James and the Railway Inspector
Season 1, Episode 6
Air date December 1, 2016
Written by Semaj5nodrog4
Episode guide
Daisy the Green-Eyed Railcar
The "Special" Visitors
James and the Railway Inspector is the sixth episode of the first season of The Many Adventures on the Island of Sodor.


Sir Topham Hatt likes running his railway well and always makes sure that everything runs right on time. He especially does so whenever special visitors come to the island and wants to make sure his engines make a good first impression. Sometimes, his engines overdo it and go too far, but usually in the end, it all works out for the best. James particularly tends to be one of these engines for he loves showing off his bright red paintwork and trying to prove he is the best engine on the railway. This often gets on Sir Topham Hatt's nerves, but he knows that James means well and he does what he can to be really useful.

One morning, at Tidmouth Sheds, all the engines woke up and were waiting for Sir Topham Hatt. James was already beginning to boast.

"I have a feeling Sir Topham Hatt will give me the job of taking some special visitors today," he bragged. "They always want to see something nice when they first arrive and I'm the perfect sight for them to see."

"Huh," snorted Gordon. "Don't be silly, little James. Everyone knows I'm a much more amusing sight for I can pull the express and get people to their destination in no time at all."

"Ha," laughed James. "You wish."

"Well you both will find out now," puffed Thomas. "Sir Topham Hatt just arrived."

Sure enough, there was Sir Topham Hatt coming over to see the engines. "Good morning everyone."

"Good morning, sir," replied the engines.

"I have some important news," announced Sir Topham Hatt. "A railway inspector is coming today to check on how the railway is running." The engines were excited. "He's been on the island before and has giving a positive review, so I expect all of you to be on your best behavior and prove that this railway is just as good as the last time he was here."

"Yes sir. We will, sir," replied the engines.

"And," continued Sir Topham Hatt, "I don't want any showing off today either. He has been on the railway before and he certainly remembers some of you--" he looked in particularly at James "--and he was not quite fond of your actions. So please, none of you do anything that could potentially get him upset." The engines promised. "The inspector and I will be riding in Winston today, so whenever you see us, be sure to work hard and well and impress the inspector, understand?"

"Yes sir," replied the engines.

"Good," said Sir Topham Hatt. "Now if you all will excuse me, I need to go and meet the inspector. Good luck to all of you and make me proud today."

"We will sir," promised Thomas. "You can count on us."

"Excellent," said Sir Topham Hatt. "Good bye for now, and do your best." And then he left.

After he did, James was puzzled. "Why did Sir Topham Hatt look at me when he said that? What did he mean when he said those things?" He wondered.

"Maybe the inspector remembers how much you showed off last time, James," suggested Henry cheekily, "and it got on his nerves."

James snorted. "I don't show off that much. I'm able to control myself, thank you very much, Henry."

The engines laughed. "Oh sure," chuckled Gordon. "It's not like you ever got into mishaps when you showed off. Oh wait! That almost ALWAYS happens!!!" And he laughed even harder.

James was cross. "Don't worry about it, James," puffed Edward. "I'm sure as long as you do your work, the inspector will be impressed."

"Well, I hope so," puffed James. "I just want to know what Sir Topham Hatt was talking about." And James puffed away.

He was still wondering when he arrived at Knapford. Just then he heard a honk and saw Winston arrive at the platform with Sir Topham Hatt and the inspector.

James saw the inspector. "Hmm, he looks very familiar," he thought.

"Ah, and here is Knapford Station," Sir Topham Hatt proudly announced. "The busiest station on the island. Every passenger train comes in and out right on time everyday."

"Very good," said the inspector, "and hopefully none of them needed to stop to fix a coach, right?"

"N-n-no sir," said Sir Topham Hatt anxiously. "Hasn't happened in years."

"Excellent," replied the inspector. "Don't need that to happen again, do we?"

"Absolutely not, sir," agreed Sir Topham Hatt.

James was even more puzzled. "Fixing a coach? What does he mean by--" Then James suddenly remembered who the inspector was. "Oh no!" He thought. "Not him."

Just then Edward arrived and blocked Sir Topham Hatt and the inspector's view of James, just as they were looking in James' direction. "Hello James," puffed Edward.

"Shhh!" Hissed James.

"What?" Exclaimed Edward.

"I said shhh!" Hissed James again.

Edward was puzzled. Sir Topham Hatt and the inspector stared for a moment, unaware that James was on the other side of Edward.

"Ahem, as you can see," said Sir Topham Hatt, breaking the silence, "Edward here has arrived for his first job of the day and will be getting ready to leave soon."

