|This article is about 'the magazine story'. You may be looking for 'the episode or the book'.|
- “Welcome to Sodor! Meet the engines on my railway. Some are really strong. Some are really fast. But they're all Really Useful!”
- ―Sir Topham Hatt
Dowager Hatt is going to hold a "Welcome to Sodor" party at Knapford Station for many very important visitors. Thomas hopes that the Fat Controller will choose him to take the visitors around the Island, though Gordon thinks he should get the job because he always pulls the express.
At the Docks, Gordon gets a nasty surprise when the Fat Controller does choose Thomas to pull the express full of the very important visitors. Thomas is delighted and Gordon protests to no avail. The Fat Controller tells Gordon to go to Misty Island and collect some Jobi wood. Gordon puffs away, puzzled and sad. Dowager Hatt and the very important visitors board the express and Thomas sets off as well.
Not long into the journey, Thomas realises that the express is too heavy for him and he starts to feel tired. Thomas does not want Gordon to know that the heavy express is too much for him so he decides to conveniently "lose" some of the coaches. At the quarry, workmen uncouple some of the carriages and Thomas steams away, leaving many of the important visitors behind.
Thomas puffs proudly into Knapford station. When Dowager Hatt realises that some of the guest are missing, she is not happy and demands that they are brought to Knapford at once. Thomas asks Gordon to pick up the stranded visitors. Gordon, who is flushed with pride, steams off immediately. Meanwhile, Thomas sets off to collect some balloons for the party. Later, the Fat Controller is impressed by how Thomas and Gordon had worked together. He then introduces the very important visitors to all of his "Really Useful Engines".
- Sir Topham Hatt
- Dowager Hatt
- Edward (cameo)
- Henry (cameo)
- Lady Hatt (cameo)
- The Mayor of Sodor (cameo)
- The Duke and Duchess of Boxford (cameos)
- The Photographer (cameo)
- Dowager Hatt's Friends (cameo)
- Three Brass Band Members (cameos)
- Most of the very important visitors are Sodor residents and all of them have visited Sodor before this.
- Only some of the passengers are left at the quarry, but it is referenced later that all of the guests have been left behind.