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Hero of the Rails

Maxresdefault Daisy

The first feature of the overhauled series was Hero of the Rails, released in autumn 2009. Trailers, DVD covers and a music video called Go, Go Thomas all from this feature-length special were shown on YouTube prior to its official release. Book merchandise tying into the special have also appeared on online retailers. It introduced three new characters and a new location - the Sodor Steamworks.

Characters Introduced:

  • Hiro, an old Japanese engine, whom Thomas helped restore.
  • Kevin, a yellow four-wheeled mobile crane who belongs to the Sodor Steamworks.
  • Victor, a red tank engine who is in charge of the Sodor Steamworks.

Highlights:

  • The first production using entirely CGI animation.

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Thirteenth season

The thirteenth season was the first season to feature computer-animation exclusively. Two images were originally found - two recreations of scenes from the eleventh season episode Thomas and the Stinky Cheese.

Characters Introduced:

  • Charlie, a purple tank engine.

Misty Island Rescue

Misty Island Rescue is a special that was released on September 7th, 2010 in the US and October 11th in the UK.

Characters introduced:

  • Bash and Dash, mischievous grey and yellow tank engine twins.
  • Ferdinand, a teal class C Climax.
  • Captain, a brave lifeboat.

Highlights:

  • The first appearances of Diesel 10, Harold, Salty, Whiff, Stanley and Butch in a fully CGI environment.

Fourteenth season

The fourteenth season is the second to use CGI exclusively. It began airing on October the 11th, 2010 in the UK and in November in the US.

Characters introduced:

  • Scruff, a dirty boxy Sentinel engine who works at Whiff's Waste Dump.

Highlights:

  • The first appearances of 'Arry, Bert, Mr. Percival, and Jem Cole in a full CGI season.

Fifteenth season

The fifteenth season is the third to use CGI exclusively. It began airing on March 1st, 2011 in the UK and on April 2nd in the US. The twenty episode season was supposed to air after the release of Day of the Diesels, but was brought forward for unknown reasons. Because of this Belle, Flynn, Dart, Den, Paxton and Norman make their first appearances in the series. Although it was their first appearance, they would not officially be introduced until Day of the Diesels. Rupert Degas also joins the voice cast.

Highlights

  • Butch spoke for the first time.
  • The first speaking roles of Bertie and Stanley in the CGI series.
  • The return of Arlesdale End, Castle Loch, the Fishing Village, and Wellsworth.
  • The first appearance of Trevor in a CGI episode.
  • The first appearance of the Sodor Dieselworks.

Arlesdale End

Wellsworth

Castle Loch

The Fishing Village

The Sodor Dieselworks

Trevor


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Day of the Diesels

Day of the Diesels is a special that was released in September 2011 and officially introduced new engines and a new location - the Sodor Dieselworks.

Characters introduced:

  • Sidney, a forgetful and absent minded Class 08 shunter.

Characters officially introduced:

  • Belle, a blue tank engine with a brass bell and water cannons.
  • Flynn, a road-rail fire engine who joins the Search and Rescue Team.
  • Den, a stately Diesel who works at the Sodor Dieselworks.
  • Dart, a clumsy Diesel who works with Den at the Sodor Dieselworks.
  • Norman, Dennis' twin. He often breaks down, but would be a Really Useful Engine if fixed properly.
  • Paxton, a gullible Class 08 shunter who likes steam engines.

Sixteenth season

The sixteenth season first aired in February and March 2012 in the UK and April and June in the US. Steven Kynman joins the voice cast as Peter Sam (albeit uncredited in the UK broadcast) and William Hope is added to the UK voice cast for the first time. This was the last season animated by Nitrogen Studios.


Highlights

  • The first appearance of Skarloey, Rheneas, Sir Handel, Peter Sam, and Rusty in a full CGI episode.
  • The return of Skarloey Railway Depot, the lighthouse, the Sodor Suspension Bridge.
  • The trucks appear with faces for the first time since the thirteenth season.

Characters introduced:

  • Stafford, a wooden battery-electric shunting engine.
  • Winston, a red track inspection vehicle belonging to Sir Topham Hatt.

Owen and Merrick both cameoed in The Christmas Tree Express.

Blue Mountain Mystery

Blue Mountain Mystery is a special that was released in 2012. The Skarloey Railway engines feature heavily. Michael Legge joins the voice cast as Luke and David Bedella takes over the voice of Victor in the UK dub, taking over from Matt Wilkinson. This was the last special animated by Nitrogen Studios.

Characters introduced:

  • Luke, a green, narrow gauge, Irish tank engine.
  • Merrick, a crane.
  • Owen, an incline traction engine.

Characters officially introduced:

  • Winston, a red track inspection vehicle.

King of the Railway

King of the Railway is a special that was released in September 2013. This special marks the return of Jack. Bob Golding and David Menkin joined the voice cast, although the latter went uncredited. Four of the new characters were first seen in the seventeenth season. This is the first special animated by Arc Productions.

Characters introduced:

  • Stephen, based on Stephenson's Rocket

Characters officially introduced:

  • Caitlin, a pink-purple streamlined tender engine.
  • Millie, a light blue tank engine.
  • Connor, an aquamarine streamlined tender engine.
  • Sir Robert Norramby, an Earl of Sodor.

