|For other uses, see Thomas and the Magic Railroad (disambiguation).|
- “Little engines can do big things!”
Thomas and the Magic Railroad is a 2000 feature film based on the television show Thomas & Friends and its American spin-off Shining Time Station. It was produced by Gullane Entertainment, The Britt Allcroft Company, Isle of Man Film Commission and Destination Films, and was distributed by Icon Productions in the UK and Destination Films in the US.
The film begins with Mr. Conductor introducing Thomas and the Island of Sodor.
At Killaban, Gordon complains to Thomas that he is eight seconds late. Thomas retorts that Gordon is being bossy and says that he has to find Mr. Conductor, who is looking after the North Western Railway while Sir Topham Hatt is taking a holiday. When Gordon claims Mr. Conductor is not needed, he then changes his mind when an evil diesel named Diesel 10 speeds by, kicking up dust and dirt and leaving Gordon physically rattling in fear.
Mr. Conductor then introduces Shining Time, where we see happy residents, full of life.
Thomas is later talking to James at Tidmouth Sheds when Diesel 10 shows up and voices his plan to destroy a lost engine named Lady and thus establish Diesels as the dominant engines on Sodor. While James is confused, Thomas is worried and goes to find Mr. Conductor.
After seeing Billy Twofeathers' map and noticing some strange lines on it, a boy from Shining Time named Patch heads off to Muffle Mountain to see Burnett Stone.
There is something on Muffle Mountain, a secret that Burnett only shared with his childhood friend and future wife Tasha: he promised he would drive an engine and take her with him. When Patch sees the engine, Burnett reveals the engine's past - her name is Lady since she was sealed inside Muffle Mountain since Diesel 10 nearly destroyed her long ago. Burnett has fixed her up, but informs Patch that she still needs coal to fully run again. Unfortunately, Lady requires special coal to build up steam, which he has not found yet.
At the Quarry, Diesel 10 tells his cronies Splatter and Dodge of his plan. The two bumbling diesels report that Mr. Conductor is coming to Sodor, so Diesel 10 decides to destroy him too, only to humiliate himself in front of Splatter and Dodge when his claw whacks him on the nose.
Mr. Conductor prepares to leave Shining Time. Despite difficulty with his gold dust, he soon meets Thomas on Sodor. Thomas reports on Diesel 10; Mr. Conductor decides to use his gold dust to keep Diesel 10 in order.
Burnett looks at a painting of Lady and starts to have doubts in his belief of magic due to his failure to guard her. Meanwhile, far away, Burnett's granddaughter, Lily, prepares to visit him.
Thomas, James and Gordon begin arguing about who should have taken Mr. Conductor, unaware that Splatter and Dodge are spying on them. Over in the yard, Splatter and Dodge are laughing at the steam engines. Henry tells the other engines about why Diesel 10 wants to find the lost engine. Splatter and Dodge continue to laugh at Thomas until Harold flies by, spreading sneezing powder, set up by Diesel 10, over all three.
At Knapford, Mr. Conductor reads the note Sir Topham Hatt left him. After trying on his top hat (and returning it after he notices the portrait of the Controller appears angry) he receives a phone call from Sir Topham Hatt and receives his instructions.
That night, Diesel 10 creeps up and demolishes the side of the Tidmouth Sheds with his powerful claw. Mr. Conductor reprimands Diesel 10, but then finally discovers that he has run out of gold dust. As Diesel 10, delighted, tries to get Mr. Conductor to confess to the lost engine's whereabouts, Mr. Conductor frightens Diesel 10 away with a bag of sugar and threatening to dump the sugar in his tanks to seize him up permanently. Mr. Conductor voices his concern about his gold dust, but tells the engines to go back to sleep.
Later that night, Mr. Conductor has a nightmare of Shining Time in ruins and realises that his universe is in danger and that he needs more gold dust.
The next morning, Mutt goes to Lily's hometown with Billy, as he knows that Lily can help Mr. Conductor, but only if she meets someone special at Shining Time first. To reach that end, he directs her onto the wrong train, placing her on the train bound for Shining Time instead of Muffle Mountain. Meanwhile, Burnett Stone hears the sound of Lady's magic echoing through the mountain.
Back on Sodor, Mr. Conductor is helping make James' itch go away. When James notices that Mr. Conductor looks so tired and asks if it is because he is red, Mr. Conductor happily says that red is bright and cheerful just like his gold dust. He then sends James off to work while he departs to deal with his own problems.
