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King of the Railway

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This article is about the special. You may be looking for the book.
"Look! A metal man... a robot!"
— Percy
KingoftheRailwayBlu-ray
King of the Railway
Director(s)

Rob Silvestri

Producer(s)

Brian Lynch
(Arc Productions)
Ian McCue
Halim Jabbour
(HiT Entertainment)

Writer(s)

Andrew Brenner

Starring

Mark Moraghan

Music by

Robert Hartshorne
Peter Hartshorne

Distributor

HiT Entertainment
(US/UK)
Lionsgate (US)
ABC for Kids (AUS)
Barnas Favoritter
(Sweden, Finland,
Norway, and Denmark
)
HVN (Malaysia)
Sony Creative
Products Inc.
(Japan)

Released

September 2nd,
2013 (UK)
September 17th,
2013 (US)
October 2nd,
2013 (AUS/SWE)
November 7th,
2013 (MEX)
November 15th,
2013 (FIN)
November 22nd,
2013 (GER)
February 5th,
2014 (NOR)
May 1st,
2014 (DEN)
October 15th,
2014 (JAP)

Runtime

60 mins

Preceded by

Blue Mountain Mystery

Followed by

Tale of the Brave

King of the Railway is a special that was released in September 2013.

Plot

One morning at Brendam Docks, Thomas and Percy are shunting, but not very carefully. Thomas biffs a truck into another, causing a crate to fall out. Inside is a suit of armour. Percy thinks it is alive and runs away, but Thomas stays and wonders why the suit of armour was there, and who it belonged to.

Later, all the engines were sent to the wash down. None of them know why, but Emily knows Spencer is coming, and James thinks a special visitor is arriving. The Fat Controller comes up, and tells all the engines that Sir Robert Norramby will be arriving back on Sodor from travelling the world. All the engines become very excited, and soon there are lots of preparations for the Earl's arrival. All the engines then gather at Knapford Station, and soon Spencer steams in bringing the Earl. The Fat Controller greets a very surprised Sir Robert Norramby, who gets confused about whom the party is for. Thinking it is for somebody else, he clambers back into his coach, and says goodbye to them all. He then mentions something about someone called Millie, but none of the engines know who he is talking about.

Later, Thomas is sent to Brendam Docks to pick up some more crates to take to the estate at Ulfstead Castle. When he arrives, a little blue bubbly French engine rolls up next to him. Thomas guesses this must be Millie, which she is. Millie explains that she had been locked up in her shed whilst the Earl was travelling, but she was now able to steam freely again. Sir Robert Norramby clambers aboard Millie’s coach, and thanks Thomas for helping him. He then mentions something about King Godred’s golden crown, leaving a rather puzzled Thomas.

Later that night, Spencer returns back to Sodor and arrives at Tidmouth Sheds, saying that the Earl has asked for him again. He then has a slight argument about who is faster with Gordon, ending with a decision to race the very next day. When morning comes, the two engines begin their race. Gordon thinks it is unfair that he had a long line of coaches behind him, yet Spencer did not. Nevertheless he works hard and is just about to catch up to Spencer, when the streamlined engine turns off the mainline, saying he has special work to complete with the Earl. This leaves a very annoyed Gordon. Later, Percy was shunting at the docks, when he spies another engine. Mistaking it for Thomas, he jumps at it, causing the engine, Spencer, to jump. Percy asks what Spencer was doing, and he replies that he has taken the Earl to the docks for an important meeting with the dock manager. Later, Thomas finds Spencer at the Blue Mountain Quarry. Spencer denies that he has anything to do with the long line of trucks behind him, until the Earl tells him to couple up to the train. Thomas laughs, telling him he is being “really useful”. Spencer just groans.

At Knapford Station, some off the engines are discussing why the Earl would want rails, and big heavy stones. They think there must be a new railway line, with a station. Suddenly, Toby rushes in, telling all the engines that Henry has burst his safety valve, and the Fat Controller wants Percy to take his heavy goods train to the earl’s estate. Percy excitedly puffs off, leaving a rather confused group of engines. They all know Percy is not strong enough to pull a heavy train.

