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James Pulls the Royal Train
Season 6, Episode 25
Air date TBA
Written by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Directed by DonaldDouglasandToby6
Episode guide
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Timothy the Ghost Engine
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Edward and the Express

Plot

The day when Queen Elizabeth II came to Sodor was one of the proudest days of the North Western Railway; it put Sodor on a higher pedestal than before, and the engines of Sodor got a new layer of pride and dignity, especially Thomas and Gordon. Since then, there were always rumors started that she may return to Sodor, but none were actually confirmed. Until...

Inside Knapford Station, the Fat Controller was glancing at some security cameras of the platform. He smiled as he noticed the trains running to time. Suddenly, the telephone rang, making him jump. He sighed as he picked up the phone. "Hello? ...what? Oh, I see. I see... Oh goodness gracious, I have nothing prepared! Erm... a week from now? Alright, I'll get everything ready. Thank you. Goodbye." The Fat Controller put down the phone and gulped, realizing what was going on. He started panicking as he paced the room. He finally stopped. "I better tell the engines quickly! I must prepare!" The Fat Controller ran from his office, surprising the guard and stationmaster, to the parking lot. Spotting his blue car, he climbed in and drove off, panicking again. "I must get all the stations cleaned, the railway safe... Ohh..."

Later that day, some of the engines were at Knapford Yards, with five engines lined up on one side, and five others lined up on the other. Percy blinked as he looked over to Toby, who was sitting next to him. "What are we doing here, Toby?" he whispered hoarsely. "I haven't the faintest idea, but it looks like we'll find out soon enough though," Toby murmured, looking towards the Fat Controller as he climbed onto a wooden box. He cleared this throat into the microphone, causing the engines to wince. "Boy, are you loud..." muttered Gordon. "Now, I'm sure you're wondering what I'm doing this time." the Fat Controller said. "Oh! Are you buying another engine?" asked Philip excitedly. "Uh... no." "Give it a few weeks...!" snickered Emily. "Are you opening another attraction?" asked Duck. "I'm pretty sure we have enough of those as it is..." Daisy muttered. "Oh! Am I getting new paint?" James grinned happily. Henry scoffed. "Why would we waste our time with that?" "Hey! My paint's important!" "Silence!" boomed the Fat Controller into the microphone. The engines stopped talking, while Philip shuddered with fright. The Fat Controller noticed this and winced, realizing his mistake. "Oops... Sorry, Philip. Anyway, it has nothing to do with something new for the railway. A special royal visitor is coming back to the railway!" Thomas grew excited. "Is it Flying Scots-" "I'm just going to stop you right there and get to the point. The Queen is coming back!" The engines were stunned for a second, but Daisy quickly blew her horn in excitement. The other engines, barring Philip, snapped out of their daze and blew their whistles. "Hurrah!" whistled Percy, "The queen is coming back! It's been so long!" "The queen of England?" asked Philip. "Yes, the Queen of England!" cried Percy. "And because she's coming back, I'll need someone to take the Royal Train," continued the Fat Controller. "Oh, but of course it'll be me. Pardon my tone, sir, but why bother with a meeting when I've already proven I can take the Queen? It seems pointless," said Gordon proudly. The Fat Controller glared. "Given your recent behavior, Gordon, I don't really think you deserve the honor." Gordon stopped smiling and stared with shock. "What?! Why?!" "Well... You were rude to Bear," said Duck. "You were pretty rude to Stephen, too," added Henry. Thomas giggled. "And there was that incident with Philip-" "Okay, I get it, shut up!" "Wait... So who is pulling the Royal Train?" questioned Daisy. The Fat Controller sighed with defeat. "No idea. I have about a few days to decide, but I already know who to rule out, based on physical limitations." The engines blinked, casting looks at each other. "Now that that's settled, back to work, all of you." The Fat Controller walked away, as the engines quickly turned their attention to the Queen's visit.

