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“Well, well, well! Two big engines afraid of a cow?"
"Afraid? Rubbish!”
―Edward and Gordon

Cows, retitled A Cow on the Line for American releases, is the second episode of the second series. It is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Edward the Blue Engine.


Edward's age is beginning to show as he has some worn-out parts which cause him to make clanking sounds. One bright and sunny day, Edward is taking some cattle wagons to a nearby market town. The trucks are making a lot of noise, as is he by this point.

Near the line is a field where some cows are grazing. The noise and smoke produced by the train disturb the cows as they are not used to it. As Edward passes by, a number of cows break the fence, run across the line and break a coupling, causing the last truck and the guard's van to be left behind. Edward, believing the jerk to be the trucks getting up to mischief, continues on his journey, unaware of the mishap. It is not until Edward gets to the next station that he or his driver realise what happened.


"Fancy allowing cows to break his train!"

When Gordon and Henry hear about the incident, they laugh and tease Edward about letting a few cows damage his train and brag that they could handle cows easily, which makes him very angry. Toby is also indignant towards the larger engines, knowing they have never encountered cows and do not know the trouble they cause.

A few days later, Edward is still in a bad mood when Gordon sails through Wellsworth with the express, still teasing him. Gordon continues down the line telling the coaches to hurry when he and his driver think they see something on the upcoming bridge. The driver shuts off steam and applies the brakes and as Gordon gets closer, he sees the obstacle is a cow and tries to shoo the cow away, but she does not budge, having lost her calf and feeling lonely. Gordon's crew and his passengers try to get the cow to leave but to no avail.

Henry soon comes by with his train and also thinks that the cow can simply be ordered away, but it does not work so he nervously backs off, as he does not want to hurt her. Reversing back to the station, Henry's guard tells the stationmaster about the cow blocking the line. The porter realises it is Bluebell and says that her calf is at the station. The two men decide to send the calf in a truck pulled by Percy.

At the bridge, Percy arrives with the calf and reunites it with his mother. The two cows are then easily led away by the porter. As they leave, Gordon and Henry make an agreement not to tell anyone about the incident. However, the story quickly gets around and Edward is ready to tease Gordon and Henry that night in the shed. Gordon defends himself, claiming that he simply did not want Bluebell to hurt herself by running up against him. Edward tells Gordon that he understands and Gordon worries that Edward all too well does understand.




  • In the British narration, the porter notes that Bluebell's calf is "ready to go to market," whereas in the American narration, it is said to be "looking for her mother." It is not clear why the line was changed, although the reference to cow slaughter may have been removed due to censorship.
  • Henry regains his wheel arches in this episode and his stepladders become solid.
  • This is the first appearance of the Red Coaches.
  • A deleted scene shows Henry on the bridge without his coaches.
  • In 1986, when originally first broadcast in the United Kingdom as a double bill with Thomas, Percy and the Coal, the credits showed the story title of the previous story credited. However, despite being an even-numbered episode, when aired individually later from 1987, the end credits from Duck Takes Charge are used.
  • This episode would have been the second series premiere had The Missing Coach not been cancelled.


  • When Edward crosses the viaduct he is pulling five trucks. However, in the next shot, he is pulling four trucks but when the cows break the coupling, he is pulling five again.
  • The narrator says that some trucks were left behind, but only one truck and the brake van were left behind.
  • When Gordon comes through Wellsworth he is pulling two brake coaches at the rear of his train. But when he crosses the viaduct, the middle coach has changed into a composite one.
  • When Gordon goes on the bridge, he stops but his wheels go on for a few more seconds.
  • When Gordon is looking into the camera in the last shot his right eye is slightly off-centre.
  • Edward's eyes are wonky in some scenes, including the ones with his angry face.
  • When Percy is on the bridge, he has a large lump of glue keeping his middle lamp iron on.
  • When Percy puffs through Crosby, he passes Henry, but in the next shot, Percy passes Henry again.
  • In the close-up shot of Percy watching the cows being lead away, his right eye is wonky.
  • When Edward says, "Well, well, well. Two big engines afraid of a cow?" Gordon can be seen next to him, but in the following scene, Gordon is just backing off the turntable.
  • In the Japanese dub, Henry's wheels sound different and he uses James' whistle when he passes Gordon toward the end. This sound seems to have been taken straight off the sound effects track of Percy and the Signal since James' whistle sound is present with the puffing.
  • Thomas' eyes are wonky in a rare picture.
  • When Henry goes on the bridge, his eyes move very weirdly.
  • The porter has a big stain around his mouth.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Acidente de Edward
Chinese 牛群
Croatian Krave
Czech Krávy
Danish Edward og Køerne
Dutch Koeien
Finnish Lehmiä
French Les Vaches
German Kühe
Hebrew פרות
Hungarian Tehenek
Italian Mucche sui Binari
Japanese せんろのうし
Korean 소 때문에 생긴 일
Norwegian Kuer
Polish Krowy
Romanian Vaci
Russian Коровы на рельсах
Serbian Krave
Slovak Kravy
Slovenian Krave
Spanish El Accidente de Edward
Swedish Kossor
Thai ฝูงวัวขวางทางรถไฟ
Ukrainian Корови
Welsh Gwartheg

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