Journey Beyond Sodor is
the eleventh Thomas & Friends Direct-To-DVD Special produced by HIT
Entertainment.It is the fifth special
to be written by Head Writer, Andrew Brenner.
Beyond Sodor sees Thomas going off on a big adventure to the
Mainland – away from his friends on Sodor and into unknown territory as he
meets new friends of the ‘experimental’ variety and two engines who want him to
help them out at the Steelworks – indefinitely!Thomas faces new dangers, explores new places and endeavours to help his
new friends realise they’re more special and more useful than they choose to
All song lyrics written
All songs composed
Somebody Has To Be The Favourite
Rob Rackstraw (UK / US)
Has To Be The Favourite (Reprise
John Hasler (UK)
Joseph May (USA)
John Hasler / Colin McFarlane / Kerry Shale
/ Rob Rackstraw / Christopher Ragland / Lucy Montgomery (UK)
Joseph May / Colin McFarlane / Kerry Shale / Rob Rackstraw / Christopher
Ragland / Lucy Montgomery (USA)
The Hottest Place In Town
John Hasler / Sophie Colquhoun / Jim Howick (UK)
May / Sophie Colquhoun / Jim Howick (USA)
I Want To Go Home
John Hasler (UK)
Joseph May (USA)
We Can't Do Anything
Lucy Montgomery / Darren Boyd / Hugh Bonneville (UK
The Most Important Thing Is
The Cast (UK / USA)
Beyond Sodor was given an
additional ten minutes on the running time of the special to expand the story,
bringing it to a grand total of 70 minutes and making it the longest Thomas
& Friends Special to date.This was
the second time in a row that Thomas had left the Island of Sodor in the course
of a special – and the first to introduce new exaggerated movements for the
engines, designed with the idea of giving the characters greater physical
expression outside of their facial movements.
Lexi the Cab Forward Experimental Engine
Theo the Experimental Railway Traction Engine
Merlin the Experimental Stealth Engine
Hurricane the Decapod
Frankie the Diesel
ARTISTS (USA ONLY)
JULES DE JONG
(Jam Filled Animations)
original reviewer, Simon Martin gives his verdict on Thomas’s Journey Beyond
Sodor – and discusses
whether or not it went far enough in the right direction to steer the series
forward to exciting new destinations!
To tie in
with Journey Beyond Sodor, the SiF Team talk about their favourite experimental
locomotives and their chequered histories.Read about the little GWR engine who went on to become immortalised as a
Hornby staple, the ‘Ghost’ that became a feature of a British Railway Stories
episode and the Rail Zeppelin that could have revolutionised the railways of
To tie in
with Journey Beyond Sodor, the SiF
Team talk about their favourite Unusual Locomotives – such as the siamese twins
of the Listowel and Ballybunion Monorail!
with official content from Journey Beyond Sodor, featuring trailers and interviews with
the cast and crew!
showcasing the best of the fan content made in honour of Journey Beyond Sodor, with
excellent remakes with custom-made models and toys, reviews of the feature from
other fans, and various other fun features
playlist, showcasing remixes, instrumentals, original compositions and cover
versions by Michael Melton, TheTuggsterIntensifies, UpsideNowMusic and more!
Check out our playlist reviewing toys and playsets
from Journey Beyond Sodor!
One day, Henry is pulling a very
important goods train bound for the Mainland.But as he approaches Vicarstown Station, he encounters faulty signal,
which fails to warn him that another train hasn’t cleared the section.
The weight of his train pushes him forward
and causes him to derail, throwing him off the rails and over the side of the
bridge, swinging precariously over the road below.
On the other side of
the Island, Thomas is puffing
down the Branch Line with Annie and Clarabel, feeling very cheerful and
enjoying his day so much, that he wants to burst into song – only to find that
James has beaten him to the punch, steaming into Knapford Station singing
loudly that he’s the Fat Controller’s favourite engine.
Thomas cross, but James just
laughs and teases him, then proceeds to leave the station, singing all the more
– with the passengers and workmen dancing along to his tune!
To add insult to injury, when
he’s collecting pigs
at Farmer Trotter’s farm, Thomas finds that James’ next job is taking a group
of musicians around the Island – playing live!
