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“Think positively, Lexi! Ask yourself what can you do!"
"You mean, anything?"
"Uh, no, we can't do anything."
"But we can try!”
―Thomas, Lexi, Theo and Merlin

Journey Beyond Sodor is the 2017 Thomas & Friends movie.


One day, Henry is pulling a goods train to the Mainland, but because of a faulty signal at Vicarstown, he runs right into the back of Hiro's train and derails, dangling dangerously over the edge of the viaduct.

Meanwhile, on his branch line, Thomas is feeling bright and sunny, whistling hello to everyone he meets. As he pulls into Knapford station, he is complimenting how wonderful the day is, and feels like bursting into song. He is then promptly interrupted by James, who is boastfully singing about how he believes he is the best engine on Sodor. As James pulls up to the platform, Thomas rolls up telling him that he isn't the favourite engine and that he was going to sing a song. James calls out to everyone at the station that Thomas is going to sing, and everyone listens. Hesitant at first, Thomas is just about to sing, but James interrupts him and starts singing again about how he's the favourite engine.

Thomas meets up with James at Knapford station yard, once again insisting he is not Sir Topham Hatt's favourite engine. James begs to differ, boasting how he always gets the best jobs and teasing him for collecting pigs from Farmer Trotter.

That evening, Edward arrives at Vicarstown with Judy and Jerome to help lift Henry back to safety as Harvey handles the derailed trucks. At his office, Sir Topham Hatt is talking on his telephone and using a map and wooden trains to monitor the situation. Thomas overhears Sir Topham Hatt making plans for James to take Henry's trucks to a goods yard in Bridlington, where the trucks were meant to go. Thomas plans to tease James back over pulling a goods train, but James takes Thomas by surprise, as for the importance of the goods train, James is not bothered. Then, Thomas asks Sir Topham Hatt all about the important jobs and the taking a goods train to the Bridlington Goods Yard on the Mainland, but Sir Topham Hatt reminds him that all jobs on the railway are important, even looking after his Branch Line is an important job. Later that night, Thomas is upset. He complains to Percy about James' show-off attitude. Percy does not listen and leaves to collect the mail train. Frustrated with James, Thomas then has an idea to pay him out.

The next morning, James arrives at Vicarstown and asks Rosie for his trucks, who tells him that Thomas took them instead. James is left shocked, while Thomas, proud of himself, departs for the Mainland.

At the Steamworks, Henry is being repaired with Sir Topham Hatt supervising. James arrives and complains about Thomas' act. Sir Topham Hatt is not upset, however, and in order to keep the railway in order, decides to put James on Thomas' branch line for the time being.

On the Mainland, Thomas is marvelling at the Mainland's scenery. However, he then heads through a very busy yard. Engines to and fro and the trucks' annoying him, Thomas is left confused as to where he needs to go. Meanwhile, James overshoots the platform at Maithwaite on Thomas' branch line. Unhappy with James' rough riding, Annie and Clarabel hope Thomas returns soon.

As Thomas is determined to find his way to Bridlington, he arrives at a canal, but his track is blocked by a gantry crane named Beresford, who refuses to let Thomas pass. Asking him several questions and singing, Thomas eventually tricks Beresford into letting him go. However, as he continues along the line, he runs out of coal and water in an old rail yard. He is greeted by Lexi, a cab-forward engine, and a geared railway traction engine named Theo. Theo shunts Thomas to the coal hopper and water tower while he and Lexi explain to Thomas that they are experimental engines. They also tell him that another engine named Merlin lives in the yard with them. Merlin is a "stealth engine" who can supposedly turn invisible, but Thomas does not see or hear him around the yard. He asks them for directions to Bridlington, but they cannot help him.

Thomas sets off once again and sees a factory in the distance. He makes his way over to the factory and finds that it is a large steelworks. He decides to go in to ask for directions. Two engines emerge from the building: a large tank engine named Hurricane and a diesel shunter named Frankie. To Thomas' delight, they know where Bridlington is, but they have him leave his trucks on a siding and give him a tour of the Steelworks. Thomas instantly feels welcome and the two engines give him a shed to sleep in for the night. Meanwhile, on Sodor, the engines are all wondering what happened to Thomas. James talks about the other times Thomas tricked others, fell down a mine, and crashed into the stationmaster's house. Percy suggests that James goes to look for him, but James is unsure.

