The Little Engine That Could (2011 film)

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The Little Engine That Could
The Little Engine That Could (2011).jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Elliot M. Bour
Produced by Richard Rich
Screenplay by David Koepp
John Kamps
Cliff Ruby
Elana Lesser
Story by Watty Piper
Starring Alyson Stoner
Whoopi Goldberg
Patrick Warburton
Music by Heitor Pereira
Edited by Joe Campana
Distributed by Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release dates
  • March 22, 2011 (2011-03-22)
Running time
83 minutes
Country United States
Language English, Mandarin

The Little Engine That Could is a 2011 CGI film based on the story by Watty Piper. The film was released to DVD after a limited theatrical release in the United States on March 22, 2011.


Little E. wakes the control tower up, so she can start work. She dreams of being a dream hauler. But the control the tower confirms that she is too small to pull her own train. She gets a little help from Rusty, an old and wise Engine. In the Real World, a boy named Richard shows his friend Marcus, his grandfather's watch. Two bullies named, Scott and Stretch, throw a snowball at Richard, which makes him slip and hand the watch over to them. He is worried that his dad would be unhappy if he lost the watch. Marcus tries to help him, but Richard does not want help from him. Richard decides to take a walk in the park, but trips over some train tracks he has never noticed before. He boards a train to take shelter from the cold, and suddenly is whisked away to DreamLand. While passing through the tunnel to DreamLand, the tunnel collapses, trapping Richard and the trains in DreamLand. The Tower demotes Rusty to a track-cleaner. Little E. offers to take Richard home on the rumored tracks that lead over the mountain. The Tower, looking for a way to preoccupy Little E. and Richard while the other trains try to do the important work of clearing the tunnel, agrees, sending them both on their way while also promising to give Rusty his job back afterwards and even throw him a Ticker-Tape Parade. Little E. finds the track leading up the mountain. Along the way, they encounter the Nightmare Train, but trick him into speeding down a side-track, and are able to continue on their way. This shows Richard how to stand up to bullies. Little E., with the help of Richard, also deals with a water leak and a derailment, and eventually makes it over the mountain to the Real World. Little E. returns to DreamLand, tells her story about her trip over the mountain, and is promoted to a dream hauler as a reward for her bravery. Once back, Richard has gained the confidence to confront the bullies and get his watch back. During the Credits, the following photos are shown: Richard showing his watch to his class, the Sock Monkey being loved, the Nightmare Train defeated and derailed on a snow bank, Rusty's Ticker-Tape Parade, and lastly, Little E. taking more trains through the Mountain.


  • Little E. (Alyson Stoner) - A little steam shunter who dreams of being a Dream Hauler. Becomes close friends with Richard. At first she is unsure about taking the birthday train over the mountain, but with encouragement from Richard and the toys, and remembering Rusty's advice, Little E. manages to bring the train over the mountain to the real world all by herself. Her wheel arrangement is 4-2-0 and her eyes are on the sides of her cab and mouth on her smokebox. She seems to be based upon Tillie from the 1991 film.
  • The Tower (Whoopi Goldberg) - A control tower who is in charge of everyone in the train yard. Tries to maintain order. She seems to be based upon the Tower from the 1991 film.
  • The Caboose (Patrick Warburton) - A red caboose who is coupled by the birthday train. Seems to be pessimistic, and isn't too fond of flying.
  • Red Engine #35 (Jeff Bennett) - The Dream Hauler engine who was supposed to take the birthday train through the mountain to the real world. He is red and can sometimes have accidents. His wheel arrangement is 2-6-0. He seems to be based upon Georgia from the 1991 film.
  • The Big Locomotive (Mocean Melvin) - A silver streamlined diesel Dream Hauler with a purple/orange stripe who's missing a tooth. He is one of the Dream Haulers who was sent to help dig out the tunnel after it collapses.
  • Rusty (Jim Cummings) - A senior Dream Hauler who offers advice to Little E.. After accidentally bringing Richard to Dreamland, Rusty is demoted to track cleaner. Explains that before the Dream Tunnel was made, Dream Haulers had to go over the mountain. But because it was too dangerous, they decided to make the tunnel. His wheel arrangement is a 2-8-0. He seems to be based upon Jebidiah from the 1991 film.
  • The Freight Train (Rodney Saulsberry) - A green and orange Dream Hauler engine who hauls heavy freight trains. One of many who was sent to help dig out the tunnel. Calls Little E. "Peanut Roaster". His wheel arrangement is a 2-4-2 on an EMD GP28-2. He seems to be based upon Pete from the 1991 film.
  • The Shiny Passenger Train (Brenda Song) - A yellow passenger engine who is very full of herself, she is one of many who was sent to help dig out the tunnel. Her wheel arrangement is a 4-8-0. She seems to be based upon Farnsworth from the 1991 film.
  • The Girl Train (Chelsea Erinne Evered) - A pink and white diesel engine who gives Rusty a broom-plow in place of his cowcatcher, and gives his cowcatcher back at the end of the film. She seems to be based upon Doc from the 1991 film.
  • The Evening Express (Jim Cummings) - A white streamlined diesel who pulls a fast express.
  • The Nightmare Train (Ray Porter) - A black scary steam engine who wanted to deliver scary creepy trains. Tricks Little E. into giving him the toys and Richard. Little E. manages to outwit him by taking a wrong track. His wheel arrangement is 0-6-4.
  • Richard (Dominic Scott Kay) - A boy who wanders into Dreamland when Rusty accidentally falls asleep on the job, ripping a hole in the dream-reality continuum. Becomes close friends with the Little Engine, whom he names "Little E". He seems to be based upon Eric from the 1991 film.
  • Marcus (Khamani Griffin) - Richard's friend at school. He seems to be based upon Jill from the 1991 film.
  • Scott and Stretch (Michael Rodrigo and Luke Williams) - A pair of bullies who antagonize Richard in the real world.
  • Beverly (Jamie Lee Curtis) - A female clown toy who serves as leader of the toys. Likes to do various clown tricks in her spare time - her favorite is the "Pie in the face". She seems to be based upon Rollo from the 1991 film.
  • Major (Charlie Schlatter) - A toy soldier who sometimes finishes his sentences with "sir". Gives up his badge to help bandage a leak in Little E.'s water tank. Has a crush on Jillian.
  • Ace - A small toy plane who doesn't speak. When the toys are taken by the Nightmare Train, Ace manages to escape and warn Little E..
  • Jillian (Jodi Benson) - A ballerina doll who dances when she is happy. Has a crush on Major. She seems to be based upon Missy from the 1991 film.
  • Lou and Bud (Corbin Bleu and Rodney Saulsberry) - A pair of twin stuffed giraffe toys. Lou has spots while Bud has yellow and orange squares. Lou is the more talkative one while Bud doesn't speak until near the end of the film.
  • Hudson (Jeff Bennett) - A green and white sock monkey with a British accent. Hopes to be fun for his child. Richard noted that he once had a sock monkey. He seems to be based upon Jeepers from the 1991 film.


The Little Engine That Could holds a 5.5 rating on IMDB, and 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating a generally positive response.[1][2]

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