Hero of the Rails
|Hero of the Rails|
|Directed by||Greg Tiernan|
|Produced by||Nicole Stinn|
|Written by||Sharon Miller|
|Narrated by||Michael Angelis (UK)
Michael Brandon (US)
Jules de Jongh
Kidtoon Films (US)
Vue Cinemas &
|Running time||60 minutes|
Hero of the Rails is a 2009 CGI feature-length special and film spin-off of the TV series, Thomas & Friends. The film introduces full CGI animation (by Nitrogen Studios Canada Inc.), replacing model work and the addition of a voice cast for the characters alongside the narration (excluding Thomas and the Magic Railroad) to the TV series. The film features the voice of Ben Small and Martin Sherman as Thomas the Tank Engine for the UK and US respectively.
One summer on the Island of Sodor, Spencer arrives to help the Duke and Duchess with the construction of their new summer house. After being an absolute nuisance to all of the other engines by bossing them around, Thomas challenges Spencer to a contest of strength, taking heavy cargo around the island. Thomas's brakes fail after climbing a tall hill, and he runs out of control through an overgrown, abandoned line. There, Thomas finds Patchwork Hiro, an old abandoned engine from Japan. Hiro does not want to be found out by the Fat Controller, fearing he will be scrapped, so Thomas promises to keep him his secret and work to make Patchwork Hiro "Master of the Railway" once again. Later, he's taken to the Sodor Steamworks for repairs, where he finds old parts for Hiro. He takes them with permission from Victor, the Steamworks engine, only to discover that Hiro's hiding place is dangerously close to the Duke and Duchess's new summer house.
The following day, he tells Percy about Patchwork Hiro, and asks Percy to do his own job while he helps Hiro. Percy misplaces his own mail trucks and breaks down while doing Thomas's job, so Thomas brings him to the Steamworks. The Fat Controller finds out about this and scold Thomas by forcing him to do Percy's work. With nobody else to ask for help, Thomas tells the rest of his friends about Hiro. They all work together in bringing Hiro new parts, distracting Spencer, and keeping the operation a secret from the Fat Controller while Thomas and Percy try to find the missing mail trucks. Patchwork Hiro makes friends with all of the engines, but gradually grows homesick. On the day that the last necessary part for Hiro is to be delivered, Spencer discovers Percy's mail trucks, only to be cornered by Thomas, James and Toby. The Fat Controller accuses Spencer of stealing the trucks and demands him to return them to Percy.
While Thomas and Hiro wait for Percy with the last part, they hear Spencer's whistle and run. Spencer finds them and gives chase, but without the last part, Hiro falls apart and is forced to a stop. Spencer is suddenly distracted by Gordon while Thomas moves Hiro to a new hiding place. The Duke and Duchess are furious with Spencer for abandoning his own work, and Thomas asks to assist him, in order to keep his eye on Spencer and to gain the trust of the Fat Controller. Meanwhile, the other engines visit Hiro to keep his spirits up. When Thomas finally decides to tell the Fat Controller about Hiro, Spencer tries to stop him, but he is foiled by a rickety bridge which collapses beneath him.
When Thomas explains Hiro's situation to the Fat Controller, he reassures Thomas that he would never have scrapped the "Master of the Railway", and the following day, Thomas and Percy bring him to the Steamworks. There, Victor and his assistant, Kevin work together to restore Hiro. Once he's as good as new, Hiro rescues Spencer, and they work with Thomas on the summerhouse. Spencer apologizes to the two engines, saying they are "both fine engines and fine friends." Hiro misses his home island, so the Fat Controller arranges for Hiro to return home. A farewell party is held at the docks, and Thomas promises Hiro that Sodor will always be his home too.
While in previous installments of Thomas and Friends, a single narrator was chosen to voice each character, Hero of the Rails introduces additional voice actors, and this change carried on to Thomas' thirteenth series. A HiT Entertainment press release from 2007 stated that "three upcoming Thomas and Friends specials" would be narrated by Pierce Brosnan. Hero of the Rails is one of the three specials along with The Great Discovery and Misty Island Rescue.
|Martin Sherman||US||Thomas and Percy|
|Ben Small||UK||Thomas and Toby|
|Michael Angelis||UK||The Narrator|
|Michael Brandon||US||The Narrator|
|Teresa Gallagher||UK||Emily, Mavis and The Duchess of Boxford|
|William Hope||US||Edward, Toby and The Duke of Boxord|
|Jules de Jongh||US||Emily, Mavis and The Duchess of Boxford|
|Kerry Shale||US||Henry, Gordon, James, Kevin and Sir Topham Hatt|
|Keith Wickham||UK||Edward, Henry, Gordon, James, Percy and The Fat Controller|
|Matt Wilkinson||UK||Spencer, Victor, Rocky, Kevin and The Duke of Boxford|
|Glenn Wrage||US||Spencer and Rocky|
The DVD of 'Hero of the Rails' was released in the US and Canada on 8 September 2009,
- US DVD Features
- 'Thomas & Spencer' Racing Game
- 'Who's Pulling into the Station?' Game
- 'Go Go Thomas!' Karaoke Music Video
- 'Thomas & Friends' Bedroom Makeover
Hero of the Rails was released US iTunes Store on 12 October 2009 in Standard Definition.
Luke Bonanno of DVDizzy.com rated the film 'acceptable for a direct-to-video fare', but the film's ambitions are too small for theaters.
- "Hero of the Rails". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- "In The Biggest Thomas Event Of The Year, See And Hear Thomas Like Never Before In An All-New Movie!" (Press release). HIT Entertainment Digital Newsroom. 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails - The Movie DVD Review