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Old Iron is the third episode of the eleventh season.

Old Iron
Season 11, Episode 3
Air date January 15th, 2012
Written by Rev. W. Awdry
Directed by MainLineEngines
Episode guide
Dirty Objects
Nix the Loaned Engine


One day James had to wait at Edward's station till Edward and his train came in. This made him cross, "Late again!" he shouted.

Edward only laughed, and James fumed away.

"Edward is impossible," he grumbled to the others, "he clanks about like a lot of old iron, and he is so slow he makes us wait."

Thomas and Percy were indignant. "Old Iron!" they snorted. "SLOW! Why! Edward could beat you in a race any day!"

"Really!" said James huffily, "I should like to see him do it."

One day James' Driver did not feel well when he came to work. "I'll manage," he said, but when they reached the top of Gordon's Hill, he could hardly stand.

The Fireman drove the train to the next station. He spoke to the Signalman, put the trucks in a siding, and uncoupled James ready for shunting.

Then he helped the Driver over to the station, and asked them to look after him, and find a 'Relief'.

Suddenly the Signalman shouted, and the Fireman turned round and saw James puffing away.

He ran hard but he couldn't catch James, and soon came back to the signal box. The Signalman was busy. "All traffic halted," he announced at last. "Up and down main lines are clear for thirty miles, and the Inspector's coming."

The Fireman mopped his face. "What happened?" he asked.

"Two boys were on the footplate; they tumbled off when James started. I shouted at them and they ran like rabbits."

"Just let me catch them," said the Fireman grimly, "I'll teach them to meddle with my engine."

Both men jumped as the telephone rang; "Yes," answered the Signalman, "he's here... Right, I'll tell him.

"The Inspector's coming at once in Edward. He wants a shunter's pole, and a coil of wire rope."

"What for?" wondered the Fireman.

"Search me! But you'd better get them quickly."

The Fireman was ready and waiting when Edward arrived. The Inspector saw the pole and the rope. "Good man," he said, "jump in."

"We'll catch him, we'll catch him," puffed Edward, crossing to the Up line in pursuit.

James was laughing as he left the Yard. "What a lark! What a lark!" he chuckled to himself.

Presently he missed his Driver's hand on the Regulator... and then he realised there was no one in his cab...

"What shall I do?" he wailed, "I can't stop. Help! Help!"

"We're coming, we're coming."

Edward was panting up behind with every ounce of steam he had. With a great effort, he caught up, and crept alongside, slowly gaining till his smokebox was level with James' bufferbeam.

"Steady Edward."

The Inspector stood on Edward's front, holding a noose of rope in the crook of the shunter's pole, He was trying to slip it over James' buffer. The engines swayed and lurched. He tried again and again; more than once he nearly fell off, but just saved himself.

At last-- "Got him!" he shouted. He pulled the noose tight and came back to the cab safely.

Gently braking, so as not to snap the rope, Edward's Driver checked the engines' speed, and James' Fireman scrambled across and took control.

The engines puffed back side by side. "So the 'old iron' caught you after all!" chuckled Edward.

"I'm sorry," whispered James, "thank you for saving me."

"That's all right."

"You were splendid, Edward."

The Fat Controller was waiting, and thanking the men warmly. "A fine piece of work," he said. "James, you can rest, and then take your train. I'm proud of you, Edward; you shall go to Crovan's Gate and have your worn parts mended."

"Oh! Thank you, Sir!" said Edward happily, "It'll be lovely not to clank."

The two naughty boys were soon caught by the police, and their fathers walloped them soundly.

They were also forbidden to watch trains till they could be trusted.

All the engines, especially James, are waiting for Edward to come home. But that's another story.


  • Thomas
  • Edward
  • James
  • Percy
  • Sir Topham Hatt
  • Henry (cameo)
  • Gordon (cameo)


  • This episode is based on 'Old Iron' from RWS No. 9 'Edward the Blue Engine' by the Rev. W, Awdry.