|The Phantom Express|
October 2nd, 2013 (UK)
The Phantom Express is the thirteenth episode of the seventeenth season.
One dark and foggy night, Percy is getting ready to take the mail train. He is especially excited because he is to make his first ever delivery to Ulfstead Castle. James decides to play a trick on Percy and tries to scare him by telling him about the "Phantom Express" who is a ghost engine that travels around Ulfstead Castle. Thomas tries to reassure Percy that there is no such thing as ghosts, but Percy is nervous as he sets off to the castle.
At Ulfstead Castle, Percy is waiting for the mail to be unloaded when he hears a puffing noise. Percy thinks it might be the phantom, until Stephen comes puffing out of the tunnel. Percy tells Stephen about the Phantom Express, but Stephen reassures Percy that he has never seen a ghost around the estate. Then, James pulls in with coal for the castle fires and asks if Percy has seen the phantom yet. Percy tells James that he does not believe in the phantom and that Stephen has never seen it. James is cross and says that he has seen the phantom puffing around the castle that very night. Stephen laughs at James' claims but then they all hear an eerie hooting noise. It's only an owl, but Percy and Stephen believe James when he says that it is the Phantom Express' whistle. Stephen tells Percy that they should meet up after they have done their jobs, just to be on the safe side.
James rolls onto a dark siding and turns off his lamp. As Stephen rolls by, James blows his whistle. The whistle sound gets distorted by some nearby pipes and makes it echo. Stephen is alarmed and races back towards the castle, but he doesn't notice that the drawbridge is raised. Stephen bashes through the barrier as his crew jump clear. Stephen falls off the bridge and lands in the dry moat below.
Meanwhile, Percy has finished the mail run and has arrived back at the castle to meet up with Stephen as arranged. Percy is concerned when he cannot find Stephen and thinks that the phantom must have gotten him. James creeps up behind Percy and makes a spooky groaning noise. Percy is so scared that he races away and ends up falling in the moat alongside Stephen. James thinks it is now time to come clean about his joke, but he cannot find Stephen or Percy anywhere. As James puffs around the misty castle ground, James starts to get scared and even starts to believe his own made-up ghost story. James travels over the drawbridge, unaware that Percy and Stephen are in the moat below. Stephen and Percy decide to whistle for help. James thinks it is the Phantom Express and races away from Ulfstead Castle.
The Fat Controller is at the dairy with Thomas as James rushes in. He tells the Fat Controller that Percy and Stephen are missing and that the ghost has got them. The Fat Controller knows there are no such things as ghosts, but curious to find out where Percy and Stephen have got to, he agrees to go to the castle with James.
As James and Sir Topham Hatt approach the castle, they hear the spooky whistling. The Fat Controller tells James that it is not a ghost and goes to inspect. When the drawbridge is raised, the Fat Controller discovers Stephen and Percy in the moat. Percy explains what happened and James comes clean about his trick. The Fat Controller is not amused.
A short while later, Rocky lifts Stephen and Percy out of the moat. The Fat Controller punishes James by giving him Percy's nighttime mail run for a whole month.
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Rocky (does not speak)
- Edward (cameo)
- Gordon (cameo)
- Emily (cameo)
- The title of this episode is based off the 1932 mystery crime-thriller film, "The Phantom Express".
- Elements from the ninth season episode Flour Power are used.
- The lamp that The Fat Controller is seen holding is the exact same lamp that James was fitted with in James in the Dark.
- Going by production order, this is the twentieth episode of the seventeenth season.
- When Percy explains what the Phantom Express is to Stephen, his train disappears.
- When James pulls up in the siding ready to spook Stephen, some pipes on a flatbed can be seen. A few shots later, the flatbed is gone and the pipes are just on the ground. Also, why was the flatbed off the rails in the first place?
- After James says "I'll show them," his lamp turns off on its own.
- The flatbed on the ground is smaller than it should be.
- When James begins searching for Stephen and Percy, part of the ground is not rendered properly.
- Percy and Stephen would have more likely tipped over when they fell into the moat.
- The arm on the signal at the drawbridge is on the wrong side to control anything entering the castle.