Mr. Conductor goes to the windmill in search of more gold dust, but gets lost. Meanwhile, the engines gather for a meeting. As Bertie passes by and tells them to smile, all have their individual concerns. Thomas heads off to look for Mr. Conductor, apologising to Bertie when he is unable to accept Bertie's offer for a race.
Mr. Conductor finds a note left by Rabbit and tries a carrot and a stick of celery to make him think properly and has the idea of his beach-loving cousin Junior, who has used up most of his gold dust too. He tells Junior to go to Shining Time Station first and get his emergency whistle, then go to Sodor and warns him not to talk to anyone about the buffers. Before he can say anything else, the phone line goes dead.
Lily arrives at Shining Time and Mutt barks at her to get off the train. Lily finds the station empty and meets Junior. After a talk, Lily picks up the gold dust Junior leaves behind. At Sodor, Mr. Conductor is sleeping by a bush when he has another nightmare and wakes up hearing Thomas calling his name. While Mr. Conductor tries to reply, poor Thomas cannot hear him as he chuffs away.
Lily meets Stacy, who takes her to Burnett. That night, Burnett and Lily hear Lady's whistle coming from the mountains. Patch, who is outside with his horse, hears it too.
As Percy arrives at Knapford with the Mail Train, he and Thomas talk about Mr. Conductor and conclude that he travels to Sodor on a magic railroad. Diesel 10 overhears them and goes to the scrapyards to tell Splatter and Dodge his plan. Toby, who has secretly followed them there, interrupts them by ringing his bell; trying to catch him, Diesel 10 causes the shed to crash down on him, Splatter and Dodge, thus blocking their path.
Thomas finds Henry with a bad cold and offers to get some special Island of Sodor coal to make him better, but while collecting them, fails to notice the sixth truck rolling away into some magic buffers. Bertie passes and greets Thomas and his five trucks; Thomas is confused.
When Thomas tells Percy about the missing truck, they realise that the buffers where the truck disappeared are the buffers leading to the Magic Railroad. Thomas tells Percy to guard the buffers while he goes to find Mr. Conductor, citing that Percy is a brave engine.
Meanwhile, Mr. Conductor is wandering aimlessly when Diesel 10 appears. Mr. Conductor is captured by Diesel 10's claw and is dangled over the viaduct. Diesel 10 reveals that he knows about the buffers and threatens to drop Mr. Conductor if he does not reveal its whereabouts. Mr. Conductor notices the viaduct has begun to collapse, just like in his dream and realises the world is beginning to fall apart without the gold dust. Mr. Conductor escapes by cutting a hydraulic tube to Diesel 10's claw, thus catapulting him to the windmill. There, he sees the words: "Stoke up the magic in the mountain and the Lady will smile, then watch the swirls that spin so well." Splatter and Dodge ask Diesel 10 how come he let Mr. Conductor escape, he replies that he just did it on purpose and was testing to see if he could escape. Splatter and Dodge do not believe him and Diesel 10 decides to attempt to teach them "how to stop being stupid," but knocks coal all over himself. James, Gordon and Henry laugh at Diesel 10.
Lily is introduced to Patch, who offers her a horse ride to Shining Time. There she meets Junior again, who takes her to Sodor via the magic buffers. They meet Thomas, who agrees to help and together they find Mr. Conductor at the windmill. When Mr. Conductor tells Junior about his clue to the gold dust, Lily is introduced to Mr. Conductor. Junior then climbs onto the sail and is flung onto Diesel 10. Meanwhile Patch tells Burnett that he has no idea where Lily is and that she was not at the station when he went back for her. Despite Lily having apparently vanished, Burnett is confident she will turn up again.
That night, Percy finds Splatter and Dodge at the magic buffers and races to warn Thomas.
Mr. Conductor and Lily camp out with Thomas. After a conversation, they realise that Burnett may hold the key to the clue of the gold dust.
As Burnett reveals to Patch that Lady is magic, they realise that the railroad is vanishing.
Thomas and Percy decide they must get Lily back to Muffle Mountain before Diesel 10 destroys the magic railroad. Thomas wonders how Lily can get home without gold dust, Mr. Conductor reveals that only the lost engine could do so now. Then he has the idea and asks Thomas if he will take Lily to Muffle Mountain. Thomas is not sure but decides that he will try before he and Lily set off. While journeying through the magic railroad, they discover the missing truck. While Lily realises the connection between the truck, the clue so Thomas decides to go back for it before setting off again. They soon arrive on Muffle Mountain. As Lily leaves to find Burnett, a gust of wind blows Thomas down the hill and back into the magic railroad through another portal at the bottom.
