Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway Movie Poster Image
Highly marketed train characters make new friends.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 62 minutes

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 5 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Briefly, and in simple terms, describes the early history of railroads and the transition from horse-drawn to steam engines.

Positive Messages

Stresses the importance of teamwork, helpfulness, and keeping confidences. A character states, "Asking is a good way to learn new things."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Thomas and his friends are hardworking, loyal, honest, brave, and sometimes competitive. Thomas learns an important lesson about not betraying a trust. The trains speak in a variety of dialects, indicating that they are multicultural. Female trains are included, but, in this story, none has a major role.

Violence & Scariness

Mild suspense when Thomas and Percy careen down a hillside and when Stephen (an antique train introduced in this episode) is trapped in a mine tunnel. A daring rescue causes a rockslide, but there are no injuries.

Sexy Stuff

Thomas & Friends is part of a large merchandising franchise, which includes books, toys, clothing, and other kid-targeted products.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that all the familiar trains are back in a new preschooler-appropriate adventure. Thomas & Friends: King of the Railway is intended for very young viewers and delivers a simple story and easy-to-understand messages about teamwork and keeping one's word. There are a few mildly scary scenes (runaway trains on a steep hill, an engine trapped in a mine), but the movie is mainly lighthearted (no villains here) and, as always, upbeat and positive in tone and resolution as well as the music that comes along with the ride. Thomas & Friends is part of a vast franchise of books, videos, toys, clothing, and children's accessories, so expect an interest in those, too.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLadyTheMagicEngine May 8, 2014

Don't believe the ACTUAL review.

This movie does NOT have as much Consumerism as they rate it. The series has merchandise that kids love, but there is absolutely NO product placement in the mov... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byWhatanexitright... May 14, 2021


A great king’s tale tied to early railway eras is taken to a Thomas level
Teen, 14 years old Written byNonsensical_Reviews January 10, 2021

Fantastic Thomas feature has some peril.

King Of The Railway is a 2013 TTTE special/movie directed by Rob Silvestri and starring Mark Moraghan, Ben Small, Bob Golding, Keith Wickham, Teresa Gallagher,... Continue reading

What's the story?

There's lots of excitement on the Isle of Sodor. Sir Robert, Earl of Sodor, is returning to the island's Ulfstead Castle, the home of his ancestors, one of whom was a dearly beloved king. The castle is in disrepair, and Sir Robert wants to return it to its former glory. He confides to Thomas and some of his friends that many surprises are coming their way. His only regret is that the old king's golden crown has been missing for many years. Sir Topham Hatt and his regular team of trains, along with Stephen (an old wooden engine Sir Robert has brought with him) and some new streamliners, all take part in the project. Things take a briefly scary turn, however, when Thomas, in his eagerness to cheer up a new friend, breaks his word.

Is it any good?

Kids who love Thomas will not be disappointed. Simple concepts and language ensure that this episode is accessible even for the very youngest viewers. Positive messages about behavior have an organic role in the story, and kids will relate to the values that Thomas and his friends represent.

Occasionally, scenes jump from one to another more often than seems necessary, and there are a few story elements that appear and then disappear, never to be resolved (for example, Hero's return from the mainland, and a burst safety valve). Still, generally, the movie is a pleasant addition to the Thomas video series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can discuss the importance of teamwork in accomplishing goals. What projects in your home require teamwork? Does Thomas, working with his friends, set a good example?

  • Thomas gets Stephen into trouble when he shares Sir Robert's surprise with him. Why is it important for Thomas to admit his mistake and apologize? What does Thomas learn about keeping his word?

  • The trains learn that Stephen, though very old, is a wonderful addition to their family. How is this antique train different from the others? What makes him special?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love preschool fun

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate