- “You lucky old engine! You've been saved by the Bluebell Railway!”
- ―Stepney's driver
Rusty to the Rescue is the fifteenth episode of the fourth series.
Every spring, Rusty enjoys visiting far away places, especially the Bluebell Railway where Rusty thinks there is no better place to visit. One morning, while Rusty is being refuelled, Thomas passes by, remarking that Rusty's driver looks worried. Rusty is initially unsure but asks what the problem is, which turns out to be that the Bluebell Railway needs another engine to keep the railway running. Rusty is intrigued by the idea of finding a "Bluebell Engine."
Later, Rusty consults with Douglas about finding another engine on the Other Railway, which is where he found Oliver. Douglas is willing to help, but notes that only diesels travel there. Rusty readily accepts the idea and decides to go there. That evening, the driver comes with news that the manager will make a home for a bluebell engine if they find one. Rusty knows that they can do so the following day.
The next day, their journey takes them an entire day to travel and when they make it to the Other Railway, it is nighttime with cold wind blowing. Creaks of lonely scrap are heard and Rusty pulls up beside the diesels lined up on guard. Rusty escapes the diesels' suspicion by bluffing about being an "inspection diesel" and asks if any engines are in the shed. The diesels note there are none alone in a shed. Not giving up, Rusty asks about the sidings and the diesels state they do have one engine. Rusty plucks up bravery and vows to go check to see the situation.
A tank engine with a tall funnel is feeling sad and lonely in a shadowy siding. His driver is in the cab trying to console him. Rusty comes up beside him and asks him if he likes bluebells. The engine replies puzzledly that he believes bluebells are beautiful and Rusty promises to save him from scrap, so the workmen work fast to revive him. It is initially difficult to light the fire, but it soon burns nicely with plenty of steam. Rusty's engineer promises to be the new fireman. And together, the two engines leave past the line of diesels and head off for the Bluebell Railway. The diesels ask where the engine is going and Rusty replies that he is just going down the line. Rusty is very proud that both engines are back on the border and on the railway as they have finally accomplished the mission.
The next morning, Rusty and the new engine arrive at the valley station where a big welcome awaits. The manager has the new engine mended and given a new coat of paint, much to the delight of his driver as the engine had been saved by the Bluebell Railway and thanks Rusty for everything. The engine is as happy as he can be helping passengers when they visit the Bluebell Railway. The engine is named Stepney, but he is colloquially nicknamed the "Bluebell Engine."
- Stepney's Controller
- Percy (does not speak)
- Henry (cameo)
- Gordon (cameo)
- Diesel (cameo)
- Daisy (cameo)
- BoCo (cameo)
- Mavis (cameo)
- Class 40 (cameo)
- Skarloey (cameo)
- Duncan (cameo)
- Annie and Clarabel (cameo)
- Bertie (cameo)
- Stephen Hatt (cameo)
- Jem Cole (cameo)
- One Little Boy (cameo)
- Oliver (mentioned)
- Stepney's Branch Line
- Bluebell Valley Station
- Crovan's Gate Yards
- Rheneas Viaduct
- Standard Gauge and Narrow Gauge Viaduct
- Vicarstown Goods Depot
- Vicarstown Sheds
- Bluebell Railway
- This is the only fourth series episode not based on a story from The Railway Series. However, this episode forms the first part of a four episode story based on the book, Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine, replacing the story, Bluebells of England. Douglas and Percy mingling at the water tower and later being present for Stepney's arrival is a remnant from the aforementioned story.
- This is the first episode to feature Stepney.
- In real life, the Bluebell Railway is a heritage line in England, United Kingdom.
- This episode and Thomas and Stepney are the only episodes of the fourth series to not be released on VHS before airing on television, but the UK narrations were released before airing on television.
- The set of the Other Railway is the same as the Skarloey Engine Sheds set where Rusty met Percy and Douglas, only heavily modified.
- Douglas appears without Donald in this episode.
- In the US version, music is heard when Stepney says, "and my friend, Rusty. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for Rusty!" but is absent in the UK and international versions.
- Henry and Gordon whistle to Rusty in the UK and international versions, but the whistle sound effects are omitted in the US version.