That evening, the Fat Controller is
rearranging the engines’ workload in light of Henry’s accident.Thomas
overhears him saying that James will
be taking over Henry’s goods train, and delights in telling him that he’ll have
to pull trucks instead of the passenger service he was meant to be
At first, James is furious... then he
realises what the goods train is and suddenly perks up – it’s Henry’s important
goods train bound for Bridlington on the Mainland!
Thomas is upset about
James getting all the
important jobs, and tells the Fat Controller so.But the Fat Controller reminds
him that all
jobs on the railway are important, even looking after his Branch Line is an
Thomas isn’t satisfied, he
doesn’t feel important at all.Even
Percy is more interested in going out to do his mail run than listening to him.But
that night in the sheds, he thinks of a
way he can get his own back on James...
The following morning, James makes his
way to Vicarstown to collect the goods train for Bridlington, but is surprised
to find nothing waiting for him in the yard.
He asks Rosie, who is shunting in the Goods Yard, where the trucks are, and
she tells him that Thomas came earlier and took them away.James is stunned
– he can’t believe it!
Meanwhile, Thomas is feeling
very pleased with
himself!Steaming over the Vicarstown
Rolling Bridge to the Mainland with the goods train bound for Bridlington.
James is furious and
hurries to the Steamworks to
tell the Fat Controller what Thomas has done.But rather than being upset, the Fat Controller is pleased, and
volunteers James to work on Thomas’s Branch Line in his absence.
James protests and reminds
the Fat Controller that
the Mainland run was meant to be his job,
but the Fat Controller is adamant – if Thomas is absent, James is working on
the Branch Line whether he likes it or not!
On the Mainland, Thomas is in awe of
the sights and sounds he’s experiencing as he passes along – the trucks are not
as impressed.He’s so enamoured with
everything he’s seeing, he becomes distracted, and the trucks only make things
worse as they approach a junction.
Thomas becomes confused and realises that he doesn’t know where he’s
supposed to be going and which route to take.
Eventually, he reaches
a canal and has to make an
abrupt stop when an old boat is dropped on the track in front of him.Thomas
looks up and sees a big blue crane
called Beresford glaring down at him menacingly, demanding to know who he
Thomas asks the crane to remove the
boat so he can pass through, but he refuses to let him pass.Thomas tries to
explain he’s taking a goods
train to Bridlington, while the trucks delight in the confusion and delay, and
the Crane still refuses to lift the boat and let Thomas pass.
Seeing an opportunity to pass,
Thomas reverses the
train and slips away by running underneath Beresford and on with his journey.
By late in the afternoon, Thomas is
still hopelessly lost and running low on coal.The trucks are losing patience, and Thomas is getting worried.As they
puff through the woods, Thomas
catches sight of a yard close-by, where he may be able to get coal and water to
continue on his way.
yard looks very
rundown and uninviting, full of rusty old parts and covered in vegetation.Out
of coal, Thomas grinds to a halt, leaving
the trucks fuming.
As he calls out for
help, he catches sight of an
engine scurrying around, almost out of sight, before being greeted by another,
rather unusual looking engine steaming toward him and sounding quite
She beckons the other engine
Thomas saw scurrying
around to come and welcome their visitor.She explains it’s her friend, Theo – who’s very shy and worried about
Theo shuffles over and asks Thomas if
he’s being scrapped.Thomas is
surprised, but his friend, Lexi, explains that this is unlikely – Thomas is a
useful engine, he’s pulling trucks.Thomas tells Theo and Lexi that he needs coal and water to keep
Reluctantly, Theo hauls Thomas to the
coal hopper to help him refuel.
Thomas is curious and
slightly impressed – he’s never seen engines like
Theo and Lexi before.
They explain that
they are Experimental Engines – “Test models” born out of “trial and error”, and
that they live in this yard with their friend, Merlin, who’s a Stealth Engine –
designed to be difficult to see, and in Merlin’s case, often disappearing!
Stocked up with coal and water again,
Thomas sets off again to find Bridlington Goods Yard.But by now, the sun is
setting and he’s still
unsure of what route to take to reach there in good time.
In the distance, he sees a bright
glowing light and assumes that is likely where the Goods Yard is.But as he
rounds a bend and the source of the
light becomes more clear, he realises it’s something else entirely.A
large building looms large in the distance.
Thomas puffs into the yard
in the hopes of asking
for directions to reach Bridlington.He
is fascinated by the spectacle in front of him – a massive Steelworks. He’
s never seen anywhere like this before,
and he’s sure James is unlikely to have either!