Seventeen season

The seventeenth season started airing in June 2013. This season is the first to use a new writing style for the series and is also the first animated by Arc Productions. As ten episodes of this season were released ahead of King of the Railway, this season marks the first appearances of Millie, Connor, Caitlin and Sir Robert Norramby and their voice actors Miranda Raison, Jonathan Forbes, Rebecca O'Mara, and Mike Grady respectively. Although this is their first appearance, they would not be officially introduced until King of the Railway. Rupert Degas also left the series.

Highlights

  • Mark Moraghan takes over narration duties from Michael Angelis and Michael Brandon.
  • The first appearence of Duck, Bill and Ben, and Harvey in a full CGI season.
  • Diesel 10 and Sidney also appear in an episode for the first time.
  • The return of Kellsthorpe Road and Dryaw.
  • Jonathan Broadbent also joins the voice cast and Teresa Gallagher takes over the role of Mavis in the US version.

Characters introduced:

  • Porter, a confident dockyard shunter.

Tale of the Brave

Tale of the Brave is a special released in September 2014. It was the second special to feature animation from Arc Productions. Clive Mantle and Olivia Colman joined the voice cast as Gator and Marion respectively.

Characters introduced:

  • Gator, a steam engine with a sloping boiler who resembles an alligator.
  • Timothy, an oil burning engine who works for the China Clay Company.
  • Marion, an eccentric steam shovel.
  • Reg, a scrapyard crane.

Highlights:

  • The Castle Tunnel returns
  • Crocks Scrap Yard returns
  • The China Clay Workings return

Eighteenth season

The eighteenth season began airing in late August 2014 in the UK and was released in November in the US. It was the second season animated by Arc Productions.

Characters introduced:

  • Samson, an overly confident saddle tank engine.
  • Slip Coaches, a set of coaches that used to belong to Duck.

Highlights:

  • Oliver, Toad and Duncan return.
  • Henrietta appears for the first time in the television series with a face.
  • Crovan's Gate, Sodor Castle, Rheneas Viaduct, the Woodland Way, and Glennock return.
  • Maggie Ollerenshaw (as Henrietta), Tim Whitnall (as Reg), Tom Stourton (as Duncan), Joe Mills (as Oliver and Toad) and Robert Wilfort (as Samson) join the voice cast.

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The Adventure Begins

The Adventure Begins is a forty-four minute special that was released in March 2015 in the US and July 2015 in the UK.

Characters introduced:

  • Glynn, one of the Fat Controller's "coffee pot" engines.
  • Jerome and Judy, the breakdown train used to rescue James.

Highlights:

  • The Breakdown Train gains faces and names.
  • Ffarquhar station returns in full CGI.
  • Rob Rackstraw (taking over the role of James in the US), Christopher Ragland (taking over the role of the Troublesome Trucks) , John Hasler and Joseph May (taking over the role of Thomas in the UK and US respectively) join the voice cast. 
  • The first time since the fourth season that Railway Series stories have been adapted for the television series and the first time the North Western Railway has been referred to by name.

Nineteenth season

The nineteenth season began airing in autumn 2015, and was the third season animated by Arc.

Characters introduced:

  • Philip - an energetic little boxcab diesel

Highlights:

  • Nigel Pilkington (taking over the role of Percy) and Rasmus Hardiker (voicing Philip) join the voice cast.
  • Rob Rackstraw takes over the role of Toby in the UK.
  • Lord Callan returns.

Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure

Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure was the 2015 special.

Characters introduced:

  • Skiff, a railboat owned by Sailor John.
  • Ryan, a purple tank engine who arrives to help build a new line.
  • Bert, a blue tender engine working on the miniature railway.
  • Rex, a green tender engine working on the miniature railway.
  • Mike, a red tender engine working on the miniature railway.
  • Sailor John, a sailor obsessed with finding buried treasure.

Highlights:

  • The Arlesdale Railway's first appearance in the television series.
  • Donald, Douglas, Daisy, Alfie, Max, Monty, and Oliver the Excavator returned in full CGI.
  • Jamie Campbell Bower and Nathan Clarke join the voice cast. Eddie Redmayne and Sir John Hurt also appear as guest stars in the film.
  • Robert and Peter Hartshorne step down as composers for the series.

Twentieth season

The twentieth season is expected to air sometime in 2016. It will be the fourth season animated by Arc.

Characters Introduced:

  • Hugo - a propellor engine
  • Bradford - a brakevan

Highlights:

  • Tracy-Ann Oberman joins the voice cast, and assumes the role of Daisy from Teresa Gallagher.

The Great Race

The Great Race is the 2016 special.

Characters introduced:

  • Ashima - a brightly coloured Indian engine.
  • Vinnie - a Canadian tender engine
  • Ivan - a Russian shunter
  • Raul - a Brazilian shunter
  • Frieda - a German tender engine
  • Gina - an Italian tank engine
  • Yong Bao - a Chinese engine
  • Axel - a streamlined Belgian engine
  • Carlos - a Mexican tender engine
  • Shane - an Australian tender engine
  • Étienne - a French electric engine
  • Rajiv - an Indian tank engine
  • The Great Railway Show Diesels - a group of shunters who shunt trains for the contestants

Highlights:

  • Vicarstown Station will appear in the television series for the first time.
  • Flying Scotsman returns in full CGI in his first proper role.
  • Tina Desai, John Schwab and Rufus Jones join the voice cast.
  • Chris Renshaw takes over as composer of the series.
  • The last special to be animated by Arc Productions.

The Twenty-First Season

The Season 21 may air sometime in 2017. It will presumably be the fifth and final season animated by Arc and the first to be animated by Jam Filled Entertainment.

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