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Journey Beyond Sodor is a Golden Book based on the special of the same name.
Henry has an accident while taking some trucks to the Mainland, so James is given the job while Henry is being repaired. James boasts about this to Thomas, and goes as far to say he is Sir Topham Hatt's favourite engine! Thomas is jealous of James, so the next day, he sneaks to the Mainland with James' trucks.
Because the job is not his, Thomas does not know where he has to go. He tries asking for directions from a crane called Beresford, but he does not know either. Then, he meets two strange engines: Theo and Lexi, who describe themselves as "experimental engines", explaining their interesting designs. They tell Thomas about Merlin, and how he has the ability to turn invisible. Thomas is impressed with Merlin's ability.
With a full bunker and plenty of water, Thomas continues on his way. However, he is sidetracked when he notices the Steelworks, and goes to explore it. There, he meets Hurricane and Frankie, who give him a tour of the Steelworks and a shed to sleep in for the night. The next morning, Thomas finds that they delivered his trucks for him. He says he must return to Sodor, but because they helped Thomas, Thomas must help them in return.
The work is dangerous, and Thomas becomes fed up when they give him more jobs. So, while they are asleep, Thomas breaks out of the Steelworks. On his way back, Thomas hears Merlin's voice, even though he cannot see him. Meanwhile, James, who has been stuck doing Thomas' jobs while he was away, decides to go look for him. Back on the Mainland, Thomas sees that Hurricane and Frankie are trying to find him, so Beresford hides him. Suddenly, the two meet up with James and take him to the Steelworks. Thomas collects the experimental engines to rescue him.
Theo and Lexi distract the two by pretending to have an accident while Thomas sneaks in. James is relieved to see Thomas; he says the work does not suit him either, and they are about to leave when Hurricane and Frankie return. They are chased around the Steelworks when Theo accidentally hits a switch. The switch activates a magnet that carries Thomas over a huge furnace!
Luckily, Theo manages to bring Thomas back down, but knocks over a pot of molten slag in the process. As the slag nearly reaches Thomas, Hurricane suddenly shunts him out of the way before his wheels become engulfed in the slag. Merlin helps pull Hurricane back to safety, but he must be repaired. Frankie laments the idea of working alone, so the experimental engines agree to help while Hurricane is away.
Thomas and James return to Sodor and make amends from their argument about being the "favourite engine". Sir Topham Hatt comes to the sheds to see all his favourite engines, all together again.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Henry (does not speak)
- Edward (cameo)
- Gordon (cameo)
- Percy (cameo)
- Emily (cameo)
- Spencer (cameo)
- Ryan (cameo)
- Winston (cameo)
- Victor (cameo)
- Jerome (cameo)
- Kevin (cameo)
- There are a few differences between the book and the special:
- When Henry crashes, the angle he is dangling at is higher than the special.
- The train Henry was pulling is different than the special; there are flatbeds of metal leading Henry’s train while the special instead shows vans and open trucks.
- Thomas and James are at the Steamworks when Sir Topham Hatt tells James about his job and when James brags to Thomas. In the special, this scene takes place at Knapford Station.
- Thomas is more fed up than homesick when Frankie and Hurricane give him extra jobs.
- It is daytime when James decides to look for Thomas in the book, but in the special, it’s nighttime. This scene happens after Thomas escapes the Steelworks in the book, while the special has the scene set before Thomas escapes.
- When Thomas meets Merlin, Thomas is not being chased by Frankie and Hurricane in the book.
- The book shows Beresford hiding Thomas behind some buildings while the special has Thomas hidden behind Beresford in the water.
- Beresford’s hook is holding onto Thomas’ windows in the book. The special has Beresford holding Thomas by his cab roof.
- In the book, James meets Frankie and Hurricane in the forest after Beresford hides Thomas. In the special, James meets Frankie and Hurricane at Bridlington Goods Yard before Beresford hides Thomas.
- The book depicts Thomas asking the experimental engines for help at their sheds, while the special keeps them in the experimental goods yard.
- The scrap on Theo’s flatbed is different between both the book and the special.
- In the book, James is happy to see Thomas, but in the special, James is annoyed with Thomas.
- Thomas is still on the rails after Hurricane saves him from the molten slag in the book, but in the special, Thomas is not on the rails.
- The book states that the experimental engines were willing to help Frankie, though the movie depicts only Merlin willing to help while Theo and Lexi still think they can’t do anything.
- The engines are in different berths at Tidmouth Sheds in the book than the special.
- When Hurricane saves Thomas, Thomas isn’t on the rails, but when Hurricane screams “I’m melting!”, Thomas is on the rails.