Harry answers the phone; it's the dispatch office reporting that the train to Pelican Falls is running late and will arrive at 11 a.m. Harry promptly changes the schedule board to reflect the train’s late arrival. Meanwhile, the stack of blocks Matt and Tanya were working on collapses and Matt apologizes, saying that it was an accident. A passenger is calling about the train to Pelican Falls. She has to get to a wedding at 3:30 pm, but Harry tells her about the late running train and assures her she’ll have plenty of time. Harry then hands a note to Matt and tells the kids to give it to Stacy if he's not back in a few minutes. Matt asks what the message says and Harry explains about the late train.
Later, Matt and Tanya are still concentrating on their block stacking when Stacy arrives. Matt says he has a note for her, but Tanya interrupts as two gymnasts visit the station and start to perform in the waiting room. Stacy joins them as Matt and Tanya watch. Stacy notices the schedule board has been altered. Unaware of the late train, she changes it back. Matt and Tanya, forgot about the note they're supposed to give to Stacy. Stacy then leaves to attend a meeting with the superintendent of the railway.
The passenger who's attending a wedding, looks at the schedule board that Stacy altered and is immediately devestated. Tanya says she should take the next train, but the passenger says the next train departs at 4:00 and she has to be at her sister’s wedding at 3:30. Matt says he does not remember the Pelican Falls train coming in, same goes for Tanya.
Stacy, Harry and Schemer enter the station, and Matt tells them about the incident with the passenger. Harry says he changed the schedule board to 11:00, and Stacy mentions that she changed it back to 9:00. Harry mentions the note, but Stacy says she never received one. Matt explains that he was going to give her the note, but got distracted. Stacy composes herself, and says the first thing to do is fix their mistake. Schemer, who has been listening the whole time, says the process of correcting the mistake is not fast enough, and their biggest goof-up was making a paying customer angry. Stacy agrees with Schemer in that they can’t afford to lose any passengers, and she leaves to find the passenger who's given the wrong information.
Just then, Mr. Conductor appears on the information booth drinking a cup of tea. He says he’d been traveling to the Island of Sodor visiting Henry the Green Engine, and asks Matt and Tanya what they have been up to. The kids tell him all about the passenger, the schedule mix-up and the predicament they're in. Mr. Conductor is reminded of how Henry had been feeling poorly and needed a special type of coal to feel better. He tells the kids the story: "Henry's Special Coal".
Matt says he wishes there was something they could do to cheer Stacy up. Mr. Conductor asks what cheers them up when they’re down, and Tanya mentions making up funny rhymes. Mr. Conductor suggests they make up some rhymes for Stacy. They try their best, but Mr. Conductor offers some advice to help them. As he disappears, a dime appears in his place.
Stacy returns to the station, unable to find the passenger, and is sure she’s going to miss the wedding. Matt and Tanya then recite rhymes to help cheer her up. Schemer then arrives, and when he sees the dime left by Mr. Conductor, he quickly snatches it off the floor, but is startled and drops it when Tanya says his name. Matt and Tanya recite rhymes for him too, but Schemer says he doesn’t like to rhyme. He finds himself rhyming anyway and as much as he tries to resist, he can’t control himself! He then quickly rushes to the Jukebox to play a song to clear his head.
Meanwhile, in the Jukebox, all the band members are asleep, until Didi notices a nickel dropped into the machine, and she wakes everybody up. Schemer, impatient to hear his song, rocks and bangs the machine. He asks the kids if anyone broke the Jukebox, and says he has to get his tools to fix the machine, something he doesn’t like because time is money. Tito then mentions that when Schemer comes back, the band has to get their groove together. Didi agrees, saying Schemer is bad news for them.
Harry explains to Matt and Tanya, that rushing causes most of the accidents in the world, and if people would just slow down in life, everything would run much smoother. He then tells the story of how railroad rules came about, mostly in books. In short, everyone has to work hard to keep from getting into accidents. He then goes to the platform to install the handrail.
Tito, having heard Harry’s speech, then leads the jukebox band into singing “Wreck of Old ’97.” After the song ends, Matt and Tanya are sitting on the bench near the entrance when they hear a loud crash. It’s Mr. Conductor; he fell off a ladder while fixing a shingle on his roof. They ask him if he’s all right, and he tells them he’s fine, and everybody has accidents, such as the time Henry had an accident with the Flying Kipper. He tells the story: "The Flying Kipper".
