011 to 2015 on BBC. The series has also released seventeen shorts as of 2021. Starting in March 2019, new stories have been released as part of The New Adventures on Rails.
For a closely related series, see The Engines of Sodor.
|Adventures on Rails|
MainLineEngines, Rev. W. Awdry, and Christopher Awdry
Adventures on Rails Studios
The series revolves around the engines on the Island of Sodor, their everyday mishaps, and adventures. It captures the feel of the Railway Series and early television series with a Season 5-7 format. It mostly follows Railway Series continuity, but incorporates some Television Series elements.
The fourth season was in production and the original pilot episode was 'The Christmas Hype', but the idea was scrapped and instead 'A Thanksgiving Celebration' took its place and aired November 24, 2011 or Thanksgiving Day and will end February 9, 2012. It was originally going to air from November 23, 2011 to February 8, 2012 and 'A Thanksgiving Celebration' wasn't planned to be there.
Season 5 aired February 14 to the 19th, 2012. Then a special titled Thomas, his Friends, and the Secret Island followed on March 2, 2012 with Season 6.
On July 1st 2012, the Adventures on Rails studios in conjunction with Pom-Pom Productions rebranded the series with a new name, Adventures on Rails, and a new format for the episodes, and releasing of the episodes. The seventh season became the first season under its new format, and is considered as the 'prototype' season.
The fourth special, 'Thomas vs. Stanley' released shortly before the end of the eighth season. Around that time the 2013 special was confirmed as 'The End of Sodor'.
The ninth season started a week before Halloween and the specials were given release dates. Percy and Kevin's Adventure followed on 12th of November, and the tenth season aired from 22nd of November to New Year's Day 2013.
The eleventh season began with Toby the Tram Engine and two Railway Series episodes before going to original content, and aired from the 4th of January to the 5th of March.
In January 2013, it was confirmed that the series The Engines of Sodor was going to give proper back-stories or adaptations of the engines' back-stories on Sodor. Later in February, a draft title for a special about the Restoration of Vicarstown was made. Nix's Determination was given an early release as a follow up to the stories about her in the eleventh season. Small Railway Adventures began airing July 19th, alongside the thirteenth season.
Surprising news came when all the episodes for both the fourteenth season and the fifteenth season were revealed, after the writer expressed his interest in the 1989 annual and seven annual stories will be adapted for the fifteenth season whilst the fourteenth season will all original content except for Ghost Train.
On October 15th, a sixteenth season was officially confirmed, and a seventeenth season was rumoured to be in the works. The seventeenth season was officially confirmed on November 18th. An eighteenth and nineteenth season were rumoured to be in the works. On December 26th, 2013, the eighteenth season was officially confirmed by the series' writer and director, MainLineEngines.
It has also been announced that all seasons now will be 'previewed' by either an episode that did not make it on to the season or a rewrite from a Thomas the Tank Engine episode, and also there could also be a bonus episode; either a special episode explaining a certain event in the season or an episode that did not make it onto the final ten.
On March 13th, it was announced that the nineteenth season is in the works, and that there would be a 90% chance of the twentieth and final season.
On May 30th, the seventeenth season began airing, and it celebrated the 3rd anniversary of Adventures on Rails. More details have also been released about The Restoration of Vicarstown, with the special taking a similar format to Calling All Engines!
More on the cliffhanger and The Case of the Missing Engines will be given over the next few months. At the beginning of June, MainLineEngines, the writer of the series expressed an interest to extend the series to 26 episodes. This was later confirmed on June 18th, 2014. Currently, work on the nineteenth and twentieth seasons have started.
On September 18th, 2014, the series' creator and writer, MainLineEngines expressed an interest in developing a story/special about Percy and James, about their history, detailing a bit more about their arrival, and how their rivalry started. This was rumoured to replace The Case of the Missing Engines as the 2014 special, but it was confirmed on September 28th, 2014 that that would remain as the 2014 special, and that the James and Percy special would be a short and will release in January 2015 between the nineteenth and the twentieth seasons, and was been given the draft title of "James and Percy". It will concur with the events of the last three episodes of the eighteenth season, and first episode of the nineteenth.