News of the Queen's return quickly spread across the island, and pretty soon, everyone was talking about who could pull the Royal Train. At Knapford Station, Gordon was still complaining about not being able to pull the Queen. "I still don't understand what I did to warrant not taking the queen... I mean, I took her the first time!" "Maybe because of your rudeness! Heh, heh..." "Well, who could possibly replace me? It's an impossible task!" Gordon retorted. James rolled his eyes. "You don't represent our railway, you know..." "Well, maybe I do...! I went to London, you know." "If anyone does, I do," grinned Thomas, "I went to the Great Railway Show. Maybe I should take the Queen!" Gordon glared at the tank engine. "You? Pah! Don't make me laugh! You would need new coaches!" Annie and Clarabel immediately took offense. "I say!" said Annie angrily. "So rude," added Clarabel tartly. Gordon felt a bit flustered. "I'm not saying you're bad coaches... but for the Queen? My special coaches are much more acceptable!" Gordon said. "It could happen..." pouted Thomas. "I for one wouldn't mind such an honor. I've always wanted to take royalty. I'm sure she'd like a fine Diesel railcar like me," Daisy said with a bit of pride. "What if I took the queen?" Philip asked excitedly. Gordon grunted. "I don't want to dampen your spirits, Philip, but... Why would she choose you? Can you even pull trains?" Philip gulped. "I , uh... I think so... Ohh..." Gordon cringed. "Don't be so mean, Gordon. Everyone has a chance of taking the queen... except you!" And Thomas laughed as he puffed away. Daisy followed suit, while Gordon just raced away with the Express, leaving James and Philip together. James sighed. "I wish I could take the Queen..." the red engine muttered. Philip overheated this but said nothing as he backs away.

All throughout the day, the thought of taking the queen lingered on James' mind. He knew he probably didn't deserve the honor, due to being... less than pleasant to others, but he still longed for such an opportunity. James passed by Percy talking to some other engines, and winced, remembering how he'd usually make fun of Percy. "I wish some engines could see I'm more than a showoff..." he sighed.

Soon, James arrived at Tidmouth Station, puffing next to Duck and Samson, who were discussing the Queen. "I personally think I could be a great choice to pull the Queen. I'm a big tank engine, and I would certainly make the Great Western Railway proud!" Duck grinned. "Hmph, maybe so, but I'd make every tank engine proud with my strength!" Samson argued. Duck rolled his eyes. "Seriously?" "Of course! All my strength will go into pulling the Queen's royal carriage into the station! I'll be cheered for! Remembered! Amazing-" Samson continued. "Are you just trying to fill your own ego...?" interrupted Duck suspiciously. Samson blinked. "Isn't that what you're doing too?" "...touche," said Duck, embarrassed. He looked over and noticed James' presence, and rose an eyebrow. "Er... Hello, James. You haven't said a word to us... Is anything wrong?" James was flustered at being caught and his eyes darted around in desperation. "Well, uh... No... Nothing is wrong," he stuttered. Duck wasn't sure whether to believe James; he seemed suspiciously quiet, compared to the red engine's loud nature. He squinted at his friend. "...if you say so," Duck said with uncertainty. James quickly puffed away, cementing Duck's suspicions that something was wrong. "What's up with James...?" Duck asked worriedly. Samson rolled his eyes. "Who cares?" "Would it kill you to care about someone for once, besides yourself?" Duck snapped.

Soon, night fell on Sodor. At Tidmouth Sheds, James wasn't happy as he backed into the last berth. He sighed as he let off steam. Thomas looked to Percy, confused. "Why's James blue, Thomas?" asked Percy. "No idea." "What's wrong, James?" Emily asked James with concern. James wanted to make up an excuse like he did with Duck earlier, but he knew he had to tell the truth. "...well, if you want me to be honest, I'm a bit upset about the Queen's arrival." James said ruefully. "Why?" asked Henry, "The Queen coming is wonderful!" "It's not the queen herself, it's just... well..." Emily immediately understood what James was trying to say. "I see... You want to pull the Royal Train, eh?" James' face flushed as Emily smirked, knowing she guessed correctly. Gordon was indignant. "Huh! You pull the Royal Train, little James? I doubt that! You've been worse than I have!" "...can't say he's wrong, to be honest," muttered Duck quietly. "Well, uh... Maybe but... We've all been a bit rude at some point..." protested James. "Not nearly as much as you have. Obviously, if I can't pull the Queen, neither should you." Gordon said angrily. "Gordon!" snapped Emily. "It's the truth, Emily...!" "We should be fair to James, Gordon. We've all had our... moments." said Henry. Gordon was furious. "Pah! Favoritism, it all is! Utter rubbish!" The engines started to argue against Gordon, all except James himself, who sighed as he backed further into the shed. He felt very upset indeed as he went to sleep that night.

