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“Are you okay, James?"
"I think so. How's my paint looking? I'm really in trouble now."
"You can say that again, James. I told you many times about showing off and rushing about. And now - You've ruined the shed!”
―Rosie, James, and Sir Topham Hatt

The Fastest Red Engine on Sodor is the twelfth episode of the twenty-first series.


One day, James rushes in and brakes sharply at Knapford, causing him to be told off by the Fat Controller and Emily. Thomas teases James about how his brakes caught fire once, but James reminds him that good things came out of that accident; he was repainted red and does not have brake problems anymore, claiming to be the “fastest red engine on Sodor.” Thomas tells James that Rosie has been repainted red, much to his shock and dismay.

James is already in a bad mood from having to pull trucks, and seeing Rosie’s new livery on the mainline does not help. James screeches to slow down, making a horrible squeaking noise in the process. To see who is the fastest, James challenges Rosie to a race to Crovan’s Gate. This, however, leads to James almost crashing into Henry, as James’ brake take a while to work. Rosie comments that something is wrong with James’ brakes, so James gives Rosie his trucks and sets off for the Steamworks.

On the way, however, James does not hear any noises from his brakes, concluding that the problem was the trucks pushing him, Little does he know that he is leaking brake fluid. Having not heard the noise since he gave Rosie his trucks, James forgets the Fat Controller’s warnings and races down Gordon’s Hill. At this point, James has run out of brake fluid, and the driver cannot slow James down. James races through Knapford and into the shunting yards, where upon seeing Rosie, he calls for help. Rosie then tries to catch up and save him, but to no avail, and as the driver and fireman jump clear, James crashes face-first into the back wall of Tidmouth Sheds.

Rosie then shows up, horrified to see what has happened. James, severely injured and damaged as a result of the crash, suspects that he has landed himself in huge trouble. This turns out correct as the Fat Controller also shows up and scolds James for not listening to his warnings earlier and for the damage to the shed he has now caused. Rosie claims that James was having problems with his brakes and he even went to get them checked. James admits that while he did go, he thought the problem had gone away and did not wait at all to have his brakes repaired. The Fat Controller tells James that he should have checked before his small problem turned into a bigger one. James apologises to the Fat Controller and Rosie who were right to warn him. However, the latter tells James that for a while, he really was the fastest red engine on Sodor, getting a small chuckle out of him as the workmen, construction vehicles, including members of the Pack, and the Search and Rescue Team all arrive at the scene.





  • Joseph May as Thomas
  • Kerry Shale as Henry, Gordon, Kevin and the Troublesome Trucks
  • Rob Rackstraw as James, James' Driver and the Knapford Workman
  • William Hope as Toby
  • Jules de Jongh as Emily
  • Nicola Stapleton as Rosie
  • David Bedella as Victor
  • Keith Wickham as Sir Topham Hatt
  • Christopher Ragland as the Troublesome Trucks
  • Rasmus Hardiker as the Troublesome Trucks


  • Going by production order, this is the seventeenth episode of the twenty-first series. Because of this, this episode and the next one are the final two episodes of the twenty-first series. Additionally, the latter features Carly, who is introduced in the thirteenth and fourteenth episodes, and thus all four of these episodes take place after the seventh and eighth episodes, in which Carly is missing from her gantry rails.
  • A flashback from The Adventure Begins is used. A reference to the aforementioned special and the first series episode, Thomas and the Breakdown Train are also made. Also James' screaming is re-dubbed by Rob Rackstraw in both English dubs.
  • The ending of this episode takes place during the opening scenes of A Shed for Edward and the twenty-second series episode, An Engine of Many Colours. The premise of the two episodes is based on the repercussions from this episode.
  • The episode aired in the UK on the same day Christmas on Sodor was released for digital download in the US.
  • This episode marks a few things for Rosie:
    • Her first episode as a main character since the twelfth series episode, Rosie's Funfair Special.
    • Her first speaking role since the sixteenth series episode, Sodor Surprise Day.
    • The first time she is voiced by Nicola Stapleton in the UK and US, taking over from Teresa Gallagher and Jules de Jongh, respectively.
    • Her only speaking role in the twenty-first series.
  • This episode marks Charlie's only appearance in the twenty-first series.
  • The plot may have likely been adapted from "Old Stuck-Up" in James and the Diesel Engines .
  • This episode marks the first time that a tanker has been seen with a face in an episode since the fourth series episode, Toad Stands By.
  • Certain lines of dialogue are reused from previous episodes:
  • In a deleted scene, James nearly collides with Trevor's hay cart. This scene was cut from the episode possibly to fit the time slot.


  • In the first scene of Toby following the butterfly, it disappears for one frame before reappearing again.
  • In the scenes at Knapford Station, the lighting is off, resulting in the engines’ faces lacking shadows from the station canopy.
  • Thomas' whistle does not emit steam when he leaves Knapford station.
  • As James is braking for the signal, Rosie's side rods do not move. Additionally, Rosie passes through the signal.
  • As James and Rosie are arguing over James’ brakes, Henry's train goes from having 12 trucks to having 27+ trucks
  • James is shown and said to have leaked brake fluid, but steam engines do not use brake fluid; they are equipped with vacuum or air brakes.
  • During the close up of James braking before and on Gordon's Hill, he suddenly has his external brake shoes from The Adventure Begins but for the rest of the episode, they are absent.
  • When Rosie is trying to rescue James, a white strip appears under her chin.
  • Up until James stops at a signal on his way to the Steamworks, his rear tender axle boxes clip through his rear buffer beam.
  • When the narrator says that James was leaking brake fluid, brake fluid keeps leaking and spilling, then splashes onto the tracks, but there is not any brake fluid puddles visible on the tracks.


  • Capsule Plarail - Broken Tidmouth Sheds Berth

In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese A Locomotiva Vermelha mais Rápida de Sodor
Japanese はやいぞ!あかいきかんしゃ
Polish Najszybsza Czerwona Lokomotywa na Sodorze
Romanian Cea Mai Rapidă Locomotivă Roșie din Sodor
Russian Самый быстрый паровоз
Spanish La Locomotora Roja Más Rápida en Sodor

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