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“Oh, Thomas! Why would the Fat Controller want to take a little tank engine like you to the Great Railway Show?”

The Great Race is the 2016 Thomas & Friends film.


After being told of the Great Railway Show, Thomas wants to go but in the meanwhile, Ashima, one of the Great Railway Show engines, gets stuck in Sodor and helps Thomas get to the Great Railway Show!


Characters Introduced



UK, AUS and NZ

US and CAN


Bonus Features


US and CAN

  • Music Videos - Will You Won't You, Streamlining, I'm Full of Surprises and You Can Only Be You
  • Guess Who? Puzzles - Etienne, Flying Scotsman, Philip, Rajiv, Shane and Vinnie
  • 20 Meet the Contenders Shorts


  • This special takes place between the twentieth and the twenty-first series. However, there are some hints with production crew, voice actors and changes that this was produced before Series 20 in 2015. Craig Barnikis' LinkedIn profile confirms this. Production for the special started in May 2015 and ended in February 2016. The hints are as follows:
    • Tracy Blagdon being a production manager. She became a producer in March 2016.
    • Teresa Gallagher voicing Daisy.
    • Joe Mills voicing Donald.
    • Keith Wickham voicing James in the UK dub.
    • Rebecca O'Mara voicing Caitlin.
    • Arlesburgh Junction lacking the footbridge seen on the junction in the twentieth series and the sheds still appearing as a one-berth shed.
    • Arc Productions still doing the work, whilst the last part of the twentieth series, the next special and the twenty-first series were completed by Jam Filled Toronto after Arc had shut down due to bankruptcy.
  • This special was shown in select UK cinemas from 21st May 2016[1] and in Australia and New Zealand from 20th August 2016.
  • This special was shown at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada during a private screening held by Autism Ontario on 9th July 2016.[2]
  • This special was shown in selected Italian cinemas on the 7th, 8th, 15th and 16th of October 2016.
  • This special ties in with both the 2016 Summer Olympics and Flying Scotsman's return to service in real-life.
  • This special was shown in the US at Thomas Land on 3rd September 2016 before being released on DVD and aired on PBS on 17th October.
  • References to the fourth series episode, Thomas and the Special Letter and the nineteenth series episode, The Little Engine Who Raced Ahead are made in this special, as well as the way that Diesel wanted to be stronger than Henry from the sixth series episode, The World's Strongest Engine.
  • A reworked arrangement of the original Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends theme tune is played as fanfare while Ashima and the Sodor engines parade through Vicarstown en-route to the Mainland for the Great Railway Show.
  • A reworked arrangement of The Watermill theme from the second series can be heard when Thomas goes back to pick up Annie and Clarabel, after coming back from the Steamworks from his "repaint."
  • Rufus Jones, Tina Desai and John Schwab join the voice cast. However, while Schwab still continued into the following year, Jones would not return until Big World! Big Adventures! and Desai until the twenty-second series.
  • The station announcement used in Tale of the Brave is heard when Thomas first arrives at Vicarstown.
  • When Thomas asks Victor to repaint him, one of the liveries seen in the fantasy sequence features a red and blue lightning bolt over his right eye, resembling the late singer David Bowie, who sported a similar lightning bolt on his face for the cover of his album Aladdin Sane.
  • From 13th April until 7th September 2016, the official YouTube channel uploaded promotional videos of each of the Great Railway Show's contestants (excluding James and Hiro), each video being uploaded once a week on every Wednesday.
  • This special marks the first of multiple things:
    • The first full appearance of Flying Scotsman in the television series and his first appearance since the third series.
    • The first time that Mrs. Kyndley has been referred to by name since the fifth series.
    • The first special where Nigel Pilkington voices Percy in the UK and Kerry Shale voices Diesel in the US.
    • The very first speaking role of the Great Railway Show Judge, who had only cameoed since the sixteenth series.
    • The first appearance of the red express coaches in full CGI and their first appearance since the twelfth series.
    • The first appearance of Vicarstown station in the television series.
    • The first special to have music composed by Chris Renshaw and Oliver Davis after Robert Hartshorne and Peter Hartshorne's contracts ended after Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure.
    • The first special to be a musical, though not the first to have characters sing original songs (Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure).
    • The first special since Calling All Engines! in which the narrator does not read out the title.
    • Norman's first speaking role since the seventeenth series episode, The Frozen Turntable.
    • The first time "locomotive" has been said in the series.
    • Charlie's first speaking role since the eighteenth series episode, Not So Slow Coaches, as well as the first time Steven Kynman took the mantle of his US voice, following the departure of Ben Small.
    • The first special in which Teresa Gallagher voices Marion.
    • The first appearance of Cyril the Fogman since the twelfth series episode, Thomas and the Billboard.
    • Stanley's first speaking role in a special since Day of the Diesels and the first special where he is voiced by Rob Rackstraw in the US.
