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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for the US VHS, the Italian DVD or the Philippine DVD.

“I'm too old to pull important trains."
"I'm in disgrace."
"He'll choose me, of course!"
"You?! You can't climb hills! He'll ask me to pull the train and I'll have a new coat of paint.”
―Edward, Gordon, James and Henry debating who will pull the Royal Train

Paint Pots and Queens, retitled Thomas Meets the Queen in American home video releases, is the twenty-third episode of the fourth series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book Gordon the Big Engine.


Thomas and Gordon are puffing home together after having reconciled and formed an alliance. They arrive back at the sheds to discover decorations are being put up. Thomas wonders what is happening, and Percy tells him to remain silent, saying that they are about to find out. Right on cue, the Fat Controller tells the engines that the Queen is coming to visit Sodor. The engines then wonder who will pull the Royal Train. Edward says he is too old and Gordon says he is still in disgrace. James thinks he will be chosen, but Henry disagrees, claiming James cannot climb hills and then brags that he will pull the Royal Train and have a new coat of paint too.

The next day, rain is pouring and Henry's driver and fireman cover the cab for shelter from the rain at Knapford. A painter is on a ladder above the line, but Henry's steam blows high into the air, making the painter lose sight and cause him and his paint pot to fall onto Henry, much to both Henry's shock and the painter's fury. The Fat Controller then decides that Henry's appearance will not be appropriate for the Royal Train and that he must make other arrangements, much to Henry's disappointment. Later, Thomas and Gordon are waiting for the Fat Controller, who can see that both engines are sorry and deserve a treat. He tells the two blue engines that Thomas will look after the coaches, Edward will go in front to clear the line and Gordon will pull the Royal Train.

The great day comes and the engines are busy bringing in people from all over the island for the special occasion. Edward soon steams in and announces that the Queen has arrived. Gordon then pulls into the station with the Queen and her train with white buffers and carrying the Royal Arms. The Fat Controller stands to attention and welcomes the Queen. She thanks him for a splendid ride and asks to see the engines. When Percy whistles and Toby rings and cheer for the Queen, Henry and James initially shush them angrily, trying to enjoy the event in peace, but Percy and Toby ignore them by carrying the noise on, prompting the other engines to join in. When it is time for the Queen to leave, she speaks especially to Thomas, courtesy of providing her coaches, Edward and finally Gordon, who takes her home, and all of The Fat Controller's engines whistle proudly, and cannot be more proud.




  • Going by production order, this is the twentieth episode of the fourth series.
  • Despite its placement in the fourth series, this episode is a direct continuation of the first series episode, Down the Mine.
  • This is episode marks last for many things:
  • Stock footage from Off the Rails, Down the Mine and Thomas and Stepney are used. References to the two former episodes are made, as well as a reference by Henry to the third series episode, The Trouble with Mud.
  • The flag of Saint George's Cross is visible in one scene. In real life, the same flag is used to represent England.
  • From the scenes with Gordon pulling into the station with the royal train to the engines cheering for the Queen with a shush uttered by Henry and James in between, Zadok the Priest (a British anthem, as well as the music that played during Queen Elizabeth II's coronation) plays in the background.
  • As the narrator says, "When it was time to leave..." God Save the Queen, the British national anthem, begins playing. Another instrumental version of the same anthem also plays at the end of the Shining Time Station episode, Mr. Conductor's Fourth of July under My Country 'Tis of Thee instead due to international differences. Though, coincidentally, they both have the same melody.
  • This episode, along with the fourth series episode, Special Attraction, were the last episodes featured on Shining Time Station.
  • The events of this episode were later mentioned by Gordon in the eighteenth series episode, Emily Saves the World, as well as by the Fat Controller in the twenty-fourth series double-length episode, Thomas and the Royal Engine.
  • Behind the scenes footage for this episode was filmed for the 1995 documentary, The Thomas the Tank Engine Man. A television screen also shows a deleted scene of Edward passing Wellsworth.
  • On 12th May 2015, which was the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series, behind the scenes footage of this episode was revealed in a report on BBC South Today.[1]
  • This was the 100th episode to air in Norway.
  • This episode was paired alongside Gordon and the Famous Visitor in an airing of Storytime with Thomas.
  • Footage from this episode can be seen in the Japanese game, Magical Adventure.
  • In the UK and Ukrainian dubs, when the rain comes, a thunderclap sound effect is heard. However, in the US and other international dubs, the thunderclap sound effect is omitted.
  • This episode marks the only time with two things:
    • The only appearance of Queen Elizabeth II until the twenty-fourth series double-length episode, Thomas and the Royal Engine.
    • The only episode and the first time in which Thomas' upset face is used until the eighth series premiere. This also makes it the only Britt Allcroft episode to feature it.
  • The three berth garage from TUGS appears at Knapford. The Fuel Depot Manager's office from TUGS also appears at Wellsworth.
  • This also the first episode since the second series episode, The Runaway to feature Thomas' shocked face without a bucktooth.
  • The man and woman who come to Sodor with the Queen appear to represent Prince Philip and the Queen Mother.
  • The Greek dub of this episode mistakenly credits Ringo Starr even though it was redubbed and Michael Angelis was the English narrator at the time.


