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“Did you lose your way, Gordon?"
"No, it was lost for me. I was switched off the main line onto the loop. I had to go all round and back again."
"Perhaps it was instinct.”
―James and Gordon

James and the Express, retitled A Proud Day for James in American releases, is the tenth episode of the first series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book James the Red Engine.


Although James has made a good impression on the Fat Controller after his success with some trucks, he still finds himself subject to teasing by Gordon and Henry, who constantly remind him of how a bootlace was needed to help him finish a journey with coaches. James tries to counter their insults by reminding them about engines getting shut up in a tunnel and stuck on a hill, but neither of them let up. Gordon boasts about being the only engine capable of pulling the Express alone, claiming that he has never lost his way and knows the line by instinct, forgetting that it is the signalman who ensures that engines do not get lost.

The next morning, James and Gordon prepare for work. Gordon once again gloats about getting to pull the Express while James is left with 'odd jobs' before sending the red engine to fetch his coaches. James, now knowing to be extra careful with the coaches, takes them nicely into the station. James tells the coaches that he would love to be able to take the Express, before leaving them for Gordon who couples himself to the train as nosily and importantly as possible. Gordon then leaves with his train, full of passengers, one of which is the Fat Controller. James waits until the express has gone, then goes back to work shunting trucks and fetching coaches.

Later, James has brought in the next train's coaches to the platform, when Gordon, looking very embarrassed, quietly pulls into the station, trying not to be noticed. James asks if Gordon 'lost his way', and Gordon morosely admits that he was mistakenly switched off the main line and forced onto the loop back to the station. James finds this funny. However, the passengers are furious and demand refunds, but the Fat Controller calls their attention and promises them a new train immediately. With Gordon unable to pull the express again, and no other engines available, the Fat Controller asks James if he will take the train. James is more than happy to and quickly couples up. The Fat Controller wishes James luck and he pulls out of the station. The journey goes without incident and upon reaching their destination, the passengers thank James for a nice journey. The Fat Controller is very impressed and asks James if he would like to pull the Express sometimes. James excitedly says "Yes" at once.

The next day, James sees Gordon shunting trucks. The larger engine is enjoying simpler work and getting to teach the trucks some manners. He then congratulates James on his success with the Express. Gordon and James soon become good friends. James sometimes takes the Express for Gordon to allow him to rest. Gordon no longer talks about bootlaces, and the two very much agree when it comes to their opinion of trucks.



Adaptation Notes

  • The opening narration is altered, along with Henry and Gordon being given an additional line of dialogue.
  • The descriptor of Gordon speaking "proudly" is removed.
  • Gordon's line "don't be late now" is cut down to simply "don't be late."
  • The narration about James leaving Gordon's coaches and going back to the yard is omitted, as it is represented visually on screen.
  • The description of the Express disappearing "around a curve" is omitted.
  • The narration about James being uncoupled from the coaches when he brings them to the platform is cut.
  • The noise Gordon makes while coming into the station is simply described as "a mournful noise," while in the original story it was described in the text using onomatopoeia.
  • The descriptors of Gordon answering "crossly" to James and James replying "brightly" are removed.
  • The narration "everyone was making a noise" when the passengers are demanding their money back is omitted.
  • The descriptor of the Fat Controller speaking "kindly" is omitted. In the same scene, he is already in the coach, rather than having to hurry in when the guard blows his whistle.
  • James' line "hurry, hurry, hurry" as he leaves the station is removed.
  • The order of the line "stations and bridges" is swapped to become "bridges and stations."
  • The description of the passengers leaning out of the window is omitted, likely due to it already being visually represented on screen.
  • The final station is described simply as a "station" rather than a "terminus."
  • A line of narration about the Fat Controller being impressed is added when James reaches Maron.
  • The descriptor of James answering "happily" when the Fat Controller asks if he would like to pull the Express sometimes is removed.
  • The trucks' line when Gordon bumps into them is removed.