On September 30th, 2014, the eighteenth season started airing. On October 19th, it was announced that the Halloween episode would be released on October 30th, instead of the 31st.
On November 28th, 2014, it was announced that a Halloween special for 2015 was in the works, along with another special with a darker tone, similar to The End of Sodor about the end of the North Western Railway.
In late December, the nineteenth season started airing and the pilot, Rescue Mission which ended the cliff-hanger from the previous season. Shortly after the airing of the nineteenth and prior to the release of the twentieth, the series' first short, James and Percy was released on January 19th.
Shortly thereafter, the last season of Adventures on Rails was released. This season contained five more episodes than the previous thirteen seasons. The season's pilot was Oliver and the Electric Engines and the season aired a new episode every Friday until May 1st where Ceremonium was aired as the season and series finale, also celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series.
Between the middle of May and beginning of June, an exclusive look at the original script and deleted scenes from James and Percy was released. It was also confirmed that The Restoration of Vicarstown would released on June 15th and a Christmas short was announced for December 2016.
On August 1st, the creator and writer hinted at a possible short about Donald and Douglas. This was later confirmed on August 3rd with a draft title of The Escape Plan, although he is still unsure when it will be released or if that will be the official name. The 2016 Christmas short was also given the draft title of "Thomas and the Avalanche".
In April 2016, another short titled The Hurricane was announced and it is set to release on June 15th, 2016. Two shorts for announced for 2017 as well. In May, another short for 2017 was announced; focusing on the Culdee Fell Railway's No. 7 and 8, Alaric and Eric.
On June 15th, on the fifth anniversary of the franchise, The Hurricane was released along with a trailer for Thomas and the Avalanche. Two shorts focusing on the early Sodor years of Thomas and James have also officially been confirmed. No release date has been confirmed but it is speculated that one will be released in January and another in June.
On August 1st, the creator announced the title of one of the 2017 shorts, Thomas, the Really Useful Engine along with a teaser of the respective short. He also announced that the titles for the other two 2017 shorts would be revealed quite soon.
In September, the writer collaborated with fellow writer, Mays for an all-new short titled The Legend of the Gold Train. The following month, the titles for the remaining two shorts were announced. He also stated there is an idea for a short in 2018, but no official announcements has been given.
Saving the Mountain Engines was due for a November release around Veteran's Day but later for a November 27 release. However, outside circumstances caused a hiatus in the release. The short was released on December 27, 2017.
On January 2, 2018, the writer announced that there would be two shorts in 2018 along with revisions of past episodes. The first, Very Famous Engines was released on March 30 and the next short, That's What Friends Are for will be released on June 25. In May, the writer announced that there would be one short for 2019. Later, a trailer for the second 2018 short was released and subsequently, some interesting plot details and connection to the 2019 short were also revealed and explained.
The 2019 short was announced on July 1st as Work and Play and it will follow off from the previous short and the events of Wilbert the Forest Engine with the Fat Controller acquiring the engine he needs.
In August, the writer announced two more upcoming shorts: a second for 2019 and one to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Railway Series. He also confirmed that all three shorts starting from Work and Play would utilise a four story format akin to the Railway Series.
In September, a new short was commissioned for release in Autumn. It will cover and slightly retcon Molly, Dodger and David's pre-Sodor life. Another short was announced titled You Lucky Engine but no exact release date was given. Late into the month, Real Engines was released as a way to officially retcon David, Molly and Dodger's pre-Sodor life.
You Lucky Engine was confirmed in October for a February 2021 release and announced another upcoming short titled Visiting Engines and he mentioned that it will showcase several real-life engines visiting Sodor. It was also announced that there will be re-writes for several productions including the short James and Percy, Molly's Special Job and The Football Special throughout the rest of 2018 and into 2019 although the former will be after the release of Work and Play (March 2019).
Since March 2019, there have been fifteen stand-alone episodes starting with Dirty Sidings. The concept of these are ideas that the Writer has and is unwilling to hold back. A couple are released each month, and they contain the most up to date information on characters featured and events that have happened since some things regarding various characters' arrival dates, background, etc. has changed since the end of the twentieth season. These episodes work with the most current information.