    • The first time since the sixteenth series episode, Don't Bother Victor!, that a character not already in the CGI series is mentioned by name (that being Mrs. Kyndley).
    • The first film to be widely advertised in Japan. Sony Creative Products Inc. has published an independent official website, started Twitter for movies and posted promotional videos and song on YouTube.
  • This special also marks the only occurrence of a couple of things:
    • Marianne Culbert's only special as executive producer.
    • Jane Sobol and Lynda Craigmyle's only special as supervising producers.
    • Charlie, Scruff, Samson and Stafford's only speaking roles in a special.
    • The only appearance of Etienne to date.
    • The only appearances of Axel, Raul, Gina, Frieda and Ivan until the twenty-third series and before the Big World! Big Adventures! rebrand, as well as Axel, Frieda and Ivan's only appearance outside of stock footage to date.
    • The only appearances of Ashima, Shane, Yong Bao, Vinnie, Carlos and Rajiv before the Big World! Big Adventures! rebrand.
    • The only time David Bedella, Teresa Gallagher and Rob Rackstraw voice Carlos, Gina and Raul, as Big World! Big Adventures! and the twenty-third series replace them with Gabriel Porras, Anna Francolini and Federico Trujillo, respectively.
  • This special marks the last of several things:
    • The last special animated by Arc Productions under their original name. They were later re-branded as Jam Filled in Toronto in August 2016 after Arc Productions filed up for bankruptcy.
    • The last special to be produced by HiT Entertainment, which would be consolidated into Mattel Creations, who would produce the specials from Journey Beyond Sodor onwards.
    • The last special until Steam Team to the Rescue where Rosie does not speak.
    • The final time Teresa Gallagher and Joe Mills respectively voice Daisy and Donald. Tracy-Ann Oberman and Rob Rackstraw later took over the roles in the twentieth series onwards.
    • The last special in which Jonathan Broadbent voices Bill and Ben. Rasmus Hardiker would take over the role of Bill and Matt Wilkinson would for Ben in Big World! Big Adventures!
    • The last production to have Rebecca O'Mara as the voice of Caitlin and as part of the voice cast before she left the series. Jules de Jongh later took over the role and she already voiced Caitlin in the twentieth series episode, Engine of the Future.
    • The last time Keith Wickham voices James in the UK dub. Rob Rackstraw later took over the role and he already voiced James in the twentieth series episode, Tit for Tat.
    • The final special in which the non-human characters' bodies are stationary.
    • The final special with a runtime of exactly one hour.
    • The final time Javier Olguín voices Thomas and Percy in the Latin American Spanish dub. Héctor Ireta de Alba would take over the roles starting with the twentieth series onwards.
    • The final time Rosie is seen in her original lavender livery. From the twenty-first series onwards, she is painted in a new cherry red livery.
    • The last production to have Tracy Blagdon as production manager. She was promoted to producer in the twentieth series.
    • Kallan Kagan's last special as executive producer.
    • Robert Anderson's last special as producer.
    • Marianne Culbert's last production as executive producer.
    • Stephanie Gauthier Watson's last special as assistant production manager.
    • The last special to be released on Blu-ray in the US until Thomas and the Magic Railroad 20th Anniversary Edition.
    • Charlie, Scruff, Stafford and Rheneas' last speaking roles to date.
    • Norman and Peter Sam's last speaking roles until the twenty-third series episode, Diesel Do Right.
    • Sir Handel and Mike's last speaking roles until the twenty-fourth series episode, The Great Little Railway Show.
  • This special aired in Mexico on Discovery Kids on 10th December 2016 and 2nd January 2017. It also aired on Canal 5 on 5th January 2017.
  • The special aired on Nick Jr. in the US split into three half hour blocks on 13th - 15th August 2018. Also, the scene when Vinnie runs into the coal hopper was removed and the music from the removed scene was used for when Philip encounters Vinnie the second time. The three part version of the film aired on Treehouse TV on the 28th - 30th November 2018.
  • In the Japanese version, Flying Scotsman is set as Gordon's older brother.
  • In the Latin American Spanish dub, this special is called La Gran Carrera, the same title as the fourth series episode, Steam Roller in said language.
  • Character Encyclopedia reveals that Flying Scotsman went back to help Gordon finish the race after the blue engine's boiler exploded. This might have been in the script during production.
  • The Chinese poster for the special features Yong Bao in place of Ashima, who in turn is in place of Flying Scotsman.
  • On 15th June 2018, the songs from the special were released on digital music services.
  • Originally this special was going to be released in 2015, but production was pushed back in favour of The Adventure Begins and Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the franchise. Three Vicarstown Tramway Engines were going to be introduced in the special, however this plotline was dropped and the tramway engines were rewritten and replaced by Rex, Mike and Bert in Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure. In addition, the film date was pushed to the following year to coincide with the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
  • According to Railway Consultant Sam Wilkinson, Splatter and Dodge were originally considered for the role of the shunters at the Great Railway Show, however they were ultimately dropped.[1]


