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The Adventure Begins

Don Spencer


Ian McCue
(HiT Entertainment)
Jennifer Hill (Arc Productions)


Reverend W. Awdry (original)
Andrew Brenner (adapted)


Mark Moraghan

Music by

Peter Hartshorne
Mike O'Donnell
Junior Campbell


HiT Entertainment
Universal (US)
ABC For Kids (AUS)
Sony Creative
Products Inc. (JPN)


March 3rd,
2015 (US)
July 27th, 2015
(ASDA DVD release; UK)
November 4th,
2015 (AUS)
December 16th,
2015 (JPN)
April 11th, 2016
(Nationwide DVD release; UK)


44 minutes

Preceded by

Tale of the Brave
Sodor's Legend of
the Lost Treasure (AUS)

Followed by

Sodor's Legend of
the Lost Treasure
The Great Race (AUS)

The Adventure Begins is the first (second in Australia) 2015 Thomas and Friends special, running for forty-four minutes and is based on the first two books of The Railway Series. It was made to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the franchise. The special was released as a Walmart exclusive in the US and later as an ASDA exclusive in the UK.

Adaptation Edit

The Adventure Begins is a re-telling of the first two Railway Series books, The Three Railway Engines and Thomas the Tank Engine, which were previously adapted in the first season of the television series in 1984. It contains elements from both the original stories and television version, along with new characters and a different narrative.

Plot Edit

A long time ago, there was a little railway known as The North Western. The engines working there are Edward, the smallest engine, who shunted trains for the bigger engines and Gordon, the biggest engine, who loves pulling the express; unfortunately, he sometimes has to pull trucks. One day, Gordon is pulling a goods train, and informs Edward that a new engine will be arriving soon. Edward is very surprised and curious by this. Gordon goes on explaining how the last engine to arrive, who has wooden brake blocks, is too small. Suddenly the engine, James, pulls in front of them, protesting that he is not small and that there is nothing wrong with his wooden brakes.

Gordon continues on with his goods train, but when he reaches the big hill on the main line, the trucks hold him back, and he refuses to try and make it to the top. His driver makes a phone call to Sir Topham Hatt, the railway's controller. Sir Topham sends Edward to give Gordon a push, and together they make it to the top of the hill. But Gordon just continues on his way without even saying thank you to Edward.

Later, Edward is shunting when he hears a voice he has never heard before. He finds James talking to a tank engine with six small wheels, a short stumpy funnel, a short stumpy boiler and a short stumpy dome. Edward did not expect the new engine to be so small. The tank engine introduces himself as Thomas, and the two tender engines welcome him to Sodor. Gordon arrives and scoffs at Thomas' claim that he is really useful for anything more than shunting coaches. As Gordon leaves, Sir Topham Hatt arrives and gives Thomas his orders to make himself useful, and that Edward will show him what to do.

Thomas and Edward set to work shunting trains for the big engines. But all day long Thomas gets himself into trouble by bumping trucks and going onto the wrong tracks. Later, Thomas spies Gordon sleeping on a siding, and wakes him up with a toot of his whistle, leaving Gordon very cross.

That night, Thomas arrives at Tidmouth Sheds and pulls into the berth besides Edward. He is excited about pulling trains soon, but Edward knows that he has to learn how to shunt properly first. Then a big green engine pulls into the sheds, wanting to get into his berth quickly before it rains. Edward tells Thomas about Henry and how much he does not like rain. Edward then tells the story of how Henry refused to leave a tunnel in case the rain spoilt his paint. After the passengers and even another engine could not get him out, the Fat Controller had a wall built in front of him and left him there. Edward begins to explain how Henry was allowed out after Gordon burst his safety valve outside the tunnel, but Gordon interrupts him, wanting to get to sleep.

The next day, Thomas is sent to the Steamworks to be painted into the colours Sir Topham Hatt likes to see on his railway - blue with red stripes. Thomas shows Edward his paint as well as his new number one. The other engines tell Thomas about the previous number one, who was a coffee pot engine. Edward has a train to pull so Thomas goes to fetch Gordon's express coaches, but he accidentally couples to two small coaches named Annie and Clarabel. Thomas kindly apologises, explaining how he is new. The coaches think he is a very sweet engine, and Annie seems sure that he will go far one day.

Thomas spends all day working on his own, but it is hard work and he continues causing problems. Late in the afternoon, James pulls in with Annie and Clarabel and screeches to a stop next to Thomas, who notices a smokey smell. It is coming from James' wooden brakes, but James pretends not to notice. Thomas sees Henry taking on water, and asks him why he has a fear of rain, explaining how it is just water, like he puts in his boiler, and that he should not spend all day worrying. Henry claims that he is usually very happy, when it is sunny.