On 15 June, the revised version of James and Percy was released. There were notable changes to the plot, one being that the entire short takes place in 2014. It contains different characters, such as the addition of Molly and Jessie. The writing style is slightly different - it is more in tune with the Writer's current style which has changed a bit since 2014, when the short was originally written. Among other things, it was announced that The End of the North Western Railway is non-canon to the series. It has also been reported that You Lucky Engine had entered the editing process despite not being due for release in eighteen months. The seventy-fifth anniversary short is reportedly fifty percent finished.
In September, it has been announced there will be various fake PSAs following the release of Sidings featured with Dirty Sidings. These will talk about a certain railway topic with some humour, it will contain some seemingly false but actually true information and be presented by the engines at various locations. Thomas and the Avalanche will be slightly revised. Specifically, there is a new idea that includes Pip and Emma and Flying Scotsman who will replace Caitlin and Connor, who have not appeared since and the new idea is actually better. The revised version was released in December.
By 29 December 2019, twenty-six stand-alone stories had been released. These were compiled into the first volume of the series. On 5 January 2020, the second volume began with the release of Taking Toby to the Works. 2020 will also see the release of Best Engines Ever to celebrate seventy-five years since the publication of The Three Railway Engines and more stories will be released throughout the year.
Taking Toby to the Works was released on 5 January 2020 as the first story of the second volume. Much like volume one, stories are released on a monthly basis. In May, to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary, Best Engines Ever was released. Volume two finished with Christmas at Norwich on 24 December 2020. The Writer has announced that more details about volume three will be released soon. Some details and information about volume three were released on 27 December.
Volume three began on 3 January 2021 with the release of James and the Pipes. The following week saw other new story. On 24 January, You Lucky Engine was released after several years in development. The first two stories in volume three are connected to the short. Volume three also celebrates ten years of the series.
In June, Visiting Engines was released. It was released on the same day as the first episode although the Writer notes that a lot has changed since then. The short featured a few visitors such as Sir Nigel Gresley the A4, Evening Star the BR Standard Class 9F, and a Mountain engine from the Brienz Rothorn Bahn in Switzerland.
In July, the Writer announced that there is one more idea for a short. Not a lot has been revealed yet however, it will probably be released in November of 2022 or 2023. In addition, it is very likely that planning for volume four will begin soon.
In November, a set of stories titled Stories from East Moors Steelworks was released which showcases the stories written for a writing class. It has also been confirmed that volume four is being planned and will begin in January though more details are yet to come.
On 12 December 2021, the first details about the upcoming volume four were released. There are twenty-four stories planned with the season split in two parts. The first six stories will be released starting 9 January 2022 and April 2022. In May, the season proper will begin. The final story of volume three will also be released on Christmas Day.
On 1 July 2022, the Writer announced the titles for the next two upcoming shorts aptly titled Which Engine Knows Best and Railway Life along with tentative release dates and brief synopsis of each short.
|Seasons||Air Date||Numbers of Episodes||Ending Air Date|
|1||June 20th, 2011||9||July 1st, 2011|
|2||August 9th, 2011||15||August 16th, 2011|
|3||October 21st, 2011||36||October 31st, 2011|
|4||November 24th, 2011||77||February 3rd, 2012|
|5||February 14th, 2012||5||February 19th, 2012|
|6||February 28th, 2012||13||March 11th, 2012|
|7||April 1st, 2012||10||June 4th, 2012|
|8||July 9th, 2012||10||September 10, 2012|
|9||October 22nd, 2012||10||October 31st, 2012|
|10||November 22nd, 2012||10||December 31, 2012|
|11||January 4th, 2013||10||March 5th, 2012|
|12||April 5th, 2013||10||June 15th, 2013|
|13||July 4th, 2013||10||September 5th, 2013|
|14||October 22nd, 2013||10||October 31st, 2013|
|15||November 27th, 2013||10||January 1st, 2014|
|16||February 3rd, 2014||10||March 31st, 2014|
|17||May 30th, 2014||10||August 1st, 2014|
|18||September 30th, 2014||10||December 2nd, 2014|
|19||December 23rd, 2014||10||January 1st, 2015|
|20||January 23rd, 2015||15||May 1st, 2015|
After a hiatus in single stories, on 5 March 2019, Dirty Sidings was released and began the regular release of stories with a few each month. By the end of the year, there had been twenty-six stories published. These were compiled into the first volume of the series. Starting in 2020 saw the beginning of a new volume which will presumably contain all episodes released in that year. The Writer has mentioned various ideas pending and some stories currently being written. It is unknown how many stories volume two will have, but the volume is simply to categorise the episodes. Volume one has various story-arcs and not all the episodes are in chronological order. There are also no set release dates though there are some preferences. This added to the Writer's most refined writing style and base of characters makes these stories the most up-to-date and in tune with his current standard.
