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"No! I.. I can't race! Not after what happened with my coupling rod!"
―Connor

Cautious Connor is the twenty-third episode of the twentieth season.

Plot

There are some fast engines on the Island of Sodor like Gordon and Spencer, but there are also two streamlined engines named Connor and Caitlin who come from the Mainland and are even faster than Gordon and Spencer. One day, Connor races into Ulfstead Castle and arrives at the station before Stephen does, Stephen says to Connor that he reminds him of him back in his days at the Rainhill Trials and won every race, Connor laughs and says to Stephen that he probably still has it in him, then Stephen puffs out of the castle station and makes the sound of a rocket while Connor also leaves the station.

Meanwhile, Connor is waiting at the Vicarstown Bridge for the drawbridge to lower down while a ship crosses the Walney Channel, Connor starts speeding up once the bridge is lowered, but as he speeds along the line worrying that he is late to bring his passengers, he hears something clanging and stops to see what it is, the driver and fireman go out and check on Connor only to discover his coupling rods had become loose which nearly caused him to derail, Connor suggests that he was probably going too fast.

Connor is sent to the steamworks and is given a new coupling rod, but he starts fearing at going high-speeds, but Victor tells him that his coupling rod cannot just loosen when going too fast, but at any speed, Connor sadly leaves the steamworks and goes to Ulfstead Castle to deliver passengers, he tells Millie of how he broke down on the Mainland and then says that he is going to be much careful from then on, but this makes Stephen and Millie worry.

Thomas is chuffing along the line when he sees Connor going very slow, Thomas asks Connor why he is going so slow in which Connor explains about his coupling rod and from now on, he is going to be more careful, but Thomas suggests that Connor should go and get checked over again at the steamworks, Connor agrees and Thomas chuffs away going more further away than Connor. Connor continuously repeats "Better safe than sorry" on his way to the steamworks to be re-checked.

Connor returns to the steamworks and tells Victor that he is going very slowly, but he still thinks something is wrong with him, Victor tries to tell Connor there's nothing wrong with him as he is a fast streamlined engine who should be going at high-speeds again, but Connor is still worried about risking again. So Connor continues to drive slowly, even slow vehicles like Skiff overtake him, Thomas passes Connor and smiles sheepishly, with Annie saying to Thomas that he is so impressive and then she, Clarabel and Thomas start laughing at Connor, but Thomas' laugh quickly turns into a worry and tells Annie and Clarabel that it is not funny as they need Connor to go back into being his normal self again. Annie and Clarabel agree this time, but as Clarabel says that Connor's racing days are probably over, an idea flies into Thomas' funnel.

Connor puffs slowly into Ulfstead Castle, he is very pleased with himself, but the passengers are not happy and remark that it is a terrible railway, Thomas then pulls into the castle station and tells Connor that he thinks he might be up for a challenge, which Connor tells Thomas that he is always ready for a challenge, Thomas says to Connor let's have a race, but Connor starts worrying about his coupling rod loosening again and having an accident and tries to make an excuse of not being able to race, but Thomas tells Connor that he means racing against Stephen, who then puffs up and begins the race, but as the race starts, Stephen starts very slowly, but acts as if he is going faster, and while Stephen begins to move, Connor stays and does not move from the platform, but then suddenly snaps and tells Stephen that he is much too faster than him, though Stephen has already chuffed around a loop back to the station, then he tells Connor about his days in the Rainhill Trials and how the engines he competed against had their parts snap off and some would even explode causing Connor to feel a bit frightened. Stephen explains to Connor that the engines would not give up and would continue racing whilst putting their parts back together like the heroes they were, then Stephen remarks that Connor is not fast now he no longer feels like going, but Connor offensively replies that he loves going fast with Stephen tauntingly convincing him to get out and start going fast, so as the stationmaster blows his whistle, Connor is determined to beat Stephen and rushes out of the station, after his departure, Thomas is pleased with Stephen as his pep talk with Connor worked very well, he then curiously asks if the engines at the trials really put themselves back together, Stephen chuckles and responds that it was just a joke he made up so Connor could continue being a high-speed engine again.

From then on, Connor is back as himself again and races at high-speed again at bang-on time.

Characters

Some passengers also speak. They are voiced by Keith Wickham.

Locations

Cast

UK

US

  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • David Bedella as Victor
  • Jonathan Forbes as Connor
  • Bob Golding as Stephen and a Steamworks worker
  • Miranda Raison as Millie
  • Teresa Gallagher as Annie and Clarabel
  • Keith Wickham as the Grumpy Passenger and other passengers

Trivia

  • This was one of the five episodes that was incomplete at the time Arc Productions went bankrupt, and was finished off by Jam Filled Toronto after Jam Filled Entertainment bought the aforementioned studio. As a result, there are a couple of animation errors in the episode because of this.
  • This episode was also meant to be a part of the twenty-first season but was pushed forward to the twentieth season instead.
  • The incidents Stephen described about the early steam engines during his time were real; many early concepts of steam engines ran and experienced the risks of numerous failings and exploding.
  • Stephen's inspirational speech marks the first time an engine is indirectly described with a near-death experience; since all engines refer to being scrapped as "death," it follows that his telling of an engine exploding is almost as crippling.
  • Stephen saying "Greased lightning" could be a reference to the song from the musical Grease.
  • Going by the Channel 5 guide listing, this is the fifteenth episode of the twentieth season.

Goofs

  • As the episode was incomplete at the time Arc Productions went backrupt, and the episode got finished off by Jam Filled, there are a couple of animation errors, these being:
    • When Spencer first appears on screen, his coaches are not textured and are just plain grey.
    • In the shot before Connor says "Finally" the tracks leading to the Vicarstown Bridge disappear.
    • In the overhead shot of Skiff overtaking Connor, just before the camera angle changes, Skiff and Captain Joe disappear.
    • In one shot of Connor at Ulfstead Castle, his eyebrows are not attached to his forehead.
  • Following his accident, Connor worries about his coupling rod coming loose again, while it was actually his driving rod that came apart.
  • While Connor is at the Steamworks being fixed, the engineers fixed his middle driving rod, but his back driving rod was the rod that broke.
  • When Stephen comes up to Connor saying "That's right pal," Stephen go forwards despite the fact that the points are set for him to go to the other track instead of forwards.
  • In the US narration near the end, when Thomas cheers for Connor, his UK voice can be heard.
  • In the end scene Millie takes the turn from the dual gauge track which is only standard gauge.
  • The narrator states that Connor and Caitlin are faster than Spencer, but Spencer is an A4 and in real life, A4's are the fastest steam engines.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Spanish Connor el Cuidadoso Connor the Careful
Japanese コナーははやくはしらない I Don't Know Connor At All
Polish Ostrożny Kacper Careful Connor
Romanian Connor cel Precaut Connor the Safe
Hebrew קונור הזהיר Cautious Connor
Dutch Voorzichtige Connor Cautious Connor
Russian Осторожный Коннор Cautious Connor

Home Media Releases

UK/US

Episode

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