The next morning, the engines were surprised to see the Fat Controller driving up. He came to a stop by the turntable, panting. "What's the matter, sir?" asked Percy. "Something urgent has happened. Murdoch doesn't have enough steam to deliver an urgent goods train to the Mainland!" "What's aboard it, sir?" asked Emily. "Mostly shipments for a factory. If the shipments aren't delivered, the factory's reputation will be tainted, and then the factory will blame us, which would be bad for our publicity. But don't worry, I know what to do. Henry, I need you to collect that train from Tidmouth pronto." the Fat Controller ordered. "Yes sir!" said Henry quickly. He whistled and puffed away. James frowned as he realized something. "But sir, doesn't Henry have his own goods train to take?" he asked. The Fat Controller blinked, then realized his error. "...oh. Uh... Gordon, you can take it." Gordon's jaw dropped in horror. "What?! Why me?!" "You're the only engine available. The Express isn't for a few hours yet." "B-b-but, why can't James do it?" James glared at Gordon, but the Fat Controller spoke first. "James has a local train to take to Cronk. I expect no nonsense from you, Gordon..." "Ohhh the indignity..." Thomas, Percy and Duck giggled as Gordon left the shed. James couldn't help but smirk. "Serves him right..."

At Knapford, Philip was waiting beside Henry's goods train. "Who's taking these trucks?" he wondered aloud. A voice next to him sighed. "I am...". Philip looked over and noticed Gordon being coupled up to the trucks, and snickered. "You, Gordon? I thought you said you don't pull trucks!" Gordon scowled. "Yes... Philip... I get it... Philip winced, worrying he had hurt Gordon's feelings. "Oh... Are you mad? Please don't be mad." "...yes, but not at you..." Gordon grunted. "Uh... good?" said Philip. Gordon's guard blew her whistle, and Gordon puffed away, leaving a worried Philip behind. "That doesn't sound good..."

Soon, Gordon was rushing along the Main Line, with his goods train. "This is ridiculous! First, i'm cheated out of taking the Queen, and now i have to take a goods train? The indignity!" he groaned. Gordon's driver sighed. "I mean, I'm an Express engine! I deserve the best jobs the island can-" 'Gordon, do you have any idea how annoying it is to listen to your boasting every day?" his driver asked. "...uh-" "Exactly." The trucks were also furious with Gordon. "I am so offended!" a truck growled, "We trucks deserve respect!" "Same," said a van. "I just want to let out some delicious karma," grinned another truck. "Is it on the menu today?" asked the van. "Well we are approaching the hill so we better serve the plate," grinned the first truck. "Okay, stop with the food jokes," grumbled the brakevan. "Okay... We can still push him down the hill though, right?" said the truck. "Yeah, sure..." "Yay!" The trucks whispered their plan among each other, and they quickly agreed to it. "We'll show him!" "Yeah!" Gordon puffed into Wellsworth, noticing James at the platform and Edward shunting. "Hello, little James! Enjoy not taking the Queen! Ha ha ha..." Gordon snickered. James sighed, as Edward cast a sympathetic look towards him. Gordon puffed up his hill with all his might, and quickly got to the top. "Ha ha, you trucks can't beat me! I'm invincible! Smashing! Royal blue! An LNER engine! A tender engine!" Gordon grinned. "Okay, I care now. Please push him down the hill." said the brakevan. "Wait, what?" The trucks quickly bumped into each other, catching Gordon off guard and down the hill. "What the? Driver, help?" Gordon said in shock. Gordon's driver tried to brake, but the trucks were too forceful! "No, no, no! I have to stop! I have to stoop!" shouted Gordon. Gordon's brakevan rushed over the top of the hill and out of sight. James was horrified. "Uncouple me, quick!" he cried to a shunter. The shunter nodded and uncoupled James from the coaches. Edward was alarmed. "James, what are you-" "No time to talk, Edward! I have to stop Gordon!" James spluttered. He whistled and rushed onto a junction, and onto the Express line, racing after Gordon. Edward frowned. "I'm sensing deja vu..." The old engine smiled warmly as he remembers when he was in a similar situation, and he realized he was somewhat returning the favor. "Well done James..."