  • Some actors and actresses are not credited for voicing their characters:
    • Jules de Jongh and Christopher Ragland in the UK dub for singing Emily and Percy, respectively.
    • John Hasler in the US dub for voicing Rheneas.
    • Tom Stourton and Jonathan Broadbent in both dubs for voicing Rex, Bill and Ben.
  • The digital release is slowed to 24 FPS, adding an extra two minutes to the special's length. As a result, the audio is mildly distorted.
  • The title of the special refers to a singular event at The Great Railway Show, rather than the show. 
  • Despite being credited Rob Rackstraw as Stanley and Keith Wickham as Norman, the actors are swapped during Will You, Won't You.
  • There are some animation errors in Will You, Won't You:
    • When the song first begins, Thomas' driver's arm clips through his cab door.
    • As Emily is leaving Knapford station with her coaches, the second coach's body is missing.
    • Rex's tender clips through his cab and his driver's head is sticking out of his boiler.
    • Towards the end of the song, James' bufferbeam clips through Gordon's running board. In the same shot, they stop moving, but in the next shot, they stop moving again.
  • After Will You Won't You, Duck's driver's head clips through the top of his roof.
  • The engines whistle when they leave after Sir Topham Hatt tells them "We still have a railway to run," but no steam emits from any of their whistles. Edward's whistle is heard, but he is nowhere to be seen.
  • During the scene at Knapford Yards, Philip backs up to plank trucks, but when he leaves the yard, he is pulling conflats.
  • In the US dub, shortly before Streamlining starts, when Thomas says "Sir Topham Hatt will definitely take me to the show," his lips move to say, "The Fat Controller."
  • In the overhead shot of Brendam Docks, Duck is shown emitting steam from his whistle yet his whistle is not heard.
  • When Axel reboards the ship, his wheels and tender are missing.
  • When Thomas shunts trucks in the yard, a row of narrow gauge trucks can be seen on standard gauge rails.
  • Ashima is not coupled to Annie when she leaves Maithwaite.
  • During You Can Only Be You, Annie and Clarabel disappear when Ashima tells Thomas to calm down. But in the next shot, the two coaches reappeared.
  • When Diesel shunts the disguised diesels and the trucks into the yard, his coupling chains are sticking outward.
  • As Thomas pulls out of the Knapford station yard with the runaway trucks, Dart's crate is missing.
  • In the second shot inside the Great Railway Show Yard the coal hopper has no shadow.
  • Throughout the scene of the Sodor engines' arrival at the Great Railway Show, Axel's tender and trailing wheel are not on the rails and clip through his cab.
  • When Flying Scotsman sees Gordon in his streamlined form, his right eyebrow clips through his forehead.
  • Rajiv is not placed on the rails properly when he rolls forward to accept his award.
  • When Thomas is going to deliver Gordon's safety valve mechanism, he nearly crashes into Hiro who is heading towards the Island of Sodor. However, when Thomas arrives at the show, Hiro is competing in the Strength competition, though since he is not clearly shown, Hiro's model was likely used to represent a generic engine rather than himself.
  • When Frieda whistles, no steam emits from it.
  • At one point when Ashima tells James and Emily that she is going to compete in the shunting challenge, she is not positioned on the rails.
  • When The Shooting Star is Coming Through starts, Henry moves off the right side of the screen in the background.
  • When Gordon sings the words "racing blue" in the second verse of The Shooting Star is Coming Through, Spencer's wheels do not move. This error is repeated during two brief shots of Spencer and Etienne when Gordon sings both "woosh!" lines in the final verse.
  • When Emily tells Thomas about the shunting challenge in the UK dub, she says the American term "boxcars."
  • In the shot of Ivan during the first half of the shunting challenge, Philip is seen spectating with the Sodor engines when he is supposed to be chased by Vinnie.
  • Philip is facing away from the turntable before Vinnie crashes, but after he derails, Philip is turned around.
  • There are a few errors during Be Who You Are, and Go Far:
    • At the start of the song in the UK dub, James has his US voice which can faintly be heard, it then it changes to his UK one once the engines have left the Great Railway Show.
    • When the engines cross the Vicarstown Bridge, James and Emily switch back to their regular liveries for the rest of the film.
    • When the engines are approaching Vicarstown station, the outline of Henrietta's face can be seen, but no facial features are visible.
  • In the Italian dub of Will You Won't You, Salty is the only one who sings "Anyone who's any engine's eager to go."
  • There are several mistakes in the German dub:
    • When Victor says "It's a lot of hard work to streamline a steam engine, Gordon," he calls Gordon a diesel engine. And when Thomas crashes into the flatbed, the announcer calls him a diesel.
    • Before Streamlining starts, Annie starts screaming before Thomas goes faster.
    • After Will you Wont You, Gordon is the only one whose laughing is heard.
    • Andrew Brenner's credit is missing from the intro.
    • When Annie and Clarabel talk to Ashima at Maron, their voices are swapped.
  • When Den, Dart and Paxton see the ship Diesel is on, they are standing directly on the edge of the quay.

