This article is about 'the magazine story'. You may be looking for 'the episode'.
“A cricket match and a car chase all in one day! I was right, Thomas - your line really is lots of fun!”

Train Stops Play is a magazine story, published in 2004.


One day, Stepney is visiting Thomas' Branch Line. He thinks Thomas is so lucky to have such fun things to do like hauling trucks. Thomas pulls a face; he does not think pulling trucks is fun at all. Thomas says that Stepney can take his trucks for a day and Stepney readily accepts Thomas' offer. Soon, Stepney has a long line of trucks and heads to the harbour.

On his way, Stepney passes a cricket match being played on the village green. Just then, the signal turns red and Stepney puffs to a halt. The driver is pleased about being able to watch the cricket for a short while. Suddenly, the batsman hits the ball high into the air and it lands in one of Stepney's trucks. Stepney does not notice and puffs away as the signal changes. The cricketers are upset; that was their only ball.

Caroline is waiting nearby, ready to take the players home after the match. Suddenly, she hears shouting and sees several cricketers running towards her. They get inside her and tell her to follow Stepney. Caroline is not happy; she feels too old to chase a train.

Caroline finally manages to catch up with Stepney at a station. The cricketers explain what had happened and Stepney apologises. Stepney's driver and fireman help the cricketers to search the trucks. It is not long before one of the men finds the ball hidden beneath some straw in one of the trucks. The cricketers are eager to get back to the field and resume their game, but Caroline is too tired to travel any more. Stepney has an idea and offers to push Caroline back to the field on a flatbed. So Caroline is rolled onto the flatbed and the cricketers all squeeze into Stepney's brake van.

After dropping off Caroline and the cricketers at the village green, Stepney goes to tell Thomas all about his day. With a car chase and a cricket match all in one day, he decides he was certainly right about Thomas' branch line being lots of fun.