Soon, he’s greeted
by the yard’s two engines – a
Diesel called Frankie, and a big red tank engine called Hurricane.
Thomas asks if they know where
Yard is, and is encouraged to learn that Hurricane delivers goods there all the
time.But instead of offering him
directions or guiding him there, the pair encourage Thomas to shunt his trucks
away and stay with them for a while.
Thomas is charmed by their
warm welcome, and follows
them for a tour of the Steelworks, which they describe as “The Hottest Place In
After a good night’s rest, Thomas is
woken with a loud toot from Frankie and a harsh bump from Hurricane, who
proceeds to shunt him out of the shed and into the yard to start work.As they
make their way through the yard,
Thomas notices his trucks are missing from the siding – Hurricane explains he
took them to Bridlington in the night.
At first, Thomas is pleased, thinking
that now his job is completed and he can go back to Sodor again.But Hurricane
and Frankie have other
ideas.They helped him, now they must
help them in return.
Thomas agrees to stay
and is put to work in the Steelworks pushing
ladle trucks full of molten slag up to the slag heaps to be dumped.
At first, Thomas doesn’t
mind the work – although it's a dirty and heavy job, he enjoys
watching the glowing golden goo slithering down the hillside, and Frankie and
Hurricane encourage him with their calls and toots of approval. He thinks it is good fun, and the two engines appear
to be very friendly indeed.
Thomas is enjoying himself so much that
he ends up reversing a train of empty trucks into a line of loaded ones, ready
to be dumped, which end up tipping and becoming upset over the floor of the
The two engines warn him of the dangers
of what can happen when molten slag is spilled... all of a sudden, the shine
seems to be gone from Thomas’s Steelworks experience.
Back on Sodor, the other
engines are concerned
about Thomas.At first, James is keen to
laugh it off, but eventually, volunteers himself to the Fat Controller for a
trip to the Mainland to find Thomas and bring him home again.
The Fat Controller is grateful
for James’ offer,
but reminds him he still needs him to work on the Branch Line, and that he
cannot spare another engine with Thomas delayed and Henry under repair.
Thomas is finding the Steelworks both
hot and exhausting work.Hurricane is
grateful for Thomas’ efforts, but Frankie feels Thomas still owes her and
Frankie a favour for delivering his trucks to Bridlington.
When she and Hurricane leave to make
deliveries of steel, she leaves Thomas with a list of jobs she wants him to
complete before they return later that day.Thomas tries to tell her he needs to go home, but Frankie won’t listen,
and leaves with Hurricane to deliver the steel.
Trapped in the Steelworks,
a miserable Thomas
shunts the trucks of molten slag to the slag heap for tipping.All he can think
of is home, and his friends
waiting for him there, but with the gates to the Steelworks locked, there’s
nothing he can do to leave.
Then, he spots a gap
in the wire fence where an old
railway line runs out of the Steelworks.Assuming it’s a means of escape, he makes a break for it and hurries
along the old line.
Thinking he’s finally
done it, Thomas revels in his
victory... until he finds the rails have been lifted, the line is overgrown and
he’s left in the dirt lying between the sleepers.
When they discover what Thomas has
done, Frankie and Hurricane come to put Thomas back on the rails.Frankie is
furious and scolds him severely,
whilst Hurricane is slightly more sympathetic, grateful that Thomas hasn’t been
Thomas reluctantly apologises,
despondent that he’s stuck at the Steelworks still, and worse, now upset
Frankie with his attempt to leave the site.
After another difficult
day on Thomas’s Branch Line,
James has had enough too.As he puffs
into the shed, he vents his frustrations to the other engines, and tells them
that if Thomas isn’t home by morning – he’ll go to the Mainland and find him
Percy thinks this is a wonderful
idea, and tells
James he’ll be a hero if he does.James
likes the sound of this, and sets off at once to find Thomas and become a hero!
That night in the Steelworks, Thomas is
judging his moment and looking for an opportunity to break out whilst Frankie
and Hurricane sleep.He nudges the gate
with his buffers to try and open it, but to no avail.
Shortly after, he finds some flatbeds
loaded with steel, which he pushes along to use as a battering ram against the
gate.When he makes his first attempt,
he disturbs Hurricane.Frankie dismisses
the loud crash as being a roll of thunder – but a flash of lightning reveals
the truth – they see Thomas at the gate, trying to break out.
