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"I'm too old to pull important trains."
"I'm in disgrace."
"He'll choose me of course!"
"You? You can't climb hills! He'll ask me to pull the train and I'll have a new coat of paint.
— Edward, Gordon, James and Henry debating who will pull the royal train

Paint Pots and Queens, retitled Thomas Meets the Queen in American releases, is the twenty-third episode of the fourth season. It aired in the US on the Shining Time Station special Queen for a Day in 1995.


Thomas and Gordon are puffing home together after having reconciled and formed an alliance. They arrive back at the sheds to discover decorations are being put up. Thomas wonders what is happening and the Fat Controller tells the engines that Her Majesty The Queen is coming to visit Sodor. The engines then wonder who will pull the Royal Train. Edward says he is too old and Gordon is still in disgrace. James thinks he will be chosen, but Henry disagrees, claiming James can't climb hills, and then brags that he will pull the Royal Train and have a new coat of paint too.

One rainy day, Henry's driver and fireman cover the cab to keep dry at Knapford. A painter was on a ladder above the line and when Henry's steam blows high into the air, the painter loses sight and then he and his paint pot fall onto Henry, with the paint pot falling onto Henry's dome. The painter and the Fat Controller say that Henry's appearance is unsuitable for the Royal Train and that he must make other arrangements.

Gordon and Thomas are waiting for the Fat Controller, who can see that both engines are sorry and deserve a treat. He tells the two blue engines that Thomas will look after the coaches, Edward will go in front to clear the line and Gordon will pull the Royal Train.

The great day comes and the engines are busy bringing in people from all over the island for the special occasion and Edward soon steams in and declares that the Queen has arrived. Gordon then pulls into the station with the Queen's train. The Fat Controller stands to attention and welcomes the Queen. She thanks him for a splendid ride and asks to see the engines. Percy and Toby then whistle and cheer for the Queen, prompting Henry and James to hush them since they want to enjoy the event. However Percy and Toby ignore them by continuing the noise, leading the other engines to join in. When it is time to leave, the Queen speaks especially to Thomas, Edward and finally Gordon, who takes her home and all the engines whistle proudly.




  • Going by production order, this is the twentieth episode of the fourth season.
  • This episode is based on the story of the same name from The Railway Series book, Gordon the Big Engine.
  • The flag of Saint George's Cross is visible in one scene. Said flag is used to represent England.
  • Stock footage from Off the Rails and Thomas and Stepney is used. An extended scene from Down the Mine is also used.
  • As the narrator says, "When it was time to leave..." God Save the Queen, the British national anthem, begins playing.
  • On PBS Kids Sprout airings and Season 4 (Digital Download), this episode was given its UK title.
  • This was the final adaptation of a story from The Railway Series written by Wilbert Awdry.
  • This episode, along with Special Attraction, were the last episodes featured on Shining Time Station.
  • This episode is a continuation of the first season episode, Down the Mine.
  • On 12 May 2015, which was the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series, behind the scenes footage of this episode was revealed in a report on BBC South Today.
  • In the UK version, the painter screams when he fell, but in the US version, it's not heard.
  • Footage from this episode can be seen in the Japanese game Magical Adventure.
  • In the UK and Ukrainian versions, when the rain comes, a thunderclap is heard. However, in the US and other international versions, the thunderclap sound effect is omitted.
  • When Gordon pulls into the station with the royal train, "Zadok The Priest" can be heard in the background, which is the music that played during Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.
  • When Thomas and Gordon say "Please sir..." in the US narration, the narrator's voice is double-tracked so it sounds like they are talking at the same time.
  • This episode marks the last appearance of Knapford Station in an episode until It's Only Snow in the sixth season.
  • Despite their appearances in the episode, Edward and Toby do not appear in the nameboard sequence at the end of the episode in the Japanese dub.


  • Gordon's brakepipe is facing downwards, while it was facing upwards in Down the Mine.
  • The narrator said that Thomas and Gordon whistled into the shed, but only Thomas' whistle was heard.
  • When Thomas rolls his eyes, his face moves a little.
  • Henry's smoke is coming from his cab and not his funnel.
  • In a rare picture, Gordon's buffer is crooked when he speaks to the Fat Controller.
  • At the end of the episode, a crowd of people can be seen at Knapford, but in the close-ups of James and Henry, the people disappear and then reappear.
  • When the engines whistle, Donald and Douglas' whistles can be heard, but they are nowhere to be seen. This is because the audio of the engines whistling is reused from the second season episode, The Deputation.
  • When Gordon comes to a halt in Knapford, Edward's eyes are wonky.
  • In the close-up shots of Toby and Percy at Knapford, the buffers on Toby's line are wonky.
  • In a rare picture, Thomas' driver has only his head and arms, as his body is replaced by a metal plate.
  • In the shot of the engines whistling, Edward can be seen with his tender facing the camera, but when he talks to the queen and whistles his the other engines, he switches his position of direction.
  • In a close-up shot of Toby and Percy at Knapford, a woman sitting on a bench has no feet.
  • When Toby brings the passengers to Knapford, his bell sounds completely different.
  • Gordon has Duck's whistle sound.
  • When Thomas and Gordon are puffing to the sheds at the beginning, neither of them are puffing steam in any of the shots except Gordon's close-up.

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Norwegian Malingsøl og dronningen Paint Spills and the Queen
Brazilian Portuguese A Visita da Rainha The Queen's Visit
Italian Arriva la Regina! Here Comes the Queen
Japanese じょおうへいかがやってくる The Queen Comes Over
Spanish Un Pote de Pintura para la Reina A Paint Pot for the Queen
Finnish Maalitölkkejä ja Kuningattaria Paint Cans and Queens
Russian Ведра с краской и королева Buckets of Paint and Queen
Ukrainian Банки з фарбою i королева Cans of Paint and Queen
Polish Królewska Farba Royal Paint
Danish Malerspande og Dronninger Paint Bucket and Queens
Dutch Verfpotten en koninginnen Paint Pots and Queens
Hungarian A királynő látogatása The Queen's Visit
Chinese 油漆罐和皇后 Paint Cans and Queens
Slovenian Posode z barvo in kraljica Containers with Paint and Queen
Czech Nátěr pro královnu Paint for the Queen
Greek Η επίσκεψη τής βασίλισσας The Visit of the Queen
Romanian Găleţi de Vopsea şi Regine Paint Buckets and the Queen
Slovak Maľovanie hrnca a kráľovná Paint Pot and Queen
Swedish Färgburkar och Drottningar Paint Cans and Queens
German Farbtöpfe und Königinnen Paint Pots and Queens
Thai กอร์ดอนและโธมัสได้รับมอบงานสำคัญ Gordon and Thomas Had Been Given an Important Assignment
Korean 여왕님의 방문 Visit of the Queen

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