Lily finds Patch, who takes her to Burnett's workshop. Lily figures out only special Island of Sodor coal can make Lady steam, so she sends Patch to collect the coal from the truck.
Diesel 10, with Junior still on his back, races into the Smelters where he encounters James. Junior tries to whistle both of them out, only to discover that he too, is out of gold dust. As Diesel 10 tries to force the two into a melting pit, Junior uses the last of his extra gold dust to teleport himself and James away to safety. The two arrive near the buffers, where Mr. Conductor is there waiting. James departs, while Mr. Conductor and Junior, both out of gold dust, refuse to give up hope. Lily asks Burnett Stone if Tasha took a ride on Lady and if she loved her as much as Burnett did. Burnett says that she loved it because he loved it, but could not fix her in time for Tasha to take a ride on her before she passed away.
By now Burnett Stone has finally got Lady to steam using special Island of Sodor coal, from the truck Thomas and Lily picked up from the Magic Railroad and along with Lily, Patch and Mutt, they set off into the magic railroad. The magic railroad, receiving energy from Lady, comes back to life, while Lady's face appears. The team encounter Thomas before appearing on Sodor, where they reunite with the two conductors.
While Diesel 10 starts to give chase, Splatter and Dodge, fed up with Diesel 10's ways, abandon him. Thomas offers to help Lady, with Burnett driving Lady. Mr. Conductor warns them about the collapsing viaduct. Just as the engines run away, the conductors realise that Lady is part of the clue to the gold dust.
The chase finally approaches the Viaduct. As Lady and Burnett pass, a gap appears on the viaduct. When Thomas manages to make it across the gap before it worsens, Diesel 10 cannot stop in time and falls off into a sludge barge and is towed away, not to be seen for a long, long time.
Thomas, Lady and Burnett return, where they and the rest of the team work out the answer to the riddle. Lily mixes water from the well with golden shavings from the magic railroad and with a little encouragement, tosses them into the air, where they form into gold dust. Delighted, the conductors re-supply their whistles, while Thomas thanks Lady.
Patch and Mutt go to look around, while Junior gives Lily some gold dust. Junior tells Mr. Conductor that he wants to work now, so Mr. Conductor gives him his hat and sends him to a railroad with "palm trees and sunny spells". After Junior leaves, Sir Topham Hatt calls and says that he is on his way back, so Mr. Conductor sets off to welcome him, letting Sir Topham Hatt know that everything is under control before he hangs up. Lily offers her gold dust to Burnett, who sprinkles it on her bluebird toy and whispers that they will "always remember their Shining Time together."
With Lady and the Magic Railroad back to life, Shining Time is restored to its former glory. Thomas happily puffs into the sunset and the end credits roll.
- Annie and Clarabel
- Henrietta (cameo)
- Butch (cameo)
- Cranky (cameo)
- Sir Topham Hatt (voice only; portrait cameo)
- Lady Hatt (mentioned; portrait cameo)
- George (dropped)
- Diesel 10
- Splatter and Dodge
- Mr. Conductor
- Lily's Mother
- Stacy Jones
- Burnett Stone
- Billy Twofeathers
- The Tumbleweed
- Tasha Stone (voice-over as a child; portrait cameo)
- P.T. Boomer (cameo; full role cut)
- The Watermill
- Bulgy's Bridge
- The Big Dipper
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Diesel 10's Mountain
- Rainbow Ridge
- Sodor Ironworks
- Sodor Grain Windmill
- The Coaling Plant
- The Magic Buffers
- Sodor Wishing Well
- Eddie Glen as Thomas
- Kevin Frank as Henry, Dodge, Bertie and Harold
- Neil Crone as Gordon, Diesel 10, Splatter and the Tumbleweed
- Susan Roman as James
- Linda Ballantyne as Percy
- Colm Feore as Toby
- Britt Allcroft as Lady
- Shelley-Elizabeth Skinner as Annie and Clarabel
- Laura Bower as young Tasha
- Jared Wall as young Burnett
- Alec Baldwin as Mr. Conductor
- Cody McMains as Patch
- Russell Means as Billy Twofeathers
- Peter Fonda as Burnett Stone
- Didi Conn as Stacy Jones
- Mara Wilson as Lily
- Michael E. Rodgers as Junior
- Lori Hallier as Lily's mother
- Shelley-Elizabeth Skinner as a station customer
- Hugo Murray as goldfish boy
- Keith W. Strandberg as a passenger
- Doug Lennox as P.T. Boomer (uncredited; full role cut)
- Robert Tinkler as older Patch (full role cut)
Original voice actors
- John Bellis as Thomas
- Keith Scott as Diesel 10
- Michael Angelis as James and Percy
- Patrick Breen as Splatter and Dodge
- Really Useful Engine
- Shining Time
- I Know How the Moon Must Feel
