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Winds of Change
WindsofChangeTitleCard
Title Card
Season 1 STMY, Episode 0
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Air date Saturday 11th January, 2014
Written by WildNorWester
Directed by WildNorWester
Episode guide
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Winds of Change is the first special of Sodor: The Modern Years, and the second special overall (after Bad Apple). It is set in 2009.

Plot

One evening in the Spring of 2009, Thomas, Toby and Percy are at the sheds, talking about Annie, Clarabel and Henrietta getting WiFi installed, when Sir Stephen Topham Hatt, The Fat Controller arrives. He explains that it is his daughter's, Emily Helen Hatt, idea and he also explains to them that he is retiring due to health issues. Until he has nominated a successor, Norman Spencer is put in charge as acting controller, until a new permanent one is appointed by the board of directors.

The next day, Gordon is waiting to leave with the express, and discusses The Fat Controller's retirement with Oliver. Just then, a Class 67 named Shane arrives and begins to criticise the engines. Shane explains that Norman Spencer called him in to give him a trial, as he has plans to modernise the railway. Gordon challenges Shane to a time trial, and, once he departs, begins picking up speed, determined to win. However, just after East Knapford Station, he spots a stalled lorry across the line. He is unable to stop in time and he derails. Henry arrives and clears the coaches away, and Bear follows with the breakdown train. Emily Hatt steps down from the works unit coach, and Henry mentions that he saw Harold taking some injured passengers away. She climbs into Henry's cab as he is taking the coaches back to East Knapford, so she can deal with the passengers.

Bear takes Gordon to the works to be repaired, however Geoff mentions that he has no orders to repair Gordon as of yet. Because of this, Shane's presence is required, to do Gordon's jobs while he is at the works. Later that evening, Bear spots Gordon still waiting outside the works, much to his surprise. He has a nasty suspicion as to why, and explains to Emily Hatt about the situation at Knapford. At the sheds, Shane mentions about his and Gordon's timed runs, and the other engines are unimpressed. Shane can see that all of the engines in the shed are classes that have been withdrawn years before, and he wonders how the railway is still running on outdated engines. Diesel tells Shane that he used to think likewise, but came to his senses and learned to work alongside the others.

The next day, Norman Spencer tells Thomas that he and Diesel are going to swap jobs for a few days, and Emily Hatt asks why he hasn't authorised payments for Gordon's repairs. He tells her that he has been in contact with the National Railway Museum, as he wants to modernise the railway and send the other engines to museums and heritage railways. Emily tells Norman that he is going to be getting rid of something really special, and she resigns, as she wants no part of Norman's modernisation plans. Duck and Thomas agree that Sir Stephen Hatt should be told about the events, and the former mentions that he will convey a message to him at Kellsthorpe Road.

Later that day, Shane is taking the express, and stops at a red signal at Wellsworth due to a signal failure. Every signal on the railway failed safe, and trains all over the railway are being stopped. At Knapford, James and Edward are waiting with their trains, and Edward recalls methods of running trains without signals, and James mentions 'the blackout approach'. Edward and Emily agree that it would be the best method. At Kellsthorpe Road, Eric is worried about the fate of the railway, and Sir Stephen Hatt arrives. Duck tells him about the recent events, and Sir Stephen takes the information on board. The stationmaster arrives, and explains the plan. Sir Stephen is impressed at Emily's method. At Wellsworth, Shane is reluctant to pass the signal, and BoCo and Donald explain why it is necessary.

Shane reaches Barrow-in-Furness, where Henry and Sheffield reinforce what BoCo and Donald told him at Wellsworth. Shane is impressed at the stories he's hearing, and apolgises to Henry. He explains that he thought odler engines were withdrawn because they were bad at handling trains, when Sheffield corrects him by stating diesels are cheaper than steam engines, which is the sole reason why they were withdrawn and replaced.

Shane realises his mistake, and over the next few days Shane is willing to listen and work with the other engines. However, Norman Spencer notices that the yard at Knapford is running least efficiently, and Thomas explains that Diesel has the most efficient way of running it, and he is best on his branch line. He also tells Norman that most of the engines on the railway are the last of their kind, including himself. Thomas also mentions that the railway stands out, because of its predominant use of steam engines. Norman retorts by saying that Thomas is here to do his job, regardless of railfans and enthusiasts, and he leaves.

That evening, Sheffield and Emily Hatt discuss Shane and his change of heart, and how he could convince Norman Spencer that the railway does not require modernising. The next day at the sheds, Emily is saying her goodbyes and explains how she will be looking at heritage railways for each of the engines. Norman arrives and asks Shane about his opinions on modernising the railway, when Sir Stephen Hatt arrives on Alice to hear Shane's views for himself. Shane tells Norman that modernising isn't required, which takes Norman aback. Sir Stephen tells Norman that he is unimpressed with his running of the railway, and he decides to nominate his daughter to be the new Fat Controller. Norman resigns, and explains he doesn't understand the engines like Emily does, and he thinks there is no place for him on the railway.

Shane leaves the sheds, and James follows to take his next train, eager to tell the others about Emily Hatt. That afternoon, james is waiting at Knapford when she leaves the station building. James asks her about the success of the meeting, and Emily tells him that she is now the new Fat Controller, and Thomas and James congratulate her. Thomas leaves with Annie and Clarabel, and he is relieved to know the railway is in safe hands once again.

Characters

Trivia

  • This episode marks the first appearances of Ivo Hugh, Shane and Peter, although Peter appeared in the book Locomotives and Legends.
  • The voice actors who play Sir Stephen Topham Hatt and Emily Helen Hatt are, coincidentally, father and daughter.
  • Originally, this special was to be an expanded version of the Darkest Hour/Desperate Times plot.
  • Railway Series references include; Edward's Exploit, Henry Sees Red and Percy's Promise.
  • This is the first time there is a different voice actor for a stationmaster.
  • This is Donald9andDouglas10's final voice acting appearance.
  • This is the last time Sodor Island 3D's TV Series models are used for the main cast.
  • This special marks the first appearance of Diesel's RWS model.
  • This special features an opening sequence that is not used anywhere else. This is due to the model changes for Season 1 STMY.
  • Generations113, David Moyle, MrCSisley, and AFB make their first appearances as part of the voice cast.
  • This is the last time WildNorWester voices Donald and Thomas1Edward2Henry3 voices BoCo.

Goofs

  • According to WildNorWester, some of TheScotsmanReturns' Henry lines had audio problems.
  • When Shane leaves the sheds to return home the narrator says "Shane departed leaving two relieved steam engines", although there are actually three, Peter, James and Alice. Peter was originally meant to depart when the other characters were talking, but this was dropped during the editing process.
  • During one shot at Barrow Sheds, a British Rail DMU can be seen in the background. The special, though, takes place in 2009, twelve years after BR went defunct following privatization.

Voice Actors

Gallery

Special