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“You're finally in a poster! Maybe you are good enough after all!”
―Thomas seeing James in Edward's poster

James the Second Best is the twenty-seventh episode of the tenth series.


One morning, the Fat Controller comes to Tidmouth Sheds with a photographer, declaring there will be a railway poster, and he needs an engine to be on it. James is confident that he will be on the poster, as he is a splendid engine, but the Fat Controller chooses Edward, who is delighted. James cannot believe it, so while the photographer prepares his camera, James pulls in front of Edward. The Fat Controller then sternly orders James to leave the sheds, who unhappily does so.

Later, the posters are put up all over the railway, each bearing a picture of Edward. James is upset, wondering why Edward was chosen instead of him. Henry, Percy and Thomas say that it is because Edward is gentle with his trucks, he does not mind doing dirty jobs and he is always on time. This makes James cross, and he decides that he will do all those things as well to prove he is just as good as Edward.

At the coaling plant the following morning, Edward and Thomas are shunting coal trucks. Edward does his shunting gently, and when James arrives, he does the same thing. Thomas states that Edward has already finished and set off to deliver his coal, but James still wants to be just as good as Edward, so he rushes off to deliver his coal. All day, James delivers coal, and at the end of his job, he is very filthy. At Maron, James tells Henry that he can get just as dirty as Edward, and feels that he is just as good as he is.

Later, James is being cleaned before his passenger train, but it takes a very long time to clean him. Percy cheekily tells James that he is late, and that Edward is always on time. James decides to take Gordon's express track instead of the branch line, and therefore, he will collect his passengers before Edward, and he will be good enough to be the poster engine.

James and Edward crash into the poster

James puffs off to collect his passengers, and he switches onto the express track, racing as fast as he can to get ahead of Edward. When James finally switches back onto the branch line, he is indeed ahead of Edward, but at that moment, the signal turns to red. James manages to stop, but Edward could not stop in time and he biffs into the back of James, pushing him straight into one of the posters. Edward apologises for being unable to stop, but James owns up and admits it was his fault for pushing in. Thomas puffs up on the track below and sees James; his face is sticking out of the poster where Edward's face would be. Thomas cheekily laughs that James is finally in a poster, and that maybe he is good enough after all. But James does not feel good and feels very silly.

James feeling guilty of ruining Edward's poster

Soon, the Fat Controller arrives onboard Emily, who sternly tells James that his racing around the island has caused confusion and delay. Worse still, Edward's piston cylinder has been damaged from the crash, meaning he cannot take the children to the seaside. Seeing the children sad that they cannot ride on the poster engine, James feels even worse. To make up for his accident, James offers to be Edward's back engine so he can still take the children, which the Fat Controller happily agrees.

James sets off, pushing Edward and his coaches along towards the seaside. At Bluff's Cove, they stop to collect more passengers. The children cheer to see Edward, and they also cheer to see James as being a grand and kind engine. James feels proud and more useful than ever, and Edward remarks that the only thing more special than being the poster engine is being really useful.




  • One of the Wellsworth station buildings is altered and used to portray Killdane.
  • This was the last episode of a few things:
    • The last episode to have faceless models of The Horrid Lorries.
    • The last episode to feature Edward and James' original plastic models, Edward's was used in the first scene and the posters, whilst James' model was used when he was being cleaned.
    • The last appearance of Brendam Canal.
    • The last appearance of Bluff's Cove in the model series and its last overall until the thirteenth series episode, Henry's Good Deeds.
    • The last appearance of Killdane in the television series.
  • The US dub of this episode was never released on home media.
  • The theme where James races to get ahead of Edward was reused since the ninth series episode, Keeping Up with James.
  • James looking sad while in the poster may be a subtle reference to the second episode of the first series, where his sad face was used for Edward's at Maron.


  • When Edward is pushing James and the camera speed slows as James derails, Edward's wheels are still moving forward.
  • Despite his front crashing through the poster, only James' face and funnel are shown to have crashed through.
  • James' face is loose when he is at the washdown.

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese James o Segundo Melhor
Chinese Mandarin 詹姆士第二棒
Croatian Lokomotiva na Plakatu
Czech James na Druhém Místě
Danish James og Plakatlokomotivet
Finnish Jaska Haluaa Olla Ykkönen
French James le Deuxième Meilleur
German James will aufs Plakat
Hungarian James a Második Legjobb
Italian James il Miglior Secondo
Japanese ジェームスは2ばんめ
Korean 난 훌륭한 기관차야!
Latin American Spanish James el Segundo Mejor
Norwegian James er Nest Best
Polish Prawie Najlepszy Kuba
Portuguese James o Segundo Melhor
Romanian James Este pe Locul Doi
Russian Джеймс второй по полезности паровоз
Spanish James Llega Segundo
Swedish Näst Bäst
Turkish İkinci En İyi James

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