- Some Things Never Leave You
- Summer Sunday
- The Locomotion
- Old MacDiesel
- Working on the Railway
- The Whistling Song (early draft; dropped)
- Night Train (dropped)
- Girl in Green (dropped)
- The Island Song (dropped)
- Thomas' Anthem (dropped)
In the early 1990s, Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends was at the height of its popularity following three successful series. At the same time, its live-action American spin-off Shining Time Station was also successful. As early as 1994, prior to the launch of the fourth series, Britt Allcroft had plans to make a feature film based on both of these shows and would make use of the model trains from Thomas and the live-action aesthetic of Shining Time Station.
In February 1996, Allcroft was approached by Barry London, then vice-chairman of Paramount Pictures, with an idea for a Thomas film. Allcroft signed a contract to write the script for the film with the working title of Thomas and the Magic Railroad. According to a press release, filming was due to take place at Shepperton Studios in the United Kingdom and the United States, with the theatrical release set to 1997. However, Paramount shelved the plans for the film after London left the company. This led Allcroft to seek other sources of funding. Discussions about the film were held with PolyGram, which did not did not go on any further as the company was in the middle of a corporate restructuring and sale.
In the summer of 1998, during the launch of the fifth series, Allcroft saw an Isle of Man Commission advert offering tax incentives to companies who wanted to film on the Island. Allcroft visited the Island a few weeks later and decided the location was perfect for the film. In 1999, Barry London became Chairman of the newly-founded Destination Films and renewed his interest in the project, leading to Destination Films becoming the main financial backer and studio for the film.
Filming took place at the Strasburg Rail Road in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, United States, as well as in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and on the Isle of Man. The Castletown railway station on the Isle of Man Railway formed part of Shining Time Station and the goods shed at Port St. Mary railway station became Burnett Stone's workshop. The large passenger station where Lily boards the train is the Harrisburg Transportation Center. Strasburg Rail Road's (ex Norfolk & Western) 4-8-0 475 was repainted as the Rainbow Sun.
Sodor was realised using models and chroma key. The models were animated using live-action remote control, as on the television series. The model sequences were shot in Toronto instead of Shepperton Studios, the "home" of the original show; however, several of the show's key staff were flown over to participate. The Magic Railroad was created using models, CGI and water-coloured matte paintings.
Problems and Changes
In a 2007 interview, Britt Allcroft commented that the finished film was drastically different from the version she had written, with several scenes, plot elements and characters being cut from the final film.
One of the biggest changes to the film was the removal of P.T. Boomer, the film's original main antagonist. He was cut after test audiences found him to be too frightening for children. Despite his excision, Boomer still appears in a few unedited moments of the final film and even appears in one of the trailers, which shows him and Diesel 10 falling off the viaduct. The official Thomas and the Magic Railroad website also had images and information regarding his character prior to being cut. Parts of his character, such as his goal to find Lady, were rewritten for Diesel 10.
Several character voices were also changed during production. Thomas was originally voiced by John Bellis, a fireman and part-time taxi driver who worked on the film as the Isle of Man transportation co-ordinator and facilities manager. Bellis received the role after he happened to pick up Allcroft and her crew from the airport; Allcroft believed his voice suited Thomas perfectly and so he was flown to Toronto to record his lines. Test audiences in Los Angelis disliked Bellis' voice for Thomas, believing his Liverpudlian accent made Thomas sound "too old." Bellis was replaced by Eddie Glen, who gave Thomas a more youthful voice. James and Percy were originally going to be voiced by Michael Angelis, then-narrator of the television show. Test audiences also considered his voice to be too old for the characters and so he was replaced by Susan Roman and Linda Ballantyne. Patrick Breen originally voiced Splatter and Dodge, but he was also replaced for unknown reasons.
