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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the Philippine DVD or the magazine story.

“Old iron? Slow?"
"Why, Edward could beat you in a race
any day."
"Really? I should like to see him do it.”
―Thomas and Percy telling off James for insulting Edward.

Old Iron is the fifth episode of the second series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book Edward the Blue Engine.


One day, James is forced to wait at Wellsworth for Edward to arrive with his train. He is very angry with Edward being late again. That evening, James complains to Thomas and Percy that Edward is always making the other engines wait and clanks about like a lot of "old iron". Thomas and Percy are outraged at this remark and tell James that Edward could beat him in a race any day, to which James sarcastically says he would like to see.

The next morning, James' driver suddenly falls ill and is sent home. With only his fireman on duty, James is relegated to shunting for the rest of the day, to his annoyance. The fireman leaves to get ready for the day's work when the signalman spots James puffing away without anyone in his cab. The signalman sets the signals at "danger" to halt traffic down the line and speaks with James' fireman. It turns out that two boys were on James' footplate, fiddling with his controls, and fled when he started. An engine inspector calls them, saying he is coming at once and that he wants the fireman to get a shunter's pole and a coil of wire rope.

The inspector soon arrives with Edward and the fireman has the requested objects ready. With James' fireman and the inspector riding along with his own crew, Edward sets off. Meanwhile, James happily sails along the line, oblivious to what has transpired and simply happy to be free from shunting. Before long, he starts going faster and realizes he has no driver, causing him to panic. By now, Edward is racing out of Knapford and heading down the line as fast as he can. Soon, the two engines are almost neck and neck, with Edward giving it everything he can to keep up. Edward's driver does his best to keep Edward steadily aligned, while the inspector climbs outside and makes it to Edward's front with a noose of the rope hanging from the shunting pole and tries to slip the noose over James' right buffer. It is difficult for the inspector, but he finally manages to catch the buffer and tie it to Edward's left one. James' fireman scrambles over to his cab and takes control, allowing both engines to finally slow down.

As the two tired engines approach Crosby, James apologizes for his earlier insult, which Edward accepts. Waiting for them on the platform is the Fat Controller. He congratulates the crew on their rescue and then tells James that he can rest before he takes his next train, while Edward is rewarded with a trip to the Works to get his worn-out parts mended. Edward is delighted, remarking how nice it will be to run without clanking.




  • When Edward arrives at the Sodor Shipping Company, a first series-styled truck can be seen in the goods train next to him.
  • In the restored version, the fade effect when Edward says "So the 'Old Iron' caught you after all," is removed, and in the close-up of the Fat Controller, the background is blacked out.
  • In a rare picture, James is smiling while he is at the sheds with Thomas and Percy.
  • At one point, James and Edward pass Mrs. Kyndley's Cottage.
  • The road bridge where Edward almost catches up with James is actually one of the Knapford Harbour Bridges.
  • In the original story by Wilbert Awdry, the police arrested the boys, who were then "walloped" by their fathers. The scene was omitted in the adaptation to remove references to child abuse and because of its time limit.
  • The close-up of James' bufferbeam where the rope is swaying across his right buffer (viewers' left) is actually Thomas', but with his headlamp removed.
  • The script change of "The Fat Controller was waiting," to "Sir Topham Hatt was waiting," makes this episode the only one of Starr's US narrations to have him re-narrate just one line.
  • The Korean title of this episode shares the same name on JEI TV and DVD Academy.
  • This episode is based on a real event that took place when an Alco S2 locomotive ran away from a yard in Alton, Illinois. The incident was nearly identical to the episode.


  • Despite James' runaway mishap starting in the morning, the signalman's clock has its hands set at 1:20 as if it was afternoon.
  • When James starts again next to the signal box, the trucks have disappeared.
  • Edward is missing his eyebrows when he picks up James' fireman.
  • When James says "What shall I do?! I can't stop!", the line ahead ends right at the trees.
  • After the rope is attached between Edward and James, Edward's body is very off centre, and his tender is tilted.
  • The wire used to change one of the signals is visible.
  • After Edward catches James they pass the water column, but in the next scene, they pass the same water column again. This is due to alternate footage of the former fading into the latter the wrong way.
  • While the inspector tries to catch James, Edward and James appear to pass under the same bridge twice.
  • When James says "Really?" his face is crooked and his eyes are misaligned.
  • Studio equipment is visible in the top-right corner when Edward catches up with James.
  • A piece of blu-tak can be seen on the signalman's hand to hold the telephone.
  • Edward's close-up model tender has a large size and a different shape. This is because Gordon's tender is reused.
  • When the inspector is walking towards the front of Edward, James' tender starts to derail.
  • Henry's eyes are wonky when Edward races through Knapford station.
  • When Edward is chasing after James, the tracks behind him end in the bushes.
  • In a rare picture, James' ill driver is standing inside of Henry's cab.
  • In the Japanese dub, as James reverses into Tidmouth sheds after he was done arguing with Thomas and Percy, Starr's narration can be faintly heard in the background.
  • In the early Swedish dub, Percy's whistle can be heard at the end and Edward does not whistle. This is because the audio at the end was taken from the second series episode, Percy and the Signal.
  • In the Swedish redub version, Percy is referred to as Toby.
  • In the beginning, there is a gap between the faceplate and the eyes and a crumb found on James' footplate. Thomas also has a gap in between the eyes and the faceplate.
  • When Thomas is at Tidmouth, the shadow by Thomas changes despite no one moving at all.
  • When James reverses into his shed, the track is off centre.
  • During the chase sequence, the track layout which Edward and James run along has point work in various places, but all of the points lead to nowhere.
  • Despite both engines arriving side by side at Crosby station, they first pass it separately: James, before the close up of his wheels, and Edward after he rushes through Knapford.
  • When Edward tries to get close enough to James, both the insides of their funnels are white instead of black.


In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O convencido
Chinese Mandarin 旧铁
Croatian Staro željezo
Czech Staré Železo
Danish Gammelt Jern
Dutch Oud Roest
Finnish Vanha Romu
French Le Vieux Tas de Ferraille
German Altes Eisen
Greek Παλία Καραβάνα
Hungarian Az Ócskavas
Japanese おんぼろエドワード
Korean 제임스를 구한 에드워드
Latin Spanish Hierro Viejo
Norwegian Gammelt Skrapjern
Polish Góra Złomu (Original)
Stare Żelastwo (Alternate)
Romanian Fier Vechi
Romansh Fier vegliurd
Russian Смелый спасатель
Serbian Staro Gvožđe
Slovenian Staro Železo
Swedish Skrot och Skrammel
Ukrainian Стара залізяка
Welsh Hen Ddarn o Haearn

Home Media Releases


DVD Packs


  • Thomas, Percy and the Coal and Other Stories
  • The Biggest Ever Christmas Collection
  • The Complete Series 2
  • My First Thomas with James

DVD Packs



VHS/DVD Boxsets















DVD Packs



  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4