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Thomas and the magic railroad poster

July 9, 2000 (Odeon Leicester Square)
July 14, 2000 (United Kingdom)
July 26, 2000 (United States and Canada)
October 26, 2000 (Germany)
December 14, 2000 (Australia)
April 7, 2001 (New Zealand)
May 19, 2001 (Japan)

Thomas and the Magic Railroad is a 2000 British/American/Canadian live-action/animated fantasy comedy hybird film written, produced and directed by Britt Allcroft. The film stars Alec Baldwin as Mr. Conductor, Peter Fonda, Mara Wilson, Didi Conn, Russell Means, Cody McMains, Michael E. Rodgers, and Eddie Glen as the voice of Thomas. The film is based on the British children's book series The Railway Series by The Rev. W. Awdry, its televised adaptation Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, and the American television series Shining Time Station by Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow.

The film was co-produced by Gullane Pictures and the Isle of Man Film Commission. It was distributed by Destination Films in the United States, Icon Film Distribution in the United Kingdom, Alliance Atlantis in Canada, and ABC Films in Australia. The film tells the story of Lily Stone, the granddaughter of the caretaker of an enchanted steam engine who is lacking an appropriate supply of coal, and Mr. Conductor of Shining Time Station, whose provisions of magical gold dust are at a critical low. To ameliorate these problems, Lily and Mr. Conductor enlist the help of Thomas, who confronts the ruthless and devious Diesel 10 who plans to get rid of the railway's steam engines along the way.

Plans for an original Thomas & Friends film started with Paramount Pictures, but did not pull through. Shortly afterward, Destination Films began funding for the film and started production in 1998. Filming took place at the Strasburg Railroad, Toronto, Canada, and the Isle of Man. It held its world premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in the United Kingdom on July 9, 2000, and was released on July 14, 2000 in the UK, and July 26, 2000 in the United States and Canada, It was released in Germany and Australia in late 2000 and finally in New Zealand on April 7, 2001, and Japan on May 19, 2001. The film was reviewed negatively by critics, mainly from the US upon release, with criticism directed towards the acting, plot, special effects, and lack of fidelity towards the source material. It grossed $19.7 million worldwide against a production budget of $19 million.

Due to the film's performance, Allcroft was forced to resign from her company in September 2000. HiT Entertainment acquired the company two years later, including the television rights to Thomas.

Storyline

Mr. Conductor is called to help out on the Island of Sodor, while Sir Topham Hatt is on holiday. His supply of magic gold dust, which allows him to travel between Shining Time and Thomas's island where talking trains and vehicles can talk, is critically low. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how to get more but finds a clue. Meanwhile, the evil, devious Diesel 10 along with his bumbling followers, arrive on Sodor with unfinished business, to find and destroy a lost railway and the lost steam engine that helps keep the two worlds together peacefully and destroy all the steam engines on Sodor. It's up to brave little Thomas The Tank Engine, to team up with Mr. Conductor, Burnett Stone, Lily, James The Red Engine, and their friends to solve these mysteries and save the magical universe before Diesel 10 finds the lost engine first.

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