The Little Engine That Could (1991 film)

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The Little Engine That Could
Little Engine That Could.jpg
VHS cover of The Little Engine That Could showing Tillie pulling the birthday train
Directed byDave Edwards
Produced byDavid Edwards
Mike Young
Screenplay byRay Rhamey
Story byWatty Piper
StarringKath Soucie
Frank Welker
B.J. Ward
Neil Ross
Bever-Leigh Banfield
Peter Cullen
Scott Menville
Billy O'Sullivan
Dina Sherman
Music byBen Heneghan
Ian Lawson
Mark Mueller
Edited byTerry Brown
Sianel 4 Cymru
Kalato Animation
Dave Edwards Studio
Distributed byMCA/Universal Home Video
Release date
  • January 1, 1991 (1991-01-01) (United Kingdom)
  • October 18, 1991 (1991-10-18) (United States)
Running time
30 minutes
CountryUnited States
United Kingdom

The Little Engine that Could is a 1991 animated direct-to-video short film directed by Dave Edwards [1] and co-produced by Edwards and Mike Young, animated at Kalato Animation in Wales and co-financed by Universal Studios through their MCA/Universal Home Video arm and S4C, Wales' dedicated Welsh-language channel. It was released on VHS by MCA. The film features the voice talents of Kath Soucie and Frank Welker. [2] It is based on the book of the same name, by Watty Piper.


Eric, a young boy, is excited about his birthday after reading a book and believes that a train will come for him, much to his teenage sister Jill's disbelief. A few hours later, the train station's control tower wakes up and in the roundhouse, Tillie, a young little blue switcher engine, along with her best bird friend, Chip, wakes up four other trains: Georgia, a kind all-purpose engine, Farnsworth, a stuck-up, shiny, new passenger engine, Jebediah, a worn-out, rusty, old engine, and Pete, a gruff, burly, big, strong freight engine. After the tower assigns Farnsworth and Pete their jobs, he declines Tillie's offer to help with the milk train assigned to Jebediah due to her small stature. Georgia is assigned to pull the birthday train. A clown named Rollo leads the toys and friends into the train, including Jeepers, a monkey, Stretch, a basketball player, Missy, a ballerina, Handy Pandy, a panda, Perky, an elephant, and Grumpella, a stuffed bird.

But during her journey, Georgia breaks down and Doc takes her back to the roundhouse. Left behind, Rollo eventually takes Doc's advice of flagging down one of the other engines returning from their daily runs over the mountain. Farnsworth and Pete turn blind eyes to the offer, and Jebediah explains that going over the mountain is too much for him. Meanwhile, despite the tower turning down Tillie's offer to help carry the birthday train, she and Chip sneak past the tower and pulls the birthday train up a mountain. Despite being ridiculed by the animals along the way, Tillie manages to reach the summit after crossing a bridge that collapses but loses the last train car, which snaps off and falls into the river along the way.

When Tillie sees the scary cave, she tries to go through the cave. However, the cave says that she is too little. Unfortunately, an avalanche knocks Tillie out cold. Eric is woken up by a thunderstorm and is worried about Tillie and the birthday train. After Tillie regains consciousness, she pulls the train out of the snow using her cowcatcher as a snowplow and down the mountain before they reach the town, much to Eric's delight and Jill's amazement. Although very tired from her long and adventurous journey over the mountain, Tillie is very proud and happy and tells her best friend Chip that she did what she could.


  • Kath Soucie as Tillie, Missy and the Little Wolf
  • Frank Welker as Farnsworth, Jedediah, Rollo, Jeepers, Perky, The Big Wolf and the Eagle
  • B.J. Ward as Grumpella
  • Neil Ross as Doc, Tower and Handy Pandy
  • Bever-Leigh Banfield as Georgia
  • Peter Cullen as Pete and the Cave
  • Scott Menville as Chip and Stretch
  • Billy O'Sullivan as Eric
  • Dina Sherman as Jill

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Trailer courtesy of Video Detective
  2. ^ "The Little Engine That Could (1991)". Behind The Voice Actors.

External links[edit]