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The Little Engine Who Raced Ahead

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"Sorry big engine, I mean Gordon!"
— Philip

The Little Engine Who Raced Ahead is the seventeenth episode of the nineteenth season.


Thomas is in the yard at Knapford Station when he spots something yellow and odd-looking. Percy jokingly suggests it may be a banana and he steams away. He doesn't get very far at all however when he collides with a strange yellow and green engine. The little, energetic diesel boxcab introduces himself as Philip. The new engine tells Thomas and Percy that he has come to the Fat Controller's railway to shunt trucks and he races excitedly away to find his trucks.

Philip, full of energy and keen to make a good impression, sets to work shunting trucks all over the yard. Presently, Philip introduces himself to a big engine who is filling up with water. The big engine is Gordon and he finds Philip somewhat annoying. Philip offers to get Gordon some trucks, which the big engine is not impressed by. Philip says he is only trying to be helpful and Gordon tells him that the most helpful thing he can do is to get on with his work and keep out of his way. Philip doesn't listen and Gordon explains that he pulls the express and is very fast. Philip thinks he is very speedy too and invites Gordon to watch how fast he can pull some trucks to the other side of the yard. Gordon, who is not in the least bit interested, goes away to pull the express. Philip doesn't know and when he comes back to the water column with the trucks, he wonders where Gordon has gone. Thomas arrives and says that Gordon will have gone to take the express.

Philip races to Knapford to try and find Gordon and sees the big engine pull out of the station with his carriages. Philip chases after him, rushes through a red signal and has a near-miss with Hiro. Thomas tells Philip that Gordon will be back later.

Philip cannot wait for Gordon to come back and keeps going into the station to check the time on the big clock, which doesn't please Sir Topham Hatt. As Philip is shunting a train for Oliver, he hears Gordon in the distance and rushes into Knapford Junction to meet him. Philip gets a big surprise when he sees Gordon thundering towards him on the same line. Philip hastily reverses back to the station where the Fat Controller scolds him.

Later, Philip is still determined to show Gordon just how fast he can go. Philip challenges Gordon to a race, but Gordon is trying to rest and asks Philip to go away. Philip mistakes Gordon telling him to go away as the signal to start a race. Philip races away as fast as he can and Gordon goes back to resting.

Along the line, Philip meets Edward and Emily and he explains that he is racing Gordon and asks if they have seen him; of course, they haven't. Philip thinks this means he is winning. He races all the way to Brendam Docks and is very excited to have won the race with Gordon. Humouring him, Edward, Emily, Salty and Porter all cheer for Philip the winner.

That night, Philip follows his new friends back to Tidmouth Sheds where he boasts about winning the race with Gordon who is not at all happy and offers to show Philip just how fast he can go tomorrow. Philip agrees to have another race, as long as Gordon remembers that he won the first one. All the engines laugh, except for Gordon.





  • The Polish title for the episode refers to Philip as a steam engine, but he is actually a diesel boxcab.
  • In the UK version, when Porter says "Hooray!" both his UK and US voices are heard.
  • When a clip of the episode was released on the Official Youtube Channel, it was listed Youtube Tour, but the error was fixed.
  • When James arrives after Thomas and Percy meet Philip, he whistles, but no steam comes out of his whistle.
  • In the shot of Gordon's tender at the water tower, the waterpipe phases through his tail lamp. 

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese やんちゃなフィリップ Rambunctious Philip
Spanish La pequeña locomotora que nunca se detenía The Little Engine Who Never Stopped
Turkish Önde Giden Küçük Lokomotif Outgoing Premier Small Locomotive
Polish Mały parowóz, który lubił wyścigi A Small Steam Engine, Which he Liked Racing
Russian Соревнование Competition
Hungarian Philip és a verseny Philip and Competition
Serbian Mala hvalisava lokomotiva Small Boastful Locomotive
German Der schnelle Philip The Fast Philip
Romanian Mica locomotivă grăbită Little Locomotive Rushed
Czech Malá lokokmotiva, která chtěla závodit Small Locomotive Who Wanted to Race
Portuguese O trenzinho que saiu correndo The Little Train That Run
Dutch De Kleine Locomotief die Vooruit Racete The Little Locomotive Raced Ahead

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