- Volume one - contains twenty-six stories; released from 5 March to 29 December 2019.
- Volume two - contains twenty-four stories; released from 5 January to 24 December 2020.
- Volume three - contains twenty-six stories; release from 3 January 2021 to 25 December 2021.
- Volume four - twenty-four stories planned; began on 9 January 2022.
- British vs. Americans - November 11th, 2011
- Percy and Old Slow Coach - March 2nd, 2012
- Thomas, his Friends, and the Secret Island - June 1st, 2012
- Thomas vs. Stanley - September 3rd, 2012
- Percy and Kevin's Adventure - November 12th, 2012
- Saving Donald - April 1st, 2013
- Nix's Determination - June 15th, 2013
- The End of Sodor - November 11th, 2013
- The Case of the Missing Engines - November 11th, 2014
- The Restoration of Vicarstown - June 15th, 2015
- James and Percy - 19 January 2015; 15 June 2019 (revised)
- The Legend of the Ghost Train - 26 October 2015
- The End of the North Western Railway - 11 November 2015
- The Escape Plan - 18 January 2016, 2019 (revised)
- The Hurricane - 15 June 2016
- Thomas and the Avalanche - 19 December 2016; 2 December 2019 (revised)
- Thomas, the Really Useful Engine - 16 January 2017
- James and the Fat Controller - 19 June 2017
- Saving the Mountain Engines - 27 December 2017
- Very Famous Engines - 30 March 2018
- That's What Friends Are for - 25 June 2018
- Real Engines - 29 September 2018
- Work and Play - 11 March 2019
- Home Sweet Home - 11 November 2019
- Best Engines Ever - 15 May 2020
- You Lucky Engine - 24 January 2021
- Visiting Engines - 20 June 2021
- Stories from East Moors Steelworks - 7 November 2021.
- Which Engine Knows Best? - November 2023
- Railway Life - Mid to late 2025
- Branch Line Adventures (February 9th, 2012)- The adventures of Duck, Percy, Daisy and Toby in Thomas' absence.
- Delete the Mixed-Traffic Engine (May 12th, 2012)- Delete's start on the North Western Railway.
- Dodger the Coal Mines Engine (2012 and 2013)- Dodger's start on the North Western Railway.
- The Dark Days of Thomas the Tank Engine (February-May 2013)- A recap of Thomas' early days.
- Small Railway Adventures (July 19th-30th; August 18th-28th)- The daily mishaps and adventures on the Small Railway.
- Culdee Fell Railway Adventures (cancelled) (Probably was to air in late 2013.)
- 100 episodes were reached in the New Year's A Bad Omelette. The 200th episode was The Unstoppable Nix. There were 300 episodes in total by the time of the last episode in the twentieth season.
- Thomas Proves His Point, The Return of Henry, and Dodger Saves Christmas are the only episodes not to be on a season, instead they were stand-alone episodes that were released separately. Dodger Saves Christmas however, is a pre-season story, unlike the first two.
- The series produced some mini-series.
- Percy and Kevin's Adventure, The End of Sodor, and The Case of the Missing Engines are dedicated to veterans who have fought for our countries.
- From the fifteenth season onwards, a rewrite of an episode from the Thomas the Tank Engine TV series will air preview to the season, and/or a special episode explaining some sort of event in the season might also air.
- From the twelfth season onwards, there is a foreword at the beginning of each season.
- The series is over ten years old as of June 2021.
- Adventures on Rails - volume three celebrated the tenth anniversary of the series as well as the shorts You Lucky Engine and Visiting Engines.