"I see," noticed the inspector. "Good to hear and I hope he does, but shall we continue on with the inspection, Sir Topham? I still need to see the whole railway, you know."

"Oh yes, of course sir," replied Sir Topham Hatt. "As you wish." And they climbed back into Winston and left the station. James was relieved. 

"Why did you tell me to be quiet?" Asked Edward, feeling rather indignant.

"Aha, well.....remember earlier I was wondering why Sir Topham Hatt was staring at me?" James asked.

"Yes," replied Edward.

"Well, I just found out why," puffed James.

"What do you mean?" Asked Edward.

James sighed. "Do you remember that little incident I had with some coaches back when I first started on the railway?"

"You mean when you damaged the brake pipe on one of them and you had to use a passenger's bootlace to fix it?" Asked Edward.

James groaned. "Yes, that," he said firmly.

"I remember that," said Edward, "but what about it?"

"Well, the man whose bootlace we used is the inspector!" Cried James.

"So?" Puffed Edward.

"So, I have a feeling if he sees me and remembers what I did, he'll give the railway a bad review, and I don't want to disappoint Sir Topham Hatt and the other engines and let the whole railway down."

"Oh, relax James," chuckled Edward, "and don't be silly. I'm sure the inspector has forgotten about that by now."

"Oh ho, no he hasn't," denied James. "I just heard him tell Sir Topham Hatt that we don't need another damaged coach on this railway and he sounded stern about it."

"Well, even if he remembers," continued Edward, "he probably won't give the railway a bad review just from seeing you."

"But what if he does, Edward?" Huffed James worriedly. "I don't want others to think I'm a bad cause to the railway."

"James, I suggest that as long as you do your work without any trouble and the inspector sees this, he will give the railway, and yourself for that matter, an excellent review," soothed Edward. "It's also best that you stop worrying as well because that will lead to trouble. I must go now, so just stay calm and be really useful." And with that, Edward puffed away.

James was not entirely certain. He was still worried that the inspector would be cross if he saw him. Then he had an idea. "Every time, I come across Sir Topham Hatt and the inspector," he thought, "I'll just go really fast so they can't tell it's me, then the inspector won't give the railway a bad review." James felt proud of himself and was sure it would work.

A little later, he was taking some goods along the mainline. Then he saw Winston up ahead with Sir Topham and the inspector.

"Now's my chance," he thought, and he gathered speed. The inspector was busy writing remarks and didn't know James was approaching. Suddenly with a whoosh, James sped past them and was gone.

"I say," exclaimed the inspector. "What was that?"

"I, uh, I'm not sure," stammered Sir Topham Hatt. "Must have been one of the engines trying to make up for lost time."

"Well, at that speed, he most certainly will," huffed the inspector. "I just hope he follows the speed limits and doesn't violate any rules, for your sake."

"Oh I'm sure he will be fine sir," soothed Sir Topham Hatt, but he was worried, and slightly cross with James.

Meanwhile, James felt pleased. "Ha! It worked!" He thought. "As long as I keep this up, everything will be alright." And he continued on his way.

Later, James had to pick up some tar wagons from Wellsworth and take them to Elsbridge station. When he arrived, Stafford had just finished arranging them.

"Here you are, James," said Stafford. "All set and ready to go."

"Oh great," he muttered. "As if one bad memory isn't enough. First the inspector, and now this. What's next? Bees?" And he puffed away.

Stafford was confused. "What is that engine talking about?" He wondered.

On his way, James saw Winston again. He quickly gathered speed and raced past them and once again, the inspector did not notice that it was him. James felt pleased, but Sir Topham Hatt still noticed that it was him and was getting crosser.

"That engine better not mess anything up," he thought to himself.

Soon James arrived at Elsbridge Station. Thomas was there waiting for him.

"Hello James," he puffed. "You're here early."

"Hey, what can I say?" Boasted James. "I'm as red as a rocket and very useful. I can get any job done in no time."

"Oh really?" Chuffed Thomas. "Are you sure this doesn't have to do with the fact that you're trying to avoid the railway inspector?"

James was stunned. "What? No, of course not," he huffed. "I'm just doing my jobs and not letting anything stand in my way."

"Nice try, James," chuckled Thomas, "but Edward told me about your little history with the inspector."

James groaned. "Oh, why did he have to do that?" He grumbled.

"Because I think we both agree that you're being silly," replied Thomas.

"How am I being silly when I'm trying to help the railway by not letting the inspector see me?" Huffed James.

