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James and the Express

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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the magazine story.
"Did you lose your way, Gordon?"
"No; it was lost for me. I was switched off the main line onto the loop; I had to go all round and back again."
"Perhaps it was instinct!
— James teasing Gordon
James and the Express/
A Proud Day for James

David Mitton


David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona


Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


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

Air date

November 6th,
1984 (UK)
April 17th,
1987 (AUS)
February 26th,
1989 (US)

Previous episode

Troublesome Trucks/
Foolish Freight Cars

Next episode

Thomas and
the Guard
Thomas and
the Conductor

James and the Express, retitled A Proud Day for James in American releases, is the tenth episode of the first season. It aired on the Shining Time Station episode, Show and Yell in 1989.


Although the Fat Controller is starting to think well of James after his recent success with the trucks, he is still subject to ridicule by Gordon and Henry, who tease him about the time he made a hole in one of his coaches. He tries to get back at them by mentioning Gordon getting stuck on the hill and Henry refusing to leave the tunnel, but to no avail. Gordon then starts boasting about how he has pulled the express for years and never once lost his way because of "instinct."

The next day however, Gordon's arrogance gets the better of him when he pulls the express so fast, he ends up on the loop line before the signalman has the time to change the points. Embarrassed, Gordon returns to the station and the passengers demand their money back. The Fat Controller promises them a new train and offers the express to James, who delightfully accepts. James pulls the express so well that the Fat Controller allows him to take turns with Gordon in the future.

In the meantime, Gordon learns to appreciate quiet work and he and James become friends.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, James the Red Engine.
  • Stock footage from James and the Coaches is used.
  • An SiF interview with Christopher Noulton revealed that some of the passengers were made out of plasticine for this episode.
  • This is the only first season episode that's audio was not remastered from mono to stereo in the UK.
  • George Carlin's narration of this episode was never featured on an episode of Shining Time Station. It first appeared on Best of James
  • In Italy, the episode is titled "The Revenge of James". In Japan, this episode is called "The Joy for James". The French and Croatian title is "James and the Express Train".


  • After Gordon leaves Knapford, the truck in front of James changes.
  • In the scene after the passengers rushing to the booking office, a blonde woman in red has blu-tak underneath her shoes.
  • When James backed into Knapford with the coaches, a stagehand barely appears, then went off screen.
  • When the Fat Controller asks James if he would like to pull the express some time, the tree on the left behind him wobbles.
  • A wire is visible near Gordon's trailing wheel when he asks James to get his coaches.
  • Why does the express stop at Maron? The express is only meant to stop at Knapford, Crovan's Gate, and Vicarstown.
  • Because stock footage is used, James brings the other coaches to platform 5. But when Gordon arrives back at Knapford, James is at platform 3. Also, the brake coach is in the middle of the train.
  • In the close-up of James teasing Gordon, James' dome is chipped.
  • Gordon claims to have been switched off the main line onto the loop, but according to the railway map of Sodor, there is no line looping back to Knapford connected to the main line.
  • James places the coaches into Knapford at a point where the first coach was at the front of the platform, however when Gordon buffers up to them, they have moved back without Gordon pushing them, and he is then at the front of the platform.

In other languages

Language Name Meaning
Spanish Un Gran día para James A Great Day for James
Norwegian James og ekspresstoget James and the Express Train
Welsh James a'r Trèn Chwim James and the Fast Train



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