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“Sorry big engine, I mean Gordon!”

The Little Engine Who Raced Ahead is the seventeenth episode of the nineteenth series.


Thomas is in the yard at Knapford Station when he notices something yellow and odd-looking. Percy jokingly suggests it may be a banana and he steams away. He does not get very far at all, however, when he collides with a strange yellow and green engine. The little, energetic diesel boxcab introduces himself as Philip. The new engine tells Thomas and Percy that he has come to the Fat Controller's railway to shunt trucks and he races excitedly away to find his trucks.

Philip, full of energy and keen to make a good impression, sets to work shunting trucks all over the yard. Presently, Philip introduces himself to a big engine who is filling up with water. The big engine is Gordon, and he finds Philip somewhat annoying. Philip offers to get Gordon some trucks, which the big engine is not impressed by. Philip says he is only trying to be helpful, and Gordon tells him that the most helpful thing he can do is to get on with his work and keep out of his way. Philip does not listen, and Gordon explains that he pulls the express and is very fast. Philip thinks he is very speedy too, and invites Gordon to watch how fast he can pull some trucks to the other side of the yard. Gordon, who is not in the least bit interested, goes away to pull the express. Philip does not know and when he comes back to the water column with the trucks, he wonders where Gordon went. Thomas arrives and says that Gordon will have gone to take the express.

Philip races to Knapford to try and find Gordon, and he sees the big engine pull out of the station with his carriages. Philip chases after him, rushes through a red signal, and has a near-miss with Hiro. Thomas tells Philip that Gordon will be back later.

Philip cannot wait for Gordon to come back and keeps going into the station to check the time on the big clock, which does not please the Fat Controller. As Philip is shunting a train for Oliver, he hears Gordon in the distance and rushes into Knapford Junction to meet him. Philip gets a big surprise when he sees Gordon thundering towards him on the same line. Philip hastily reverses back to the station, where the Fat Controller scolds him.

Later, Philip is still determined to show Gordon just how fast he can go. Philip challenges Gordon to a race, but Gordon is trying to rest and asks Philip to go away. Philip mistakes Gordon telling him to go away as the signal to start a race. Philip races away as fast as he can and Gordon goes back to resting.

Along the line, Philip meets Edward and Emily, and he explains that he is racing Gordon and asks if they have seen him; of course, they have not. Philip thinks this means he is winning. He races all the way to Brendam Docks and is very excited to have won the race with Gordon. Humouring him, Edward, Emily, Salty, and Porter all cheer for Philip the winner.

That night, Philip follows his new friends back to Tidmouth Sheds, where he boasts about winning the race with Gordon, the latter of whom is not at all happy and offers to show Philip just how fast he can go tomorrow. Philip agrees to have another race, as long as Gordon remembers that he won the first one. All the engines laugh, except for Gordon.





US and CAN



  • The Polish title for the episode refers to Philip as a steam engine, but he is actually a diesel engine.
  • In the UK version, when Porter says "Hooray," both his UK and US voices are heard.
  • In the Dutch dub, Porter's mouth moves, but Emily's voice is heard.
  • When a clip of the episode was released on the Official YouTube Channel, it was listed YouTube Tour, but the error was later fixed.
  • When James arrives after Thomas and Percy meet Philip, he whistles, but no steam comes out of his whistle.
  • In the shot of Gordon's tender at the water tower, the waterpipe phases through his tail lamp. 

In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese O Trenzinho que Saiu Correndo
Czech Malá Lokokmotiva, Která Chtěla Závodit
Dutch De Kleine Locomotief die Vooruit Racete
French Petit, Mais Imposant
German Der schnelle Phillip
Greek Η Μικρή Μηχανή Που Έτρεξε Μπροστα
Hungarian Philip és a Verseny
Italian La Piccola Locomotiva Che Vinse la Corsa
Japanese やんちゃなフィリップ
Korean 앞서가는 꼬마 기관차
Latin American Spanish La Pequeña Locomotora Que Nunca se Detenía
Norwegian Det Vesle Lokomotivet Som Ville Være Raskest
Polish Mały Parowóz, Który Lubił Wyścigi
Romanian Mica locomotivă care o lua la goană
Russian Соревнование
Serbian Mala Hvalisava Lokomotiva
Slovenian Lokomotivček, Ki Je Hitel Naprej
Spanish Arranca la Carrera
Turkish Önde Giden Küçük Lokomotif

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