Gordon rushed along the track, trying to brake desperately. James raced up to him, panting. Gordon, hearing the panting, looked back and gasped in horror. "James?! What on Sodor are you doing?!" he spluttered. "Trying to stop you, Gordon!" James retorted. "That's impossible! You can't stop me! These trucks are too heavy!" Gordon said angrily. "Hey!" said an offended truck. "Doesn't mean I can't try!" grinned James. At Maron Station, Neville was filling up on water when Gordon raced by, startling him. "O-oh my! What's going on?" the tender engine asked, shivering a little. Hearing more puffing, Neville looked ahead and noticed James racing into the station. "James? What's happening? I want some answers please!" Neville cried quickly. "No time to talk! I'll have to explain later!" James replied. Before Neville could ask any more, James was gone. "B-but... But..." Neville sighed. Out on the Main Line, James rushed up to the brakevan to be coupled but, he went too fast and bumped it. Gordon felt this and scowled. "Hey, stop bumping into me! I'm already going too fast as it is!" "I'm sorry!" James cried in desperation. He braked slightly so he wouldn't repeat his mistake. "Guard, couple me up! Couple me up!" "...oh joy, this again." sighed the guard. "Aren't you scared?!" spluttered James. "I've seen far worse..." Up at the front of the train, Gordon gasped when he noticed something alarming. "James, hurry up! Nooooow!" "Huh?" Up ahead, Emily was taking a passenger train along the Main Line, completely oblivious to Gordon and James! Emily's whistle blew up ahead, causing James to panic. "Couple me-" "Yes, yes, I know." The guard grabbed a shunter's pole and attempted to couple James to the brakevan. He missed and sighed."I have really bad aim..." Meanwhile, Emily rounded a bend and was horrified to find Gordon racing towards him! "Oh no! Gordon?!" "Help! Help! I can't stop!" Gordon shouted. Emily shut her eyes and brakesd as hard as she could. Luckily, a signalman noticed the dire situation and switched the points, letting Gordon pass Emily. Gordon raced by Emily, just in time. Emily opened an eye, surprised. "What happened?" she asked quietly. James puffed past, confusing Emily even more.

The guard tried again with the shunter's pole, flicking the coupling over James' hook. "Yes! I've got you!" James grinned. Gordon's cheeks were red from braking. "Hurry, James!" James and Gordon raced around a bend. James' braked slammed on. Sparks flew from his wheels. "Don't light the grass on fire!" shouted James' driver. James rolled his eyes and continued to brake. You're dragging me!" he cried. "I told you this would happen! You never listen and always follow your own ideas!" "Gordon, stop!" No, I-" "I said stop! Level crossing!" "What?!" Gordon squinted and noticed a level crossing up ahead. On the level crossing was a broken down Trevor. At the level crossing, Trevor sighed with defeat. "Oh dear... This is not a very good place to be... Where's Butch?" "I phoned 'im. Guess he's busy or he's on his way here," replied Jem Cole. "I sure do hope so," said Trevor. Gordon's eyes widened and he blew an urgent whistle. Trevor looked to his left and almost shrieked. "Oh no! Gordon!" Trevor shouted. "Gordon?" spluttered Jem Cole. He looked ahead and noticed Gordon coming. Fearing the worst, he ran off the level crossing. James gasped and slammed his brakes on full force. Gordon felt a jerk behind him and looked back. "James, please! For Trevor's sake, as well as mine!" "I'm trying!" The train started to slow down as James used up all his strength in braking. Gordon was surprised to find their speed was decreasing. "You're doing it! You're doing it!" Trevor was perplexed from his position. "What the...?" James laughed. "I've got you! I've got you!" James' face was as red as his paintwork, and he was very tired, but he struggled on. Gordon's brakes were slammed on full force as well, and he shut his eyes. James and Trevor shut their eyes as well, not wanting to see the tragedy they thought would occur. A few tense seconds flew by. At last an oil tanker spoke up. "Oh... great. This is just great. I had this amazing plan and then Rusty Red Scrap Iron foils it! Urgh!" "It's alright... Well no it isn't, but let's pretend it's alright." said a van. Trevor was confused; he thought he'd be severely damaged but he didn't feel any pain at all. "Huh?" The traction engine opened his eyed to find Gordon's buffers were barely touching the crossing gate. Trevor could hardly believe what he was seeing! "Y-you did it! You did it!" exclaimed Trevor and he blew his whistle with glee. Gordon and James opened their eyes too and gasped in amazement. "We... we stopped!" James said in surprise; he had expected Gordon to race through the crossing.. "Oh, thank you so much, James!" said Trevor ecstatically, "You saved me from being smashed into pieces!" "Yes... thank you James." said Gordon sincerely. James beamed with pride.

That evening, the sheds was a frenzy as engines kept whistling and congratulating James on his efforts. "Hooray for James!" exclaimed Duck and Oliver. "What a hero!" said Philip with awe. "Very impressive!" agreed Henry. "You've proven you're more than vain after all!" Thomas chuckled. "Quite right!" said Percy. The Fat Controller laughed. "Heh heh, settle down please." The engines quieted down, all with excited expressions. "By now, I'm sure you've heard of James' heroic deed for Trevor and Gordon." Gordon blushed, rolling his eyes. "Indeed, sir," agreed Edward, "Quite an impressive feat, I must add." The Fat Controller nodded. "Quite right, Edward. I'm sure you're also still wondering who will pull the Queen as well?" The engines got silent and looked to each with worry. They had been so caught up in James' escapade that they had completely forgotten about the Queen's visit! "To be honest, sir... yes," spoke up Thomas. "Well, I've made my decision. The engine who shall pull the Royal Train is... James the Red Engine!" James' jaw drops as everyone at the sheds gasped, including Gordon. "Me, sir?!" James said at once. The Fat Controller couldn't even reply as a howl of whistles blasted at once, along with a few horns. "Hooray for James! Hooray for James!" the engines chanted. "Yes, little James, you," said Gordon, and the big engine smiled broadly, "You've earned it." James grinned. "Heh, heh... Thanks Gordon."

