|Season 5, Episode 10|
|Air date||January 21st, 2016|
James' Search Party
The range of speed on the Island of Sodor is very varied. There are very fast engines, like Connor and Caitlin, and there are very slow engines, like Stafford. "Hey, watch it out Connor! You nearly made me derail!" Stafford shouted as Connor raced by. Connor laughed. "Sorry Stafford! I won't try so hard next time!" And he chortled away. Stafford grunted. Because of their speed, fast engines and slow engines have different purposes. Faster engines pull trains that have to be taken to their destinations quickly, like Gordon. "Out of my way!" he said proudly to Jason as he rushed past. "Goodness me, have some dignity!" Jason huffed. Slower engines are often shunters, like Stafford in the yards, or they are assigned to trains that don't have as much urgency. "Here are your trucks," Stafford said to Sam. "Ah, thanks little one!" grinned Sam. But sometimes faster engines like to think they're objectively better than others because of their speed, like Spencer. "Ha ha, see you in five hours, Scruff!" chortled Spencer as he raced by Scruff, who was hauling a train of heavy rubbish. "Oh, I'll show you, you... you... engine!" Scruff scowled crossly.
One day, Spencer was resting his wheels at Vicarstown Station, when Den and Dart rolled alongside him. They honked their horns cheekily, waking Spencer from his daze. "Ahh!" he shouted as he awoke. Den and Dart laughed. "Got you!" chortled Dart. "What are you two doing here?!" Spencer scowled indignantly, "Don't you have a Dieselworks to look after?" "Oh the manager's handling it fine," replied Dart, "We're just taking some metal to the Ironworks so they can be molded into Diesel parts." "Our own little shop is... uh... full." "Well done, you completed a sentence, Den," Dart snickered. Den giggled. "I suppose I did." Spencer was not amused. "Be off with you! I need my sleep in case The Duke and Duchess want me..." He yawned and shut his eyes. Den and Dart chuckled as they oiled away. Spencer was about to fall asleep again when the stationmaster walked up. "*ahem*" Spencer opened an eye, disinterested. "What is it now...?" "Connor has fallen ill at Barrow-in-Furness. I'm afraid you'll have to take his place." the stationmaster explained. Spencer was cross. "But what about the Duke and Duchess?" "They're visiting London, or so I've heard," said the stationmaster, "So they won't be needing you." Spencer felt insulted. "How dare you!" "Hey, I'm just reporting the facts." And the stationmaster went back into the building Spencer was furious as he slowly puffed out of the siding.
At Barrow-in-Furness, the station pilot had already shunted Connor out of the way when Spencer arrived. "I'm sorry about your accident," the station pilot said. "Oh, it wasn't really an accident," assured Connor, "More of a..." "An inconvenience, that's what it is!" huffed Spencer as he backed down onto Connor's coaches. Connor rolled his eyes. "Here we go..." "I have to be taken out of my nap and take your train," Spencer said angrily, "It's horrid!" "It's being helpful, Silver Steam," teased Connor. Spencer was crosser still as his guard blew the whistle. "I'll show you...!" But Connor couldn't hear because Spencer was already leaving.
Later, at Ulfstead Castle, Stephen was puffing up after bringing his Afternoon Tea Express. "Hello Millie," smiled Stephen as he whistled to her. Millie was about to reply when she heard a shrill whistle. She immediately frowned. "Oh non... Spencer is here..." "He's not so bad," Stephen said quietly. "I see you two are talking about me... Nice to know," he sneered. Stephen sighed. "Spencer, will you please-" "I don't see why I should bother taking advice from a slow engine like you. You barely go faster than your friend there!" Millie was furious. "Comment oses-tu!" she said as she slowly puffed forward, "Stephen is a good friend of mine!" "I can see that," Spencer scoffed, "But I have superior strength and capabilities. There's a reason you're barely allowed on the Main Line, you know." "It's because I'm old," Stephen replied, "And me being in an accident wouldn't be the best of ideas right now..." "No, it's because you're very slow," said the streamlined engine as he puffed to the turntable to turn around. Millie had had enough. "Spencer, you need to learn to respect my friends!" "Millie, that's enough," Stephen said. Millie gulped and looked at her friend. "Oh, uh... Sorry, Stephen..." Spencer still felt proud of himself as he backed down onto Connor's coaches for the return journey. "Just remember what I said, old timer! Us faster engines won't be seeing you by Christmas!" And Spencer laughed away. Stephen was cross. Millie winced, sensing Stephen's clear anger. "But Stephen... I mean... I tried to defend you but-" Stephen sighed, trying to calm down. "Millie, it's alright. He's just a bunch of Silver Steam. Nothing to get worked up over. He does this all the time." Millie smiled slightly. "You're right, Stephen. I just hope he doesn't get any worse..." "It's Spencer so it's entirely possible he will...!"