Diesel 10 was originally voiced by Keith Scott, but his voice was later changed; Scott believes that he was replaced due to his voice sounding too scary to younger children. He was replaced by Neil Crone, who gave Diesel 10 a Russian accent. Due to complaints by test audiences, who believed the voice could be considered offensive, Crone gave Diesel 10 a New Jersey accent. He and Kevin Frank both improvised a lot of comedy in the film.
During filming of the confrontation scene at the smelters yard, James' model fell off the set and was significantly damaged. Even after repairs were completed, cracks could still be seen in his cab and other areas.
All of these changes were featured in the original script of the film. They were cut out in either later scripts or the final release:
- The Island Song and Thomas' Anthem were going to be used in the film during the opening musical sequence. Additionally, Night Train was originally going to be used in the scene of Thomas and Percy pulling their mail trains.
- Lily was the narrator, telling the story to her children twenty years later. In the future, she became a railroad engineer like Burnett and married Patch. She also had a pet dog named Jeff, who was a descendant of Mutt.
- Lily's mother was pregnant, which is why Lily goes to visit her grandfather.
- Cranky was meant to have a non-speaking role. In the scene where Splatter and Dodge ask Diesel 10 why he let Mr. Conductor escape, Cranky would have dropped a crate of fruits and vegetables on them. In the final film, Diesel 10 is covered in coal from a hopper. Cranky's model still appears in the film, albeit as set dressing at Knapford.
- George was going to make an appearance as one of Diesel 10's lackeys. He agreed to help Diesel 10 destroy all the buffers on Sodor to find the ones that led to the Magic Railroad and as a reward he would be allowed to destroy the turntable at Tidmouth Sheds and turn it into a roller rink, though at some point he eventually turned against Diesel 10. As his model was never taken out of storage, his role was dropped in later scripts.
- Diesel 10 was a new engine who came to help while Sir Topham Hatt was away, instead creating problems on the railway.
- "Pinchy" would have been concealed underneath Diesel 10's roof and not been revealed until Diesel 10's first meeting with Splatter and Dodge.
- Diesel 10's claw originally wasn't named. When Neil Crone was emphasizing dialogue in the recording studio, he came up with "Pinchy." The team loved it, so it stayed.
- Burnett Stone was given the task of being Lady's caretaker by the Conductor family.
- The railway was undergoing major repairs throughout the film, which would explain why Tidmouth Sheds was under repair in the final cut.
- Mr. Conductor would have remained in his original size of ten inches on the Island of Sodor in certain scenes. The items in Sir Topham Hatt's office are described as being as large as him, and he would have slept in a small hammock in Tidmouth Sheds instead of a bed.
- The scene where Thomas was meant to be covered in dust by Harold was intended to carry on through the night at Tidmouth Sheds, with Diesel 10 dumping sneezing powder down Thomas' funnel.
- The windmill was not the location of the clue to the source of the gold dust. Instead, it was a large waterfall that Mr. Conductor had to climb up to retrieve a sheet of paper.
- Lady originally did not speak. Her only ways of communicating would be through telepathy with Thomas on Muffle Mountain and her whistle. She was later given a speaking role in order to smooth over cuts to the final film.
- In the original script, the differences between British and American terminology were acknowledged and occasionally poked fun at. The engines would continue to refer to Sir Topham Hatt as "The Fat Controller" and also corrected Mr. Conductor when he mistakenly said "Sodor Railroad" instead of "Railway."
- Junior was originally described as being an English character. His nationality was changed after Michael E. Rodgers was cast for the role.
- Patch was originally intended to be Irish.
- Mr. Conductor escapes Diesel 10's claw by cutting a blue/green wire instead of the hydraulic hose he cuts in the final film. Instead of being catapulted to the windmill by Diesel 10's claw, Mr. Conductor would have bounced off a bush before landing at the windmill.
- Splatter and Dodge were not meant to reform; instead, George would have been the one who turned against them, telling them to destroy the magic buffers themselves. They try to do so, but bump into each-other and derail. In another script, George would have helped Junior and James defeat the two diesels by pushing a boulder onto their line, trapping them on a siding.
- In the original script, Thomas does not stop to pick up the missing coal truck despite recognising it and only realises its significance after he reaches Muffle Mountain. Lily makes the same connection and Patch and his horse are sent to retrieve the truck. The horse's hooves are permanently etched with gold dust, allowing it to go down the Magic Railroad.