The pair rush out of their
shed, ordering him not
to break the gates down – but Thomas won’t listen, and with a final great
effort, he’s through and racing down the line, whilst Hurricane and Frankie
Thomas soon finds a
siding hidden in the trees
where he can hide and rushes into the undergrowth to wait until Frankie and
Hurricane have passed.Thomas is
terrified.Then he hears a voice echoing
through the trees, calling to him.The
voice soothes him, telling him not to be frightened – they are hiding too!
Thomas tries to find the voice
talking to him, but
can’t see anyone – the voice laughs and tells him he’s invisible, and reveals
that he is the Stealth engine that Lexi and Theo had told him of before –
Frankie and Hurricane make one last
attempt to find Thomas, peering into the undergrowth on their way back,
suspecting he’s snuck in there, but quickly dismiss the idea and carry on back
to the Steelworks instead.Merlin
reassures Thomas that he’s safe with him – he’s the best hider ever, and no-one
will find him so long as he sticks with him!
Despite everything that’s happened,
Thomas feels relaxed enough to go to sleep and rest before planning his journey
home to Sodor.
The next morning, James
arrives at Bridlington
Goods Yard where he begins enquiring about Thomas’s whereabouts.None
of the Diesel shunters have any information,
and can’t help him, but some troublesome trucks know and call to James as
they’re being shunted around the yard.
They explain to James that
Thomas never brought
them to the Goods Yard, an engine called Hurricane did.James is curious about
Hurricane and the
Steelworks, and tries to ask the Diesel Shunter about them – only for Hurricane
himself, who’s been sitting on the turntable to hear and see an opportunity to
make up for the loss of Thomas the night before.
On his way home, Thomas finds
himself back at the
Experimental Engines’ yard.Lexi and
Theo are very excited to welcome him back, so much so that Theo doesn’t stop to
have the water pipe removed from his tank before hurrying over to say hello!
Although Thomas is pleased to see them,
he’s feeling very sorry for himself.He
feels bad about losing the trucks, being trapped in the Steelworks and now he
doesn’t know the way home again.
Theo and Lexi sympathise with him –
they know how it feels to get it wrong, and feel like really useless
engines.Thomas disagrees – he thinks
they’re amazing Experimental Engines, but Lexi and Theo proceed to explain
their shortcomings and how they’ve come to accept them.
Merlin, who appears
from out of nowhere is a lot
more upbeat and positive. He believes he
can turn himself invisible – when in reality, he can’t at all.Whilst
Theo and Lexi sing about not being
able to do anything useful, Merlin is keen to emphasise, carbuncle as they may
appear, that they can try and be useful, and in spite of everything, they should.
But whilst Merlin is willing
to try and help
Thomas, and accompany him as they try to find a route – Theo reminds him they’d
only get lost themselves.He extends the
offer to Thomas to stay with them in the Experimental Engines yard, but Thomas
declines – he needs to go home.
Thomas tries retracing his path and
finds himself running alongside the canal again, where he sees Beresford
working. He tries to slip past quietly, but before he can – Beresford grabs him
with his hook and hauls him into the air to have a chat.
Beresford is lonely and looking for a
friend to talk to,but Thomas doesn’t
enjoy being dangled in mid-air, and asks Beresford to put him back on the rails
When he does, Thomas
sees Hurricane coming toward
them and begs Beresford to lift him up and hide him out of sight.Beresford
agrees and places Thomas where he
can’t be seen.
As Hurricane and Frankie
slip past on the Branch Line, it becomes apparent that they’re not alone –
James is with them and being led to the Steelworks.Thomas is extremely worried
now – he knows
what Hurricane and Frankie will do.
Thankfully, help is at hand
– Merlin has followed
Thomas to make sure he gets home safely, and now the pair will have to mount a
rescue attempt to save James and bring him
home to Sodor!
At the Steelworks, Frankie and
Hurricane try to win James around by giving him the grand tour, but he’s
suspicious and begins asking about Thomas.
Hurricane and Frankie try to deny
knowing who Thomas is, but James reminds them that Hurricane delivered Thomas’
trucks for him, and they quickly cave in – telling James that Thomas was there
and would be back later that day.The
pair set James to work whilst he ‘waits’ for Thomas to return.
Thomas does indeed return,
but this time, he’s
brought help – the Experimental Engines!