The next morning, Hurricane and Frankie wake Thomas up early. Hurricane had delivered the trucks in the morning, so Thomas says that he needs to head back to Sodor. However, Frankie convinces Thomas into staying and helping her and Hurricane in return. Thomas reluctantly joins Hurricane and Frankie and spends the morning taking ladle trucks up to the slag heap. As he is taking empty slag wagons back into the building, he bumps into Hurricane's full wagons, derailing them. The molten slag spills, and Hurricane warns Thomas about the extreme danger that it poses. However, Hurricane and Frankie are proud of Thomas' work.

Meanwhile, Sir Topham Hatt had received a notice that the trucks have been delivered, but Thomas is still missing. James asks if he can go to the Mainland to look for Thomas, but Sir Topham Hatt refuses, telling James that he still needs to work on Thomas' branch line, as he cannot afford having one more engine out of work.

At the steelworks, Thomas is out of breath from all of the hard work. To make matters worse, Hurricane and Frankie leave to make a delivery; therefore, leaving Thomas to manage the heavy workload on his own. The gates are locked, leaving a homesick Thomas trapped at the steelworks.

Thomas tries to escape out a track that goes out of the steelworks. The track soon ends in a forest, and Thomas gets derailed.

On Sodor, James just gets further frustrated of the slow pace of Thomas' branch line, dealing with his line blocked by Farmer McColl's sheep. Meanwhile, Hurricane and Frankie rescue Thomas and tell him that he still has lots of work to do.

At Tidmouth Sheds, James says that he should go to the Mainland to get Thomas, as he was the engine who was supposed to take Thomas' train in the first place. Edward argues that if he does that, then nobody will be left to look after the branch line, however, Percy says that James would be a hero if he brought Thomas back, so James eagerly decides to go to the Mainland. 

That night at the Steelworks, during a thunderstorm, Thomas once again tries to sneak out. He ends up breaking the gates open with flatbeds of steel. The racket awakens Hurricane and Frankie; they start to set chase after him, but he succeeds into escaping into the woods. There, he hears a voice telling him to hide. The voice then reveals itself to be Merlin, the stealth-engine Lexi and Theo had mentioned. Thomas wakes up the next morning, only to find Merlin is no longer there.

James arrives at Bridlington and finds diesel shunters, asking if they had seen Thomas, but to no avail. However, James finds Thomas' trucks, who tell him they were delivered from the Steelworks by a big engine named Hurricane. James then asks if the diesels have seen Hurricane. Despite getting no answer, Hurricane, who was at Bridlington at the moment, watches on...

Trying to find his way back home, Thomas returns to the yard where he met the experimental engines. Lexi and Theo are excited to see Thomas again. Thomas is depressed about his disappointing journey on the Mainland. Theo and Lexi, however, cheer him up, telling him that they're messy and can't do anything. Claiming he can do something, Merlin reveals himself. Thomas discovers that Merlin cannot actually become invisible, as his design was a failed attempt of using steam out of his three funnels to keep him hidden. Merlin responds to Lexi and Theo with positivity, saying they'd still give anything a try. They offer to help Thomas find his way back home, but Thomas decides to go alone, thanking the experimentals for their help.

Thomas leaves the goods yard and finds the canal where he met Beresford. He tries to sneak past Beresford so he won't stop him again, but Beresford sees Thomas and lifts him up by his cab with his hook. Thomas begs Beresford to put him down, but Beresford refuses, upset that Thomas had left him alone when he was trying to get to know him. Thomas convinces Beresford it is not nice to force anyone to talk to him, and that they have to do something nice for each other to be friends. Beresford drops Thomas down, only to see Hurricane and Frankie with James passing by. Thomas asks him to hide him quickly from them. Beresford hides Thomas right over the canal. After they pass, Beresford swings Thomas back. Having done something nice for him, he asks Thomas to be friends and to talk to him. Thomas tells him that he has to rescue James from Hurricane and Frankie. To Thomas' surprise, Merlin arrives at the canal asking who James is. As it turns out, he had been following him to make sure he gets home safely. Thomas says that he has to help James; Merlin decides to help Thomas rescue him.

At the steelworks, Hurricane and Frankie are showing James around like they did with Thomas. However, James immediately sees through their act, demanding they show where Thomas is located. They act like they have never seen him before, but when James realises that they're lying, they tell him he was long-gone but pretend he was going to come back. They tell James to do work for them until Thomas returns. 