"Well, that's just it, James," replied Thomas. "You avoiding the inspector just because of a little incident and thinking it will affect the railway sounds quite silly. It's also silly because for once, you don't want to be seen James, and knowing you, that's actually quite funny."

"No it's not!" Protested James. "You're just a silly little tank engine, that's all."

"Calm down, James," soothed Thomas. "I'm only teasing. Besides, you really shouldn't worry about these things. Edward's right you know, as long as you do your work and the inspector sees you doing a good job, everything will be alright, and who knows: maybe you'll get the opportunity to prove it by taking the inspector."

"Huh!" Snorted James. "I doubt that will happen and even if it did, I would not do it. There are plenty of other engines who can take him." 

"But don't you want the railway to get a good review?" Asked Thomas. "I'm sure not helping the inspector will not help with that."

"Well, um.......," James was too proud to admit Thomas was right, but instead he said, "you know, I have other work to do and can't waste anymore time. Good-bye." And James huffed away.

Thomas rolled his eyes. "Silly James," he muttered.

Later James arrived at Knapford Yards, still feeling cross and worried, and still didn't want to admit that Thomas was right.

Just then, Spencer pulled up with his special coach. "Ah, hello James," he said smoothly. "Still trying to avoid that railway inspector, I see."

James groaned. "Oh no, you know too?"

"I certainly do," chuckled Spencer. "Apparently everyone knows about it and I must say, for an engine that always likes showing off, this is quite funny that you're avoiding him." Spencer laughed. James was cross.

"Well, since you're not busy now and if you are still trying to avoid him, I have something for you to do," added Spencer.

"Oh really?" Huffed James. "And what is that?"

"Take my coach over to the goods sheds at Knapford Station and leave it there until I need it again," ordered Spencer. "I need to go to the Steamworks and have my pistons checked. Please be careful with them and also, make sure you don't damage it and need someone's bootlace!" And Spencer puffed away laughing.

James was cross. "You weren't even around when it happen!" He yelled.

"So? It's still funny to hear about it," retorted Spencer, and he was gone. James just snorted, and then he took Spencer's coach over to Knapford.

On his way, James looked ahead and saw Winston, Sir Topham Hatt, and the railway inspector. James was about to rush ahead, but then he noticed Harvey arrive with a low-loader stopped next to them. He was surprised.

"I'm very sorry about this, sir," Sir Topham Hatt apologized to the inspector. "I completely forgot Winston doesn't hold a lot of gas and he can't go all day without..."

"It's alright, Sir Topham," interrupted the inspector. "Accidents happen. I'm just glad to see help came and there won't be any hazards on the line. Though at the same time, how are we going to make it to Vicarstown in time for my train home? It's on the other side of the island and it would be a miracle if we got there in time."

James heard all of this and was starting to think about what Thomas and Edward had said. He was still worried that the inspector would give the railway a bad review if he saw him, but he knew it be worse if the inspector missed his train and that would make him give a bad review. James was nervous, but he plucked up courage and puffed forward.

"Excuse me, sir," he said to Sir Topham Hatt. "I'm not busy right now and don't have any jobs coming up soon. I could take you and the inspector to Vicarstown if you want."

Sir Topham Hatt wasn't sure, but the inspector agreed. "That is a splendid idea. As long as we get there in time, I will be very grateful." James felt slightly better.

"Well, in that case," said Sir Topham Hatt, "let's climb aboard and get going. We even have a special coach to ride in as well. Um, say...isn't that Spencer's?"

"Well yes, but he told me to take it to Knapford," explained James, "and..."

"Oh well, he's not using it now and we're in a hurry," said the inspector. "So it doesn't matter, now can we please get going?"

"Right of course," said Sir Topham Hatt, and they climbed into the coach. "Do your best, James," called Sir Topham Hatt. "Please, for the sake of the railway, do your best." But he said this to himself.

"Yes sir," replied James, and he set off.

"Good luck, James," called Harvey.

"Make the railway proud!" Added Winston.

James heard them and he was beginning to feel much better. Soon he was well on his way to Vicarstown and making up for lost time. The inspector was still supervising and writing down his remarks. Sir Topham Hatt was nervous.

Spencer was still at the Steamworks when he saw James racing along the line with his coach in the distance.

"What? James!" He shouted. "What do you think you're doing with..."

"Emergency, Spencer!" Called James. "Can't talk right now!" And he was gone. Spencer was confused.

"But that's my coach," he muttered.

At Vicarstown, Gordon and Conner were waiting. Connor was waiting for the inspector.

"Where could he and Sir Topham Hatt be?" He wondered. "I don't want him to be late and be cross."