The next morning, Thomas' fire is slow to start, making him late to bring Gordon's coaches to the platform. Gordon is still grumpy that Thomas woke him up by whistling, so when Thomas brings him his coaches, Gordon makes a plan. As soon as he is coupled up, he quickly pulls away before the workmen have a chance to uncouple Thomas from the other end of the train. Thomas is forced to race along with the express as Gordon taunts him, all the way to Wellsworth. As soon as the train stops, an exhausted Thomas is uncoupled and he goes to a water tower for a drink; Gordon laughs and continues on his way.

Thomas is later shunting when he spots two very strange looking trucks on a siding. He wakes them up, causing them to panic, wondering what the emergency could be. Annie and Clarabel explain how they are Jerome and Judy, the breakdown train, and the cranes are used to lift things back onto the tracks. James pulls in with a goods train, ready to take the coaches; Thomas notices the burning smell again, but once again James pretends that he has not seen any smoke.

The next morning, Henry is feeling ill, so Thomas thinks he might have a chance to take Henry's train. When Henry still does not come, the Fat Controller decides that Thomas is the only engine available. But Thomas is too excited to listen to Sir Topham's instructions, and after hearing a guard's whistle on the other platform, he pulls away without his train; he hurries along thinking pulling a train is easy. He comes to a red signal where the signalman asks him where his coaches are. Thomas is shocked and very sad that he has left his train behind. He comes back to Knapford where all the passengers are complaining, and finally does as he is told, but he still feels miserable.

That night, Gordon and James find the story of Thomas' train very amusing. But Edward feels sorry for Thomas, and asks him if he would like to take his train of trucks in the morning; Thomas happily agrees.

The next day, Thomas can hardly contain his excitement. He and Edward make their way to the train of trucks, but Edward tries to warn Thomas about how much trouble the trucks can cause. Thomas feels confident and pulls away, but the trucks try to hold back. As he finally leaves, Edward calls out to Thomas to be careful.

Thomas makes his way along the line, with the trucks getting crosser and crosser. He comes to Gordon's Hill and struggles to make his way to the top. But as soon as they begin to run down the other side, the trucks see their chance. They push Thomas hard, causing him to run down the track at high speed. Thomas flies down the line until he is sent into a siding at Maron, and finally comes to a stop in front of some buffers. The Fat Controller has seen all, and orders Thomas and Edward to stay in the yard until Thomas knows as much about trucks as Edward.

Thomas and Edward are shunting when they notice a train at the platform without an engine. Thomas realises that it is raining and races back to the sheds, where he finds Henry. He once again tells Henry about how rain is just water like he puts in his boiler, and Henry finally comes out into the rain, very happy.

Thomas begins to work hard, now that he knows he is not as clever as he first thought. But as he is talking to Edward, James rushes through the yard with a train of trucks, screaming and with black smoke coming from his brakes; the trucks are pushing him and Thomas bravely hurries after James.

Out on the main line, James begs the trucks to stop pushing him, but they take no notice. Thomas tells James to use his brakes, but they are already on fire, making them useless against the trucks. Thomas heads to the brake van, and James' guard tries to couple him up so that Thomas can slow the train down. But before Thomas can be coupled up, James goes around a bend too fast, tipping onto his side and sliding along a field. The train falls off the track with him. Thomas is shocked, and after seeing that the guard is okay, he tells James that he will get help.

Thomas heads into Knapford Yard and wakes up Jerome and Judy again, letting them know that this time there really is an emergency. The two cranes and the workmen are soon ready and Thomas sets off. The Fat Controller demands to know what Thomas is doing, but Thomas tells him that this is an emergency.

At the accident site, Thomas pushes the rest of James' trucks away while Jerome and Judy lift a very battered and dirty James back onto the tracks. The Fat Controller tells Thomas to take James to the Steamworks.

Later that night, at Tidmouth Sheds, the workmen and engines cheer for Thomas. Even Gordon is impressed. Sir Topham tells everyone how James will be fitted with proper brakes and a new coat of paint, and he is going to give Thomas his own branch line for being so brave; Thomas is delighted. Gordon asks the Fat Controller who will shunt the trucks and coaches while Thomas is away. Sir Topham tells him that until he can find another small tank engine, he might have to do it himself.

A few days later, Thomas and Edward are in the yard when they see a red engine approaching. It is James in his new bright red paintwork, and new proper brakes. James asks Edward to fetch his coaches, but Annie and Clarabel tell him that they belong to Thomas now. He collects them and sets off on his way, but not forgetting to wake up Gordon first.