Thomas and Merlin go back to the goods yard and ask if Theo and Lexi can help them to rescue James. Lexi is eager, but Theo is not confident. Thomas, Lexi, and Merlin all eventually persuade him into going. They head to the steelworks and make a plan. Merlin says that he should use his invisibility powers to sneak in and rescue James, but since his invisibility obviously does not work, Thomas proposes that Theo and Lexi should stage an accident to act as a diversion while Merlin keeps watch and Thomas sneaks in. They set to try pull off their plan. Theo pretends to crashes a flatbed full of engine parts while Lexi calls Hurricane and Frankie for help. When they go to investigate, they are confused, as Lexi had told them that there had "been a derailment," the accident instead looking as though an engine "fell apart." While Merlin is back keeping watch, he worries about Thomas taking too long, so he tries to sneak into the Steelworks. Theo sees this and tells Lexi, which grabs the attention of Hurricane and Frankie. His invisibility evidently is not successful, so they catch him sneaking into the steelworks.

Thomas finds James at the slag heap and tells him that they have to go. James, upset in the first place with Thomas, refuses, saying he will leave after finishing the job he is working on. However, Thomas explains that Frankie and Hurricane will not let him leave, as Merlin warns Thomas that Hurricane and Frankie are coming back. Thomas and James make a run for it. Hurricane crashes into James' slag wagons, buying Thomas and James some time.

Thomas tells James to go around the building, but he has to go onto the track that leads inside the building to avoid crashing into Frankie. Hurricane and Frankie chase James through the steelworks, and he manages to lose them briefly, but they find him hiding behind some shelves. James continues to run away, prompting Hurricane and Frankie to become more aggressive. They begin bumping flatbeds at him, trying to block his way out. While Hurricane blocks James' track with a line of trucks, Thomas and Theo push it out of the way just in time. However, the trucks derail and hit a switch that activates a magnet, which picks Thomas up and suspends him in the air. Meanwhile, Lexi and Merlin shunt flatbeds of rails onto an intersection, blocking Hurricane and Frankie's lines and allowing James to escape.

Lexi, Merlin, and James get out safely, but Thomas is still hanging by the magnet. It brings Thomas over a vat of molten steel. Theo pushes the trucks into another button, hoping to make the magnet drop Thomas. The magnet drops Thomas, but into the vat of steel. Fortunately, another bucket hits him away at the last second. While now free from the magnet, Thomas skids on the ground and hits a slag wagon, which spills its contents onto the floor. The molten slag is dangerously close to Thomas, so Hurricane selflessly rockets to Thomas's rescue, shoving him out of the way. However, Hurricane ends up in the pile of slag and his front wheels start to melt. With quick thinking, Merlin pushes him out of the molten slag, saving his life.

However, Frankie is upset and begins to cry, because not only can Hurricane not make deliveries with melted wheels, but the other engines are going to leave her alone without any help. She says that the only reason she and Hurricane kept Thomas and James at the steelworks was because they wanted some help, but were unable to find anyone who wanted to. Thomas suggests having the experimental engines work at the steelworks. Lexi and Theo believe that they can't do it, but Merlin says that they can try.

As they head back to Sodor, Thomas apologises to James for taking his trucks away, and James apologises in return for his teasing about "being the favourite," saying that Thomas is probably the favourite instead. Thomas says that nobody is the favourite and that the most important thing is their friendship. Meanwhile, after Hurricane has been repaired, he and Frankie become fast friends with the experimental engines. Thomas and James go back to Tidmouth Sheds where Sir Topham Hatt and all the engines are.

Henry comes back from the steamworks and asks what he has missed in his absence.


Characters Introduced


Voice Cast




Bonus Features


  • Music Videos: Who's Thomas?, The Hottest Place in Town, We Can't Do Anything and The Most Important Thing is Being Friends
  • Landmarks of Sodor: Travelling to the Mainland
  • Top 5 Funniest Moments


