“Old Iron? Slow?"
"Why, Edward could beat you in a race any day."
"Really? I should like to see him do it.”

―Percy and Thomas telling off James for insulting Edward

Old Iron is the fifth episode of the second series.


James is forced to wait at Wellsworth station for Edward to arrive with his train which makes him angry and grumbles about being late. Edward finds it a good joke while James leaves to continue his work. Afterwards, James puffs to the shed, still grumbling. He complains to Thomas and Percy that Edward is always making the other engines wait and he clanks about like a lot of "old iron". Thomas and Percy, who both have a great deal of respect for Edward, are outraged at this remark and tell him that Edward could beat him in a race any day. James scoffs at this, before returning to his berth in the shed to rest.

The next day, James' driver suddenly falls ill while at work and is sent home. With only his fireman on duty, James is relegated to shunting for the day. The fireman leaves James to get ready for the days work when the signalman spots James leaving without anyone aboard. He quickly sets the points to halt traffic down the line and tells the fireman what has happened. It emerges that two boys were seen on James' footplate fiddling with his controls, only to run when James started. The signalbox phone rings, with the engine inspector on the other end. He asks the fireman to quickly get a shunter's pole and a coil of wire rope.

The inspector soon arrives in Edward and the fireman is ready with the objects requested. With James' fireman and the inspector aboard as well as his normal crew, Edward sets off determined to catch up to the runaway engine.

Meanwhile, James is enjoying his long run as he sails through Knapford and is still oblivious that anything is wrong. His happiness does not last much longer though, as he feels himself starting to go faster and faster causing him to realise that none of his crew are aboard. His joy turns to horror and James starts to call for help. Edward speeds through Knapford and races down the line as fast as he can in order to catch up to James. Soon the two engines are almost side-by-side with Edward giving it everything he can to keep up. Edward's driver does his best to keep Edward steady while the inspector climbs outside and makes it to Edward's front with a noose of rope tied through the crook of the shunter's pole and tries to slip the rope over James' buffer. It is difficult for the inspector, but he finally manages to lasso the buffer and pull it tight. James' fireman scrambles over to his engine and takes control, allowing both engines to finally slow down.

As the two tired engines approach Crosby station, James apologises for his insult earlier, which Edward accepts. Waiting for them both is the Fat Controller. He congratulates the crew on a fine rescue and then tells James that he can rest before pulling coaches. As for Edward, he is going to be rewarded with a trip to the works to get his worn-out parts mended. Edward is very happy and notes how nice it will be to get to run without clanking.







  • When Edward arrives at the Sodor Shipping Company, a first series-styled truck can be seen in the goods train next to him.
  • In the restored version, the fade effect when Edward says "So the 'Old Iron' caught you after all," is removed and in the close-up of the Fat Controller, the background is blacked out.
  • In a rare picture, James is smiling while he is at the sheds with Thomas and Percy.
  • At one point, James and Edward pass Mrs. Kyndley's Cottage.
  • In the original story, the boys were caught by law enforcement and "walloped" by their fathers. This line was omitted in the adaptation to censor references to child abuse.
  • The close-up of James' bufferbeam is actually Thomas' bufferbeam but with the lamp removed that is being used for the scene where the rope is swaying across James' right buffer (viewer's right).
  • This episode was reran back to back with Wrong Road on Storytime with Thomas.


  • When James starts again next to the signal box, the trucks have disappeared.
  • Edward is missing his eyebrows when he picks up James' fireman.
  • When James says "What shall I do?! I can't Stop!" the line ahead ends right at the trees.
  • After the rope is attached between Edward and James, Edward's body is very off centre.
  • The wire used to change one of the signals is visible.
  • Around when James realizes he is a runaway, both he and Edward pass by Crosby, but that is where they end up after the chase ends.
  • After Edward catches James they pass the water column, but in the next scene they pass the same water column again.
  • While the inspector tries to catch James, Edward and James appear to pass under the same bridge twice.
  • When James says "Really?" his face is crooked and Thomas' eyes are misaligned.
  • Studio equipment is visible in the top-right corner when Edward catches up with James.
  • A piece of blu-tak can be seen on the signalman's hand to hold the telephone.
  • Edward's close-up model tender has a large size and a different shape. This is because Gordon's tender is reused.
  • When the inspector is walking towards the front of Edward, James' tender is derailed.
  • Henry's eyes are misaligned when Edward races through Knapford station.
  • When Edward is chasing after James, the tracks behind him end in the bushes.
  • In a rare picture, James' ill driver is standing inside of Henry's cab.
  • In the Japanese dub, as James reverses into Tidmouth sheds after he was done arguing with Thomas and Percy, Ringo Starr's narration can be faintly heard in the background.
  • In the early Swedish dub, Percy's whistle can be heard at the end and Edward does not whistle. This is because the audio at the end was taken from the second series episode, Percy and the Signal.
  • In the redubbed Swedish version, Percy is referred to as Toby.
  • In the beginning, there is a gap between the faceplate and the eyes and a crumb found on James' footplate. Thomas also has a gap in between the eyes and the faceplate.
  • When Thomas is at Tidmouth, the shadow by Thomas changes despite no one moving at all.
  • When James reverses into his shed, the track is off centre.
  • During the chase sequence, the track layout which Edward and James run along has pointwork in various places. But, all of the pointwork leads to nowhere.


  • Magazine stories - Old Iron
  • My Thomas Story Library - Edward (discontinued)
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