Thomas happily chuffs along the branch line with Annie and Clarabel. He pulls into Ffarquhar, and is surprised to see a coffee pot engine on one of the sidings, covered in moss. The engine tells him to wear his number one with pride, and as Thomas leaves, the engine introduces himself as Glynn. Thomas continues on his way, as happy as can be to be starting his new life on the Island of Sodor.

Characters Edit

  • Thomas
  • Edward
  • Henry
  • Gordon
  • James
  • Annie and Clarabel
  • Sir Topham Hatt
  • Gordon's Driver
  • James' Guard
  • Two Signalmen
  • Wellsworth Station Speaker
  • Knapford Station Speaker
  • A Schoolboy
  • The Ginger-haired Boy
  • Jem Cole (cameo)
  • Farmer McColl (cameo)
  • The Teacher (cameo)
  • The Blond-haired Boy (cameo)
  • The Great Composer (cameo)
  • The Welsh Bird Watcher (cameo)
  • The Lady with the Big Hat (cameo)
  • Dowager Hatt (portrait cameo)
  • Percy (indirectly mentioned)

A station worker at Knapford also speaks, he is voiced by Keith Wickham in both dubs. Some passengers and workmen also speak; some of them are also voiced by Keith Wickham.

Characters Introduced Edit

  • Glynn
  • Jerome and Judy
  • "Coffee Pots" (mentioned)

Locations Edit

  • The Watermill
  • Tidmouth Tunnel
  • Kellsthorpe Road
  • Gordon's Hill
  • Wellsworth
  • Knapford
  • Sir Topham Hatt's Office
  • Maron
  • Ffarquhar
  • The Fishing Village
  • The Sodor Inn
  • The Cow Field
  • Sodor Suspension Bridge
  • Sodor Steamworks
  • Tidmouth Sheds
  • Henry's Tunnel
  • Rail Under Road Bridge and Signalbox
  • Vicarstown (mentioned)
  • The Mainland (mentioned)
  • Brighton (mentioned)

Cast Edit

UK and AUS Edit

  • Mark Moraghan as the narrator
  • John Hasler as Thomas
  • Keith Wickham as Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, Glynn, Sir Topham Hatt and the other human characters
  • Teresa Gallagher as Annie, Clarabel, Judy and some children
  • Tim Whitnall as Jerome
  • Christopher Ragland as the Troublesome Trucks

US Edit

  • Mark Moraghan as the narrator
  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • William Hope as Edward
  • Kerry Shale as Henry and Gordon
  • Rob Rackstraw as James
  • Teresa Gallagher as Annie, Clarabel, Judy and some children
  • Tim Whitnall as Jerome
  • Keith Wickham as Glynn, Sir Topham Hatt, and the other human characters
  • Christopher Ragland as the Troublesome Trucks

Bonus Features Edit


  • Really Useful Engine music video
  • Troublesome Trucks music video
  • Old Reliable Edward (bonus episode)


  • The Best Friends Express music video

Japan Edit

  • Original 70th Anniversary History Time Travel

Trivia Edit

  • This special was made to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the franchise.
  • The events of Edward and Gordon, Thomas and Gordon, The Sad Story of Henry, Thomas' Train,Thomas and the Trucks and Thomas and the Breakdown Train are featured. The events of Edward, Gordon and Henry are also mentioned.
  • Several recomposed pieces of music from the Classic Series are featured. Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell receive credit for "original songs and themes". Peter Hartshorne did research on YouTube for inspiration to recompose the pieces.
  • The end credits feature original illustrations from the Railway Series.
  • This special marks the first of several things:
    • The first time Thomas has been seen in a livery other than North Western blue.
    • The first time James is seen in his black livery in the television series.
    • The first time the North Western Railway is referred to by name in the television series.
    • The first television series production since the fourth season to directly adapt Railway Series stories.
    • The first appearance of Farquhar in full CGI.
    • The first time Peter Hartshorne has composed the music for a special on his own.
    • The first appearance of the red lining on Thomas' coal bunker since the third season episode, Trust Thomas.
    • The first feature not to have Matt Wilkinson as part of the UK voice cast and Glenn Wrage as part of the US cast.
    • The first time since Thomas' Christmas Party that a town on The Mainland is mentioned.
    • The first CGI special not to have a stylized opening sequence.
    • The first special not to feature Percy.
    • The first time since the sixteenth season episode Percy and the Calliope, where music was recreated, originally being composed by Mike O'Donnell and Junior Campbell.
    • The first time The Breakdown Train appears in full CGI since the twelfth season episode, Saved You!.
    • The Breakdown Train gains both names and faces, for the first time in the television series.
    • The first time Keith Wickham takes over the role of Sir Topham Hatt in the US.
    • The first time John Hasler, Joseph May, Rob Rackstraw and Christopher Ragland join the voice cast:
      • John Hasler and Joseph May take over the role of Thomas in the UK and US dubs respectively.
      • Rob Rackstraw takes over the role of James in the US.
      • Christopher Ragland takes over the role of the Troublesome Trucks in the UK and the US.
  • In the US version, just before Edward says "What are you so happy about today, Thomas?", Thomas is humming "Really Useful Engine."
  • This special was shown at The Theatres at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA on Tuesday May 12th, 2015 and was also shown on PBS Kids on May 11th. The PBS airings included two Mr. Perkins segments and The Best Friends Express music video at the end to fill the timeslot.
  • It was also shown in The Paul Greengrass Cinema in Kent, United Kingdom from August 17th - 27th.
  • Sodor Island Fansite hinted on Twitter that, if the special sells well, a followup is possible. The special is also hoped to be the start of a new 'mini special' series.

