“Hello Gordon, is it tomorrow?"
"Did you lose your way, Gordon?"
"No; it was lost for me. I was switched off the main line onto the loop; I had to go all round and back again."
"Perhaps it was instinct.”
- ―James teasing Gordon
James and the Express, retitled A Proud Day for James in American releases, is the tenth episode of the first season.
Although James is finally making a good impression on the Fat Controller after his success with some troublesome trucks, he still finds himself subject to teasing by Gordon and Henry. They constantly remind him of how a bootlace was needed to help him finish a journey with coaches and while James reminds them of Gordon getting stuck on a hill and Henry refusing to leave a tunnel, neither of them let up. Gordon boasts that he is the only engine capable of pulling the Express alone, claiming that he has never lost his way (conveniently forgetting that it is the signalman who ensures engines do not get lost).
The next morning, James and Gordon prepare for work. Gordon once again harps on about how he gets to pull the Express while James is left with 'odd jobs' before sending the red engine to fetch his coaches. James, now knowing to be extra careful, especially with the elegant express coaches, takes them nicely into Knapford Station. James tells the coaches that he would love to be able to take the Express, before leaving them for Gordon who couples himself to the train as nosily and importantly as possible. Gordon then leaves with a train full of passengers, one of which is none other than the Fat Controller. James then goes back to work shunting trucks and fetching coaches.
Later, James is in the station when Gordon quietly slides into the station, trying not to be noticed. James asks if Gordon 'lost his way' and Gordon admits he was mistakenly switched off the main line and forced onto a long loop back to the station. James finds this funny. However, the passengers are furious and demand refunds from the Fat Controller, who promises to find another train. With Gordon in disgrace and no other engines available, the Fat Controller asks James if he wants to take the Express. James is more than happy to and quickly couples up. The Fat Controller wishes James luck and he pulls out of the station. The journey goes without incident and upon reaching their destination the passengers thank James for a nice journey. The Fat Controller is very impressed with James and asks if he would like to pull the Express sometimes. James is very happy and says yes at once.
The next day when James sees Gordon shunting trucks, the larger engine is enjoying the simpler work and getting to teach the trucks some manners. Gordon then congratulates James on his success with the Express. Gordon and James soon become good friends. James takes the Express for Gordon sometimes to allow him to rest. Bootlaces are never mentioned and the two very much agree when it comes to their opinion of trucks.
- Tidmouth Sheds
- The Viaduct
- The Main Line
- Henry's Tunnel (mentioned)
- Gordon's Hill (mentioned)
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, James the Red Engine.
- An SiF interview with Christopher Noulton revealed that some of the passengers were made out of plasticine for this episode.
- The busy theme starts normally in most narrations, but in the Ringo Starr narrations the very beginning is cut off and the theme fades in.
- Stock footage from James and the Coaches is used.
- This is the only first season episode not to have its audio remastered from mono to stereo in the UK.
- George Carlin's narration of this episode was never featured on an episode of Shining Time Station. It first appeared on Best of James.
- After Gordon leaves Knapford, the truck in front of James changes. Also, before Gordon left, there was one workman next to the truck. But after he leaves, there are two workmen.
- In the close-up of James, he can be seen outside of the station, but in the next scene he is inside the station.
- In the scene after the passengers are rushing to the booking office, a blond woman in red clothing has blu-tak underneath her shoes.
- When the Fat Controller asks James if he would like to pull the Express some time, the tree on the left behind him wobbles.
- A wire is visible near Gordon's trailing wheel when he asks James to get his coaches and James' eyes are pretty wonky.
- Because stock footage is used, James brings the other coaches to platform 5. But when Gordon arrives back at Knapford, James is at platform 3 and the brake coach is in the middle of the train.
- In the close-up of James teasing Gordon, James' dome is chipped.
- James places the coaches into Knapford at a point where the first coach was at the front of the platform. However, when Gordon buffers up to them, they have moved back without Gordon pushing them and he is then at the front of the platform.
- During the scenes of Gordon at Tidmouth Sheds, his buffers and lamp irons are crooked.
- In George Carlin's narration, James and Gordon's whistle sound effects are muted when they are at Knapford.
- After James backs up Gordon's coaches into Knapford, there is a close-up of him and there is blue sky in the background. But when he is uncoupled from the train, he is back at Knapford.
- When Gordon backs on to his train, James disappears then reappears in the next scene.
- When Gordon says, "What are you doing, odd jobs?" James' eyes are wonky.
- The coach James backs on to has no buffers or coupling hook.
- Gordon was coupled to his trucks before he gave them a bump, but when he gives them a bump, he is further away and uncoupled. Plus, James disappears.
- Some of the passengers at Knapford, have blu tack under their feet.
- In the close-up of Gordon's whistle, Knapford is nowhere to be seen.
- In a picture of the engines at Tidmouth sheds, the man sitting on Gordon's running board has a lump of blu tack underneath him.