On the return journey, Spencer was starting to get puffed up in his smokebox. He grinned as he pasted Jason, who was taking a local train. "Bye bye!" he sang. Jason rolled his eyes. "Not again..." By the time Spencer had reached Killdane, he felt superior to tank engines all over again. The silver engine raised an eyebrow as his driver applied the brakes. "Why are we stopping here, driver? We have to get to Barrow!" "You need water, Spencer, or you'll run dry completely," his driver explained as he hopped out of the cab. Spencer did feel a bit silly as Stafford rolled up with some empty trucks. "Heh heh, hello Spencer! Are you having a rest?" he teased. Spencer blushed. "Not exactly... I need water... Though surely it won't take as long as your recharging batteries." Stafford was confused. "I thought this was about you being here." "Well no it's actually about you and your stupid batteries," Spencer sneered. "Stupid?!" "Well yes. We know how it was when you first came to Sodor, you know. Stop and start, stop and start... You never made up your own mind!" Stafford smiled sheepishly. "Well back then I hadn't really been built that well, but the men at the Steamworks gave me a better battery so I can even pull trains-" "Yes but you mostly shunt. Little engines like you are only good for shunting," Spencer said snootily. Stafford grunted. "I see you're in one of your moods." "Well I'd like to see you help me!" said the silver engine, "You could barely help that electric engine over there!" "That's Jonathon," said Stafford flatly, "If you excuse me, these trucks belong to him." And Stafford reversed out of the yard and to the station. At last, Spencer's water tank was filled as his driver climbed back into the cab. He whistled as he set off again. "Bye, bye Stafford! Too bad you'll never reach this speed!" Stafford rolled his eyes as he biffed the trucks into Jonathon. Jonathon was worried as Stafford sighed. "Stafford, are you alright?" he asked quietly. "I'm fine, Jonathon, but he makes going fast and being strong seem so easy sometimes and I'm just a small electric engine." "Hey, you're useful in your own way," replied Jonathon firmly. "Oh I know but... still... I wish I could give him a piece of his own medicine for once."
Later that day, in Knapford Yards, Stafford was shunting some water tankers for Dave. He still felt a bit miserable after what Spencer had said to him. As Dave backed down onto the tankers, he noticed Stafford had a glum vibe he usually didn't have. "What's wrong, Stafford?" Dave asked, "Is something wrong?" "I guess you could say that..." said Stafford, "Spencer got me in the dumps." "Ah, don't listen to Silver Steam," chuckled Dave, "He's just jealous because you're a relatively nice engine." Stafford blinked. "I am?" "Well, I'd say so, and I'm usually good at that sort of thing," Dave replied, "Bye Stafford!" And he rolled away with his tankers. Stafford did feel a little bit better after Dave's encouragement, but he still felt very small indeed. The electric shunter sighed, just as a strange whistle blew from nearby. He looked over to find a strange-looking engine backing down onto some flatbeds of crates. He had a white funnel, looked to be made of wood, and didn't look like any engine Stafford had ever seen before. Then Stafford read the engine's nameplate. He gasped immediately, realizing who he was looking at. "Stephenson's Rocket!" he gasped in awe. Stephen looked over and chuckled. "Yes, that's me, though I'm often called 'Stephen' for short. I take tours around Ulfstead Castle." "I'm Stafford, the electric shunter of the yards. I often work here, though I sometimes work at Killdane Yards too." A thought struck him. "But wait, if you work at the castle, why are you here?" asked Stafford. "I have to take these crates to Ulfstead Castle," Stephen explained, "They're needed for an urgent family meeting the Earl is having. I don't think it concerns us this time though." "Oh, I see." Stafford sighed. Stephen noticed that Stafford looked unhappy. "What's the matter?" he asked consolingly Stafford looked up; he felt a bit foolish for being caught by such a famous engine. "Well, uh... You know that silver tender engine, Spencer?" Stephen immediately recollected Spencer's visit to Ulfstead from earlier that day. "Oh, so he got you too, eh?" Stafford blinked, not sure what Stephen meant. "You mean he criticized you for being slow and small too?" he asked quietly. Stephen smirked. "Indeed he did. I didn't let it get to me though. It's happened before." "I know but it hurts a bit. I mean I am only an electric shunting engine," replied Stafford. "Maybe so but Spencer isn't that much better. By his logic, he's only a 'private engine' who barely does anything," Stephen chuckled. Stafford couldn't help but chuckle. "Sounds about right... I just wish we could pay him out." "He'll probably get his comeuppance eventually," said Stephen as he started to chuff away, "You'll see." Stafford wanted to believe Stephen, but felt a bit unsure.