- In the original script, Thomas is knocked off of Muffle Mountain by an explosion caused by P.T. Boomer. In the final release, the ground under him simply crumbles away.
- After Diesel 10 and P.T. Boomer fall into the barge, they would have either vanished or would have been turned into boiler sludge via Junior's magic bandanna, who arrived at the Big Dipper by Percy.
- James and Percy were originally present in the ending at the wishing well, but were later cut from the scene.
- The ending would have seen Lily, now married to Patch, finishing the story with her children, who are on a picnic, and looking through a scrapbook with pictures from Sodor. They can be seen walking together with their horse in the shot viewing Shining Time Station.
Thomas and the Magic Railroad was released theatrically in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 14 July 2000 and the United States and Canada on 26 July 2000. The film premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square; for the purpose, a steam locomotive, LMS Fowler 3F no. 47298, painted to resemble Thomas, was brought to the cinema by low-loader on 9 July 2000. National press coverage was low, as many journalists were concentrating on the launch of the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire book, for which a special train called "Hogwarts Express" would run on 8 - 11 July.
Thomas and the Magic Railroad was released onto VHS and DVD on 19 October 2000 in the United Kingdom by Warner Home Video, and in the United States on 31 October 2000 by Columbia TriStar Home Video. In 2007, the Double Feature with The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland was released.
Thomas and the Magic Railroad was critically panned, sporting a approval rating of 21% on Rotten Tomatoes based on reviews from 68 critics, with an average rating of 3.9/10. The site's critical consensus says "kids these days demand cutting edge special effects or at least a clever plot with cute characters. This movie has neither, having lost in its Americanisation what the British original did so right." Metacritic gives the film a score of 19 out of 100, based on reviews from 23 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike."
Nell Minow of Common Sense Media gave the film three out of five stars and writing that it "will please [Thomas fans]" but that the plot "might confuse kids." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one star out of four and wrote "(the fact) That Thomas and the Magic Railroad made it into theatres at all is something of a mystery. This is a production with 'straight to video' written all over it. Kids who like the Thomas books might kinda like it. Especially younger kids. Real younger kids. Otherwise, no." While he admired the models and art direction, he criticised how the engines' mouths did not move when they spoke, the overly depressed performance of Peter Fonda, as well as the lack of consistency in the film's plot.
The film was also a box office flop, grossing $19.7 million compared to its $19 million budget. During its second week of screening in Britain it only took in £170,000 (roughly $215,000 in the United States).
Awards and Nominations
- Nomination - YoungStar Awards - Best Young Actress/Performance in a Motion Picture Comedy, 2000, to Mara Wilson
- Nomination - Young Artists Awards - Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress, 2001, to Mara Wilson
- One of the working titles for the flim was Thomas and the Rainbow Railway.
- This is currently the only theatrical Thomas film to be released. A second theatrical film named The Adventures of Thomas was in development by HiT Entertainment sometime around 2010, but appears to have been cancelled after years of repeated postponement. Many of the CGI specials also received brief theatrical runs.
- This is the first film to feature separate voice actors for the characters in the English dub and the first Thomas production to use this format. This would not be done again until 9 years later, with 2009's Hero of the Rails, the first full CGI Thomas production. The first-person narration would not be reused until 18 years after that, in the twenty-second series, in which it became the standard for all future Thomas productions.
- According to Britt Allcroft, the film was partially inspired by the fourth series episode Thomas and the Special Letter.
- Ewan McGregor and Bob Hoskins auditioned for the role of Thomas prior to John Bellis' casting.
- John Barry originally signed on to be the film's composer, but left the project due to scheduling conflicts. He is still credited as the composer on the 1999 US teaser poster.
- Before the film was released, a sequel was already being developed by Destination Films. However, likely due to the negative reception and poor box office performance of the first film, the sequel was cancelled.
- This was Mara Wilson's last major film role before her retirement from acting.
- This film marks the first time in the franchise that character dialogue overrides narrator storytelling as the primary manner of telling the story.
- The film aired on the US channel Sprout on 3rd July and 11th July 2015 and was fitted as a cropped widescreen image.
- Phil Fehrle and Shelley-Elizabeth Skinner made cameos in the film.
- This is the only Thomas & Friends film to feature live actors.
- This is the last production where Thomas' original shut eyes/bracing face mask is used. A new one would be gained for the seventh series.