At the docks, Percy pulls in to find James already at the front of the train. James says it is his train, and not Percy’s. As the two begin to argue, Thomas pulls in; telling them it is his train. The engines begin to argue, until the Fat Controller arrives, and explains that it is all three engines would have to pull the train. So the engines set off. They have a rough time with the troublesome trucks, especially steaming up Gordon’s hill. But they make it, and are soon heaving into the Earl’s estate. They are all surprised at what they see. The whole place looks like a building site and the engines cannot understand it. Thomas then sees Jack, who explains the earl is helping to restore Ulfstead Castle. They engines now understand what he is doing, and are very excited. Then the Earl arrives, explaining that one truck was supposed to be dropped off at the Steamworks. None of the engines understand why, but they are very curious to find out. So they all decide to travel with the earl to find out. At the Steamworks, the crate is lifted off the truck, to reveal a very old, rusty engine, who goes by the name of Stephen. The engines are amazed, and ask Stephen lots of questions. They then ask the Earl why Stephen had been brought to Sodor. The Earl explains he has a special job for him, but he warns them not to tell him just yet, as he may get a little too excited. When they return back to Tidmouth Sheds, Thomas, Percy and James tell the rest of the engines all about him. The engines are thrilled, and they all want to meet Stephen.

The next morning, as Henry’s safety valve is still faulty, he is taken to the Steamworks by Emily. Once they get there, they discover Stephen hanging from the ceiling. He explains he is having his undercarriage looked at. Just then, the rest of the Steam Team roll in and Stephen is very surprised that they all wanted to come and see him. He then tells stories of his past, about how he was the most reliable engine in his time, as well as being the fastest. He then goes on to say how he worked at some docks, and the mines. He then sighs, saying how modern engines are much faster than he is, and stronger. But nevertheless, he is happy to be fixed.

After a while, Stephen's restoration is complete. All of the engines come to see him in his new paintwork and gleaming brass domes. But the Fat Controller is not very happy seeing all of his engines not working. However, he then tells Thomas, Percy and James to return to Ulfstead Castle at once, as the Earl has another job for them. Thomas is excited, but he see’s Stephen’s sad face. Thomas knows it is because Stephen does not have a job, and he wants to go and make him feel better. James warns him that the Earl said he was not supposed to tell Stephen about his special job, but Thomas decides to anyway. Stephen just laughs when Thomas tells him, but thanks him for cheering him up. The engines return to the castle, where they find that plenty of progress was being made. There are even rails leading inside the castle. Sir Robert Norramby is very pleased with the work, but there was still some work for the engines to do. They have to replace roof beams on the main castle building, by pulling a flatbed, known as the Traveller, which is very heavy. The engines have to work very hard together, but it is a big struggle.

Meanwhile, Henry leaves the Steamworks after being fixed. Stephen wants to leave, but he does not know what his special job is. Not even Victor or Kevin can tell him. At last Stephen can’t wait any longer, and decides that he will have to find his new job, and sets out at once to find it. Meanwhile, Gordon is out pulling the express, when Spencer steams up again, challenging him to another race. Gordon agrees, and the two set off. Gordon begins to edge ahead of Spencer, pleased that he may win. Suddenly, he spots something ahead of him on the tracks; it is Stephen, steaming slowly along. Gordon tries to stop. He slams on his brakes, finally slowing down, just in time. He tells Stephen to hurry up, but Stephen replies that he is travelling as fast as he can. Gordon groans as he watches Spencer race away, whilst he is stuck behind the slowest engine on Sodor.

Back at Ulfstead Castle, the engines are still moving the giant structure. Percy wobbles slightly, causing spanners to fall down. James tells him off, leaving Thomas warning the two pay attention. He pulls ahead too sharply, and it causes the roof beam to fall down, covering the place in dust. Nobody is hurt, but James’ lovely red paint is ruined. But the engines try again, and finally, the roof beams are all in place. Everybody is very relieved.

