Shining Time Station
The Shining Time Station title screen with UP 844
Created byBritt Allcroft
Rick Siggelkow
Based onThe Railway Series
by The Rev. Wilbert Awdry
Directed by
  • Matthew Diamond
  • Gregory Lehane
  • Stan Swan
  • Wayne Moss
  • John Ferraro
  • Steve Wright
  • Frank Vitale
Theme music composerJoe Raposo
Opening theme"Shining Time Station Theme" sung by Kevin Roth
  • Joe Raposo
  • Paul Derrick Mason (season 1)
  • Stephen Horelick
  • Stacey Hersh (seasons 2–3 and specials)
Country of originUnited States
Canada (seasons 2 & 3)
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes65 + 5 1 hour specials
Executive producers
  • Britt Allcroft (1989–1990)
  • Rick Siggelkow (1989–1990)
  • Nancy Chapelle (1991–1995)
  • Jim Corston (1995)
Running time28 minutes
60 minutes (1990 & 1995 specials)
Production companiesQuality Family Entertainment
Catalyst Entertainment (seasons 2 & 3)
YTV Canada (seasons 2 & 3)
Original release
NetworkPBS (USA)
YTV (Canada; seasons 2 & 3)
ReleaseJanuary 29, 1989 (1989-01-29) –
June 11, 1993 (regular series)
28 February 1995 (1995-02-28)
20 November 1995 (1995-11-20) (1995 specials)
Thomas & Friends

Shining Time Station is a children's television series jointly created by British television producer Britt Allcroft and American television producer Rick Siggelkow. The series was produced by Quality Family Entertainment (the American branch of The Britt Allcroft Company), in association with Catalyst Entertainment in seasons 2 and 3, for New York City's PBS station WNET, and was originally taped in New York City during its first season and in Toronto during the rest of its run. It incorporated sequences from the British television show Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, which was in turn based on the books of The Railway Series written by the Reverend Wilbert Awdry. The series aired on PBS from January 29, 1989, until June 11, 1993, with four hour-long "Family Specials" premiering in primetime throughout 1995. Reruns continued to air on PBS until June 11, 1998.[1][2] Shining Time Station reruns aired on Fox Family from 1998 to 1999, and on Nick Jr. from June to August 2000 to promote the theatrical release of Thomas and the Magic Railroad. The series also aired on Canadian television networks such as APTN and SCN. Elements from the show were incorporated into the 2000 film Thomas and the Magic Railroad.

The initial 1989 season featured a cast that included Ringo Starr as Mr. Conductor, Didi Conn as Stacy Jones, Brian O'Connor as Horace Schemer, Leonard Jackson as Harry Cupper, Jason Woliner as Matt Jones and Nicole Leach as Tanya Cupper. The show was retooled for the second (1991) and third (1993) seasons, with only Conn and O'Connor reprising their prior roles. George Carlin replaced Starr as Mr. Conductor, while Erica Luttrell, Ari Magder, Danielle Marcot, and Tom Jackson joined the primary cast in newly created roles. In addition to the three main seasons, a Christmas special featuring the original cast, aired in 1990, and four "family specials" aired in 1995 featuring the second cast. Providing the musical numbers for the show was "The Jukebox Band", a group of puppets. In 1996, only Carlin appeared in a spin-off series called Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales, which featured only six episodes with five Thomas stories and one music video each. The station interior was kept for the spin-off.


After the success of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends in the United Kingdom, Britt Allcroft and her production company teamed up with PBS station WNET in New York City to produce and distribute the sitcom-esque Shining Time Station, every episode of which would include a couple of episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends. The series starred Ringo Starr, George Carlin, Didi Conn, Brian O'Connor, and the Flexitoon Puppets.[3] Ringo Starr, who had already been providing the narration for the British series, agreed to extend the role to include the on-screen character called Mr. Conductor in Shining Time Station. He left the show after its initial season to focus on his musical career and was replaced by George Carlin.

Shining Time Station received critical acclaim. In a review for Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker states that, compared to the faster paced Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, "'Shining Time Station' wants to slow things down. It's an old-fashioned show that creates a gentle, lulling atmosphere to convince children that life is fun and that trains are the way to travel."[4] It was a ratings success as well. In its first season, the show averaged a 0.9 Nielsen rating, translating to about 1.2 million viewers on average. At the peak of its popularity, the show brought in up to 7.5 million viewers per week.[5]


The Shining Time Station is a fictional train station on the Indian Valley Railroad in an unknown part of the United States. It is managed by Stacy Jones. Its workshop is run in the first season by Harry Cupper, and thereafter by Billy Twofeathers. A local named Horace Schemer, simply referred to as Schemer, runs the station's arcade and serves as the series' comic relief. He often comes up with tricks and schemes (hence his surname) to get his ways, although they usually backfire on him as a result of his foolishness. The narrative is driven by regular and incidental visitors to the station.