Soon, the railway was getting ready to welcome the Queen back to Sodor. The stations were decorated, engines got cleaned, and the Fat Controller made the last of his arrangements. "Edward, I want you to clear the line again, since you were one of the first engines, and one of the most well-known," the Fat Controller said to his engine. Edward whistled with joy. "Oh, sir!" He then turned to Philip, who was waiting tensely. "And I want you, Philip, to shunt James' coaches." Philip was so shocked and excited he didn't know what to say! "Oh boy, thank you very much sir! I'll make you proud, sir! I swear I will, sir!" The Fat Controller smiled. "Ha ha, good, Philip!" Philip was soon shunting the coaches. He passed Thomas, who grinned at him and puffed away.

At last, the day had arrived. The engines waited for excitement for Edward to arrive and spill the news. From a ways away, Edward's whistle blew, perking up the engines. "Here comes Edward!" exclaimed Paxton. Edward raced into Track 1 of Knapford, blowing his whistle again. "James is coming, James is coming! The Queen is here!" he said. Belle squinted and noticed a certain red engine's glossy paint up ahead, and started to ring her bell. "Here she comes!" she cried. "Och aye, it's the queen!" exclaimed Douglas. ""Let's all give her a warm Sodor welcome!," Donald suggested, "Ready everyone? On three!" "One..." began Oliver. "Two..." continued Percy. "Three!" finished Thomas. An eruption of whistles and horns flew into the air, containing all the excitement they'd been keeping in. The Sodor Brass Band started to play a tune as James puffed into the station. James, covered in flags and banners, grinned as he comes to a stop at the platform. He whistled with glee as the Queen walked out of the coach. The Fat Controller ran to greet Queen Elizabeth II and he quickly bowed to her. "Your majesty!" The queen smiled. "This quite is a honorable welcome, Sir Topham Hatt. It is very pleasing to be back on Sodor. Look at all these engines! Your fleet has certainly grown since I've last come here!" The Fat Controller chuckled nervously. "Yes, indeed." "And this red engine right here is quite a spectacle! I quite like him. Nice and shiny!" Thomas smirked and looked back at Percy. "Can't wait to see how this blows up James' ego..." he whispered Percy giggled. "Yeah..." James blushed, and grinned from buffer to buffer. James the Red Engine had never felt happier, and felt that now he had proven himself to be more than a vain and shiny red engine. The engines gave one final chorus of whistles and horns, the loudest being James.

Characters

  • Thomas
  • Edward
  • Henry
  • Gordon
  • James
  • Percy
  • Toby
  • Emily
  • Duck
  • Donald and Douglas
  • Oliver
  • Neville
  • Belle
  • Samson
  • Daisy
  • Paxton
  • Philip
  • Annie and Clarabel
  • Trevor
  • The Fat Controller
  • Jem Cole
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Murdoch (does not speak)
  • Bill and Ben (cameo)
  • Harvey (cameo)
  • Molly (cameo)
  • Rosie (cameo)
  • Stanley (cameo)
  • Hiro (cameo)
  • Timothy (cameo)
  • Marion (cameo)
  • Ryan (cameo)
  • Sam (cameo)
  • BoCo (cameo)
  • Mavis (cameo)
  • Den (cameo)
  • Dart (cameo)
  • Sidney (cameo)
  • Stafford (cameo)
  • Winston (cameo)
  • Skiff (cameo)
  • Bertie (cameo)
  • Flying Scotsman (mentioned)
  • Stephen (mentioned)
  • Bear (mentioned)
  • Butch (mentioned)

Locations

  • Knapford
  • The Fat Controller's Office
  • Knapford Yards
  • Ffarquhar
  • Wellsworth
  • Harwick
  • Tidmouth
  • Tidmouth Sheds
  • Wellsworth
  • Gordon's Hill
  • Maron
  • The Washdown
  • Cronk (mentioned)

Trivia

  • References to nineteenth season episodes Slow Stephen and The Little Engine Who Raced Ahead, and the story Bears are made, as well as a created flashback to the fourth season episode Paint, Pots and Queens.
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