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Passengers is the fourth episode of Season 1.

Plot

The episode starts with Edward telling of his carrer from his beginnings in 1891 to being purchased by the Elsbridge and Knapford Railway in 1907 to serve as the primary passenger engine where he met Thomas and Toby for the first time. When the trio became part of the LNER in 1923, Mr. Star informed them that they would be running express services between Knapford and the mainland and the engine running the service would be an Gresley A0 Pacific named Gordon. The three engines were apprehensive about meeting him, but when he arrived, he was most courteous and eager to get to work and was getting praised by the passengers, but became an arrogant express engine. He and his rival, an LMS Patriot, named Reginald, the Midis Express engine, were constantly vying for Sodor's express services and delighted in any setbacks the other one had endured.

Early one morning in the autumn of 1936, Percy had been incapacitated with a severe boiler ache. This caused a serious problem since he had taken over Thomas's role as Knapford's station pilot. Since the other engines were taking on coal or attending to other trains, Mr. Star had to telephone Lower Knapford where Thomas was, who soon arrived at Knapford to get the trains ready. Gordon is approaching the station when he notices his platform is empty, thinking Percy has overslept. Gordon then notices Thomas and tells him that he should have the coaches at the platform before the engine arrives. Thomas retorts that nothing is stopping Gordon from shunting himself, much to the big engine's annoyance. As Thomas gets Gordon's coaches into position, Edward reminds Gordon that Mr. Star had called Thomas in when he could have just as easily told Gordon to fetch the coaches himself. Gordon mentions that if he did, he would tell their controller what he would do with that order. Presently, Thomas gets Gordon's coaches into position, and Gordon departs. Thomas feels discouraged from a lack of a "thank you", but Edward assures Thomas he did well and will make sure Mr. Star hears about it.

Gordon raced through the countryside towards Wellsworth and the Preston Incline, which every engine knows to approach at top speed to ensure they don't get stuck. Gordon shoots up the incline and arrives at his destination, Barrow-in-Furness. An LNER B12, Alfred, remarks that he was about to send out a search party, which means Gordon was, in fact, late, by two minutes. Reginald arrives and taunts Gordon for finally arriving late at the platform. Gordon then mentions that Reginald derailed, causing delays and even making it into the London Times and the fact the Reginald always fetches his own coaches. Reginald protests that he finds no shame in it, mentioning that he will continue to do so until the end of his days. He is just about to leave when his safety valve bursts. Gordon sees this opportunity to give Reginald's passengers services to those looking to travel to the Island of Sodor. Gordon says to Reginald as Mickey shunts him, "Never mind, Reginald. I'm sure this happens to the best of us as well.", then goes off, saying that his passengers should be treated to a robust and reliable engine like himself. As Gordon prepares to return to Sodor, Alfred congratulates him and Gordon tells him to give their best regards to their siblings in London.

Gordon arrives back at Knapford where Toby is shunting. Toby, doesn't want to hear Gordon insulting Thomas again after Edward told him about that morning and points out that Gordon's late arrival helped the LNER. Mr. Star arrives and informs Gordon that he will be shunting his coaches the following day because Percy has gone off to the works and Thomas is needed on the Ffarquhar Branch. Gordon complained long and bitterly all night and next morning about the indignity. The silver lining, however, was that he had departed on time. However, he had forgotten about the Preston Incline. All too late he saw where he was and stormed up the incline, he was almost at the top where his safety valve burst. Gordon blames it on the shunting. Just then, Reginald passes by remarking, "Robust and reliable, eh, Gordon?"

Mickey delivered Gordon to the works where Mr. Star was already waiting. Gordon and Mr. Star got into a complete row, and according to Skarloey, Gordon told Mr. Star right off, and used the word "fool" at least twice. As punishment, Mr. Star put Gordon on goods work for the next two weeks while Edward and James took turns in taking the express, with the latter letting it go to his smoke box.

One day, James was to take the express out. Percy, who had just returned from the works, shunted James's coaches into position. As James was backing down, he wasn't concentrating, and wondering if he could beat Gordon's run to Barrow and bumps into the coaches. Percy warns him to take it easy with the coaches since they're overdue for maintenance. James departs and makes excellent time until he hears a faint, hissing noise. Suddenly, his brakes slam hard on and he's forced to stop on a level crossing. It's revealed to be a small leak caused when he roughly coupled up to the front coach, which would keep the brakes hard on if it were to be kept open. The Guard runs back to his cab and brings back a newspaper and a leather bootlace. Hearing cars and lorries honk their horns impatiently, James tells them to get it over with. The newspaper was tied tightly around the brake pipe along with the bootlace, and James was able to pull the train. He couldn't risk travelling at full speed because the hole could reopen. Having to moderate his pace, he arrived at Barrow, very late.

Alfred remarks that if he was going any slower he'd be going backwards. Alfred took James's furious passengers to London, where many of them demanded refunds and voice complains to Head Office. Mr. Star happened to take partial responsibility because he had to save money by delaying the maintenance of the coaches. Due to the Nor'easters's damaged reputation, their passenger fares dried up dramatically. Thankfully, they were able to keep going because of their goods contracts.

Characters

Trivia

  • This episode adapts the Railway Series stories "Edward and Gordon" and "James and the Coaches".
  • The events of this episode take place in Autumn, 1936.
  • An older version of this video can be found on YouTube, but Victor Tanzig remade it (along with several others from Season 1) because he was unhappy with it and embarrassed by the fast narration.
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