Stephen however, arrives at the docks to look for work. Diesel and Paxton are shunting there, and Diesel tells Stephen that there is no work for him at all at the docks, and only modern engines should work there. Paxton tries to make amends by being friendly to Stephen, but he does not mind. He just sets off to find another job. He arrives at the Blue Mountain Quarry. He introduces himself to Luke, Skarloey and Rheneas, who let him pull some heavy trucks. Stephen however, only manages to pull one truck, and almost derails at a bend. Skarloey tells him that maybe the job here is not so good for him, but there was an old mine up at Ulfstead Castle. Stephen decides he will go and take a look.

Back at Ulfstead, the Earl shows Thomas, Percy and James his collections of old artifacts that he collected from travelling the world. The engines are amazed, especially when they find out that Stephen is going to be the tour guide of the castle and grounds. The Earl tells the engines they can go and tell Stephen this and finally, James is given permission to go and have a wash. Whilst he’s there, two speedy engines rush past him. They also race past Hiro, and Gordon and Spencer, who are racing again. The engines introduce themselves as Connor and Caitlin, who have come to Sodor to take passengers up to Ulfstead Castle. They challenge the two engines to a race, but both Gordon and Spencer come up with excuses about why they shouldn't, knowing that they have no chance of winning.

Stephen, meanwhile, rolls up to the bottom of the slope up to Ulfstead Castle. He is delighted to find the old mine, and quickly puffs towards it. But when he reaches the entrance, he finds it all blocked up. He is extremely disappointed and concludes that Thomas must have been wrong about him having a special job. Whilst this is going on, Sir Robert Norramby realises that there are some Troublesome Trucks that need to be taken away. Thomas and Percy offer to take them, but the Earl isn't so sure; he is worried the train will be too heavy. But the two engines insist, and slowly push the trucks to the top of the hill. Suddenly, Percy shouts that there should be an engine at the front, but it is too late. The trucks pull the two engines down the hill, much too fast for the two tank engines to stop. Stephen is just backing up, when he hears the sound of the runaway train coming along his line. There is nothing he can do, except smash through the blocked entrance, which causes his funnel to fly off and rocks to fall down behind him, leaving him trapped. The trucks hit the fallen rocks and stop. Thomas and Percy are relieved, and slowly pull the trucks backwards, unaware of Stephen's incident.

Later, Thomas goes to the Steamworks to tell Stephen the good news, but when he arrives, Stephen is not there. Victor apologises, saying he does not know where he is, so Thomas goes to find Percy and James. James tells Thomas he was silly for telling Stephen he had a job. The engines then all go out to look for him. Percy looks at the castle, but neither Jack nor Mille have seen Stephen. James searches at the docks, but Cranky says that he only saw him yesterday. At the Blue Mountain Quarry, Thomas asks the small engines, but Luke explains about the trucks accident. Thomas is very worried.

Deep, deep down inside Ulfstead Mine, Stephen is whistling for help. But after a while, he decides that help wouldn't be coming, so he decides to try and find his own way out. He patrols all of the tunnels, but he keeps getting to dead ends. He feels very upset. He rolls back, but accidentally knocks into some rocks, causing a rock fall. Rocks tumble from the ceiling, and suddenly, Stephen spots an old wooden chest. Thinking it is junk, he bumps it out of the way. This made it open up, however, and inside was something that Stephen could not believe he had actually found.

Next morning, Thomas, Percy and James all get up early and are about to go out and look for Stephen when Sir Topham Hatt arrives. He questions the engines on what they are doing, and they reply back by telling him about Stephen. Just as they are saying this, Sir Robert Norramby drives in, and asks if anybody has seen Stephen. In the end, the Fat Controller agrees to let Thomas, James and Percy to go and look for Stephen. They start searching everywhere, with the help of Connor, Caitlin and the Sodor Search and Rescue crew. But no matter how hard they looked, they just could not find Stephen.

Down in the mine, poor Stephen is running out of steam. As he rounds a bend, he suddenly realises that he is now back at where he had started, and had travelled in a big loop. He tries to steam back again, but he runs out of puff. Outside the mine, Percy suggests Thomas should go and look down the old track leading up to it. Thomas agrees and steams forwards. Just before the mine is some elevated track held by rotten wooden supports. Thomas is a little bit nervous when he steams over it. He reaches the end and finds the blocked tunnel. He sighs, knowing Stephen wouldn't be down there. As he reverses, he suddenly spots Stephen's funnel. Thomas calls to Stephen, but Stephen does not respond, he doesn't have enough puff left. Thomas is about to steam away, when Stephen suddenly lets out a blast of his whistle. Thomas is extremely happy, and knows exactly what he needs to do.

