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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the magazine story.
"Well, well, well! Two big engines afraid of a cow?"
"Afraid? Rubbish!
— Edward and Gordon
Cows/A Cow on the Line

David Mitton


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona


Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton (adapted)


Ringo Starr (UK/US)
George Carlin (US)

Air date

September 5th, 1986 (UK)
April 16th, 1989 (US)

Previous episode

Thomas, Percy and the
/Double Trouble

Next episode

Bertie's Chase

Cows, retitled A Cow on the Line for American releases, is the second episode of the second season. It first aired in the US on the Shining Time Station episodes Impractical Jokes in 1989 and Fortune Teller Schemer in 1993.


Edward is the oldest engine on the Island of Sodor and has some worn-out parts which cause him to clank as he runs. One bright and sunny day, Edward is taking some cattle trucks to a nearby market town. The trucks are making a lot of noise, as is Edward by this point. On the line is a field where some cows were grazing. The noise and smoke produced by Edward and the trucks disturbs the animals as they are not used to it. As Edward passes them by, a number of cows break the fence, run across the line, and break a coupling, causing a truck, the brakevan, and the guard to be left behind. Edward, believing the jerk to be the trucks getting up to mischief, continues on his journey, clueless about the mishap. It is not until Edward gets to the next station that either he or his driver realise what happened.

When Gordon and Henry learn about the accident, they laugh and tease Edward constantly, making him very angry. Toby is also indignant towards the larger engines, knowing they have never encountered cows and do not know the trouble they cause.

A few days later, Edward is still in a bad mood when Gordon sails through Wellsworth with the express, teasing. Gordon continues down the line telling the coaches to hurry, when he and his driver think they see something on the upcoming bridge. The driver shuts off steam and applies the brakes and as Gordon gets closer, he sees the obstacle is a cow. Gordon is not worried and tries to shoo the cow away but she does not budge having had her calf taken away and feeling upset. Gordon's crew and the passengers try to get the cow to leave to no avail.

Henry soon comes by with his train and also thinks that the cow can simply be ordered away. When this does not work, Henry gets nervous and backs off claiming he does not want to hurt her. Reversing back to the station, Henry's guard tells the stationmaster about the cow blocking the line. The porter realises it is Bluebell and says that her calf is it at the station. The two men decide to send the calf in a truck pulled by Percy.

At the bridge, Percy arrives with the calf and reunites it with its mother. The two cows are then easily led away by the porter. As they leave, Gordon and Henry make an agreement not to tell anyone about the incident. Despite this, the story quickly gets around and Edward is ready to tease Gordon and Henry that night in the shed. Gordon defends himself, claiming that he simply did not want Bluebell to hurt herself by running up against him.

Edward tells Gordon that he understands and Gordon worries that Edward all too well does understand.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Edward the Blue Engine.
  • In the British narration, the porter notes that Bluebell's calf is "ready to go to market". In the American narration it is said to be "looking for her mother"; it is not clear why the line was changed, although the reference to cow slaughter may have been removed due to censorship issues.
  • A deleted scene shows Henry on the bridge without his coaches.
  • The Italian title of this episode is "Cows on the Tracks". The Spanish title is "Edward's Accident". In Japan, this episode is called "Cattle on the Line". In Denmark, the title is "Edward and the Cows". The Welsh title is called, "Cattle". In Brazil, this episode is called "The Accident of Edward".
  • In Nick Jr. where Wharf and Peace and Thomas' Frosty Friend are fail, he could see Down the Mine, Thomas, Percy and the Coal, Cows and Bertie's Chase in 2011.


  • When Edward crosses the viaduct he is pulling five trucks. However, in the next shot, he is pulling four trucks but when the cows break the coupling, he is pulling five again.
  • The narrator says that "some trucks were left behind", but only one truck was left behind.
  • When Gordon comes through Wellsworth he is pulling two brake coaches at the rear of his train.
  • When Gordon goes on the bridge he stops but his wheels go on for a few more seconds.
  • When Gordon is looking into the camera in the last shot his right eye is slightly off-centre.
  • The coaches are assembled without most of the undercarriage.
  • The narrator says that "Henry backed away nervously", but Henry is still smiling.
  • Edward's eyes are wonky in some scenes, including the ones with his angry face.
  • When Percy is on the bridge, he has a large lump of glue keeping his middle lamp iron on.
  • When Percy puffs through Crosby, he passes Henry, but in the next shot, Percy passes Henry again.
  • When Edward says, "Well, well, well, two big engines afraid of a cow?", Gordon can be seen next to him, but in the following scene, Gordon is just backing off the turntable.
  • It is said that Edward was taking the cattle trucks to a market town, but he delivers the trucks to Tidmouth Sheds.
  • When Percy is leaving Crosby, there are points in front of Henry that lead to nowhere.



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