Starlight Express the Musical Wiki

The 'Race: Downhill Final' is the last race in Starlight Express, in which Rusty defeats Greaseball and Electra, becoming the Champion Engine of the World.


The downhill final is a re-run of the 'Uphill Final', which was halted by Control following foul play.

This is the moment the entire show has built towards. All the pieces have fallen into place: Greaseball is racing with Pearl, who has seen his abusive side in action; Electra has just had to get a last-minute replacement partner in Caboose; and the little no-hoper Rusty has met The Starlight Express, and is racing with the unlikely-seeming Dustin.

The race is preceded by a countdown. The ensemble gather to watch as the competitors are introduced, then carried by the bridge to the top of the racetrack, to start the race on the downhill course. Each competitor sings their line in a reprise of "Coda Freight" / Hymn to Victory, each set of characters voicing their opinion. At Rusty's appearance, there is a quote from the original version of The Rap as "Rusty's gonna race in the final". The hymn ends in a discord as the race begins.

The race is fast and furious. Rusty keeps a cool head while Greaseball struggles with Pearl, and Electra uses his power to disrupt his opponents. Caboose has revealed himself as unhinged and will do whatever he can to cause chaos. Electra zaps electricity at Greaseball, but misses and injures Pearl. Greaseball, showing no concern, disconnects Pearl at full speed. Rusty diverts from the race course just in time to save her, but has set himself back in the race. Meanwhile, Greaseball and Electra fight over Caboose, on order to have a partner when crossing the finish line. At the last moment, however, Rusty and Dustin overtake their opponents, and cross the finish line as the others crash in the tunnel. Rusty wins!

Downhill Final Participants



The re-run of the final was intended to only be between Greaseball and Electra, but Rusty's appearance and the insistence of the entire ensemble that "Rusty's gonna race" allows him and Dustin to join. The staging of the end of the race originally left Greaseball and Caboose crashed, and Electra humiliated by not even finishing the race. As Rusty left the stage looking for Pearl, Electra threw a tantrum in "No Comeback". In 1988 "No Comeback" was cut and Electra was added to the crash.

The original Rusty, Ray Shell, did not perform this section of the show. He was replaced by a stunt double, Richard Bodkin.

Melodically, the race tells the story using the themes from "Rusty Can't Be Serious" (Intro to A Lotta Locomotion), "Pumping Iron", "No Comeback", "Wide Smile", and "He Whistled At Me".

1992 to 2002

With the loss of Caboose and re-structuring to Four, not Five races, the late London version of the last race has a few differences. Bobo and Ashley raced alongside Greaseball and Pearl, and Electra and Buffy. Control specifically demanded the marshals "sort out" Rusty and take him out of the race, but the ensemble insist that "Rusty's gonna race", and Rusty and Dustin take their place in the final.

Control states that it's against illthe rules for an engine not to have a partner, and after Greaseball uncouples Pearl, he has 30 seconds to find another partner, so he steals Ashley from Bobo, leaving him out of the race. Rather than Caboose's meddling causing a crash, Electra zaps Greaseball, who flies out of control in front of him, causing them both to crash. Ashley and Buffy disconnect in time to avoid the pile-up in the tunnel.

Musical themes include the saxophone solo from "Pumping Iron", "No Comeback", and "Starlight Express", taking the Victory theme.


Broadway Downhill Final - Closing Night 1989 In the first half of the production, the Downhill Final was called to order when the previous race was sabotaged by Caboose. During the race, Greaseball and Electra fight each other, and Electra accidentally injures Pearl. Pearl brakes in order to save her life, but Greaseball uncouples her and leaves her to derail on the lift bridge. Rusty catches her just in time and resumes the race. Greaseball meanwhile pries Caboose from Electra. The two engines fight over Caboose until a bolt from Electra cuts off the power to the race track. During the blackout the engines disappear into the tunnel, and when they reappear and the emergency power turned on the Silver Dollar has been stolen by Caboose. Greaseball and Electra continue to fight over Caboose, leaving Rusty to finish ahead of them.

