The Little Engine Who Raced Ahead is an episode of Jimmy Neutron's Adventures of Thomas & Friends: Start Your Engines.


Philip, a diesel boxcab who was created by Professor M, challenges Gordon to a race to show how fast he is, but later is oblivious to the fact that Gordon didn't actually join in.

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Thomas is in the yard at Knapford Station when he spots something yellow and odd-looking. Percy jokingly suggests it may be a banana and he steams away. He doesn't get very far at all however when he collides with a strange yellow and green engine. The little, energetic diesel boxcab introduces himself as Philip. Professor M arrives, saying that Philip is an experimental diesel boxcab he built in Woking, and brought him to Sodor to help in the goods yard. The new engine tells Thomas and Percy that he has come to the Fat Controller's railway to shunt trucks and he races excitedly away to find his trucks.

Philip, full of energy and keen to make a good impression, sets to work shunting trucks all over the yard. Professor M is quite satisfied. Presently, Philip introduces himself to a big engine who is filling up with water. The big engine is Gordon and he finds Philip somewhat annoying. Philip offers to get Gordon some trucks, which the big engine is not impressed by. Philip says he is only trying to be helpful and Gordon tells him that the most helpful thing he can do is to get on with his work and keep out of his way. Philip doesn't listen and Gordon explains that he pulls the express and is very fast. Philip thinks he is very speedy too and invites Gordon to watch how fast he can pull some trucks to the other side of the yard. Gordon, who is not in the least bit interested, goes away to pull the express. Philip doesn't know and when he comes back to the water column with the trucks, he wonders where Gordon has gone. Thomas arrives and says that Gordon will have gone to take the express. Philip races to Knapford to try and find Gordon and sees the big engine pull out of the station with his carriages. Philip chases after him, rushes through a red signal and has a near-miss with Hiro. Thomas tells Philip that Gordon will be back later.

Philip waits for Gordon, and keeps going into the station to check the time on the big clock, which doesn't please Sir Topham Hatt. As Philip is shunting a train for Oliver, he hears Gordon in the distance and rushes into Knapford Junction to meet him. Suddenly, Philip realises that he’s on the same track as Gordon, and backs hastily to the station again, just managing to keep ahead and to prevent Gordon from running into him, where the Fat Controller scolds him, and says that he has to learn to be safe to work on the railway. Philip is sorry at once, and promises to be more careful in future.

Professor M is not happy when he hears about what Philip has done, but explains how he needs to learn how to be safe, like where engines are in the sidings, and how to handle coaches and trucks when shunting them. With help from Professor M, Philip soon gets the hang of shunting, impressing Jimmy Neutron & his friends, and the other engines, and the Fat Controller. Philip is glad he can be safe - but he’s still keen to show Gordon how fast he can go. Later, Philip finds Gordon resting in a siding and tries to coax him into a race. As Gordon angrily shouts “GO...”, Philip thinks that he’s started the race. But he rushes off before Gordon can add “...AWAY!” . Jimmy and his friends chase Philip to tell him that Gordon isn't joining in but he doesn't hear them.


  • Professor M reveals to be Philip's creator.
  • The episode is later referenced in Jimmy Neutron's Adventures of Thomas & Friends: The Great Race.