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Warning! This page contains MAJOR spoilers from a recently released or soon to be released product. Caution is advised.

"Oh, Hurricane! What should I do?!
Anything!
"
— Frankie and Merlin

Journey Beyond Sodor is the 2017 Thomas and Friends special.

Plot

One day, Henry is pulling a goods train to the mainland, but because of a faulty signal at Vicarstown, he runs right into the back of Hiro's train and derails, dangling dangerously over the edge of the viaduct.

Meanwhile, on his branch line, Thomas is feeling bright and sunny, whistling hello to everyone he meets. As he pulls into Knapford Station, he is complementing how wonderful the day is, and feels like bursting into song. However, he is interrupted by James, who is boastfully singing about how he believes he is the best engine on Sodor. As James pulls up to the platform, Thomas rolls up, telling him that he isn't the favourite engine and that he was going to sing a song. James calls out to everyone at the station that Thomas is going to sing, and everyone listens. Hesitant at first, Thomas is just about to sing, but James interrupts him and starts singing again about how he's the favourite engine.

Thomas meets up with James at the Shunting Yards and tells him again that he's not Sir Topham Hatt's favourite engine. James boasts how he always gets the best jobs, and that his next one is to transport music, while Thomas collects pigs from Farmer Trotter's farm. Thomas doesn't believe James until later at the farm when he sees him pulling carriages filled with musicians. Hearing James singing boastfully makes Thomas even more upset.

That evening, Edward arrives at Vicarstown with the breakdown train to help lift Henry back to safety, and Harvey arrives to handle the derailed trucks. At his office, Sir Topham Hatt is talking on his telephone and using a map and wooden trains to monitor the situation. Thomas overhears Sir Topham Hatt making plans for James to take the trucks to a goods yard in Bridlington, where the trucks are meant to go.. Thomas plans to tease James about the fact that he is pulling a goods train, but James is okay with this job because he will be on the mainland. Later that night, Thomas is upset and tells Percy that James thinks he's the most important engine. Percy, however, isn't listening and busily leaves to collect the mail train. Thomas then has an idea.

James arrives at Vicarstown and asks Rosie for his trucks, but she tells him that Thomas took them. James is shocked, while Thomas boastfully departs for the mainland.

At the Steamworks, Henry is still being repaired with The Fat Controller supervising. James arrives and tells him about Thomas taking the trucks to the mainland. Sir Topham Hatt is not upset, however, and decides to put James on Thomas' branch line.

On the mainland, Thomas is observing the scenery on the mainland, but the trucks begin annoying him as he is passing through a busy junction. Thomas enters a tunnel, with the trucks' laughter still ringing in his ears. Meanwhile, James is on Thomas' branch line, but he overshoots the platform at Maithwaite and rides roughly, annoying Annie and Clarabel, who hope Thomas returns soon.

Thomas has gotten lost, however, and arrives at a canal, but his track is blocked by a gantry crane named Beresford, who refuses to let Thomas pass through until he tells him something he has never heard. Thomas tricks Beresford by telling the crane his name; as Beresford has never heard of Thomas, he has thus heard something new and Thomas is able to pass through. However, as he continues along the line, he runs out of coal and water in an old rail yard. He is greeted by a cab-forward tender engine named Lexi and a geared railway traction engine named Theo. Theo shunts Thomas to the coal hopper while he and Lexi explain to Thomas that they are experimental engines. As Thomas is shunted to the water tower, they also tell him that another engine named Merlin lives in the yard with them. Merlin is a "stealth engine" who can supposedly turn invisible, but Thomas does not see him. He asks them for directions to Bridlington, but they cannot help him.

Thomas sets off once again and sees a factory in the distance. He makes his way over to the factory and finds that it is a large steelworks. Two engines emerge from the building: a large tank engine named Hurricane and a diesel shunter named Frankie. They know where Bridlington is, but they have Thomas leave his trucks on a siding and give him a tour of the Steelworks. Thomas instantly feels welcome and the two engines give him a shed to sleep in for the night. Meanwhile, on Sodor, the engines are all wondering where Thomas is. Percy suggests that James goes to look for him, but James is unsure.