Mr. Conductor is a tiny man who lives in a signal house inside the station's mural and tells the stories taken from Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends to the kids. He also introduces songs to the kids in The Anything Tunnel. Sometimes, he may present a magic bubble to the kids that has the song inside as a way of introducing it. On occasion, the kids may look through a film viewer to see the song or film.



Christmas Special cast (1990)


Special Guests

The Jukebox Band

The songs were arranged and performed by Steve Horelick with Larry Wolf. They featured vocal performances by Rory Dodd, Vaneese Thomas, Emily Bindinger and Jonathan Freeman.


The intro to each episode consists of the main theme song of the show, played to footage of the Union Pacific Steam Locomotive 844 and the credits of the series' characters. Only the first verse is sung for the beginning theme. The closing credits contain more shots of the Union Pacific 844, in addition to the full Shining Time Station theme song. For the Christmas special "'Tis A Gift" the footage used for the opening and closing sequences were filmed at the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Arizona and features their locomotive #18.


Season 1 (1989)

Mr. Conductor: Ringo Starr[6]

No. Title Directed by Written by Thomas stories The Jukebox Band's Songs Music Video Air Date
1 "A Place Unlike Any Other" Matthew Diamond Brian McConnachie Thomas Gets Tricked Edward Helps Out "I've Been Working on the Railroad" "Start Where You Are" January 29, 1989
2 "Does it Bite?" Matthew Diamond Brian McConnachie Come Out, Henry! Henry to the Rescue "Camptown Races" "Don't Be Afraid" February 5, 1989
3 "And the Band Played Off" Matthew Diamond Brian McConnachie A Big Day for Thomas Trouble for Thomas "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" "Learn from Your Mistakes" February 12, 1989
4 "Pitching In and Helping Out" Matthew Diamond Ellis Weiner Thomas Saves the Day James Learns a Lesson "Railroad Corral"   February 19, 1989
5 "Show and Yell" Matthew Diamond Brian McConnachie Foolish Freight Cars A Proud Day for James "Freight Train" "Bounce Back" February 26, 1989
6 "Faith, Hope and Anxiety" Matthew Diamond Brian McConnachie Thomas and the Conductor Thomas Goes Fishing "Wabash Cannonball" "The Kite Song" March 5, 1989
7 "Agree to Disagree" Matthew Diamond Ellis Weiner Terence the Tractor Thomas and Bertie's Great Race "Abilene" "We Do Things Differently" March 12, 1989
8 "Whistle While You Work" Matthew Diamond Ellis Weiner Tenders and Turntables Trouble in the Shed "Pop Goes the Weasel" "Let's All Work Together" March 19, 1989
9 "Two Old Hands" Matthew Diamond Ellis Weiner Percy Runs Away Thomas Comes to Breakfast "A Railroader for Me" "Baking a Cake" March 26, 1989
10 "Happy Accidents" Matthew Diamond Alan Kingsberg Henry's Special Coal The Flying Kipper "Wreck of the Old 97" April 2, 1989
11 "Ring in the Old" Matthew Diamond Alan Kingsberg Toby the Tram Engine Thomas Breaks the Rules "Train Is a Comin'" "Old But Wise" April 9, 1989
12 "Impractical Jokes" Matthew Diamond Ellis Weiner A Cow on the Line Old Iron "Poor Paddy Works on the Railway" April 16, 1989
13 "Finders Keepers" Gregory Lehane Brian McConnachie Double Trouble James in a Mess "The Desperado" Tubby the Tuba (excerpt) April 23, 1989
14 "Just Wild About Harry's Workshop" Gregory Lehane Ellis Weiner Duck Takes Charge Percy Proves a Point "Union Train" "What Goes Around Comes Around" April 30, 1989
15 "Promises, Promises" Gregory Lehane Ellis Weiner Better Late Than Never Pop Goes the Diesel "Oh! Susanna"   May 7, 1989
16 "Word's Out" Gregory Lehane Brian McConnachie Diesel's Devious Deed A Close Shave for Duck "Jesse James" "Be Good to Yourself" May 14, 1989
17 "Too Many Cooks" Gregory Lehane Ellis Weiner Gordon Takes a Dip Down the Mine "The Ballad of Casey Jones"   May 21, 1989
18 "Mapping it Out" Gregory Lehane Ellis Weiner The Runaway Percy Takes the Plunge "Red River Valley" "Follow Directions" May 28, 1989
19 "Things That Go Ga-Hooga in the Night" Gregory Lehane Brian McConnachie Percy's Ghostly Trick Woolly Bear "Oh My Darling, Clementine"   June 4, 1989
20 "Is This the End?" Gregory Lehane Brian McConnachie Saved from Scrap A New Friend for Thomas "Little Black Train"   June 11, 1989

