Meet the Contenders is a series of online promotional videos that tied into The Great Race, written by Ian McCue. The videos are narrated by Rob Rackstraw, as the Great Railway Show Announcer. The videos each focused on a character competing in events at the Great Railway Show as well as their stats, event and country of origin.

Philip of Sodor

"And here is Philip of Sodor! Philip recently arrived on Sodor and has become a favourite amongst his Sudrian friends. Now according to my notes here, Philip loves to race, but apparently he once beat the mighty Gordon! Well, there's a surprise. But Philip won't be racing, folks. No no, he's arrived here as the mascot and the flag carrier for Team Sodor! It's not always about the winning or the losing. It's about getting involved in whichever way you can to support and help your team. So let's hear it for Philip of Team Sodor!"

Axel of Belgium

"And here is Axel of Belgium! And just look at those stats, what an amazing looking engine. That's streamlining at its finest! Folks, this engine is built for speed! Axel is a lean, mean racing machine whose good looks and charm have won him an army of fans. Just listen to those screams, he's like a movie star! Will he get the leading role and win the Great Race? You'll just have to wait and see, folks. Let's hear it again, for Axel of Belgium!"

Yong Bao of China

"And here is Yong Bao of China! Wow, have you ever seen such a spectacular-looking engine? Strong, sleek and steamy. This engine is a tiger, a sheer delight. And, the crowd has gone silent. They can't believe what they are witnessing. Wow, this engine knows how to put on a show, and it's this kind of performance that might just win him the best in show. Let's hear it again, for Yong Bao of China!"

Raul of Brazil

"And here is Raul of Brazil! One-time champion a few years back, this true hero is respected throughout the railway. A great character both on and off the track. This little steam engine certainly packs a punch. He's incredibly strong for such a small, light engine, proving that being small shouldn't stop you from thinking big. And of course, speed and agility are going to play a major part in the shunting event, so let's wish him the best of luck, folks! Let's hear it one more time, for Raul of Brazil!"

Ashima of India

"And here is Ashima of India! She's simply breathtaking. Never have I witnessed such a beautifully painted tank engine! This little engine brings with her an air of mystery and wonder. I can't help thinking that there's more to this painted engine than meets the eye. But we'll just have to wait and see what Ashima has in store for us when she competes. Let's hear it for Ashima of India!"

Ivan of Russia

"And here is Ivan of Russia! Let's have a look at his stats, shall we? This diesel engine is very strong. Some viewers may remember when Ivan finished just seconds from setting a new world record in the shunting race! But he didn't give up, and has always given his best in everything he does. An admirable quality that we can all wish to aspire to. And look at him here, he really is in character isn't he? The crowd are going wild. He's won them over before the race has even started! Let's hear it again for Ivan of Russia!"

Gina of Italy

"And here is Gina of Italy! Mamma mia, what a beauty! But don't let looks deceive you. She may be small and compact, but this little tank engine can match the boys pound for pound! And just look at those stats, Gina is all about speed and strength, and she'll be sure to give it her all in the shunting race this year. Let's hear it again, for Gina of Italy!"

Spencer of UK

"And here is Spencer from the Mainland! Just hear those home fans go wild! Now, Spencer is the private engine to the Duke and Duchess of Boxford. He's a grand engine, some might even say regal. In fact, Spencer still holds the land speed record for steam locomotives. Built by Sir Nigel Gresley, this streamlined engine will be hoping to retain the cup, here on the Mainland. So let's hear it again, for the Mainland's very own, Spencer the Grand!"

Rajiv of India

"And here is Rajiv of India! Flash bang wallop, what a picture! What a photograph! Have you ever seen such colour and detail on an engine? Rajiv might be a small tank engine, but he's bursting with colour, and with a crown placed atop his funnel, he glides like an emperor. Quite a spectacle! No wonder the crowd is going wild. All hail the emperor of India, Rajiv!"

Percy of Sodor

"And here is Percy of Sodor! This little green saddle tank engine is a most unlikely hero. Everyone was surprised to hear that Percy had been picked at the last minute to compete for Sodor in the shunting race, and by the looks of it, Percy is the one who was most surprised. But let's not forget how this little engine bravely saved one of his best friends from a landslide! Percy just needs to get out there and show more of that Sudrian grit and determination! So, let's put a smile on his face and wish him the very best of luck. Percy of Sodor!"

