“They have their uses. They can save the wear on a poor car's wheels!”

―Caroline changing her opinion on trains

Train Stops Play is the seventeenth episode of the fourth series.


Stepney has been enjoying his visit on Sodor and one day, he is busy talking to Thomas, Percy and Toby. Stepney compliments the engines and that Sodor has lots of things that make the Island feel important, especially enjoying long runs. Percy offers Stepney to help with his goods trains, in which both their drivers agree and the two tank engines set off for their deliveries. Stepney delivers his loaded trucks to the harbour and then leaves to take some "empties" to the quarry.

Later, Stepney stops at a red signal by a cricket field where a game has just started. A batsman hits a "six" when the signal drops and the ball lands in one of Stepney's trucks. Stepney does not notice it and starts. The cricketers shout at him to stop but neither he nor his driver hear them. The cricketers need the ball for their game, so they climb into their old car Caroline to chase after Stepney.

Stepney does not hurry but when his driver sees Caroline chasing after them with the desperate cricketers inside, he mistakes them for joyriders and has Stepney go faster, much to Caroline's annoyance as she easily overheats when travelling at high speed. When Caroline finds that Stepney has disappeared into a tunnel, she hopes the players will give up and take her home but instead her driver forces her over the hill and onward to the next station.

Stepney has placed his train in a siding, when Caroline wearily arrives at the station with the cricketers who tell Stepney's crew that they need their ball back. The ball is found in the third truck hidden under some hay, then they are ready to return to the cricket field. But Stepney's driver notices Caroline is completely exhausted and they decide to roll her onto a flatbed so she can rest during the return journey. The cricketers (along with Caroline) ride back to the field in a brake van. Stepney and his crew enjoy and watch the rest of the game. Caroline, pleased, changes her mind about trains being silly.


  • Percy
  • Stepney
  • Caroline
  • The Elsbridge Cricket Club
  • The Tailor
  • The Railway Board
  • Thomas (does not speak)
  • Toby (does not speak)
  • Troublesome Trucks (do not speak)
  • Henry (cameo)
  • James (cameo)
  • Duck (cameo)
  • Donald (cameo)
  • Bulgy (cameo)
  • Stephen Hatt (cameo)
  • Jem Cole (cameo)
  • The Vicar of Wellsworth (cameo)
  • The Ffarquhar Stationmaster's Wife (cameo)
  • Farmer Trotter (cameo)
  • Refreshment Lady (cameo)
  • One Little Boy (cameo)


The Lead Mines (mentioned)


  • Because this episode is the eighteenth episode of the fourth series in production order, it was broadcast after Bowled Out, which is the seventeenth, thus scuppering the continuity of Stepney's visit to the Fat Controller's railway.
  • Edited scenes from this episode are used in the song, The Red Balloon. One shot superimposes the red balloon above the cricket field and another shows the cricketers smiling.
  • In the UK narration, Caroline says "HURRAH!" but in the US version, she says "YAHOO!"
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Hackenbeck Tunnel until the twenty-first series episode, Terence Breaks the Ice.
  • This is the only episode of a few things:
    • Caroline's only appearance in the fourth series.
    • The Elsbridge Cricket Club members' only speaking roles to date.
    • The only appearance of Hackenbeck Tunnel in the fourth series.
  • This episode is the first episode of the fourth series in which the Skarloey Railway and engines do not appear.


  • After Percy arrives with his trucks, his roof is lifted.
  • Studio equipment is visible in the shots of the cricket field.
  • At the harbour, Henry and James' eyes are wonky and the guard figure in Stepney's brake van appears to have fallen backwards.
  • When Stepney arrives at the harbour, watch Thomas carefully; his trucks wobble and nearly come off the rails.
  • One of Percy's lamp irons is crooked.
  • When the narrator says "She doesn't think trains are silly now," paint chips are visible in Stepney's running board.
  • At the beginning of the episode, Duck and Donald are behind Thomas, Stepney, Percy and Toby, but a few scenes later, some trucks and a green express coach have taken their places.
  • After Stepney's driver tells Stepney to speed up, Caroline is nowhere to be seen.


Stepney: You are very lucky engines. Your line has got everything. It's long enough to give you a good run, and you have plenty of passengers. Then you have a quarry and a mine, so you'll need plenty of cars. Cars are fun. I miss them on our line.
Percy: You're welcome to take some of mine. But you better ask driver first.
[Percy's and Stepney's drivers agree and leave]
[after a cricket ball flies into one of Stepney's trucks]
Cricket Players: Stop!
Stepney[to his trucks] Come along! Come along!
Cricket Players: Our one and only ball!
Caroline[being push twice her usual speed] I shouldn't be treated like this! This pace is too hot for system. It'll fuse all my circuits! [later finds Stepney has disappeared into a tunnel] Hurrah!/Yahoo! That silly train has run into a hole so we can't catch it. I can go home now.
Caroline[about steam engines] They have their uses. They can save wear and tale on a poor car's wheels!


  • Magazine stories - Train Stops Play
  • My Thomas Story Library - Caroline (discontinued)
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