  • Gordon's brake pipe is facing downwards, while it was facing upwards in Down the Mine.
  • The narrator said that Thomas and Gordon whistled into the shed, but only Thomas' whistle is heard.
  • When Thomas rolls his eyes, his face moves a little.
  • When Henry says "You can't climb hills" to James, Percy's cab roof is slightly lifted.
  • At the end of the episode, a crowd of people can be seen at Knapford, but in the close-ups of James and Henry, the people disappear and then reappear.
  • When the engines whistle, Donald and Douglas' whistles can be heard, but they are nowhere to be seen. This is because the audio of the engines whistling is reused from the second series episode, The Deputation.
  • When Gordon comes to a halt in Knapford, Edward's eyes are misaligned.
  • In the close-up shots of Toby and Percy at Knapford, the buffers on Toby's line are crooked.
  • In a close-up shot of Toby and Percy at Knapford, a woman sitting on a bench does not have feet.
  • When Toby brings the passengers to Knapford, his bell sounds completely different.
  • In the close-up shot of Knapford station decorated in flags, one of the glass canopies is removed and seen in the corner.
  • Despite their appearances in this episode, Edward and Toby do not appear in the nameboard sequence at the end of the episode in the Japanese dub.
  • One of the passengers at Knapford is missing his arm.
  • When Thomas says "Bust my buffers! What's happening?!" his shocked face is missing the bucktooth


Gordon: Remember, Thomas. United we stand, together we fall. You help me, and I'll help you.
Thomas: I'll remember, but I hope the Fat Controller/Sir Topham Hatt forgives us soon.

Narrator: The engines wondered who would pull the Royal Train.
Edward: I'm too old to pull important trains.
Gordon: I'm in disgrace!
James: He'll choose me, of course!
Henry: You?! You can't climb hills! He'll ask me to pull the train, and I'll have a new coat of paint!

In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Albanian Kutit e bojës dhe mbretëresha
Brazilian Portuguese A Visita da Rainha
Chinese Mandarin 油漆罐和皇后
Czech Nátěr pro Královnu
Danish Malerspande og Dronninger
Dutch Verfpotten en Koninginnen
Finnish Maalitölkkejä ja Kuningattaria
German Farbtöpfe und Königinnen
Greek Η επίσκεψη τής βασίλισσας
Hungarian A Királynő Látogatása
Italian Arriva la Regina!
Japanese じょおうへいかがやってくる
Korean 토마스, 여왕을 만나다 (DVD Acadamy)
여왕님의 방문 (JEI TV)
Mandarin Un Pote de Pintura para la Reina
Norwegian Malingsøl og Dronningen
Polish Wizyta Królowej (Original)
Królewska Farba (Alternate)
Romanian Găleţi de Vopsea şi Regine
Russian Ведра с краской и королева
Slovenian Posode z Barvo in Kraljica
Swedish Färgburkar och Drottningar
Ukrainian Банки з фарбою i королева
Welsh Tomos a Queen

Home Media Releases


DVD Boxsets



  • Thomas Meets the Queen and Other Stories
  • Best of Thomas

DVD Boxsets


DVD Boxsets


  • Thomas and Stepney and other Stories










DVD Boxsets



  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4





Video Games