Shining Time Station is a 1989 children’s television series that aired on PBS from 1989 until 1993. The show was created by Britt Allcroft and Rick Siggelkow.


A small man dressed in a train conductor’s suit named Mr. Conductor (Ringo Starr in Season 1 and later by George Carlin in Seasons 2 and 3) would tell stories about Thomas the Tank Engine to young kids.

Why It Rocks

  1. This show first introduced American audiences to Thomas the Tank Engine in January of 1989.
  2. After the original series ended in 1993, the show continued running on PBS in reruns from the mid 1990s to late the 1990s. There was even a spin off series called Mr. Conductor’s Thomas Tales, which focused solely on Mr. Conductor.
  3. Ringo Starr did a good job as the early version of Mr. Conductor and George Carlin did a good job as Mr. Conductor as well. George even stated in an interview that he did that show in order to show a different side of himself and do something he hadn’t done before.
  4. Aside from entertaining American viewers, the show taught many lessons including trust, honesty, kindness among many others.
  5. Unforgettable characters, especially Mr. Conductor.
  6. Even though it's long-gone after the series ended, even with a not so well received movie called "Thomas and the Magic Railroad", Thomas & Friends is still going strong both in the US and the UK to this day.
  7. George Carlin's re-narrations for the first two seasons of Thomas were really good.
  8. So many enjoyable episodes.
  9. Brought Thomas's third season to air in the US early before season three aired in the UK despite being only available on VHS in 1991 of the same year until 1992.
  10. Catchy and cheery theme song.
  11. This show is perfectly recommended for people outside America that never saw what Shining Time Station is.

Bad Qualities

  1. It's crossover movie with Thomas the Tank Engine, Thomas and the Magic Railroad, was not well received. Mot to mention the movie did kill off the Shining Time Station franchise despite some of the good things the movie gave everybody, British or American. In fact, UK audiences would not know what Shining Time Station really is unless if they're any fellow Brits outside the UK, living in the United States that grew up watching Thomas the Tank Engine in their day.
  2. Americanized the episode, "Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure" to being a Thanksgiving related episode since Sodor is a British island and not an American island, they could have just re-dubbed the script to make it a Christmas story later on.
  3. The show has never been released on DVD, Blu-Ray or any streaming service.


  • Ringo Starr left the series in 1990 during production of the series to focus more on his music career, and the show's third season for the UK, and so George Carlin took over for him in the US version, and Michael Angelis (whilst only for the UK version) took over for him in the UK dub.
  • Seasons 1 and 2 were re-dubbed by George Carlin after Ringo's departure, however, some of the episodes that weren't redubbed for the US by Ringo were narrated for the US version of the first two seasons by George Carlin (for example: "Whistles and Sneezes").
  • UK titles of the episodes from "Shining Time Station" are seen only in the end credits during the first season.
  • Season four of Thomas the Tank Engine was the last and final season to be apart of the spin off series before continuing it's stories without being adapted from Railway Series books, and being on Shining Time Station for American audiences.
  • For American fans of Thomas that wouldn't know years later until now, Thomas was based on a book series called the Railway Series.
  • George stated in an interview that when he worked on Shining Time Station, he would tell children when they came up to see if he was Mr. Conductor, because he was tall, "I'm not on the Island of Sodor today, I'm working here, but I am Mr. Conductor".