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James and the Express, retitled A Proud Day for James in American releases, is the tenth episode of the first season.
Although James is finally making a good impression on the Fat Controller after his success with some troublesome trucks, he still finds himself subject to teasing by Gordon and Henry when they are alone in the shed. They constantly remind him of how a bootlace was needed to help him finish a journey with coaches, and while James reminds them of Gordon getting stuck on a hill and Henry refusing to leave a tunnel, neither of them let up. Gordon boasts that he is the only engine capable of pulling the Express alone, claiming that he has never lost his way (conveniently forgetting that it is the signalman who ensures engines don't get lost).
The next morning, James and Gordon prepare for work. Gordon once again harps on about how he gets to pull the Express while James is left with 'odd jobs' before sending the red engine to fetch his coaches. James, now knowing to be extra careful especially with the elegant express coaches, takes them nicely into Knapford Station. James tells the coaches that he would love to be able to take the Express, before leaving them for Gordon who couples himself to the train as nosily and importantly as possible. Gordon then leaves with a train full of passengers, one of which is none other than the Fat Controller. James then goes back to work shunting trucks and fetching coaches.
Later, James is in the station when Gordon quietly slides into the station, trying not to be noticed. James asks if Gordon 'lost his way,' and Gordon admits he was mistakenly switched off the main line and forced onto a long loop back to the station. James finds this funny, however the passengers are furious and demand refunds from the Fat Controller, who promises to find another train. With Gordon out of steam and no other engines available, the Fat Controller asks James if he wants to take the Express. James is more than happy to, and quickly couples himself up. The Fat Controller wishes James luck, and he pulls out of the station. The journey goes without incident, and upon reaching their destination the passengers thank James for a nice journey. The Fat Controller is very impressed with James, and asks if he would like to pull the Express sometimes. James is very happy and says yes at once.
The next day when James sees Gordon pushing trucks, the larger engine is enjoying the simpler work and getting to teach the trucks some manners. Gordon then congratulates James on his success with the Express.
Gordon and James soon become good friends. James takes the Express for Gordon sometimes to allow him to rest. Bootlaces are never mentioned, and the two very much agree when it comes to their opinion of trucks.
- Tidmouth Sheds
- The Viaduct
- The Main Line
- Henry's Tunnel (mentioned)
- Gordon's Hill (mentioned)
- This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, James the Red Engine.
- Stock footage from James and the Coaches is used.
- There are differences between the US and UK narrations. Some differences are:
- Ringo Starr speaks faster in the US version.
- The line, "...the signalman sets the points to make the engines run on the right lines" was changed to "...the signalman sets the switches to make the engines run on the right tracks" in the US versions.
- In the UK narration, after Gordon and Henry were said to have been teasing James, it is said that "James tried to get his own back by talking about engines that were shut up in tunnels and stuck on hills." This was changed to "James tried to get back by talking about Henry, who got shut up in a tunnel and Gordon, who got stuck on a hill" in the US narrations.
- When James brought coaches into the station, in the UK narration, Gordon was "trying to sidle into the station." In the US narrations, he was "trying to sneak into the station."
- In Ringo Starr's narrations, after Gordon returned with the express, it was said that the passengers "hurried to the booking office (ticket window in the US)." In George Carlin's narration, the passengers "were shouting at the ticket window."
- In George Carlin's narration, "'Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!', puffed James" is added after the line "'You're pulling us well! You're pulling us well!', sang the coaches".
- An SiF interview with Christopher Noulton revealed that some of the passengers were made out of plasticine for this episode.
- After Gordon leaves Knapford, the truck in front of James changes.
- In the scene after the one of the passengers rushing to the booking office, a blonde woman in red has blu-tak underneath her shoes.
- When the Fat Controller asks James if he would like to pull the express some time, the tree on the left behind him wobbles.
- A wire is visible near Gordon's trailing wheel when he asks James to get his coaches.
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