Thomas brings Jack down from the Castle, and to the mine. Jack quickly clears away the rocks blocking the entrance, and Thomas steams inside. He finds Stephen, and pulls him out to safety. Stephen is very happy, as is Sir Robert Norramby, Percy and James, who by this point had all arrived. Stephen is about to say something very important when suddenly the elevated section of track begins to collapse. Stephen is hanging off the broken end. Thomas pulls with all his might, but Stephen is still slipping. However, Jack comes along and pushes up with his bucket. Thomas finally manages to pull Stephen to safety.

Soon, everybody is ready for the grand opening of Ulfstead Castle. Stephen arrives, with a shiny new funnel, and is greeted warmly by everybody. The Earl opens the castle, and tells everybody that whilst Stephen was in the mine, he discovered King Godred's Golden Crown which is a main artefact at the castle. Stephen, along with Millie, becomes a tour guide of the Castle and the grounds and to end the occasion Connor and Caitlin are to race just like knights of old used to do. However, they persuade Spencer and Gordon to race too. They race off away from the castle.

Characters

Locations

Cast

UK and AUS

USA

Bonus Features

UK

US

  • The Search for the Lost Crown game
  • It's Gonna be a Great Day sing-a-long
  • Searching Everywhere sing-a-long
  • Working Together Again sing-a-long
  • Guess Who? puzzles

Japan

  • King of the Railway Theatrical Trailer
  • Tale of the Brave Trailer
  • Working Together Again sing-a-long
  • Searching Everywhere sing-a-long
  • It's Gonna be a Great Day sing-a-long

Trivia

  • This is the first special of several things:
  • This is also the last special where Henrietta does not have a face.
  • This special was shown in select Australia and New Zealand theatres in late July, UK theatres in late August, and Norwegian theatres in early October.
  • This is the first, and currently only special to be shown in Norwegian theatres.
  • When the Earl first arrives at Knapford, the Sodor Brass Band plays the Engine Roll Call as a fanfare, and does so again at Ulfstead Castle's opening ceremony. Later, as Stephen is travelling along the main line, right before Gordon bumps into him, he is heard humming the song.
  • When Toby says that Henry has broken down, Gordon says "Don't tell me he needs special coal again!"  To which Toby replies, "No, Gordon!  That was fixed years ago!"  This is a reference to Henry's rebuild after the Flying Kipper accident, and is likely an amendment to the instances in later seasons where Henry was said to have needed special coal, despite being in his new shape.
  • The aforementioned conversation between Gordon and Toby about Henry not needing special coal was present in early drafts of the script, but was omitted in later revisions.  It was re-inserted for the final script at the insistence of Railway Consultant Sam Wilkinson.
  • This special first aired on the Polish TV channel MiniMini on June 29th, 2013, making it the first special to premier in a non-English-speaking territory.
  • This special aired on the Mexican TV channel Canal 5 on November 25th, 26th, and 27th, 2013, and again in December 11th, 12th and 13th 2013.
  • This special aired on PBS on November 18th and 19th, 2013 in the US. During the airings, some scenes were edited.
  • This special aired on ABC 4 Kids on 8th October 2013 in Australia.
  • This special aired on MiniMax TV on 15th September 2013 in Romania.
  • Stephen's lines "Hello! Can anybody hear me out there? Help! Help!" and "Calling all engines! Calling all engines!" are present in the US dub, however they are omitted in the UK version.
  • This special marks Jack's first appearance since the twelfth season and the Troublesome Trucks' first speaking role since the same season.
  • David Menkin and Bob Golding join the voice cast. Rebecca O'MaraJonathan Forbes, Miranda Raison, and Mike Grady also officially join the voice cast.
  • During its first week of release in the UK, this special was the number one Best Selling DVD in Children's Animation on Amazon.co.uk.
  • This special takes place between the sixteenth and seventeenth seasons.
  • This special was shown on Milkshake! on New Year's Day, 2014, and again on April 20th, 2014.
  • There are some differences between the scenes in the UK trailer and the corresponding ones in the actual film:
    • Thomas and Percy are clean when they are being pulled down the hill in the trailer, but in the special they are covered in dust.
    • There is no lighting in the Steamworks in the trailer, but there is in the special.
    • The scene of Sir Robert Norramby waving from Millie's Cab does not appear in the special.
    • When Robert Norramby is standing at the podium and lifts the visor on his helmet, he is not heard saying "Ta-da!" in the trailer.
    • The dialogue of Thomas, Percy and James saying "Together?" is different in the trailer and in the special.
    • Thomas' line "Don't worry Stephen, I'm coming to rescue you!" is different.
  • This is the first special to have completely different disc artwork for the DVD and Blu-Ray.
  • In the US trailer, the conversation between Thomas and the Earl about the latter's plans is shorter than it is in the film.  Also in the trailer, the Earl tells Thomas that he has a special job for him, James, and Percy.  The Earl only tells Thomas he has a special job for Stephen in the film, and Sir Topham Hatt later tells Thomas, James, and Percy that the Earl has a job for them.
  • This is the last special to be distributed by Lionsgate for the US.
  • The scene with Henry stating he is being unable to build up steam alongside James is a near-image of the beginning scene of the first season episode Coal, where Henry complains about the same inability to James. What is more, both engines are in the same positions for both.
  • Stephen's narration of his early life is almost exactly how his basis first began, as well as the railway itself.