By the time he finishes, Schemer has arrived to fix the Jukebox. Mr. Conductor vanishes, but returns to collect his ladder before disappearing again. The kids run over to the arcade, and they see Schemer using toy tools to try to open the jukebox. The kids said he didn’t give the machine enough time to warm up, but Schemer doesn’t believe them. He then notes that there are never any nickels inside the machine and wonders where they go.
Stacy calls the kids, and she reads the poem she wrote for them. After she is done, Tanya tries to sign it, but spills ink on the paper. Stacy says that’s nothing to worry about, for she folds the paper in half and makes the ink blot turn into the silhouette of what Matt thinks is an airplane, and Tanya thinks it's a butterfly. Just then, the passenger from before returns. Stacy apologizes that she missed her train. The passenger asks which way to the 4:00 train to Pelican Falls, and Stacy leads her to the platform. Matt tries to pick up one of her suitcases, but it accidentally opens up. Tanya and Matt proceed to pick up the clothes. Stacy spots a piece of paper among the clothing. It’s an invitation to the wedding. Stacy realizes that the passenger won’t be late at all, since the invite says the wedding is on the fourth and today is the third. Everyone's relieved that the mix-up's solved.
Matt and Tanya then review all the accidents that happened through their day. As Stacy, Matt, Tanya and the passenger converse, Schemer reappears drinking a bottle of orange soda. When he sees the passenger pick up a dime, he says that dime is his, and she tosses it onto the floor again. Just as Schemer bends over to pick it up, he spills some of his orange soda onto his brand new shoes. Tanya then proceeds to make a rhyme, but Schemer tells them to quit, only to start rhyming again. Stacy, the kids and the passenger all head out to the platform with the passenger’s suitcases, while Schemer dries out his shoes and Stacy tells him to get a mop to clean up the soda. Finally, Mr. Conductor appears to reclaim his dime.
Cast and Characters
- Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor
- Didi Conn as Stacy Jones
- Leonard Jackson as Harry Cupper
- Nicole Leach as Tanya Cupper
- Brian O'Connor as Schemer
- 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
- Susan Greenhill as the Passenger
- Karen Gersch and Barbara Rhind as the Acrobats
Henry is sick and never has enough steam to pull trains. He is worried he will be sent away and replaced. It turns out his firebox is too small to handle the poor quality coal on hand. So Sir Topham Hat gets special Welsh coal for Henry.
Henry pulls a special train from the harbor called, “The Flying Kipper” because it’s full of fish. They couldn’t have known that a long the way a switch had been frozen and a signal that should have been set to danger forced down by the snow. The faulty switch sends Henry into disaster. Sir Topham Hat sends Henry to Crewe for a new shape and a larger firebox.
Jukebox Band Segment Song
- The Wreck of Old 97
- Harry's recollections of railroad rules is accompanied by footage from the 1926 silent film "The General" starring Buster Keaton.
- Mr. Conductor does not use his whistle to start either of the two Thomas stories.
- Obviously Schemer is no good with math. A $2 sandwich with 4 meatballs equals 50 cents per meatball. Likewise, a $20 pair of shoes equals $10 per shoe.
- Red and Tex play a banjo instead of a guitar in this episode.
- In "The Flying Kipper," after Henry's accident, Sir Topham Hatt makes a reference to a place called Crewe, a town in England about 100 miles northwest of London. It is a reference to the location of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway's workshops, where Henry will receive his new shape, which the Reverend W. Awdry patterned after an LMS Class 5 mixed traffic locomotive. British references such as this and the reference of Bournemouth (80 miles southeast of London) in "Thomas' Christmas Party" would be strictly eschewed in Series 3 of Thomas (which makes its debut in season 2 of STS) to avoid alienating viewers outside the US.
- The episode features another time Schemer puts glasses on to see clearly in the distance. He did it previously in "Whistle While You Work."
- When the Dispatch Office telephones Harry at the beginning of the episode, the sped-up voice heard on the other end is actually a sped-up version of T.S. Eliot reading from his poem Growltiger's Last Stand. Later, a customer calls When Harry informs them that the train to Pelican Falls is late, a sped-up recording of T.S. Eliot is heard again reading a few lines from The Naming of Cats.
- Mr. Conductor tells both stories to Matt and Tanya in this episode.