Christmas Special (1990)

Mr. Conductor: Ringo Starr

Title Directed by Written by Thomas stories The Jukebox Band's Songs Music Video Air Date
"'Tis a Gift" Gregory Lehane Brian McConnachie TV: Terence the Tractor
VHS: Thomas' Christmas Party
TV: Thomas' Christmas Party
VHS: Thomas and the Missing Christmas Tree
"Over the River and Through the Wood"
"Jingle Bells"
"It's Christmas time at the Railway Station"
"Simple Gifts"
"The Hobo Song" November 25, 1990

Season 2 (1991)

Mr. Conductor: George Carlin[7]

No. Title Directed by Written by Thomas stories The Jukebox Band's Songs Music Video Air Date
1 "Scare Dares" Stan Swan Ellis Weiner Percy's Ghostly Trick Thomas, Percy and the Dragon "Midnight Special" "What Am I Afraid Of?" November 18, 1991
2 "Oh, What a Tangled Web" Stan Swan Sean Kelly Diesel's Devious Deed No Joke for James "Mama Don't Allow"   November 19, 1991
3 "The Magic is Believing" Stan Swan Brian McConnachie Old Iron Edward's Exploit "Nine Hundred Miles"   November 20, 1991
4 "Win, Lose or Draw" Stan Swan Jill Golick Double Trouble Gordon and the Famous Visitor "Arkansas Traveler"   November 21, 1991
5 "Sweet and Sour" Gregory Lehane Wilson Coneybeare Donald and Douglas The Deputation "Erie Canal"   November 22, 1991
6 "Achoo" Stan Swan Brian McConnachie Trust Thomas Whistles and Sneezes "Cosher Bailey's Engine" "Caring" November 25, 1991
7 "A Dog's Life" Gregory Lehane Wilson Coneybeare James in a Mess The Trouble with Mud "Home on the Range"   November 26, 1991
8 "Field Day" Gregory Lehane Sean Kelly Percy Proves a Point Thomas and Bertie's Great Race "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" "Everyone's a Winner" November 27, 1991
9 "Wrong Track" Gregory Lehane Wilson Coneybeare Thomas Saves the Day Down the Mine "Sweet Betsy from Pike"   November 28, 1991
10 "Washout" Gregory Lehane Jill Golick Bertie's Chase Percy's Promise "Cumberland Gap"   November 29, 1991
11 "Crackpot" Stan Swan Jill Golick Woolly Bear Henry's Forest "John Henry"   December 16, 1991
12 "Yabba, Yabba, Yabba" Stan Swan Ellis Weiner Pop Goes the Diesel Diesel Does it Again "Old Dan Tucker"   December 17, 1991
13 "Nickel in a Pickle" Gregory Lehane Wilson Coneybeare Thomas Comes to Breakfast Thomas Gets Bumped "My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean"   December 18, 1991
14 "Stop the Press" Stan Swan Sean Kelly Percy and the Signal A Big Day for Thomas "Tennessee Central (Number 9)"   December 19, 1991
15 "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not" Gregory Lehane Sean Kelly Thomas, Percy and the Mail Train "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair" "Would He Ever" December 20, 1991
16 "Double Trouble" Gregory Lehane Don Arioli The Diseasel Donald's Duck "This Train"   December 23, 1991
17 "Is Anybody There?" Gregory Lehane Peter Wildman Thomas Goes Fishing A Scarf for Percy "Chattanooga Choo Choo"   December 24, 1991
18 "Do I Hear" Gregory Lehane Wilson Coneybeare Mavis Toby's Tightrope "The Riddle Song" "Better When He Grows Up" December 25, 1991
19 "Jingle, Jingle, Jingle" Stan Swan Brian McConnachie Time for Trouble Trouble for Thomas "City of New Orleans"   December 26, 1991
20 "All's Fair" Stan Swan Ellis Weiner Edward, Trevor and the Really Useful Party "The Railroad Cars Are Coming" "Home" December 27, 1991

