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“They have their uses. They can save the wear on a poor car's wheels!”
―Caroline complimenting about steam engines

Train Stops Play is the seventeenth episode of the fourth season. In the US, it aired in the Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales episode, Missing Whistles in 1996.


Stepney is enjoying his visit to the North Western Railway and offers to help Percy with his goods trains. After delivering loaded trucks to the harbour, Stepney goes past a cricket field with some "empties" when a batsman hits a "six" and their only ball lands in a truck. Stepney does not realize this and when his driver sees Caroline chasing after them with the desperate cricketers inside, he mistakes them for joyriders and speeds up, much to Caroline's annoyance as she easily overheats when travelling at high speed. At last after being forced over a hill, Caroline arrives at the station and the men get their ball back, but Stepney's driver notes Caroline looks exhausted and suggests that she be rolled onto a flatbed so she can rest during the return journey. The cricketers ride back in a brake van and Stepney, his crew and Caroline watch the end of the game.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine.
  • Going by production order, this is the eighteenth episode of the fourth season.
  • Edited scenes are used in The Red Balloon song. One shot superimposes the red balloon above the cricket field and another shows the cricketers smiling.
  • In the UK narration, Caroline says "HURRAH!" but in the US version she says "YAHOO!"
  • This marks Caroline's only speaking role in the fourth season and the Elsbridge Cricket Club member's only speaking roles to date.
  • This is that last appearance of Hackenbeck Tunnel until the twenty-first season episode, Terence Breaks the Ice.


  • After Percy arrives with his trucks, his roof is lifted.
  • Studio equipment is visible in the shots of the cricket field.
  • Stepney has Rheneas' whistle sound.
  • At Knapford Harbour, Henry and James' eyes are wonky and the guard figure in Stepney's brake van appears to have fallen backwards.
  • When Stepney arrives at the harbour, watch Thomas carefully; his trucks wobble and nearly come off the rails.
  • One of Percy's lamp irons is crooked.
  • When the narrator says "She (Caroline) doesn't think trains are silly now," paint chips are visible in Stepney's running board.
  • At the beginning of the episode, Duck and Donald are behind Thomas, Stepney, Percy and Toby, but a few scenes later, some trucks and a green express coach have taken their places.


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