“Shooting Star” Gordon of Sodor

"And here is the Shooting Star! Formerly known as Gordon, this tender engine from Sodor has had some serious work done to make him the magnificent streamlined powerhouse you see before you. With aerodynamics and curves like that, I'm in no doubt he'll be giving everyone a fast run for their money, in this year's Great Race! Lean, mean and moody, look up to the skies everyone, because the Shooting Star is headed this way!"

Shane of Australia

"And here is Shane of Australia! Good day, mate! This handsome chap has literally travelled all the way from the other side of the world. Shane's a big, strong engine who has been working tirelessly to ensure he's in the best of shape! Just like a new coat of wax on a surfboard, Shane is looking to outshine everyone in this year's strongest engine race. So let's make a wave and welcome Shane of Australia!"

Emily of Sodor

"And here is Emily of Sodor! Emily's looking better than ever! She's clearly had some work done. Just look at those gold bands, and that deco on her paintwork! Absolutely stunning! Of course, Emily has the extra advantage of two giant driving wheels which give her those gorgeous curves, as well as one of the tallest funnels on Sodor. Emily is a smart and clever engine, who will hold her funnel high when competing for Team Sodor. Let's hear it for Emily of Sodor!"

Vinnie of North America

"And here is Vinnie from North America! He's big, strong and mean! A real heavyweight, Vinnie has given himself a reputation for being a big bully. He believes he's the best, and will do whatever it takes to come first, even if that means he has to bend some rules! I for one am certainly not going to stand in his way! Vinnie has the skills to be a true contender. Let's just hope he plays nicely, folks. Let's hear it again, for Vinnie from North America!"

The Flying Scotsman

"And here is the Flying Scotsman! He's called the Flying Scotsman because he runs the express passenger service between London and Edinburgh, Scotland. He also became the first locomotive to reach the speed of 100 miles per hour! He doesn't fly, and he's not Scottish, but that doesn't slow this engine down. It also says here, he's Gordon's brother. Well, that's a surprise! I wonder what other surprises are in store for us this year, folks. Let's hear it for the Flying Scotsman!"

Carlos of Mexico

"And here is Carlos of Mexico! This plucky tender engine has a real history with the Great Railway Show, a true hero story to tell. Carlos was the very first winner of the strength competition, back at the first ever Great Railway Show. This made him a really useful celebrity back in Mexico, and truly one of our favourite contestants who keeps on coming back each year to participate and show his support for this great event. This year, he's entering the best decorated parade, and we wish him all the best! Let's hear it again, for Carlos of Mexico!"

Henry of Sodor

"And here is Henry of Sodor! Henry is a classic engine who was one of Sir Topham Hatt's first engines on Sodor. Henry's not always been the strongest engine. He's had his fair share of problems in the past, and has even been known to hide in tunnels! But, Henry eventually rose above those problems. Can he now rise to the challenge and take home a trophy for Sodor in the strength competition? You'll just have to wait and see. Let's hear it again for Henry of Sodor!"

Etienne of France

"And here is Etienne of France! Probably the most modern of all our engines here, this electric-powered engine is a real marvel of technology. He's sure to send sparks flying! Etienne recently set the world rail speed record. He may look flashy, but he's a true gentleman in the world of racing! He recently said 'I'm just here to have fun and meet new friends. And if I should win, then Vive La France!". So if it's excitement and speed you're after, then look no further than Etienne of France. Let's wish him the best of luck!"

Frieda of Germany

"And here is Frieda of Germany! She's a beautiful streamlined engine, built for speed. But this steam engine is more than just a pretty face. She's actually competing against the big boys in the race of strength! Could she make history this year, by being the first female engine to win the strength competition? I'll certainly be cheering her on, so watch out boys, Frieda's coming to get ya! Let's hear it again for Frieda of Germany!"

Thomas of Sodor

"And here is Thomas of Sodor! Well, now this cheeky little tank engine needs no introduction, folks. It's Thomas the Tank Engine! Thomas can do just about anything when he puts his mind to it. From shunting trucks to pulling his own coaches, Thomas is surely already a champion in everyone's hearts. But what race will Thomas compete in, and will he become a champion and take home a trophy for Sodor? We'll have to wait and see. Let's hear it once more, for Thomas the Tank Engine!"


  • Thomas
  • Henry
  • Gordon
  • James
  • Percy
  • Emily
  • Flying Scotsman
  • Spencer
  • Hiro
  • Ashima
  • Gina
  • Raul
  • Rajiv
  • Shane
  • Carlos
  • Frieda
  • Axel
  • Yong Bao
  • Philip
  • Ivan
  • Etienne
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