Meanwhile, Spencer was waiting at Knapford Station, waiting for Bertie to come with the Duke and Duchess. He sighed as he scanned the platform. "Where is that bus? I'm a private engine; I shouldn't be sitting here, doing nothing!" "You're right! You are taking up the whole platform!" needled Caitlin as she puffed alongside. Spencer rolled his eyes. "Oh, hello Caitlin... Is Connor back in service yet...?" "I'm not sure," replied Caitlin, "I sure hope so. I can't pull all these passengers by myself." Spencer smirked. "Well at least you're aren't as slow as Stephen..." Caitlin glared at Spencer. "Are you teasing him again? And from what I've heard from Dave, you've been doing the same to Stafford too." Spencer could tell Caitlin was serious, but couldn't understand why. "What does that matter? They're inferior engines, and that's saying something!" Before Caitlin could reply, Bettie drove up to the station, panting heavily. "I'm sorry, Spencer," apologized Bertie, "There was-" "I'm not interested in your excuses, Bertie," scoffed Spencer, "I'll have to make up for lost time now..." "Spencer, be kind to him," scolded the Duke, "He's a very pleasant bus." "Yes, and he gives wonderful rides." Bertie grinned. "I do try." "And he doesn't complain 24/7," huffed the Duke as he climbed into the coach. Spencer frowned. "Yes sir... Where are you off to, sir?" "Back to your summer house," replied the Duke tartly, "And don't bounce around this time." Caitlin and Bertie snickered as Spencer puffed away. "They said I was pleasant!" grinned Bertie.
Spencer was cross as he set off down the Main Line. "Ugh, that bus gets all my attention!" he grunted to himself, "People think slower vehicles are better! We're not still using horses to get around, you know!" "Who are you talking to?" asked his driver. "Uh..." "Yeah that's what I thought." Spencer blushed, a bit embarrassed. Soon, he arrived at the Crosby Tunnel. As he approached it, steam erupted from his cab. He gasped immediately "What's going on?!" "Your main steam pipe has broken! We must've put too much steam in the boiler. We have to stop!" Spencer's driver exclaimed. He shut off steam and braked the train. The Duke and Duchess, confused as to why they stopped, poked their heads out of the windows. "What's going on, Spencer?" asked the Duchess. "One of my steam pipes snapped," Spencer groaned, "I'll have to get repairs..." "Darn it," huffed the Duke, "I wanted some tea." "Don't you always want tea?" asked the Duchess. "Yes but it's very special tea." "Is it...?" "Maybe." Spencer's driver got out a couple of red flags and placed them on the line so engines on Spencer's track could be warned of the danger. Meanwhile, the guard went to a nearby telephone and called for help.
The yard manager at Knapford picked up the call. "What's that you say? Spencer's steam pipe is broken? Someone has to go rescue him? Hold on, I'll see if I can find an engine." He looked out of his window, to find Dave being coupled up to a few vans and Stafford shunting some coaches. "Hmm... Would you mind if Stafford came to help? No? Excellent. He'll be right over." And the yard manager hung up. He walked out the door and walked over to the two Diesels. "Stafford, there's urgent news. One of Spencer's steam pipes has snapped, He must be taken to the Steamworks as quickly as possible." Stafford was surprised. "Me, sir?" "Why not? You've pushed Spencer before, and while using your weak battery I might add." "Well, I... uh..." "Come on Stafford," urged Dave, "This is your big chance to prove yourself to Silver Steam." Stafford chuckled. "Good name." "Thanks." The yard manager was growing impatient. "...time is of the essence here, so if you could just move along a bit..." "Oh... right... Bye, Dave," Stafford said as he started to roll away. "You can do it, Stafford!" grinned Dave. Stafford smiled slightly as he started out of the yard. "Yeah... I can."