The next morning, Hurricane and Frankie wake Thomas up early. Hurricane tells Thomas that he has already delivered the trucks, so Thomas says that he needs to head back to Sodor. However, Frankie convinces Thomas into staying and helping her and Hurricane in return. Thomas reluctantly joins Hurricane and Frankie and spends the morning taking ladle trucks up to the slag heap. As he is taking empty slag wagons back into the building, he bumps into Hurricane's full wagons, derailing them. The molten slag spills and Hurricane warns Thomas about the extreme danger that it poses.

Meanwhile, Sir Topham Hatt and Percy are worried about Thomas, as Sir Topham Hatt has received a notice that the trucks have been delivered but Thomas is still missing. James asks if he can go to the mainland to look for Thomas, but Sir Topham Hatt refuses, telling James that he still needs to work on Thomas' branch line.

At the Steelworks, Thomas is out of breath from all of the hard work. To make matters worse, Hurricane and Frankie leave to make a delivery, leaving Thomas to manage the heavy workload on his own. The gates are locked, leaving Thomas trapped at the Steelworks and feeling homesick. Thomas tries to escape when he finds a track that goes out of the Steelworks. The track soon ends in a forest and Thomas gets derailed.

On Sodor, James' track is blocked by some of Farmer McColl's sheep. James gets impatient and wants to blow his whistle, but Annie and Clarabel tell him that he shouldn't and that it's mean and they'll panic. Just as James is about to blow his whistle, Farmer McColl has his dog get the sheep off the line. Meanwhile, Hurricane and Frankie rescue Thomas and tell him that he still has to do lots of work.

At Tidmouth Sheds, James says that he should've gone to the mainland, and to that Emily says that he would've also gotten lost. James says that he should go to the mainland to get Thomas. Edward says that if he does that, then nobody will be left to look after the branch line. Percy says that James would be a hero if he brought Thomas back, so James decides to go to the mainland. 

That night at the Steelworks, during a thunderstorm, Thomas once again tries to sneak out. He decides to break the gates open with some flatbeds of steel. The racket wakes Hurricane and Frankie, but he succeeds into escaping into the woods. There, he hears a voice telling him to hide. The voice then reveals itself to be Merlin. When Thomas wakes up, he tries to find Merlin but discovers that he isn't there.

James arrives at Bridlington and finds a diesel shunter, and asks if he has seen Thomas. The diesel has not seen Thomas, however. Thomas' trucks then tell James that they were delivered from the Steelworks by a big engine named Hurricane. James asks if the diesels have seen Hurricane. The diesel says no, and pulls away, which reveals Hurricane.

Thomas returns to the yard where he met the experimental engines. Lexi and Theo are excited to see Thomas again. Thomas is depressed about losing the trucks, and as Theo and Lexi tell him that they can't do anything either, Merlin reveals himself. Thomas discovers that Merlin can't actually become invisible and that he only thinks that he is invisible. Merlin tells Theo and Lexi that they can try anything, and then he says that they can help Thomas get back home.

Thomas leaves the goods yard and finds the canal where he met Beresford. He tried to sneak past Beresford so he won't stop him again, but Beresford sees Thomas and lifts him up by his cab. Thomas begs Beresford to put him down, but Beresford says that Thomas played a trick on him just as they were getting to know each other. Thomas says that it's not nice to pick engines up and that they have to do something nice for each other to be friends, so Beresford drops Thomas down but then Thomas sees Hurricane and Frankie with James. Thomas asks him to hurry up and hide him from them. Beresford hides Thomas right over the canal. After they pass, Beresford swings Thomas back and says that he did something nice for him so they can be friends now. Thomas tells him that he has to rescue James from Hurricane and Frankie. Merlin arrives at the canal asks who James is. He says that he couldn't find Thomas at all and that he has been following him to make sure he gets home safely. Thomas says that he has to help James. Merlin decides to go with Thomas. 

At the Steelworks, Hurricane and Frankie are showing James around like they did with Thomas. James stops them and says that he wants to find Thomas. They act like they have never seen him before, but when James realizes that they're lying, he insists that they did. They say that he went to see the world, but not the entire world. They say while he's waiting for Thomas, James should do some work, even though they are well aware that Thomas isn't coming back. 

