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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


Britt Allcroft
David Mitton
Robert D. Cardona


Reverend W. Awdry
Britt Allcroft
David Mitton


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

Air date

October 7th, 1984 (UK)
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.

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.
  • The Italian title of this episode is "The Revenge of James". In Wales, it is called "James and the Fast Train". In Japan, this episode is called "The Joy for James". The French title is, "James and the Express Train".
  • In the George Carlin version, the start of the busy theme can be heard when James goes to fetch Gordon's coaches, but it is ommited in both Ringo Starr narrations.
  • In Ringo Starr's US narration, an owl can be heard hooting loudly up to where Gordon says "You talk too much, little James." The owl sounds get abruptly quiet


  • 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 barley 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.
  • In the close of James teasing Gordon, James' dome is chipped.



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