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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.


Stepney has been enjoying his visit on Sodor and one day, he is busy talking to Thomas, Percy, and Toby. Stepney compliments the engines and that Sodor has lots of things that make the Island feel important, especially enjoying long runs. Percy offers Stepney to help with his goods trains, in which both their drivers agree and the two tank engines set off for their deliveries. Stepney delivers his loaded trucks to the harbor and then leaves to take some "empties" the quarry.

Later, Stepney stops at a red signal by a cricket field where a game had just started. A batsman hits a "six" when the signal drops and the ball lands in one of Stepney's trucks. Stepney does not realise this and starts. The cricketers shout at Stepney to stop but he does not hear them, and gets on with his journey. But the cricketers need the ball for their game, so they climb into their old car Caroline to chase after Stepney.

Stepney does not hurry but his driver sees Caroline chasing after them with the desperate cricketers inside and mistakes them for joyriders and Stepney speeds up, much to Caroline's annoyance as she easily overheats when travelling at high speed. When Caroline finds that Stepney has disappeared into a tunnel, she hopes the players will give up and take her home but instead her driver forces her over the hill and onward to the next station.

Stepney has placed his train in a siding, when Caroline wearily arrives at the station with the cricketers who tell Stepney's crew that they need their ball back. The ball is found in the third truck hidden under some hay, then the are ready to return to the cricket field. But Stepney's driver notes Caroline is completely exhausted and they decide to roll her onto a flatbed so she can rest during the return journey. The cricketers (along with Caroline) ride back to the field in a brake van. Stepney and his crew enjoy and watch the rest of the game. Caroline, pleased, changes her mind about trains being silly.




  • 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 from this episode are used in the song, The Red Balloon. 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 is the first and only episode of a few things:
    • Caroline's first and only speaking role in the fourth season
    • Caroline's first and only speaking role until the Season 5 episode Lady Hatt's Birthday Party .
    • Elsbridge Cricket Club member's only speaking roles to date.
  • This episode marks the 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.
  • 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 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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