  • In an interview with Sodor Island Fansite, Christopher Noulton stated that some of the passengers were made out of Plasticine for this episode.
  • Extended stock footage from James and the Coaches is used.
  • This is the first episode in which Edward does not appear since his introduction in Edward and Gordon.
  • George Carlin's dub of this episode was never featured on Shining Time Station. It first appeared on Mister Moose's Fun Time in 1998 and later the Best of James VHS/DVD in 2002.
  • Gary Wilmot was the first presenter responsible for introducing the individual episodes of the first series until this episode and was replaced by Rod Hull and Emu on 2nd December 1985 for the continuity of the airings until 20th December 1985 with the twenty sixth episode aired as the last remaining standalone episode outside of Children’s ITV until the second series on 24th September 1986.


  • After Gordon leaves Knapford, the truck in front of James changes, and another workman appears out of nowhere.
  • In the close-up of James, he can be seen outside of the station, but in the next scene, he is inside the station.
  • In the scene after the passengers are rushing to the ticket window, a blonde woman in red clothing has blu-tak underneath her shoes.
  • When the Fat Controller asks James if he would like to pull the Express sometimes, the tree on the left behind him wobbles.
  • A wire is visible near Gordon's trailing wheel when he asks James to get his coaches and James' eyes are pretty wonky.
  • Because stock footage is used, James brings the other coaches to platform 5. Then when Gordon arrives back at Knapford, James is at platform 3, and the brake coach is in the middle of the train.
  • James places the coaches into Knapford at a point where the first coach was at the front of the platform. However, when Gordon buffers up to them, they have moved back without Gordon pushing them and he is then at the front of the platform.
  • During the scenes of Gordon at Tidmouth Sheds, his buffers and lamp irons are crooked.
  • In George Carlin's dub, James and Gordon's whistle sound effects are muted when they are at Knapford.
  • After James backs up Gordon's coaches into Knapford, there is a close-up of him, and there is blue sky in the background. When he is then uncoupled from the train, he is back at Knapford.
  • When Gordon backs on to his train, James disappears then reappears in the next scene.
  • When Gordon asks, "What are you doing, odd jobs?" James' eyes are wonky.
  • The coach James backs on to has no buffers or coupling hook.
  • Gordon was coupled to his trucks before he gave them a bump, but when he gives them a bump, he is further away and uncoupled.
  • Some of the passengers at Knapford have blu-tak under their feet.
  • In the close-up of Gordon's whistle, Knapford is nowhere to be seen.
  • In both Ringo Starr dubs, the very beginning of the busy theme is cut off and fades in.
  • In a close-up of James, his dome is very scratched up.
  • The official Thomas & Friends YouTube channel misnamed this episode as Foolish Freight Cars, and the upload had no sound.

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Um Dia de Orgulho para James
Chinese Mandarin 詹姆士和特快列车
Croatian Jurica i Ekspresni Vlak
Czech James a Rychlík
Danish James og Eksprestoget
Dutch James en de Sneltrein
Finnish Jaska ja Pikajuna
French James et le Train Express
German James und der Schnellzug
Greek Ο Τζίμι και το Εξπρές
Hebrew ג'יימס והרכבת המהירה
Hungarian James és az Expressz
Icelandic Jakob og Hraðlestinn
Italian La Rivincita di James
Japanese ジェームスのうれしいひ
Korean 제임스, 자랑스러운 날 (DVD Acadamy)
고속 열차를 끌게 된 제임스 (JEI TV)
Latin American Spanish Un Gran Día para James
Norwegian James og Eksprestoget
Polish Kuba i Ekspres
Romanian James şi Rapidul
Russian Джеймс берет реванш
Serbian James i Brzi Voz
Slovak James a Rýchlik
Slovenian Jakob in Brzovlak
Swedish James och Expresståget
Turkish James'in Gururlu Günü
Welsh James a'r Trên Chwim


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  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4