Thomas devises a plan
for the rest of the engines
to follow.Theo and Lexi will create a
diversion, pretending to have derailed and needing help – which will lure
Hurricane and Frankie out of the Steelworks for long enough so that Thomas can
sneak in and bring James out, whilst Merlin stays behind and keeps watch from
the siding above the line.
Poor little Theo is left wishing
it was him keeping
Theo and Lexi put the plan into action,
with Theo running out of control with a load of flatbeds along the Main Line,
derailing just outside the Steelworks with Lexi raising the alarm for
Hurricane and Frankie hurry from the
Steelworks yard to help, whilst Thomas takes full advantage of the open gates
and sneaks in quietly to find James and bring him home again.
Hurricane and Frankie
inspect the damage, and are
confused by what they find.Theo is
still on the rails, but surrounded by debris that has fallen from his
Lexi tries lamely to explain
the situation, but
Frankie and Hurricane are not convinced, and not best pleased at the
trickery.Then they spot Merlin trying
to creep into the Steelworks without being noticed and give chase to him.
Thomas finds James at the
slag heap and tries to
explain to him about Frankie and Hurricane.As he does so, Merlin hurries into the yard calling out to warn them
that Hurricane and Frankie are on their way back.
The Steelworks Engines burst into the
yard and rush toward Thomas and James to prevent them from leaving again. Hurricane
batters into the ladle wagons, causing them to topple, and Frankie narrowly misses James by inches when he races past her!
James finds himself trapped in the
Steelworks building, being chased by Frankie and Hurricane, who are trying to
trap him inside, using every dirty trick they know.James tries to hide, but
it’s no good –
Hurricane and Frankie are relentless and refuse to let him leave.
When Hurricane tries
to shunt some trucks across
his path, Thomas and Theo push them out of the way and allow James a clear
Merlin and Lexi push two flatbeds
across the lines
that Hurricane and Frankie are chasing James on, stopping them in their tracks
and allowing themselves and James to rush out of the Steelworks building and
back out into the open.They think
they’ve done it!
But then there’s trouble – the trucks
Thomas and Theo were pushing have derailed, tipped over and pushed a lever
which has activated the magnet. which has dropped objects into the smelting pot...
and the magnet has got a hold of Thomas!
Theo makes an attempt to turn the
magnet off, but it only makes matters worse – it begins to drop Thomas over the
pot!Thankfully, a hook swings in at the
last second and knocks Thomas back to the ground, narrowly missing the molten
Thomas hits the ground
with a clang, hitting some
ladle trucks loaded with melted slag, which tip their contents over the
rails.Thomas is frantic, but Hurricane
races forward and knocks him out of harm’s way and running his wheels over the
molten slag, which melt his wheels into the rails.
Frankie can only watch in
horror as her friend sits
in harm’s way, but then Merlin bursts through from behind and bumps Hurricane
The engines cheer for Merlin, but poor
Hurricane is badly damaged – with melted wheels hecan’t work, meaning
Frankie will have to do
all the work at the Steelworks herself when the other engines leave.
This makes her very upset and she
begins to cry, realising how overwhelmed she’s going to be without her friend
and partner to help her make deliveries and keep up with the workload.
Thomas now feels sorry
for Frankie, who only wanted
some help and didn’t think anyone would want to.The other engines on
the Mainland are all too
busy to work there – hence why she tricked Thomas and James into staying with
Thomas is keen to help, and
suggestion.He knows of three engines
who aren’t too busy at all – the Experimental Engines!
Theo and Lexi are not convinced they’d
be of any use to the Steelworks Engines, but Thomas reminds them that no engine
is useless – they just helped rescue James, and that is quite a feat.
He encourages them to think positively
and think what they can do.Theo is
still unsure, but Merlin reminds them that they can try and be useful, and
that’s what matters the most out of everything.
Theo, Lexi and Merlin
settle in nicely at the
Steelworks and prove themselves to be really useful engines – easing the
workload in Hurricane’s absence, and becoming valuable members of the
After everything is
settled, Thomas and James puff
back to Sodor together – wiser engines and none the worse for their
adventures.Both have learned from the
experience, Thomas apologises for taking James’ trucks and James apologises for
teasing Thomas about being the Fat Controller’s favourite engine, quietly
conceding that he’s nobody’s favourite engine.
laughs and reminds him that nobody has to be the favourite, the
most important thing is being friends!