- Didi Conn is the only actress from Shining Time Station to reprise her role in the film.
- Edward was never featured in any script of the film. According to Phil Fehrle, there was not enough screen time and opportunity to utilise him in a way that added any real value to the film.
- John Bellis, the original voice of Thomas, is credited as "transportation co-ordinator."
- People that worked on the original series also worked on this film. Namely, David Mitton (as model unit creative consultant), David Eves (as model SFX supervisor), Stephen Asquith (as model supervisor) and Terence Permane (as director of photography for the models section).
- In the trailers, Mr. Conductor is heard saying "I've run out of gold dust and because of that I'm losing my energy as well," a line from a deleted scene.
- The English theatrical trailers played "The World is New" by Save Ferris, with music done by Nick Phoenix. The same was done with the Japanese theatrical trailer, but it replaced some of the original music with bits of the original Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends theme.
- In the Australian trailer, P.T. Boomer makes an appearance, a rod is connected to Thomas' coupling hook and Thomas and Diesel 10 have their original voices.
- Despite his role being cut, P.T. Boomer still makes a few appearances in the final film. He appears lying on top of Diesel 10's roof in the chase scene and he makes an appearance in the "crossroads" scene in which Stacy brings Lily to Burnett Stone. Doug Lennox confirmed that the original scene would have seen Boomer confront Burnett about Lady's whereabouts and was re-dubbed when his role was cut out.
- This film marks the only appearances of Splatter and Dodge to date.
- All of the engines and road vehicles have different whistle and horn sounds. Thomas and Percy still use the same whistle sounds, but are slightly modified. In addition, some engines share the same whistle sound; Gordon and James both use the same whistle, as do Henry and Percy.
- In the first teaser for the film, Thomas has his television series whistle sound.
- According to multiple SiF interviews, several of the models were either damaged or lost in transit after being shipped from Toronto to Shepperton.
- The film was shot in a 4:3 fullscreen frame and later matted into a 1.85:1 widescreen image for theatrical release; the UK DVD was incorrectly rendered in full frame as a cropped widescreen image.
- The only way to get the original widescreen theatrical print is the Digital HD Copy.
- The top and bottom of the image are cropped in the widescreen release, but some shots and scenes were produced in widescreen 16:9 like when Burnett says "Well done, Thomas! Well done" before blowing Lady's whistle after Thomas crossed the viaduct that was about to collapse.
- Robert Tinkler is credited for playing "Older Patch," even though it is not clear which scenes he actually portrayed him.
- The posters of Sir Topham Hatt reading "Sir Topham Needs You" featured throughout the film are a reference to the Lord Kitchener and Uncle Sam recruiting posters.
- Despite Sir Topham Hatt's voice being unintelligible over the phone, it is still changed in the foreign language dubs.
- Although human actors are used for the film, Lady Hatt and Bertie's driver still appear as models.
- Aside from Bertie's driver, Sodor appears to be entirely devoid of people.
- The town beside Knapford is replaced with trees.
- Scrap models of Gordon, Thomas, City of Truro, Toad and Donald or Douglas appear in the smelters yard scenes.
- One of Flying Scotsman's tenders, painted black, can be seen as Thomas backs into the siding next to James, even though Scotsman did not appear in the film until The Great Race.
- Only one scene from the original cut was commercially released: a deleted scene featuring Junior called "Sundae Surprise."
- The Russian dub is a voice-over of the Hebrew dub.
- This film, Big World! Big Adventures!, Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure, Tale of the Brave and King of the Railway are the only known specials to have been dubbed in Hebrew.
- In the deleted scene of Splatter & Dodge at the Smelters yard, they are both wearing their different masks that did not appear in the final film.
- Excluding cab shots, Thomas and Percy's cab doors are missing throughout the entirety of the film.
- Gordon's left cylinder is somewhat broken off a piece.
- As Thomas reads the signboard, his eyes go against the opposite direction of the text.
- After Diesel 10 races by Thomas and Gordon, a black pencil can be seen in the bushes on the right of the screen. Thomas' eyes are also wonky.
- When Thomas says "If Diesel has unfinished business..." his siderods stop moving.
- A car disappears and reappears at the shed beside Diesel 10 when Diesel 10 is conversing with Thomas and James.
- In the scene where Thomas and Diesel 10 leave Tidmouth Sheds, the end of the set can be seen.