Thomas and Merlin go back to the goods yard and ask if Theo and Lexi can help them. Lexi says yes, but Theo isn't sure and says that they can't do anything. Thomas, Lexi, and Merlin all persuade Theo into going, and so he finally gives in. They head to the Steelworks and make a plan. Merlin says that he should use his invisibility powers to sneak in and rescue James, but since his invisibility obviously doesn't work, Thomas says that Theo and Lexi should stage an accident to act as a diversion while Merlin keeps watch and Thomas sneaks in. They try and pull off their plan. Theo crashes a flatbed full of engine parts while Lexi tells Hurricane and Frankie about the derailment. When they go to investigate, they're confused because Lexi had said that there had been a derailment, but the accident looks as though an engine fell apart. While Merlin is back keeping watch, he thinks that Thomas is taking too long and that something might be wrong, so he uses his invisibility powers to sneak in. Theo sees this and tells Lexi, which catches the attention of Hurricane and Frankie. His invisibility powers obviously don't work, so they are able to see him sneaking into the Steelworks.

Thomas finds James at the slag heap and tells him that they have to go. James tells Thomas that he will leave after finishing the job he is working on, but Thomas explains that Frankie and Hurricane won't let him leave. Merlin warns Thomas that Hurricane and Frankie are coming back, so Thomas and James make a run for it. Hurricane crashes into James' slag wagons, buying Thomas and James some time. Thomas tells James to go around the building, but he has to go onto the track that leads inside the building to avoid crashing into Frankie. Hurricane and Frankie chase James through the Steelworks and he manages to lose them briefly, but they find him hiding behind some shelves. James runs away again, which causes Hurricane and Frankie to become more aggressive. They begin bumping flatbeds at him, but he manages to dodge them. However, Hurricane blocks James' track with a line of trucks, which Thomas and Theo push out of the way just in time. The trucks derail and hit a switch that activates a magnet, which picks Thomas up and suspends him in the air. Meanwhile, Lexi and Merlin shunt flatbeds of rails onto an intersection so that James can get through while Hurricane and Frankie's lines are blocked. Lexi, Merlin, and James get out safely, but Thomas is still hanging by the magnet. It brings Thomas over a vat of molten steel. Theo pushes the trucks into another button, hoping to make the magnet drop Thomas. The magnet drops Thomas into the vat of steel, but another magnet hits him away at the last second. Thomas skids on the ground and hits a slag wagon, which spills its contents onto the floor. The molten slag is dangerously close to Thomas, so Hurricane pushes Thomas out of the way. However, Hurricane ends up in the pile of slag and his front wheels melt. Quickly thinking, Merlin pushes him out of the molten slag. Frankie is upset, however, because not only can Hurricane not make deliveries with melted wheels, but the other engines are going to leave her alone without any help. She says that the only reason she and Hurricane kept Thomas and James at the Steelworks was because they wanted some help, but were unable to find anyone to help them. Thomas suggests having the experimental engines work at the Steelworks. Lexi and Theo believe that they can't do anything, but Merlin says that they can try.

As they head back to Sodor, James says that Thomas is probably the favourite. Thomas says that nobody is the favourite and that the most important thing is being friends. Meanwhile, after Hurricane has been repaired, he and Frankie become fast friends with the experimental engines. Thomas and James go back to Tidmouth Sheds where Sir Topham Hatt and all the engines are. Henry comes back from the Steamworks and asks what he has missed in his absence.

Characters

Characters Introduced

Locations

Voice Cast

UK, AUS & NZ

US and CAN

Songs

Bonus Features

UK/US/AUS

  • Music Videos: Who's Thomas?, The Hottest Place in Town, We Can't Do Anything, The Most Important Thing is Being Friends
  • Landmarks of Sodor: Travelling to the Mainland
  • Top 5 Funniest Moments!