  • This special takes place between the twenty-first season and Big World! Big Adventures!; therefore, it is the first special to be followed in chronological order by the next special. However, there are some hints with changes that this was produced before Season 21 in 2016 with these being:
    • Edward is shown at Tidmouth Sheds, despite leaving in the twenty-first season.
    • Carly, along with her gantry rails, are not present at Brendam Docks.
  • This is the second musical special, with the first being The Great Race.
  • The Australian iTunes release has severely distorted audio on some iOS devices.
  • Hugh Bonneville, Colin McFarlane, Darren Boyd, Jim Howick, Sophie Colquhoun, Lucy Montgomery and Nicola Stapleton join the voice cast.
  • The special was shown in select cinemas:
    • In the US at Edaville Railroad on 19th August 2017.
    • In Australia, Hoyts and Event Cinemas previewed the special 1-3 times everyday between 31st August - 6th September 2017 and on 9th, 10th and 12th September 2017.
    • It also aired on PBS Kids 17th November 2017 in the US. After the movie ended on TV, the song Race with YouLearn with Thomas segment, Not Showing Off, Engine Roll Call song and the twentieth season episode, Mucking About were included at the end to fill the timeslot.
    • It aired on Milkshake! in the UK on New Years Day, 2018 and aired on ABC2 in the Australia on New Year's Eve, 2017. It was later also repeated on Milkshake! on Easter Sunday, April 1st, 2018.
  • This special holds the record for the most cameo appearances in a Thomas & Friends production, with 74 cameos altogether.
  • References to the first season episode, Down the Mine, the second season episode, Thomas Comes to Breakfast and The Adventure Begins are absolutely made.
  • The film aired before the Extraordinary Engines episodes and Bradford the Brake Van premiered on television in the US and Australia, meaning that the audience may have not known who Hugo and Bradford were.
  • There are a few references to the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz:
    • In the scene where Thomas first sees the Steelworks, it looks very similar to Emerald City.
    • When Thomas goes through the gates, one of the trucks mutters "I have a feeling we're not on Sodor anymore."
    • In the scene when Hurricane's wheels are touched by the slag, Hurricane shouts "I'm melting! I'm melting!" like the Wicked Witch of the West did when she was splashed with water.
  • In the US dub, when Thomas is startled by Merlin during "We Can't Do Anything," a sound clip from The Great Race when he almost falls off the rail-ferry dock is re-used. Similarly, when he is about to crash into the ladle trucks after falling off the pipe, a sound clip from Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure when he falls down the cavern is re-used.
  • The sound effect heard when Beresford's hook hits his nose sounds different in the trailer then it does in the actual special.
  • This special marks the first of a few things:
    • The first special animated by Jam Filled Toronto.
    • The first special produced by Mattel Creations.
    • The first special since Tale of the Brave to have a stylised opening sequence.
    • The first special where James is voiced by Rob Rackstraw in the UK.
    • The first appearance of the salt vans in full CGI and their first appearance since the twelfth season episode, Best Friends.
    • The first special since The Adventure Begins to get released in the US before the UK.
    • The first time that tankers have had faces since the fourth season episode, Toad Stands By.
    • The first time the Mainland diesels have spoken, however, only two of them speak in this special. In addition, one of them is named Ulli.
    • The first time since the second season episode, The Diseasel where an engine's basis is said in the TV series.
    • The first special to feature William Hope in the UK dub.
    • The first time the Troublesome Trucks all have their own unique voices, instead of all being voiced by one person.
    • The first special since Hero of the Rails in which Cranky does not have a speaking role.
    • The first appearance of Vicarstown Goods Yard since the first season episode, Tenders and Turntables, which was also its debut appearance.
    • Jem Cole's first speaking role since the fifth season episode, Lady Hatt's Birthday Party.
    • The first special since Calling All Engines! not to include the French narration on the US DVD.
    • The first special since he joined the cast in Tale of the Brave not to have Tim Whitnall as part of the voice cast.
    • The first special since The Adventure Begins, and the second CGI special overall, not to have Matt Wilkinson as part of the UK voice cast and Glenn Wrage in the US cast.
  • This special also marks a few milestones for Rosie:
    • The first time she is voiced by Nicola Stapleton in the UK and US, taking over from Teresa Gallagher and Jules de Jongh, respectively.
    • Her first appearance in her new livery.
    • Her first speaking role since the sixteenth season episode, Sodor Surprise Day.
    • Her first speaking role in a special.
  • This special also marks the last of a few things:
    • Mark Moraghan's last special as narrator, as starting from Big World! Big Adventures! and the twenty-second season onwards, Thomas himself is the narrator. This also means that this is the last special narrated in third person.
    • The last special to air on PBS Kids in the US.
    • The last special to date produced and released before the season it takes place after.
  • In Germany, this special was supposed to be shown on television on 26th December 2017. However, Misty Island Rescue was shown instead.
  • From this special onwards, the engines, trucks, and other vehicles perform non-static body movements when they speak or look in different directions.