"Well, let's hope he gets here soon," chuffed Gordon. "I would hate for the railway to be shamed for...." Just then they heard a whistle and then was James, puffing in as smoothly and carefully as he could. He felt very proud.

"I made it!" He puffed excitedly.

"Made what? A scene?" Huffed Gordon. "What are you doing here, James? You know the inspector is due to arrive any moment now, right? Do you still want to be here when he does?"

Just then, Gordon saw the inspector and Sir Topham Hatt step out of the coach, and was very surprised.

"I'm sorry if he was going to fast for sir," Sir Topham Hatt said. "H-he, he can get a little full of himself sometimes and..."

"What are you talking about Sir Topham?" Asked the inspector. "I'm not mad with this engine. If anything, I'm proud of him for getting us here on time, and in fact, a little early."

James beamed, Gordon and Connor were surprised.

"And I must say," added the inspector, "this engine has certainly improved with handling coaches with care, haven't you....James?"

This made James nervous all over again. "Uh-oh," he thought. "Now I'm in trouble."

But the inspector laughed. "Oh relax, James," he said. "There's nothing to worry about. You did fine. Yes, I remember that bootlace incident, but that was decades ago and it wasn't that serious. You worked well today, even if you tried avoiding me a few times--" James blushed "--and just like the last time I rode with you, if you remember, you gave me a splendid ride and you were right on time."

James was surprised. "When did I give a ride before, sir?"

"Why, don't you and Sir Topham Hatt remember?" Asked the inspector. "I needed to get to a meeting with him and you were available and you got me to him in no time."

James suddenly remembered. "Oh yes! I do remember that!" He puffed. 

"Mm-hm, and was I cross with you then?" Added the inspector.

James paused and remembered. "No you weren't, sir."

"Exactly, so why would you think I would be cross for seeing you this time if I wasn't the last time?" Asked the inspector.

James went red again with embarrassment. "Because...I tend to be a silly engine like that," he muttered meekly, "and Sir Topham Hatt was worried that..."

"Ahem, well yes, that was my fault too," admitted Sir Topham Hatt. "You see, I was worried Jame was going to show off and..."

"You were worried I was going to give the railway a bad review if he did?" Asked the inspector.

"Yes sir," said Sir Topham Hatt meekly.

The inspector chuckled. "You both are very quite silly. Yes, I probably would have given a bad review if you showed off, James, but since you were really useful and reliable today, and got me back on time, there will be some good news for the railway and for you tomorrow." James and Sir Topham Hatt were delighted, Gordon was jealous.

"You mean it, sir?" Asked James.

"Absolutely," replied the inspector. "You and the railway deserve it, James, and Sir Topham Hatt should be proud of you."

"Yes indeed," agreed Sir Topham Hatt. "Once again, James, you are a really useful engine."

James was very happy. Just then, Connor's guard called out and it time for the inspector to leave.

"All aboard, sir," said Connor.

"Oh right, yes, my train," stammered the inspector. "Ahem, well I must be going. Expect to see my review sometime tomorrow, Sir Topham, and don't worry, it'll be good." And with that, the inspector quickly climbed into Connor's train. "And once again, good work today James, and keep it up!"

"I will and thank you sir!" Called James, and Connor left the station.

"Well, James," said Sir Topham Hatt. "I must say you did very well. I'm proud of your work today and thank you for getting us here on time."

"Thank you, sir," said James.

"Also, since you did so well today and the railway will be getting a good review, how would you like a new coat of paint?"

"Yes please sir!" Jame blurted out.

"Ha ha, I thought you would like that," chuckled Sir Topham Hatt. "You certainly deserve it after your performance today and making everyone proud."

James was so pleased with this, that he let off steam, and accidentally covered Sir Topham Hatt with water. James and Gordon were worried for a second, then Sir Topham Hatt laughed.

"Ah well, you still did a good job today and I guess everyone really needs to 'cool down' right now, don't we?" And then he and even James and Gordon laughed about this.

James felt very proud and he promised himself never to be worried about his past again.




  • Several references to the television series episode, James and the Coaches, are made in this episode as well as other references to Dirty Objects, No Joke for James, and Buzz, Buzz.
  • This episode marks Connor's only speaking role in this season of The Many Adventures on the Island of Sodor.
  • Going canonically by the television series, this marks the first of a few things:
    • Jeremiah Jobling's first appearance since the ninth season and the first time he has spoken since the third season episode, Thomas, Percy and the Post Train.
    • Elsbridge station's first appearance since the fourth season.


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