A musical in 2 acts: Based on an idea by Andrew Lloyd Webber; lyrics by Richard Stilgoe; music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Apollo Victoria Theatre, London - 19 March, 1984
Gershwin Theatre, New York - 15 March, 1987 (761 perfs)
When the children are asleep, their toys play, especially the engines and carriages of the train set. They race across the set in a series of contests. There's the macho Pacific Daylight (better known as Greaseball), the fastest diesel, in contrast to Rusty, the little steam engine who merely works in the sidings. From France there's Bobo (Sudest), Italy offers Espresso (Settobello), and then there are the APT and entries from Russia, Japan and, at the last minute, the electrically powered super engine, Electra (AC/DC). They vie for superiority along with the best cars, trucks and cabooses. Rusty pulls the three boxcars, Rocky I, II and III. No chance for Rusty, it seems, with the smoking car, Ashley, Buffy the restaurant car, or the brand-new Pearl. Just to make his job more difficult, there's a two-timing guard's van called CB, who does all he can to sabotage Rusty and leave the way clear for Electra and Greaseball.
One by one the bigger, more powerful, locos come to grief. Rusty's Poppa wins an eliminator, but Rusty, with the help of the Starlight Express (his guiding star in the sky), must take over. He defeats Electra, and finally Pearl realises that Rusty is her engine. Greaseball may have a future - converted to steam and with Dinah in tow! There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and old-fashioned steam has beaten the new technologies.
Joule/2nd Class Sleeper
Volta/3rd Class Sleeper
City of Milton Keynes