  • Gavin Ebedes is uncredited for being supervising editor on DVD and theatrical end credits. However he is credited on the PBS Kids end credits
  • The footage and audio during the eight minute preview is slowed down slightly. Because of this, the audio is distorted in some scenes.
  • The Australian/UK release is out of sync.
  • When Henry passes Connor in the beginning, he is near a grassy area. Right after that, when the camera changes, both engines are at Vicarstown.
  • Connor has Caitlin's whistle sound at the beginning.
  • The trucks that Hiro is pulling at the beginning change between the crash scene and the recovery scene.
  • In the overhead shot of Henry being lifted onto the crane's flatbeds, when Spencer passes, his composite and brake coaches are in the wrong order.
  • At Knapford, steam is shown coming out of James' whistle even though Thomas is the one whistling.
  • When James sings "Somebody Has to be the Favourite" for the final time, Judy and Jerome are seen in their Knapford siding, but they had just before been helping Henry at Vicarstown.
  • Thomas' driver uncouples Thomas to the trucks when Theo pulls him to the coal hopper, but when Lexi replies to him, his trucks are coupled. While coupling Thomas to Theo, his shunters pole disappears.
  • When Thomas points out that the houses are bright blue, there are trees in the middle of the road.
  • In the opening shot of Emily pulling a goods train, her tender chassis and body don't line up.
  • When Frankie laughs and says "Well isn't he a clever little tank engine," her wheels are clipping through the rails.
  • When Frankie sings "These are the sights you were meant to be seeing," her coupling chain does not move.
  • When Merlin first shows up in the distance, his tender is not properly connected to him.
  • At Bridlington Goods Yard, when the troublesome trucks are being pushed, their buffers don't touch each other.
  • The points, such as the ones inside the steelworks, don't have rails.
  • In the scenes of Tidmouth Sheds, the bushes behind the sheds are seen clipping through the back wall.
  • When Thomas gets lost in a junction with his trucks, he goes under a curved trestle and part of the trestle is
  • Due to the engines' gesturing movement, their valve gear and other parts often clip.
  • Throughout most of the special,with the exception of a few scenes, James' tender chassis is positioned further back than usual, making it clip through his tender bufferbeam.
  • When Merlin says "I can do something!" the audio is out of sync.
  • In the close up of Lexi when she explains how they are fully stocked in coal and water, Thomas is not present.
  • During "We Can't Do Anything," Thomas' driver's hand clips through his cab door.
  • When Theo runs into the pole and it falls in over, it’s made of wood, but when it hits the barrels, it’s made of metal.
  • When Thomas travels along the canal, he passes the area where Beresford usually is, but Beresford is absent. In the next scene, Thomas has been moved back, as Beresford is back in his original position, Thomas passing the same building twice.
  • Thomas' eyes shift positions in between the shots when Beresford and Merlin ask, "Who's James?" and when Thomas says, "Merlin! What are you doing here?"
  • Some of the trucks swap voices throughout the special.
  • Quite a few times in the US dub, a character says cars but their mouths move to sync trucks.
  • After Theo offers for Thomas to stay with them, Thomas is on the same track as Theo, but when Thomas says he will find his way home, he has changed track.
  • When Thomas and James are passing the steamworks during "The Most Important Thing is Being Friends," the tracks ends behind them.
  • When Merlin says "Hello again!" he appears beside Thomas, but there were no tracks beside Thomas before.
  • During "The Most Important Thing is Being Friends," Bereford can be heard singing before we see him do so.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Viagem ao Desconhecido
Chinese 湯馬仕大電影之衝出索多島
Czech Cesta z ostrova Sodor
French Aventure Sur le Continent
German Auf großer Reise
Greek Πέρα από τα Σύνορα του Σόντορ
Hungarian Túl Sodoron
Italian Viaggio Oltre i Confini Di Sodor
Japanese とびだせ! 友情の大冒険
Polish Podróż poza Wyspę Sodor
Romanian Călătorie Dincolo de Sodor
Russian Покидая Содор
Spanish El Viaje Más Allá de Sodor
Turkish Sodor’un Ötesine Yolculuk




  • Ringing Thomas in Tekoro (Limited Edition)
  • Ringing Theo in Tekoro
  • Ringing Lexi in Tekoro
  • Hurricane and Frankie
  • Thomas and Merlin Set


  • Lexi The Experimental Engine
  • Merlin the Invisible
  • Steelworks Thomas
  • Steelworks Hurricane
  • Scrapyard Escape Set


  • Merlin the Invisible
  • Steelworks Frankie


  • Steelworks Hurricane
  • Steelworks Frankie
  • Merlin the Invisible
  • Theo the Experimental Engine
  • Lexi The Experimental Engine


  • Steelworks Stunt Set

Motorized Railway

  • Merlin the Invisible
  • Steelworks Escape Set

Capsule Plarail

  • Lexi
  • Theo
  • Merlin
  • Hurricane
  • Frankie
  • Ladle Truck
  • Beresford
  • Steelworks Shed