Cranky the Crane gives little engines Thomas and Percy a lot of grief in the title story. To make matters worse, big engines Gordon and James side with the ill-tempered lifter and the little guys get nervous and begin making mistakes on the job. They redeem themselves, however, when Cranky topples in a storm and Thomas and his buddy put him back upright. Other stories feature twin engines Bill and Ben having "teething troubles," Toad the brake van's forward-thinking ambition, grumpy Gordon crashing through a station wall, and storyteller Alec Baldwin adopting a falsetto as Lady Hatt, Sir Topham Hatt's wife and birthday girl. In lieu of a seventh story, a chorus of kids sings "Night Train" while the model trains steam through darkness in a series of dramatic scenarios.
Homer is an orphan who was never adopted, becoming the favorite of orphanage director Dr. Larch. Dr. Larch imparts his full medical knowledge on Homer, who becomes a skilled, albeit unlicensed, physician.
A giant metal machine falls to Earth and frightens the residents of a small town in Maine in 1958, until it befriends a nine-year-old boy named Hogarth and ultimately finds its humanity by unselfishly saving people from their own fears and prejudices.
Computer scientist Hannon Fuller has discovered something extremely important. He's about to tell the discovery to his colleague, Douglas Hall, but knowing someone is after him, the old man leaves a letter in his computer generated parallel world that's just like the 30's with seemingly real people with real emotions.