Season 3 (1993)

Mr. Conductor: George Carlin[8]

No. Title Directed by Written by Thomas stories The Jukebox Band's Songs Music Video Air Date
1 "Becky Makes a Wish" Wayne Moss Sean Kelly All at Sea "Cielito Lindo" "Help Your Wish Along" March 22, 1993
2 "Schemer's Alone" John Ferraro Wilson Coneybeare Percy, James and the Fruitful Day "Polly Wolly Doodle" "I Can Do It" March 23, 1993
3 "Bully for Mr. Conductor" Wayne Moss Brian McConnachie Bulgy "Jamaica Farewell" "Bad Guy" March 24, 1993
4 "Stacy Cleans Up" Wayne Moss Brian McConnachie James Goes Buzz Buzz "Five Hundred Miles" "If Everyone Did a Little" March 25, 1993
5 "Schemer's Robot" John Ferraro Wilson Coneybeare Tenders and Turntables Trouble in the Shed "While Strolling Thru the Park One Day"   April 19, 1993
6 "Billy Saves the Day" Wayne Moss Jill Golick A New Friend for Thomas "Get On Board, Little Children"   April 20, 1993
7 "Billy's Party" Wayne Moss Brian McConnachie Thomas and Percy's Mountain Adventure "We Gather Together" (medley of "We Gather Together" and Come, Ye Thankful People, Come") "Thanksgiving" April 21, 1993
8 "Fortune Teller Schemer" Wayne Moss Ellis Weiner Thomas and the Conductor A Cow on the Line "Turkey in the Straw"   April 22, 1993
9 "Billy's Runaway Train" John Ferraro Sean Kelly A Close Shave for Duck "Freight Train Blues"   May 3, 1993
10 "Schemer Goes Camping" John Ferraro Wilson Coneybeare Percy Takes the Plunge "Crawdad" "Team" May 4, 1993
11 "Mr. Conductor's Evil Twin" John Ferraro Don Arioli Heroes "Danny Boy"   May 5, 1993
12 "Bad Luck Day at Shining Time Station" John Ferraro Wilson Coneybeare Gordon Takes a Dip "Engine One-Forty-Three"   May 6, 1993
13 "Mr. Conductor's Fourth of July" John Ferraro Sean Kelly Escape "New River Train"
"Patriotic Medley" ("Yankee Doodle", "Dixie",
"The Yankee Doodle Boy", "America the Beautiful")
  May 17, 1993
14 "Stacy Forgets Her Name" Wayne Moss Sean Kelly Thomas Gets Tricked "Lullaby Medley" ("All Through the Night",
"All the Pretty Little Horses", "Golden Slumbers")
  May 18, 1993
15 "Schemer's Special Club" Wayne Moss Ellis Weiner   Oliver Owns Up "Old Joe Clark"   May 19, 1993
16 "Mr. Conductor's Movie" Wayne Moss Marie Therese Squerciati Tender Engines "There's No Business Like Show Business"   May 20, 1993
17 "The Joke's on Schemer" Wayne Moss Ellis Weiner Wrong Road "This Old Man" "Laugh and a Half" May 31, 1993
18 "Dance Crazy" John Ferraro Jill Golick Percy Runs Away "Orange Blossom Special" "Dancin' Maitre D'" June 1, 1993
19 "Mysterious Stranger" Wayne Moss Marie Therese Squerciati Come Out, Henry! Henry to the Rescue "Waltzing Matilda" "Everyone's Afraid of Something" June 2, 1993
20 "Dan's Big Race" John Ferraro Wilson Coneybeare Henry's Special Coal The Flying Kipper "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" "Start All Over Again" June 3, 1993
21 "Mr. Conductor Gets Left Out" Wayne Moss Brian McConnachie One Good Turn "New River Train"   June 7, 1993
22 "Mr. Conductor's Big Sleepwalk" John Ferraro Don Arioli Better Late Than Never "Beautiful Dreamer" "Dreamland" June 8, 1993
23 "The Mayor Runs for Re-Election" Wayne Moss Ellis Weiner James Learns a Lesson Foolish Freight Cars "Hurray for the Railway"   June 9, 1993
24 "Stacy Says No" John Ferraro Jill Golick Duck Takes Charge "Cannonball Blues"   June 10, 1993
25 "How the Station Got Its Name" John Ferraro Jill Golick Toby the Tram Engine Thomas Breaks the Rules "Cowboy Medley"
("Roll On, Little Dogies", "My Home's in Montana")
  June 11, 1993