Goofs Edit

  • In several scenes during the special, James' tender is seen in its red livery.
  • When James moves away from blocking Gordon's line at the beginning, his pony truck doesn't turn.
  • When Edward says "It's not as easy as you think, Thomas!" the points he's going over are against him and a crew member's hand is emerging through the wall of Edward's cab.
  • When Gordon says "The last one he got, with the wooden brake blocks", he passes a signal, but in the next shot he passes it again. Also the light of the signal changes from red to green in between the shots.
  • At the Steamworks there are some narrow gauge buffers that don't have tracks.
  • The tree branch that Thomas hits while chasing James seems to appear out of nowhere.
  • When Thomas arrives at Ffarquhar he is not coupled to his coaches, and Annie's wheels are missing.
  • When the Fat Controller receives a phone call at the beginning, there is a train moving through Knapford with very large gaps between the trucks.
  • When Thomas leaves with his train of trucks, Edward is on a long siding. But in the next shot when he says "Thomas, be careful!", he is closer to the buffers.
  • When Henry and Thomas leave Tidmouth Sheds together, Henry's wheels are moving backwards. Additionally, Henry is still laughing, even though his mouth has stopped moving.
  • In the first scene of Edward shunting, there are two workmen standing at the signal box, but in the next shot they have disappeared.
  • The tunnel that Gordon emerges from at the beginning is not rendered properly, as it overlaps the rails.
  • In the UK version when James yells "Get out of the way!", his US voice is heard.
  • When The Fat Controller first meets Thomas, a train of oil tankers in the background disappears and reappears.
  • In one of the promotional images of James during the runaway scene, he has a different brake van than he does in the rendered special.
  • In the first close up of Thomas after waking up Jerome and Judy a train of grey vans is in the background. In the next close up the train has disappeared.
  • Between the close up of Gordon stopping at Wellsworth and another close-up of him saying "Oh yes!" the lighting changes.
  • During the scene where Thomas has trouble waking up, the smoke from Henry's funnel goes through the shed.
  • After Annie and Clarabel tell Thomas not to bother Judy and Jerome, James approaches in the background, but there is no steam coming from his funnel.
  • When Thomas puffs up to the water tower during his montage in the yard, no water is emmited from the spout despite the sound of splashing being heard. This is fixed in the Never Overlook A Little Enginemusic video.
  • When Edward is shunting after helping Gordon, the wheels on the trucks he's pushing slowly stop moving, then stop completely before Edward stops moving
  • At the beginning, Gordon is traveling under North American directional rules.
  • The US DVD is deinterlaced, thus presenting the feature in 240p, as opposed to full 480p resolution.
  • When Thomas passes Henry while being pushed by the trucks, both engines are on a curve in the track. But in the close ups of Henry, the track is straight.
  • When Thomas approaches Tidmouth Sheds for the first time, Edward's boiler stripes seem to have disappeared.

In Other Languages Edit

Language Name Meaning
Spanish La Aventura Comienza The Adventure Begins
French L'aventure commence The Adventure Begins
Japanese トーマスのはじめて物語 First Story of Thomas
Polish Przygoda się Zaczyna The Adventure Starts
Romanian Să Înceapă Aventura! Let the Adventure Begin!

Merchandise Edit

Wooden Railway Edit

  • Introducing James

TrackMaster Edit

  • The Original Thomas
  • Glynn
  • Whispering Woods Expansion Pack

Tomica Edit

  • The Original Thomas

Books Edit

  • The Adventure Begins

Capsule Plarail Edit

  • Original James