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“Oh, Thomas! Why would the Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt want to take a little tank engine like you to the Great Railway Show?”

The Great Race is the 2016 Thomas & Friends movie.


When the best engines from around the world gather to compete in the Great Railway Show, Thomas is determined to find a way to represent Sodor. But he is left disappointed as Gordon is chosen to be the new "Shooting Star" for The Great Race. With Gordon and the other engines making the journey to compete, something suddenly goes terribly wrong, and Gordon is in danger. Will Thomas get to the mainland in time to help him and save the day?


Characters Introduced




US and CAN


Bonus Features


US and CAN

  • Music Videos - Will You Won't You, Streamlining, I'm Full of Surprises and You Can Only Be You
  • Guess Who? Puzzles - Etienne, Flying Scotsman, Philip, Rajiv, Shane and Vinnie
  • 20 Meet the Contenders Shorts


  • This special takes place between the twentieth season and Journey Beyond Sodor. However, there are some hints with production crew, voice actors and changes that this was produced before Season 20 in 2015, these being:
    • Tracy Blagdon being a production manager. She became a producer in March 2016.
    • Teresa Gallagher voicing Daisy.
    • Joe Mills voicing Donald.
    • Keith Wickham voicing James in the UK dub.
    • Arlesburgh Junction lacking the station and footbridge seen on the junction in the twentieth season and the sheds still appearing as a one-berth shed. Craig Barnikis' LinkedIn profile confirms this. Production for the special started in May 2015 and ended in February 2016.[1]
  • This special was shown in select UK cinemas from 21st May,[2] and in Australia and New Zealand from 20th August.
  • This special was shown at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada during a private screening held by the Autism Ontario on 9th July 2016.[3]
  • This special was shown in selected Italian cinemas on the 7th, 8th, 15th and 16th of October 2016.
  • This special introduced the most new characters to date, at a total of twelve, only nine of which speak.
  • This special ties in with both the 2016 Summer Olympics and Flying Scotsman's return to service in real-life.
  • This special was shown in the US at Thomas Land on September 3rd, 2016 before being released on DVD and also on PBS in 17th October 2016.
  • References to the fourth season episode, Thomas and the Special Letter and the nineteenth season episode, The Little Engine Who Raced Ahead are made in this special.
  • A reworked arrangement of the original Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends theme tune is played as fanfare while Ashima and the Sodor engines parade through Vicarstown en-route to the Mainland for the Great Railway Show.
  • A reworked arrangement of The Watermill theme from the second season can be heard when Thomas goes back to pick up Annie and Clarabel, after coming back from The Steamworks from his "repaint."
  • Steven Kynman takes over the role of Charlie in the US dub.
  • Rufus Jones, Tina Desai and John Schwab join the voice cast. However, while Schwab still continues into the following year, Jones would not return until Big World! Big Adventures! and Desai until Season 22.
  • The station announcement used in Tale of the Brave is heard when Thomas first arrives at Vicarstown.
  • When Thomas asks Victor to repaint him, one of the liveries seen in the fantasy sequence features a red and blue lightning bolt over his right eye, resembling the late singer David Bowie, who sported a similar lightning bolt on his face for the cover of his album Aladdin Sane.
  • From 13th April until 7th September, the official YouTube channel uploaded promotional videos of each of the Great Railway Show's contestants (excluding James and Hiro), each video being uploaded once a week on every Wednesday.
  • This special marks the first of multiple things:
    • The first full appearance of Flying Scotsman in the television series and his first appearance since the third season.
    • The first time that Mrs. Kyndley has been referred to by name since the fifth season.
    • The very first speaking role of the Great Railway Show Judge, who had only cameoed since the sixteenth season.
    • The first appearance of the red express coaches in full CGI, and their first appearance since the twelfth season.
    • The first appearance of Vicarstown station in the television series.
    • The first special to have music composed by Chris Renshaw and Oliver Davis after Robert Hartshorne and Peter Hartshorne's contracts ended after production of Season 19 and Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
    • The first special to be a musical, though not the first to have characters sing in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
    • The first special since Calling All Engines! that the narrator does not read the title.
    • Norman's first speaking role since the seventeenth season episode, The Frozen Turntable.
    • The first time "locomotive" (the proper word for "engine") has been said in the series.
    • Charlie's first speaking role since the eighteenth season episode, Not So Slow Coaches, as well as his first speaking role in a special.
  • This special also marks the first and only time of a couple of things:
  • This special marks the last of several things:
    • The last special animated by Arc Productions under their original name. They were later re-branded as Jam Filled in Toronto in August 2016 after Arc Productions filed up for bankruptcy.
    • The final time Teresa Gallagher and Joe Mills voice Daisy and Donald. Tracy-Ann Oberman and Rob Rackstraw later took over the roles in the twentieth season onwards.
    • The last special in which Jonathan Broadbent voices Bill and Ben. Rasmus Hardiker would take over the role of Bill and Matt Wilkinson would for Ben in Big World! Big Adventures!
    • With All in Vain being the last episode, this is the last special in which Keith Wickham voices James in the UK dub. Rob Rackstraw later took over the role in Journey Beyond Sodor.
    • The final special in which the non-human characters' bodies are stationary. From Journey Beyond Sodor onwards, their bodies move in restricted human like ways.
    • The final special with a one hour runtime.
    • The final time Javier Olguín voices Thomas and Percy in the Latin American Spanish dub. Héctor Ireta de Alba would take over the roles starting with the twentieth season onwards.
    • The final time Rosie is seen in her original lavender livery. From Journey Beyond Sodor onwards, she is painted in a new cherry red livery.
    • The last production to have Tracy Blagdon as production manager. She was promoted to producer in the twentieth season.
    • Kallan Kagan's last special as executive producer.
    • Robert Anderson's last special as producer.
    • Marianne Culbert's last production as executive producer.
    • Stephanie Gauthier Watson's last special as assistant production manager.
    • The last special released on Blu-ray in the US.
  • This special aired in Mexico on Discovery Kids on 10th December 2016 and 2nd January 2017. It also aired on Canal 5 on 5th January 2017.
  • The special aired on Nick Jr. in the US split into three half hour blocks on 13th August - 15th August 2018. Also, the scene when Vinnie runs into the coal hopper was removed and the music from the removed scene was used for when Philip encounters Vinnie the second time. The three part version of the movie will air on Treehouse TV on 28th November to 30th November 2018.
  • In the Latin American Spanish dub, this special is called "La Gran Carrera," the same title as the fourth season episode Steam Roller in said language.
  • On 15 June 2018, the songs from the special were released on digital music services.