- The US version has a stock crowd sound effect that plays at the end of it, but in the UK version and other international versions, it never plays.
- Scrap models of Thomas, Gordon, Donald/Douglas, Toad and the goods engine from TUGS can be seen on the Other Railway. Gordon's pilot model can be seen next to Stepney in the scrapyard.
- The engines of the Other Railway are represented by Diesel, BoCo, Daisy, Mavis and Class 40, all facing opposite to the camera.
- This episode marks Diesel's only appearance in the fourth series. He appears lined up with the other engines representing the Other Railway facing opposite to the camera on Rusty's left (viewer right) after the latter approached the scrap yard and then again on his right (viewer's left) as him and Stepney leave the scrap yard.
- This episode marked the last of two things:
- The last appearance of Vicarstown Sheds until the twenty-second series episode, Confusion Without Delay, excluding stock footage.
- Diesel's last appearance until the sixth series episode, The World's Strongest Engine.
- According to some VHS descriptions, it said that Rusty got advice from Oliver when it was actually from Douglas.
- Class 40 appears in this episode, but he is not introduced until Bowled Out.
- In the UK and international versions, Thomas has Edward's whistle sound as he passes through Bluebell Valley Station. In the same scene, Clarabel is also facing the wrong way.
- In the UK and international versions, when Rusty and Stepney return, Thomas, Gordon and James' whistle sounds are heard, yet they are nowhere to be seen. This is because stock audio of the engines whistling is reused from the first series episode, Thomas' Christmas Party.
- Rusty's truck and brake van disappear in the close-up shot of the driver in the cab.
- Dried-up glue is visible around Rusty's face during the line, "Right, we'll find [a 'Bluebell Engine'] tomorrow."
- When Rusty first arrives on the Other Railway, some chains are hanging beside the signal box, but when Rusty says "Oh, what's that?" the chains disappear.
- When Stepney's fire is lit, one of the people inside him is wearing a driver's uniform for the North Western Railway rather than the usual Skarloey Railway one Stepney and Rusty's drivers wear.
- When the narrator says, "Rusty's engineer agreed to be Stepney's fireman," there is visibly a chip in Rusty's paintwork.
- Despite the aforementioned line, Rusty's cab visibly contains the driver when they leave the scrapyards, cross the bridge and arrive at Bluebell Valley Station.
- The tar wagon seen between BoCo and Daisy disappears in the last shot of the Other Railway.
- On the Other Railway, the diesels constantly change places:
- When the voice calls out, "Who are you?" Mavis has somehow moved from Rusty's right to behind Diesel.
- In the shot after Rusty says, "Then I'll just go and inspect," Mavis is back to her original position, Diesel has somehow moved in front of her and Class 40 appears in front of BoCo.
- In the point-of-view shot of Rusty escaping, Mavis is on Daisy's track.
- In the following shot, Daisy is on the far right track and Class 40 has somehow moved to the smaller shed. Additionally, Mavis and Diesel have moved to the narrow gauge track.
- In the final shot of the Other Railway, Daisy and Class 40 are back in their original positions.
- In the shot after Rusty escapes past BoCo, Rusty and Stepney pass a shed they already should have passed.
- When Rusty and Stepney leave the scrapyard, Diesel and Mavis can be seen placed on narrow gauge rails.
- When Stepney and Rusty are on the Standard and Narrow Gauge Viaduct, the house and shed next to the track have moved compared to when Rusty went over the viaduct the first time.
- Stepney's eyes are wonky in the final shot.
- Rusty: Can you help me find another engine?
- Douglas: Where?
- Rusty: Where you found Oliver.
- Douglas: You mean on The Other Railway?
- Rusty: Yes. I'm looking for a bluebell engine.
- Douglas: I'd like to help. But these days, it's only diesels that go there.
- Rusty: So that's where I'll go! [leaves]
- Douglas: Take care.
- Diesels: Who are you?!
- Rusty: I'm a shed and sidings inspection diesel. Have you any engines in the shed?
- Diesels: No. None!
- Rusty: Then what about the sidings?
- Diesels: One. We have one.
- Rusty: Then I'll just go and inspect.
- Diesels: Where is he going?!
- Rusty: Just down the line.