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"Old Iron? Slow?"
"Why, Edward could beat you in a race anyday!
— Percy and Thomas

Old Iron is the fifth episode of the second season. It first aired in the US on the Shining Time Station episodes Impractical Jokes in 1989, and reaired in The Magic is Believing in 1991 and the Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales episode, For the Birds in 1996.


One day, James is forced to wait in a station for Edward to arrive with his train which makes him angry with the blue engine. When Edward arrives, James grumbles and leaves to continue his work. Afterwards, James puffs to the shed, still grumbling. He complains to Thomas and Percy that Edward always makes engines wait and he is no better than a lump of "old iron." Thomas and Percy, who both have a great deal of respect for Edward, are angry at this remark and tell him that Edward could beat him in a race any day. James scoffs at this, before returning to his berth in the shed to rest.

The next day, James' driver suddenly falls ill while at work and is sent home. With only his fireman on duty, James is relegated to shunting for the day. The fireman leaves James to get ready for the day's work when the signalman spots James leaving without anyone aboard. He quickly sets the points to halt traffic down the line and tells the fireman what has happened. It emerges that two boys were seen on James' footplate fiddling with his controls, only to run when James started. The signalbox phone rings, with the engine inspector on the other end. He asks the fireman to quickly get a shunter's pole and a coil of wire rope.

The inspector soon arrives in Edward and the fireman is ready with the items requested. With James' fireman and the inspector aboard as well as his normal crew, Edward sets off promising to catch up to the runaway engine.

James, meanwhile, sails through Knapford and still does not have a clue that anything is wrong and is enjoying his long run. His happiness does not last much longer though, as he feels himself starting to go faster and faster causing him to realise that none of his crew are aboard. His joy turns to horror and James starts to call for help. Edward speeds through Knapford and races down the line as fast as he can in order to catch up to James. Soon the two engines are almost side-by-side with Edward giving it everything he can to keep up. Edward's driver does his best to keep Edward steady while the inspector climbs outside and makes it to Edward's front with a noose of rope tied through the crook of the shunter's pole and tries to slip the rope over James' buffer. It is difficult for the inspector, but he finally manages to lasso the buffer and pull it tight. James' fireman scrambles over to his engine and takes control, allowing both engines to finally slow down.

As the two tired engines approach the next station, James apologises for his harsh words earlier. Waiting for them both is the Fat Controller. He congratulates the crew on a fine rescue and then tells James that he can rest before pulling coaches. As for Edward, he is going to be rewarded with a trip to the works to get his worn-out parts mended. Edward is very happy and notes how nice it will be to get to run without clanking.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Edward the Blue Engine.
  • When Edward arrives at the Sodor Shipping Company, a season 1-styled truck can be seen in the goods train next to him.
  • In a rare picture, James is smiling while he is at the sheds with Thomas and Percy.


  • When James first arrives at the signalbox, he is not coupled to the trucks. But when he starts again, the trucks have disappeared.
  • The events of this episode are supposed to take place in the morning, but the clock in the signal box reads 1:20.
  • Edward is missing his eyebrows when he picks up James' fireman.
  • When James says "What shall I do?" the line ahead ends right at the trees.
  • After the rope is attached between Edward and James, Edward's body is very off centre.
  • After Edward catches James they pass the water column, but in the next scene they pass the same water column again.
  • In the restored version, in the close-up of the Fat Controller, the background is blacked out.
  • When James says "Really?!" his face is crooked and Thomas' eyes are wonky.
  • Studio equipment is visible in the top-right corner when Edward catches up with James.
  • A piece of blu-tak can be seen on the signalman's hand to hold the telephone.
  • When the inspector is walking towards the front of Edward, James' tender is derailed.
  • Henry's eyes are wonky when Edward races through Knapford station.
  • When Edward is chasing after James, the tracks behind him end in the bushes.
  • In a rare picture, James's ill driver is standing inside of Henry's cab.
  • In the redubbed Swedish version, Percy is referred to as Toby.


In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Spanish Hierro Viejo Old Iron
Finnish Vanha Romu Old Iron
Norwegian Gammelt skrapjern Old Scrap Iron
Italian Un Audace Salvataggio A Daring Rescue
Japanese おんぼろエドワード Clappedout Edward
French Le vieux tas de ferraille The Old Clunker
Dutch Oud Roest Old Rust
German Altes Eisen Old Iron
Danish Gammelt Jern Old Iron
Slovenian Staro železo Old Iron
Chinese 旧铁 Old Iron
Korean 제임스를 구한 에드워드 James Obtained Edward
Russian Смелый спасатель Brave Rescuer
Ukrainian Стара залізяка An Old Piece of Iron
Romanian Fier Vechi Old Iron
Hungarian Az Ócskavas Scrap Iron
Slovak Staré železo Old Scrap-Iron
Czech Staré železo Old Iron
Swedish Skrot och Skrammel Scrap and Junk
Serbian Staro gvožđe Old Iron
Polish Stare Żelastwo Old Junk
Brazilian Portuguese Ferro velho Junk Yard
Thai หัวรถจักรเก่าก็มีประโยชน์ Old Engines Were Useful

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