Spencer was miserable as he watched the other engines rush by. Diesel snickered as he dieseled up beside Spencer. "Well, well, well. Looks like you've gotten all puffed out, Silver Steam!" he taunted. Spencer's cheeks grew a tint of pink. "What business is it of yours?" "You're always saying you're faster than others, but look where that got you!" chortled Diesel as he rushed away. "I'm sensing a hint of hypocrisy..." muttered Spencer. Jason puffed by, blowing his whistle. He chuckled to himself at Spencer's predicament. "For once I'm faster than you are! Ha, see you in five hours...!" Spencer was embarrassed, but before he could reply, another whistle blew, and to Spencer's horror, it was Stephen puffing up to him. "Stephen! What are you doing on the Main Line?" "Oh, hello Silver Steam!" Stephen chuckled. "Not this again..." "Silver Steam!" smirked Stephen. "Pah! You completely evaded my question!" "Oh yes, that. The Earl's allowing me to collect visitors because of my rising popularity." "...showoff." "Look who's talking," replied Stephen, "Aren't you the one who showed off to Millie and I?" Spencer stopped talking for a second. "Well, um... But I'm very fast! I can get to destinations faster than you can!" "Actually, Silver Steam, it's not how fast you go to get to a destination; it's about how enjoyable the journey is." Stephen said wisely. "Why do you keep calling me that?" "Because it's what you are." Just then, Winston drove up with the Fat Controller onboard; the yard manager had contacted him too after telling Stafford to rescue Spencer. "Oh Spencer, what happened this time?" he asked as he got out of his inspection car. "Another failed injector perhaps? Maybe an empty water tank?" giggled Winston. "Shut up!" snapped Spencer. "Actually it was a burst steam pipe," explained the driver. The Fat Controller sighed. "I'm sorry, Duke and Duchess." "It's not that bad," said the Duchess, "We have always have that lovely bus to drive us around if we need it." Spencer was appalled. "Huh!" Winston snickered. "Looks like you'll be replaced by Bertie," he chuckled. The Fat Controller was about to whisper to Winston to stop teasing Spencer when Stafford's horn blasted. Spencer groaned. "Oh no... Everyone's ganging up on me today!" Stephen chuckled. "I see you have everything under control then," the Fat Controller said as he climbed back into Winston, "Good luck to you, Stafford!" And the Fat Controller drove away. "Well, hello there, Silver Steam! Here's a slow and small engine to help you out!" Spencer just grunted. "Ugh, first a tram engine and now an electric shunter..." "Oh, don't feel bad Spencer! It isn't the first time I shunted you!" chuckled Stafford as he started to push Spencer along. "You didn't even have any difficulty!" Spencer spluttered. Stafford winked to Stephen. "Well, us 'slow and small engines' may have more capabilities than you give them credit for." Spencer considered what Stafford said, but couldn't pay a lot of attention as Stephen started to puff forward, slowly overtaking Spencer. "Bye, bye Spencer! I fly like the wind!" Stephen grinned. "This can't get any worse!" Spencer groaned. Just then, Gordon's whistle blew. "Express coming through!" he grinned as he passed Stafford. When he saw Spencer travelling so slowly, he laughed heartily. "It appears you just can't move up in the world these days, eh cousin?" Gordon asked teasingly. Spencer was so embarrassed by the whole ordeal he couldn't speak. The Duke and Duchess of Boxford smiled to each other; they had to admit Spencer deserved it. "Ah well, I can't wait for slow engines like you! Ta ta!" And Gordon raced away with the Express. Stafford and Stephen chortled all the way to the Steamworks as Spencer respectfully said nothing. At his time at the Steamworks, Spencer had a lot to think about.
A week later, Stafford was shunting Stephen's coaches so he could take some visitors to Ulfstead Castle again when Spencer puffed in. Stephen noted that Spencer looked relatively humbled. "Um... I know this may come across as a shock but... sorry. I shouldn't have insulted either of you. It seems that... slow engines do have their uses after all." Stephen smiled. "Glad to hear, Spencer!" "But you're still a bunch of Silver Steam!" Stafford chuckled. Stephen snickered, as did Stafford. This time, even Spencer laughed.
- The Fat Controller
- The Duke and Duchess of Boxford
- Toby (cameo)
- Bill and Ben (cameo)
- Derek (cameo)
- Philip (cameo)
- Henrietta (cameo)
- Killdane Yards
- Knapford Yard
- Ulfstead Castle
- Crosby Tunnel
- Sodor Steamworks
- Vicarstown Dieselworks (mentioned)
- The seventh season episode Gordon and Spencer, sixteenth season episode Welcome Stafford, and the story Oldies But Goldies are referenced.