- During the engines' conversation about Lady at Tidmouth Sheds, the bottom of Percy's smokebox was white in one shot and his smokebox saddle is black, then they both turn green for the rest of that scene and during Diesel 10's invasion at the sheds during the evening. For the rest of the film, the smokebox saddle is black, but it becomes green again when Percy tells Thomas that they need to get Lily back to Burnett.
- When Thomas says "This must be Diesel's doing!", Splatter and Dodge suddenly become clean.
- When Mr Conductor knocks down Lady Hatt's photo frame when answering Sir Topham Hatt's call, the frame reaches the floor faster than Mr Conductor does, so it would be impossible for him to grab the photo frame when he falls to the ground.
- When Diesel 10 asks "Where's that lost steam engine?", Gordon's face is coming loose.
- Toby looks and sounds happy when he says "And if he finds her, I fear that will destroy us all."
- For most of the film, Clarabel is facing the wrong way. Also, in a scene during "Really Useful Engine," she is in front of Annie.
- As Diesel 10 leaves after overhearing Thomas and Percy, a red wire can be seen in his cab.
- After Diesel 10 is covered in coal, Henry can be seen puffing backwards next to Gordon, but in the next shot, he is near Splatter and Dodge.
- In a close-up of Percy finding Splatter and Dodge at the magic buffers, Percy's lamp mysteriously moves.
- After Lily tells Thomas he's "a really useful engine," Thomas' coal truck disappears.
- When Mr Conductor Jr is flung into the air, the scene shifts to the right.
- James' whistle disappears in the scene of Junior falling on his cab roof, but reappears when he and Junior are teleported to the grotto.
- As Junior bids farewell to James, James' shadow is nowhere to be seen as he leaves.
- During the scene where Lily meets Lady, Mr. Conductor's hat randomly appears in Burnett's hands. This is because the original scene where Lily gives this to Burnett was cut.
- Thomas somewhat took a longer time to catch up with Lady and company although he has been traveling behind them closely in the Magic Railroad.
- In a close-up shot of Lady just before she crosses the viaduct, Burnett Stone is not in her cab.
- As Thomas crosses the viaduct gap, a rope can be seen pulling him.
- In the upwards shot of the viaduct after Thomas crosses the gap, smoke from Thomas' funnel is nowhere to be seen.
- After the chase scene when Lily gives gold dust to Mr. Conductor and Junior, you can see part of the green screen effect on Mr. Conductor's left elbow.
- Sodor is misspelled as "Sodar" on the back cover in some early American VHS releases.
- During the chase scene, both Lady and Thomas can be seen smiling for a brief second. Diesel 10 is also seen smiling while dangling from the old viaduct before he falls into the barge below.
- Diesel 10 randomly changes his orientation when he falls into the barge.
- In the end credits, Annie, Clarabel, Bertie and Harold are under the voice cast for the trains.
- In the chase scene, Diesel 10 is on a different track, but later right before he falls off the viaduct, he is on the same track as Thomas & Lady.
In Other Languages
|Brazilian Portuguese||Thomas e a Ferrovia Mágica / Thomas e a Estrada Mágica|
|Dutch||Thomas en de Magische Spoorbaan|
|French||Thomas et la Voie Ferrée Magique / Thomas et le Magie Ferroviaire|
|German||Thomas: Die Fantastische Lokomotive|
|Greek||Ο μαγικός κόσμος του Τόμας|
|Korean||토마스와 마법 기차|
|Russian||Томас и волшебная железная дорога|
|Slovenian||Tomaž in Čarobnost Železnice|
|Spanish||Thomas y el Tren Mágico / Thomas y el Ferrocarril Mágico|
- ↑ http://www.sodor-island.net/themagicrailroadminisite/mrrevealed.html
- ↑ https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Grouchland-Thomas-Magic-Railroad/dp/B001RE8KIM/ref=tmm_dvd_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
- ↑ https://www.facebook.com/BrittAllcroft/posts/896256513742157
- ↑ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/hollywood-vetoes-liverpool-accent-as-voice-of-thomas-the-tank-engine-loses-his-liverpool-voice-282054.html
- ↑ http://www.chiefmarketer.com/all-aboard-a-caboose-ful-of-partners-hypes-thomas-the-tank-engines-film-debut/
- ↑ http://www.sodor-island.net/themagicrailroadminisite/philfehrle.html
- ↑ http://www.sodor-island.net/themagicrailroadminisite/mrrevealed.html