Goofs

  • David Menkin is not credited for voicing Jack in the US version.
  • At one point when the engines are at Knapford for the Earl's welcome party, Belle's valve gear and side rods are back to front.
  • When Spencer returns to Sodor, his wheels are black and his nameplate is blank.
  • During the scene of Gordon and Spencer starting a race at Knapford, James can be seen departing the station with a train of trucks at the start of the scene. A few shots later, when Spencer passes Gordon, James' tender can be right on the edge of the shot.
  • When Stephen is telling his story at the Steamworks, part of Thomas' splasher appears to be rusted.
  • When Thomas heads to Ulfstead Castle for the first time, he has a brakevan on his train, but when the Earl gets in Millie's coach with the suit of armour, the brakevan disappears.
  • When Skarloey tells Stephen about the mines at Ulfstead Castle, Stephen disappears, but in the next scene, he reappears.
  • In the scene of the Shunting Yards in Searching Everywhere, Henry has three covered trucks and five uncovered trucks, but when he is seen crossing the Knapford Iron Bridge, two of the trucks disappear, and the front truck has no tarpaulin.
  • In the overhead shot of Gordon waiting at Knapford for Spencer, the bushes on the far left track are not rendered properly as they appear to overlap the tracks.
  • The Earl said he promised Millie he would be at the estate by 2:00, but the station clock reads 4:25.
  • During the shots of Gordon and Spencer racing each other, Gordon's siderods aren't in the same motion as his wheels.
  • When the engines are discussing the Earl's plans, Toby pulls into the station beside Emily, but the track he is on ends at a bookstall behind him, that was empty just before. How did he get there?  Then, after Percy leaves, Toby starts backing up towards the bookstall.
  • When Toby pulls into the station, he is pulling Henrietta. However, as he says that Percy is needed to pull a goods train, and the camera is zoomed out to show all the engines at the station, Henrietta is missing.
  • During some of the crowd scenes, some of the people are duplicated.
  • Before the Earl jumped out of Thomas' cab, his steam gauge is out of place.
  • When Gordon screeches to a stop behind Stephen, his bogie wheels spark, but bogies are not fitted with brakes.
  • It is stated that nobody knew where Stephen was, but Skarloey knew that Stephen had gone to investigate Ulfstead Mine.
  • When Henry is seen at the shed with James complaining that he can't build steam, his siderods are missing.
  • A brakevan should have been added to Thomas and Percy's train.
  • When Caitlin goes across Vicarstown Bridge, she is not coupled to her coaches.
  • During one of the shots of Connor and Caitlin going across Vicarstown Bridge, their tenders have no wheels.
  • When Connor first passes Gordon and Spencer, his brake coach becomes a regular express brake coach.
  • When Caitlin first passes Gordon and Spencer, her coaches disappear. 
  • When Spencer says "This is no job for a splendid engine..." at the quarry, the mountains behind Owen are missing.
  • When Stephen first arrives at the Blue Mountain Quarry, Rusty can be seen pulling some trucks away from Owen, but in the next shot, he is pushing some trucks onto Owen's platform.