This takes place when the Soviet Union still existed, so Ivan is from the Soviet Union, not Russia and Freida is from West Germany.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese A Grande Corrida
Czech Velký závod
Dutch De grote wedstrijd
French La Grande Course
German Das große Rennen
Greek Ο Μεγάλος Αγώνας
Hungarian A nagy verseny
Italian La Grande Corsa
Japanese 走れ!世界のなかまたち
Korean 그레이트 레이스
Polish Wielki Wyścig
Romanian Cursa cea Mare
Russian Большая гонка
Serbian Velika trka
Slovenian Velika dirka
Spanish La Gran Carrera
Ukrainian Великі перегони



Wooden Railway

  • Ashima
  • Racing Vinnie
  • Frieda
  • Diesels in Disguise Pack
  • Vicarstown Station
  • Race Day Relay set with Gina


  • Flying Scotsman
  • Ashima
  • Rajiv 
  • Yong Bao
  • Etienne

Motor Road and Rail

  • Streamlined Thomas
  • Ringing Streamlined Thomas in Tekoro
  • Shooting Star Gordon
  • Ashima
  • Ringing Ashima in Tekoro


  • Streamlined Thomas
  • Shooting Star Gordon
  • Ashima
  • Racing Vinnie
  • Raul
  • Yong Bao
  • Axel
  • Ivan


  • Trophy Thomas
  • Shooting Star Gordon
  • Flying Scotsman
  • Ashima
  • Gina
  • Raul
  • Yong Bao
  • Thomas and Percy's Railway Race set
  • Thomas' Sky High Bridge Jump Playset
  • Etienne
  • Streamlined Thomas


  • Movie Version Thomas
  • Streamlined Thomas

Collectible Railway

  • Streamlined Thomas
  • Shooting Star Gordon
  • Ashima
  • Yong Bao
  • Axel

Motorized Railway

  • Yong Bao
  • Racing Thomas
  • Thomas' Racing Bridge Jump

Mega Bloks

  • Railway Race Day Set


  • Ashima
  • Raul
  • Gina
  • Ivan
  • Shane
  • Yong Bao
  • Axel


  • Ashima
  • Shane
  • Yong Bao

Capsule Plarail

  • The Great Race Thomas
  • Streamlined Thomas
  • Thomas as Harvey Fantasy
  • Thomas as Stephen Fantasy
  • Thomas as Bertie Fantasy
  • Thomas as Alfie Fantasy
  • Thomas as Captain Fantasy
  • Shooting Star Gordon (normal and angry)
  • Decorated James
  • Decorated Emily
  • Ashima
  • Vinnie
  • Flying Scotsman (two versions)
  • Streamlined Annie
  • Streamlined Clarabel
  • Trophy Truck

TrackMaster Push Along

  • Ashima
  • Rajiv
  • Shane
  • Yong Bao
  • Paint Splat Thomas

DVD Boxsets




External Links

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