Trivia

  • This special takes place between twenty-first season.
  • Hugh Bonneville, Colin McFarlane, Darren Boyd, Jim Howick, Sophie Colquhoun, Lucy Montgomery and Nicola Stapleton join the voice cast.
  • The movie will be shown for screening at Edaville Railroad on August 19th.
  • A month of production was lost due to Arc Productions' bankruptcy, and as a result, the animation in some scenes is unfinished.
  • This special holds the record for the most cameo appearances in a Thomas & Friends production, with 67 cameos.
  • This is the second musical special, with the first being The Great Race.
  • References to the first season episode, Down the Mine, the second season episode, Thomas Comes to Breakfast and The Adventure Begins are made by James.
  • There are a few references to the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. In the scene when Thomas first sees the Steelworks, the Steelworks looks like Emerald City. The first van in Thomas' train mutters the line "Thomas, I don't think we're on Sodor anymore." When Hurricane's wheels are touched by the molten steel, he shouts "I'm melting! I'm melting!" like the Wicked Witch of the West did when she was splashed by water.
  • When Thomas is about to drop next to the slag wagon off the pipe, a soundbite from Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure when he falls down the cavern is re-used.
  • This special marks the first of a few things:
    • The first special animated by Jam Filled Toronto.
    • The first special produced by Mattel Creations.
    • The first special longer than 63 minutes, making this the longest special to date.
    • The first special since Tale of the Brave to have a stylized opening sequence.
    • The first special since then in which Thomas does not sustain heavy bodywork and paint damage, a recurring theme since Tale of the Brave.
    • The first special where James is voiced by Rob Rackstraw in the UK.
    • The first time the engines and trucks perform non-static body movements.
    • The first appearance of the salt vans in full CGI.
    • The first time that tankers have had faces since the fourth season episode, Toad Stands By.
    • The first time British Railways Diesels have spoken, however, only two of them speak in this special. In addition, one of them is named Ulli.
    • The first time since the second season episode, The Diseasel where an engine's basis is said in the TV series.
    • The first special in which the main antagonist is female.
    • The first special since Hero of the Rails in which Cranky does not have a speaking role.
    • The first appearance of Vicarstown Goods Yard since the first season episode, Tenders and Turntables which was also its debut appearance.
  • This special also marks several milestones for Rosie:
    • The first time she is voiced by Nicola Stapleton in the UK and US, taking over from Teresa Gallagher and Jules de Jongh, respectively.
    • Her first appearance in her new livery.
    • Her first speaking role since the sixteenth season episode, Sodor Surprise Day, and her first speaking role in a special.

Goofs

  • When the eight minute preview was uploaded to the official YouTube channel, the audio is distorted.
  • When Henry passes Connor in the beginning, he is near a grassy area, right after that, when the camera changes, both engines are at Vicarstown.
  • Connor has Caitlin's whistle sound at the beginning.
  • The trucks that Hiro is pulling at the beginning change between the crash scene and the recovery scene.
  • Rusty appears painted black and on standard gauge track during the song I Want to Go Home.
  • Despite being moved to work on the Harwick Branch Line, Judy and Jerome are seen back in their old siding at Knapford. Despite being assigned to the western side of the island, they are seen helping Henry after his accident at Vicarstown, on the east when it should have been Rocky.
  • As to the fact that a month of the special's production was lost due to Arc Productions' backrupty, there are several unfinished and animation errors, these being:
    • At Vicarstown, the trees on the streets aren't animated properly as they look like undetailed bushes.
    • Throughout most of the special, James' rear tender axle box is clipping through his rear bufferbeam.
    • During The Hottest Place in Town, Hurricane's valve gear can be seen floating when he's dancing. Merlin suffers the same issue.
    • When Thomas gets lost in a junction with his trucks, he goes under a curved trestle and part of the trestle is blocking three lines next to him.
  • When James goes to Bridlington, the van that usually said, "Are we there yet?" has a face at either end.
  • When Beresford picks Thomas up so he could hide from Hurricane and Frankie, Beresford appears higher and further away from his rails.
  • When Thomas travels along the canal, he passes the area where Beresford usually is, but Beresford is absent. In the next scene, Thomas has been moved back, as Beresford is back in his original position and Thomas passes the same building twice.
  • At the beginning, Henry's bogie wheels spark when he's trying to avoid crashing into Hiro's train, even though they're not fitted with brakes.
  • David Bedella is not credited in the US credits despite voicing Victor.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Polish Wyprawa poza Wyspę Sodor Journey Beyond Sodor
Spanish El Viaje Más Allá de Sodor The Journey Beyond Sodor

Merchandise

Books

TrackMaster

  • Lexi
  • Helpful Harvey
  • Merlin the Invisible
  • Steelworks Thomas
  • Steelworks Hurricane
  • Scrapyard Escape Set

Adventures

  • Steelworks Hurricane
  • Steelworks Frankie
  • Merlin the Invisible
  • Theo the Experimental Engine

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