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“They have their uses. They can save the wear on a poor car's wheels!”
―Caroline changing her opinion on trains

Train Stops Play is the seventeenth episode of the fourth series. It is based on the story of the same name from the Railway Series book Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine.


Stepney has been enjoying his visit on Sodor and one day, he is busy talking to Thomas, Percy and Toby. Stepney compliments the engines and says that Sodor has lots of things that make the Island feel important, especially since he enjoys long runs. Percy offers Stepney to help with his goods trains, to which both their drivers agree, and the two tank engines set off for their deliveries. Stepney delivers his loaded trucks to the harbour and then leaves to take some "empties" to the quarry.

Later, Stepney stops at a red signal by a cricket field where a game has just started. A batsman hits a "six" when the signal drops and the ball lands in one of Stepney's trucks. Stepney does not notice it and starts. The cricketers shout at him to stop, but neither he nor his driver hear them. The cricketers need the ball for their game, so they climb into their old car Caroline to chase after Stepney.

Stepney does not hurry, but when his driver sees Caroline chasing after them with the desperate cricketers inside, he mistakes them for joyriders and has Stepney go faster. This is much to Caroline's annoyance, as she easily overheats when travelling at high speed. When Caroline finds that Stepney has disappeared into a tunnel, she hopes the players will give up and take her home, but her driver instead forces her over the hill and onward to the next station.

Stepney has placed his train in a siding when Caroline wearily arrives at the station with the cricketers, who tell Stepney's crew that they need their ball back. The ball is found in the third truck hidden under some hay and the cricketers make up with Stepney's crew. They are now ready to return to the cricket field, but Stepney's driver notices Caroline is completely exhausted and they decide to roll her onto a flatbed so she can rest during the return journey. The cricketers (along with Caroline) ride back to the field in a brake van. Stepney and his crew enjoy and watch the rest of the game. Caroline, pleased, changes her mind about trains being silly.




  • The Elsbridge Cricket Club set was filmed on November 28th 1994.
  • Because this episode is the eighteenth episode of the fourth series in production order, it was broadcast after Bowled Out, which is the seventeenth, thus scuppering the continuity of Stepney's visit to the Fat Controller's railway.
  • Edited scenes from this episode are used in the song, The Red Balloon. One shot superimposes the red balloon above the cricket field and another shows the cricketers smiling.
  • This is the only episode of a few things:
  • This episode was paired alongside No Joke for James in an airing of Storytime with Thomas.
  • This episode is the first episode of the fourth series in which the Skarloey Railway and its engines do not appear.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Brendam, not counting being mentioned on the timetable in Toby Had a Little Lamb and a mentioned appearance in Thomas and the Royal Engine.
  • This episode was not released on DVD in the US, but it was released on digital download on Amazon in 2016.
  • In certain scenes where the cricket field is shown, Bulgy can be seen still in the field where he was left in his debut episode, Bulgy. He can also be seen in the episode, Mind that Bike.


  • After Percy arrives with his trucks, his roof is lifted.
  • Studio equipment is visible in the shots of the cricket field.
  • At the harbour, Henry and James' eyes are wonky and the guard figure in Stepney's brake van appears to have fallen backwards.
  • When Stepney arrives at the harbour, watch Thomas carefully; his trucks wobble and nearly come off the rails.
  • One of Percy's lamp irons is crooked.
  • When the narrator says "She doesn't think trains are silly now," paint chips are visible in Stepney's running board.
  • At the beginning of the episode, Duck and Donald are behind Thomas, Stepney, Percy and Toby. But a few scenes later, some trucks and a green express coach have taken their places.
  • After Stepney's driver tells Stepney to speed up, Caroline is nowhere to be seen.
  • When Percy talks to Stepney, his eyes are wonky.
  • In the shot of Thomas and Toby being speechless, Thomas' funnel is a bit crooked.
  • At the end of the episode, the roof of the brake van is bent.


Stepney: You are very lucky engines. Your line has got everything. It's long enough to give you a good run, and you have plenty of passengers. Then you have a quarry and a mine, so you'll need plenty of trucks. Trucks are fun. I miss them on our line.
Percy: You're welcome to take some of mine. But you better ask driver first.
[Percy's and Stepney's drivers agree and leave]

[after a cricket ball flies into one of Stepney's trucks]
Cricket Players: Stop!
Stepney: [to his trucks] Come along! Come along!
Cricket Players: Our one and only ball!

Caroline: [being push twice her usual speed] I shouldn't be treated like this! This pace is too hot for system. It'll fuse all my circuits! [later finds Stepney has disappeared into a tunnel] Hurrah!/Yahoo! That silly train has run into a hole so we can't catch it. I can go home now.
Narrator: But she couldn't.

Stepney: [about Caroline] She doesn't think trains silly now.
Caroline: [about steam engines] They have their uses. They can save wear and tale on a poor car's wheels!


In Other Languages

View content
Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Trem para o Jogo
Chinese Mandarin 列车不动了
Czech Vlak, který zastavil zápas
Danish Toget standser spillet
Dutch Trein Vangsten Bal
Finnish Pallo Pelistä Pois
German Ohne Ball kein Spiel
Greek Η Καταδιώξει Αρχίζει
Hungarian A félbeszakadt krikettjáték
Italian Partita interrotta
Japanese しあいちゅうだん
Korean 화물차에 떨어진 공을 찾아서
Latin American Spanish No Detengan el Juego
Norwegian Tog stanser spillet
Polish Mecz Krykieta (Original)
Koniec Zabawy (Alternate)
Romanian Trenul Opreşte Jocul
Russian Поезда перестают играть
Slovenian Vlak prekine tekmo
Swedish Stepney stoppar spelet
Ukrainian Потяг припиняє гру
Welsh Dim Pêl - Dim Gêm

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DVD Boxsets






  • Thomas and Friends Season 1-4