Harry promised to take the kids fishing, while Matt and Tanya worry that they'll miss the train. Before they can leave, Stacy arrives with an emergency. A signal down the line has broken, and the express train due in a few minutes will not be able to proceed until it is mended. While Stacy is explaining the situation, the train Harry and the children were about to get aboard leaves.
Stacy, sympathizes with Matt and Tanya, but explains that Harry has an important role on the railroad, and everyone trusts him to make sure the trains run safely. The kids also relate to this, particularly when it comes to their household chores. They then remember that Harry promised to take them fishing, and that he is obligated to keep his promise, but only after he finishes his important business.
Stacy remembers that a letter for Tanya and a package had arrived at the station for them. Matt and Tanya discovered Mr. Conductor inside. Matt and Tanya explained why they didn't go on the fishing trip. Mr. Conductor tells the kids about the time when the conductor on Thomas the Tank Engine's passenger train got left behind when Thomas got impatient, before heading off to eat a shrimp for lunch.
Matt and Tanya decide to help Harry so he finishes sooner. Matt and Tanya ask if they can help in getting supplies. Harry in return asks the kids if they have a #3 hex key. When they say they don't, he thanks them anyway and leaves. The kids realize that Harry won't be back until exactly three minutes after the last train departs. They ask Stacy if she can come fishing, but says she also has work to do. She drops a nickel into The Picture Machine. It plays a music video about a boy who, after a sudden gust of wind steals his kite, must use his patience and perseverance to find it again.
After the music video ends, the kids realize that one tweak in a routine should not spoil your fun for too long. The kids lament about the delays of their fishing trip and Mr. Conductor tells them a story of how Thomas once accidentally went on a fishing trip of his own, when all he wanted was a drink of water!
After the story, he tries to cheer the kids up with a magic bubble that sends a train through their imaginations. Afterwards, Mr. Conductor suggests that if the train is late, they'll probably still have a chance to fish any way. Just then the train arrives, right on time, and Harry hasn't returned. Stacy suggests that Matt and Tanya try their hands at drawing pictures for Lucy, Tanya's pen pal. Stacy gets supplies for them and they get to work on the floor of the Arcade. After they showed him their artwork, Schemer mentions that he is somewhat of an artist himself. The kids don't believe him, so he asks them to specify a scene for him to draw. Schemer rejects all their ideas until Tanya suggests winter, and he proceeds to "draw" a winter scene. He claims it is hard but when he shows his finished piece of “a complete and total” snowstorm, it’s obvious Schemer hasn't drawn anything at all. Schemer decides to do a portrait of himself. He takes a piece of paper with an oval-shaped hole cut out, and puts his face in the middle, thus creating a "self" portrait. The kids still aren't convinced.
Harry arrives with the semaphore blade for the broken signal. Tanya claims they've missed the train. Harry gets his fishing gear, and soon afterward a train arrives; it's the Fireball Express! Harry arranged for the train to stop at the station, take Harry and the kids to the broken signal, which Harry will repair, and then they will transfer to the local train to Lucky Lake for the fishing trip.
Back in the Arcade, the Jukebox Puppet Band has overheard all the commotion about the fishing trip. Didi suggests that the band all go fishing, but Tito says they are too small for it. They all agree to never go fishing. They then decide to play a song, even though Grace claims Schemer does not want them playing for free. They decide to play anyway, and sure enough, Schemer commands the Jukebox to stop. He then has the suspicion that the station is haunted. He hears an unseen voice ask "Huh?" and then repeats his statement. Suddenly, Stacy rises up from behind and they both scare each other. Stacy laughs and goes about her business while Schemer leaves.
Cast and Characters
- Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor
- Didi Conn as Stacy Jones
- Brian O'Connor as Schemer
- Leonard Jackson as Harry Cupper
- Nicole Leach as Tanya Cupper
- Jason Woliner as Matthew Jones
- Peter Baird as Grace Bass
- Craig Marin as Rex
- Olga Marin as DiDi
- Alan Semok as Grace Bass
- Vaneese Thomas as Grace Bass
- Wayne White as Tex
- Thomas is very proud of his Branch Line, and his two old coaches Annie and Clarabel. Both carry passengers, except Clarabel also carries the conductor as well. One day, after Henry arrives late at the Junction, Thomas finds himself behind schedule and when the Conductor blows his whistle, Thomas steams off without giving him enough time to board the train. Annie and Clarabel try to warn Thomas that they have left him behind, but the conductor only manages to catch up when Thomas is stopped at a signal. Thomas apologizes to the conductor, then they set off again.
- Thomas has a desire to fish, but the others and his driver tell him "Engines don't go fishing!" When the water tower is out of order, Thomas has to take on water from the river using a bucket. Suddenly, he feels like he's going to burst and suffers pain. The driver and fireman look inside his tank to discover fish swimming around! Sir Topham Hatt and Crew fish them out of Thomas’ tank and have a lovely supper of Fish ‘n’ Chips. Poor Thomas finally agrees, "Engines don't go fishing!"
Jukebox Band Segment Song
- The Wabash Cannonball
Cartoons and Songs
- Kite Song
- The Red Ball Express
- This is the first episode to not feature guest stars.
- The Magic Bubble sequence features an excerpt from "Red Ball Express," an animated short film by Steve Segal, created by drawing on clear film stock with felt-tipped markers, permanent pens, and rubber stamps.
- This is the first STS episode to feature railroad stock footage outside the opening and closing credits. The Jukebox Band's rendition of "Wabash Cannonball" features excerpts of preserved Norfolk & Western Class A articulated steam locomotive 1218. This footage was originally filmed for the 1987 documentary Steam People, a promotional film released by Norfolk Southern documenting 1218's restoration.
- This episode features Schemer’s first declaration that Shining Time Station is haunted, which would become a running gag throughout the series for his interpretation of the unexplained phenomena at the station.
- The “Kite Song” was released on the VHS cassette Shining Time Station Singsongs Vol. 1.
- The shot of Tanya showing the picture from her pen pal was used for her “character oval” in the original Season 1 opening credits sequence.
- Mr. Conductor tells both stories to Matt and Tanya in this episode.
- As Stacy sits down on the arcade steps, a boom microphone is visible for a second.