Family Specials (1995)

Mr. Conductor: George Carlin[9]

No. Title Directed by Outdoor scenes directed by Written by Thomas stories The Jukebox Band's Songs Air Date
1 "Once Upon a Time" Wayne Moss Frank Vitale Sean Kelly Rusty to the Rescue Thomas and Stepney "Lonestar Trail Melody"
"Buffalo Gals Melody"
"What's New Pussycat?"
February 28, 1995
2 "Second Chances" Wayne Moss Frank Vitale Brian McConnachie Granpuff Sleeping Beauty "Down in the Valley"
"Skip to My Lou"
"Freight Train"
"Take Me Out to the Ball Game"
September 25, 1995
3 "One of the Family" Wayne Moss Frank Vitale Brian McConnachie Toad Stands By Thomas and the Special Letter "If My Friends Could See Me Now"
"Long, Long Ago"
"This Land Is Your Land"
October 23, 1995
4 "Queen for a Day" Wayne Moss Frank Vitale Sean Kelly Thomas Meets the Queen Special Attraction "The Lovely Ohio"
"Scarborough Fair"
"Mrs. Murphy's Chowder"
November 20, 1995

Mr. Conductor's Thomas Tales (1996)

Mr. Conductor: George Carlin[10]

No. Title Directed by Written by Stories Song Air Date
1 "Missing Whistles" Steve Wright Sean Kelly Bulls Eyes Train Stops Play Percy's Ghostly Trick Thomas, Percy and the Dragon Special Funnel Really Useful Engine October 7, 1996
2 "Wildlife" Steve Wright Sean Kelly Four Little Engines Trouble for Thomas Toad Stands By Thomas Saves the Day Rusty Helps Peter Sam Toby October 14, 1996
3 "Wish You Were Here" Steve Wright Sean Kelly Thomas, Percy and the Mail Train Mind That Bike Rock 'n' Roll Home at Last Thomas and the Special Letter Island Song October 21, 1996
4 "For the Birds" Steve Wright Sean Kelly A Bad Day for Sir Handel Steam Roller Old Iron Double Trouble Bowled Out Don't Judge a Book by its Cover October 28, 1996
5 "Splish, Splash, Splosh" Steve Wright Sean Kelly Passengers and Polish Gallant Old Engine Bertie's Chase Peter Sam and the Refreshment Lady You Can't Win Gone Fishing November 4, 1996
6 "Paint the Town Red" Steve Wright Sean Kelly Come Out, Henry! Fish Whistles and Sneezes Henry and the Elephant Bulldog Let’s have a Race November 11, 1996



The beginning of each VHS release (except for 'Tis a Gift, Shining Time Station Singsongs, Schemer Presents: The World According to Me, The Jukebox Band: A Day in the Life, and The Jukebox Band: Lullaby) featured a model scale of a typical 1950s drive-in movie theater called the "Shining Time Drive-In Movie Theater" with parody commercials before the episode started. Then, after the episode of Shining Time Station was shown, a short segment known as "Schemer Presents!" was shown. Each segment featured Schemer teaching the viewers how to do something, with one of the other regular characters helping him. Afterwards, the announcer wishes everyone a safe drive home. The Drive-In segments were created by Chip Lord & Mickey McGowan.



  1. ^ "Thomas The Tank Engine Near End Of The Line With PBS". December 19, 1997. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  2. ^ "STS Season Guide".
  3. ^ Whitlock, Natalie Walker; Michael Mallory (November 6, 2006). "How Thomas the Tank Engine Works". HowStuffWorks, Inc. Retrieved June 25, 2008.
  4. ^ Tucker, Ken (January 10, 1992). "Two Tickets to Ride". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 25, 2008.
  5. ^ "STS Season Guide".
  6. ^ "Season 1 Episode Guide".
  7. ^ "Season 2 Episode Guide".
  8. ^ "Season 3 Episode Guide".
  9. ^ "Family Specials Episode Guide".
  10. ^ "Mr. C's Thomas Tales Episode Guide".

See also