  • In some shots of the Blue Mountain Quarry, when Stephen first arrives, some standard gauge trucks are on narrow gauge rails.
  • When the Earl is talking to Thomas, Percy, and James after helping with building the castle, Millie seems to be positioned on the standard gauge line rather than the narrow gauge at one point.
  • Emily starts pulling Henry out of the shed, but there isn't any track on the other end, and the turntable isn't big enough for both of them.
  • While Percy talks to Stephen, Thomas reverses down the track he arrived on, and then stops. Then when Percy leaves, Thomas has somehow disappeared. The track Thomas was on ends at buffers behind him, and leads to the turntable in front of him, which was set to Percy's line.
  • In the close-up of Spencer at the Ulfstead Castle ceremony, his front bogie wheels clip through his cylinders.
  • The term 'trucks' is used sporadically in the US version.
  • When Gordon is at Ulfstead Castle Station getting ready for the race, he is missing his decorations.
  • It is said that Henry burst a safety valve, however it in the scene when Percy enters Brendam Docks, Henry is actually leaking steam from his right-side cylinder block, not his safety valve which is mounted on top of his boiler.
  • Gordon's right-side cylinder block isn't attached to his frames when he and the other engines first meet Stephen.
  • On the poster of Connor and Caitlin at Maron, Caitlin does not have her tender.
  • In the UK version, James' US voice is heard when he says "Oh my!" outside the mine when the wooden structure breaks.
  • The US release is slowed down to 24 frames a second and adds an extra two minutes to the special's length. Pitch adjustment was not applied to the audio properly. As a result, the audio is distorted.
  • When Thomas, Percy and James are puffing up the hill, James is missing his crew.
  • In the UK narration, when James says "Wouldn't you, sir?", he only mouths "wouldn't you?".
  • In Stephen's flashback to his early life, his competitor (based upon Sans Pareil) has no side-rods, making him a 0-2-2 instead of a 0-4-0, as was the real engine.
  • When Gordon leaves Knapford after saying "Been and gone", he is missing his crew.

Merchandise

Books

Wooden Railway

  • Stephen
  • Millie
  • Connor
  • Caitlin
  • Castle Crane
  • Thomas' Castle Delivery
  • Toby's Castle Delivery
  • Stephen Comes to Sodor
  • Stephen with Passenger Coach
  • Stephen's Castle Coaches
  • Treasure at the Mine Figure 8 Set
  • King of the Railway Deluxe Set

TrackMaster

  • Stephen "The Rocket"
  • Caitlin's Passenger Express
  • Connor's Race to the Castle
  • Millie
  • Thomas' Castle Quest Set
  • Castle Cargo Delivery

Take-n-Play

  • Stephen
  • Connor
  • Caitlin
  • Millie
  • Stephen the Original Steamie
  • Stephen and the Treasure
  • Percy's Catapult Cargo
  • Talking James with Castle Crest
  • Treasure Tracks
  • Thomas' Adventure Castle

Collectible Railway

  • Toby's Treasure Hunt

Motorized Railway

  • Stephen
  • King of the Railway Deluxe set

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
German König der Schienen King of the Rails
Dutch De Koning van het Spoor The King of the Track
Norwegian Jernbanens konge King of the Railway
Japanese キング・オブ・ザ・レイルウェイ トーマスと失われた王冠 King of the Railway: Thomas and the Lost Crown
Polish Tajemnica Zaginionej Korony Secret of the Lost Crown
Mexican Spanish El Rey de las Vías The King of the Rails

Gallery