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“Well, well, well! Two big engines afraid of a cow?"
"Afraid? Rubbish! We didn't want the poor thing to hurt herself by running up against us, we stopped so as not to excite her.”
―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 due to some of his worn-out parts, causing him to make clanking sounds. One bright and sunny day, Edward has to pull 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, and they become provoked by the noise from the train as they are not used to them. As Edward passes by the fence, a number of cows break loose, charge across the line and break a coupling, causing the last truck and guard's van to be left behind. Believing the jerk to be the trucks getting into mischief, Edward continues on his journey. It is not until Edward gets to the next station that he or his driver realize what happened.

"Fancy allowing cows to break his train!"

Gordon and Henry hear about the incident and find it very funny, leading them to tease Edward about letting a few cows damage his train while bragging that they could handle cows easily, much to his annoyance. Toby is also indignant towards the larger engines as he knows they have never encountered cows like he has and do not understand the trouble they cause.

A few days later, Edward's mood is still bad when Gordon sails through Wellsworth with the express, still teasing him. Gordon continues down the line, telling the coaches to hurry until he and his driver think they see something on the upcoming bridge. The driver shuts off steam and as Gordon slows to a stop, he sees that the obstacle is a cow. He tries to shoo it, but she refuses to budge from her loneliness due to the fact that her calf has disappeared. Gordon's crew and 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 is also unable to get her to move and nervously reverses so as not to hurt her. Once back to the station, Henry's guard tells the stationmaster about the cow blocking the line. The porter realizes that it is Bluebell, declaring that her calf is at the station. The two men decide to send the calf in a truck pulled by Percy, who passes Henry at Crosby on the way.

At the bridge, arriving with the calf, Percy reunites it with its mother and the two cows are then easily led away by the porter. Gordon and Henry make an agreement not to tell anyone about the incident, but the story quickly gets around.

That night, Edward is ready to tease Gordon and Henry in the shed. Gordon defends himself and Henry, claiming that they stopped to prevent Bluebell from running up against them. Edward tells Gordon that he understands, making Gordon worried that Edward understands all too well.




  • In the UK narration, the porter notes that Bluebell's calf is ready to go to market. However, in the American versions, the line was changed so that the calf is looking for her mother, to remove the reference to cow slaughter.
  • Henry regains his wheel arches in this episode and his stepladders become solid.
  • This is the first appearance of the Red Coaches, Brendam Docks, Crosby Station in the television series and the first appearance of the line leading to Crocks Scrap Yard.
  • 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 1991, the end credits from Duck Takes Charge are used.
  • This episode aired alongside the second series episode, Daisy in Storytime with Thomas.
  • When aired in 1991 this episode aired on Thursday 30th May 1991 with Bertie’s Chase on Friday 30th May


  • 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. This was due to using the original narration from the Railway Series story in which six trucks and the brake van are shown cut off from the back of the train in the second illustration.
  • 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.
  • The narrator says that Henry backed away nervously, but he is actually smiling.
  • 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
Albanian Lopët
Brazilian Portuguese O Acidente de Edward
Chinese Mandarin 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
Latin American Spanish El Accidente de Edward
Norwegian Kuer
Polish Krowy
Romanian Vaci
Romansh Ina vatga sin il binari
Russian Коровы на рельсах
Serbian Krave
Slovenian Krave
Swedish Kossor
Turkish İnek
Ukrainian Корови
Welsh Gwartheg

Home Media Releases


DVD Packs


VHS/DVD Boxsets


  • Thomas, Percy and the Coal and Other Stories
  • The Complete Series 2

DVD Boxsets














DVD Boxsets




DVD Packs