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This article is about the episode. You may be looking for 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 some American releases, is the twenty-third episode of the fourth series.


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 to keep dry from the rain at Knapford. A painter is on a ladder above the line, but when Henry's steam blows high into the air, the painter loses sight and then he and his paint pot 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 do for the Royal Train and that he must make other arrangements.

Thomas and Gordon are waiting for the Fat Controller, who can see that both engines are sorry and 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, and Edward soon steams in and announces that the Queen has arrived. Gordon then pulls into the station with the Queen and her train. 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 angrilly, trying to enjoy the event in peace, but Percy and Toby ignore them by carrying the noise on, ending up 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 the engines whistle proudly. No one has ever felt prouder than those on the Fat Controller's railway.




  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Gordon the Big Engine.
  • Going by production order, this is the twentieth episode of the fourth series.
  • The flag of Saint George's Cross is visible in one scene. In real life, the same flag is used to represent England.
  • Stock footage from Off the Rails, Down the Mine and Thomas and Stepney is used. An extended scene from Down the Mine is also used.
  • From the scenes with Gordon pulling into the station with the royal train to the engines cheering for the Queen (with an angry shush strangely 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 an episode of Shining Time Station (Thomas & Friends' American spin-off series), Mr. Conductor's Fourth of July (under My Country 'Tis of Thee instead).
  • On PBS Kids Sprout airings and Thomas & Friends Classic Volume 4 digital download, this episode was given its UK title.
  • This episode, along with Special Attraction, were the last episodes featured on Shining Time Station.
  • This episode is a continuation of the first series episode, Down the Mine.
  • The events of this episode were later mentioned by Gordon in the eighteenth series episode, Emily Saves the World.
  • Behind the scenes footage for this episode was filmed for the 1995 documentary The Thomas the Tank Engine Man. A TV screen also shows a deleted scene of Edward passing Wellsworth at dawn.
  • References to the first series episodes, Off the Rails and Down the Mine and the third series episode, The Trouble with Mud are made.
  • On 12 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.
  • This was the 100th episode to air in Norway.
  • Footage from this episode can be seen in the Japanese game, Magical Adventure.
  • In the UK and Ukrainian versions, when the rain comes, a thunderclap sound effect is heard. However, in the US and other international versions, the thunderclap sound effect is omitted for unknown reasons.
  • When both Thomas and Gordon ask "Please, Sir?" in the US narration, the voice clip is double-tracked to make it sound like there are two characters talking simultaneously.
  • This was the only fourth series episode to have its titled renamed for the US dub.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Knapford Station until the sixth series episode, It's Only Snow.
  • The three berth garage from TUGS appears at Knapford.


  • 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 was heard.
  • When Thomas rolls his eyes, his face moves a little.
  • Henry's smoke is coming from his cab and not his funnel.
  • In a rare picture, Gordon's buffer is crooked when he speaks to the Fat Controller.
  • 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 wonky.
  • In the close-up shots of Toby and Percy at Knapford, the buffers on Toby's line are wonky.
  • In a rare picture, Thomas' driver has only his head and arms, as his body is replaced by a metal plate.
  • In the shot of the engines whistling, Edward can be seen with his tender facing the camera, but when he talks to the queen and whistles his the other engines, he switches his position of direction.
  • In a close-up shot of Toby and Percy at Knapford, a woman sitting on a bench has no feet.
  • When Toby brings the passengers to Knapford, his bell sounds completely different.
  • When Thomas and Gordon are puffing to the sheds at the beginning, neither of them are puffing steam in any of the shots except Gordon's close-up.
  • 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.

In Other Languages

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Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese A Visita da Rainha
Chinese 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 여왕님의 방문
Norwegian Malingsøl og Dronningen
Polish Królewska Farba
Romanian Găleţi de Vopsea şi Regine
Russian Ведра с краской и королева
Slovak Maľovanie Hrnca a Kráľovná
Slovenian Posode z Barvo in Kraljica
Spanish Un Pote de Pintura para la Reina
Swedish Färgburkar och Drottningar
Thai กอร์ดอนและโธมัสได้รับมอบงานสำคัญ
Ukrainian Банки з фарбою i королева

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