  • Some actors and actresses are not credited for voicing their characters:
    • Jules de Jongh and Christopher Ragland in the UK dub for singing Emily and Percy, respectively.
    • John Hasler in the US dub for voicing Rheneas.
    • Tom Stourton and Jonathan Broadbent in both dubs for voicing Rex, Bill and Ben.
  • The digital release is slowed to 24 FPS, adding an extra two minutes to the special's length. As a result, the audio is mildly distorted
  • There are some animation errors in Will You, Won't You:
    • When the song first begins, Thomas' driver's arm clips through his cab door.
    • As Emily is leaving Knapford station with her coaches, the second coach's body is missing.
    • Rex's tender clips through his cab, and his driver's head is sticking out of his boiler.
    • Towards the end of the song, James' bufferbeam clips through Gordon's running board. In the same shot, they stop moving, but in the next shot, they stop moving again.
  • After Will You Won't You, Duck's driver's head clips through the top of his roof.
  • During the scene at Knapford Yards, Philip backs up to plank trucks, but when he leaves the yard, he is pulling conflats.
  • In the US dub, shortly before Streamlining starts, when Thomas says "Sir Topham Hatt will definitely take me to the show", his lips move to say, "The Fat Controller."
  • When Axel reboards the ship, his wheels and tender are missing.
  • When Thomas shunts trucks in the yard, a row of narrow gauge trucks can be seen on standard gauge rails.
  • Ashima is not coupled to Annie when she leaves Maithwaite.
  • During You Can Only Be You, Annie and Clarabel disappear in some shots.
  • When Diesel shunts the disguised diesels and the trucks into the yard, his coupling chains are sticking outward.
  • As Thomas pulls out of the Knapford station yard with the runaway trucks, Dart's crate is missing.
  • Throughout the scene of the Sodor engines' arrival at the Great Railway Show, Axel's tender is not on the rails and clips through his cab.
  • When Flying Scotsman sees Gordon in his streamlined form, his right eyebrow clips through his forehead.
  • When Thomas is going to deliver Gordon's safety valve mechanism, he nearly crashes into Hiro who is heading towards the Island of Sodor. However, when Thomas arrives at the show, Hiro is competing in the Strength competition.
  • When Frieda whistles, no steam emits from it.
  • At one point when Ashima tells James and Emily that she is going to compete in the shunting challenge, she is not positioned on the rails.
  • When The Shooting Star is Coming Through starts, Henry moves off the right side of the screen in the background.
  • At one point during The Shooting Star is Coming Through, Spencer's wheels do not move.
  • The coal hopper chute is positioned over Carlos' boiler when he is taking on coal.
  • When Emily tells Thomas about the shunting challenge in the UK dub, she says the American term "boxcars".
  • In the shot of Ivan during the first half of the shunting challenge, Philip is seen spectating with the Sodor engines when he is supposed to be chased by Vinnie.
  • Philip is facing away from the turntable before Vinnie crashes, but after he derails, Philip is turned around.
  • There are a few errors during Be Who You Are, and Go Far:
    • At the start of the song in the UK dub, James has his US voice which can faintly be heard, it then it changes to his UK one once the engines have left the Great Railway Show.
    • When the engines cross the Vicarstown Bridge, James and Emily switch back to their regular liveries for the rest of the movie.
  • In the Italian dub of Will You Won't You, Salty is the only one who sings "Anyone who's any engine's eager to go."
  • There are several mistakes in the German dub:
    • When Victor says "It's a lot of hard work to streamline a steam engine, Gordon," he calls Gordon a diesel engine. And when Thomas crashes into the flatbed, the announcer calls him a diesel.
    • Before Streamlining starts, Annie starts screaming before Thomas goes faster.
    • After Will you Wont You, Gordon is the only one whose laughing is heard.
    • Andrew Brenner's credit is missing from the intro.
    • When Annie and Clarabel talk to Ashima at Maron, their voices are swapped.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese A Grande Corrida
Czech Velký závod
Dutch De grote wedstrijd
French La Grande Course
German Das große Rennen
Greek Ο Μεγάλος Αγώνας
Hungarian A nagy verseny
Japanese 走れ!世界のなかまたち
Korean 위대한 레이스
Polish Wielki Wyścig
Romanian Cursa cea Mare
Russian Большая гонка
Serbian Velika trka
Slovenian Velika dirka
Spanish La Gran Carrera



Wooden Railway

  • Ashima
  • Racing Vinnie
  • Frieda
  • Diesels in Disguise Pack
  • Vicarstown Station
  • Race Day Relay set with Gina

Motor Road and Rail

  • Streamlined Thomas
  • Ringing Streamlined Thomas in Tekoro
  • Shooting Star Gordon
  • Ashima
  • Ringing Ashima in Tekoro


  • Streamlined Thomas
  • Shooting Star Gordon
  • Ashima
  • Racing Vinnie
  • Raul
  • Axel
  • Ivan


  • Trophy Thomas
  • Shooting Star Gordon
  • Flying Scotsman
  • Thomas and Percy's Railway Race set
  • Thomas' Sky High Bridge Jump Playset
  • Etienne
  • Streamlined Thomas


  • Movie Version Thomas
  • Streamlined Thomas

Collectible Railway

  • Streamlined Thomas
  • Shooting Star Gordon
  • Ashima
  • Yong Bao
  • Axel

Motorized Railway

  • Yong Bao
  • Racing Thomas
  • Thomas' Racing Bridge Jump

Mega Bloks

  • Railway Race Day Set


  • Ashima
  • Raul
  • Gina
  • Ivan
  • Shane

Capsule Plarail

  • The Great Race Thomas
  • Streamlined Thomas
  • Thomas as Harvey Fantasy
  • Thomas as Stephen Fantasy
  • Thomas as Bertie Fantasy
  • Thomas as Alfie Fantasy
  • Thomas as Captain Fantasy
  • Shooting Star Gordon (normal and angry)
  • Decorated James
  • Decorated Emily
  • Ashima
  • Vinnie
  • Flying Scotsman (two versions)
  • Streamlined Annie
  • Streamlined Clarabel
  • Trophy Truck



External Links