In the later half of the Broadway production, the Silver Dollar was cut. The Final ended with the three villains crashing in the tunnel as they did in London, leaving Rusty and Dustin to win. Rusty's scene where he goes to look for Pearl remains the same.

Musical themes include "Rusty Can't Be Serious", "No Comeback", with "Rusty Can't Be Serious" being used as a victory theme at the end of the race as Rusty wins.

Japan/Australia tour

Race Downhill Final J90 1.jpg

This version of the race is similar to the later Broadway version (without the Silver Dollar). It is likely that the timeline was such that this version of the race, the third production in late 1987, was imported back to the Broadway show when they revised the "Silver Dollar" plot in 1988. In this production, however, Hashimoto's twin Nakamura/Yamamoto and Volta do the downhill rerun, but are wiped out mid-race.

The melodies used include the saxophone solo from "Pumping Iron", "AC/DC" and "Starlight Express as the victory theme as Rusty wins the race.


The German races have been re-choreographed on several occasions, but the key points in the story remain the same. Greaseball uncouples the injured Pearl in the centre of the stage. Originally this left her hurtling to the edge of the stage, but later alterations to the theatre left her running, out of control, further down the tracks. Greaseball tries to knock out Electra, but Caboose starts beating both of them up hoping to wreck the two villainous engines, but he ends up getting wrecked along with them when they crash in the tunnel. Rusty and Dustin on the other hand barely avoid being crashed as well as they shoot through the tunnel and toward the finishing line. However, Rusty doesn't stop to celebrate, instead he worriedly goes to look for Pearl, creating the link for "One Rock 'n' Roll Too Many".

Musically, the original German race featured melodies from "Rusty Can't Be Serious", "No Comeback", "Engine of Love" and finishing with "Starlight Express" as the victory theme. The contemporary version uses a quote from the "Rusty's gonna race" section of "The Rap, as echoed in the pre-race hymn, "No Comeback", and "Crazy" as Rusty takes the lead, and "Starlight Express" as the victory theme.

US/UK/NZ Productions & 2013 Asia Tour


Race Downhill Final - US Tour 2004

US Tour Race 4 - 2003/04

These productions all share the same 3D filmed races, due to the restrictions of the size of the stage that prevented the races from being held live. The voice-over "Control" was re-recorded for the 2004 UK Tour, giving a slightly different interpretation of the events being shown.

During the race, Greaseball tries to crash Electra using Pearl as a battering ram. Pearl screams to Rusty for help as she gets hit by the lightning bolts that Electra fires. Greaseball then stops in a hazardous part of the tunnel (for no apparent reason whatsoever as he was already in first place, although it is possible to suggest that due to the attacks from Electra, Greaseball's violent attitude provoked him to fight the electric engine instead of concentrating on the race), and starts to beat up Electra. His impacts and blows against Electra cause the tunnel to start falling apart (which is impossible as they are making no physical contact with the tunnel wall or supports; which were already weakened from Ruhrgold's earlier collision). Electra strikes back and rams Greaseball into the wall, and into a circuit box causing the electrical circuits to go haywire. Meanwhile, Caboose grabs Pearl and shoves her down the tunnel as she screams in terror, and throughout the whole time Greaseball and Electra continue fighting.

At the same moment, Rusty and Dustin come racing down the tunnel whilst dodging falling debris, with Rusty managing to catch Pearl from behind, unwittingly saving her from being electrocuted by a stray wire. Back at the fight, Caboose tries to stop the two engines, but Electra shoves him into the supports, weakening them even more and knocking Caboose unconscious. Electra continues to fight with Greaseball until Rusty, now both pulling Dustin and pushing Pearl, shoves both quarrelling engines into the tunnel walls. The tunnel supports cave in and debris lands on the main circuit box, causing the tunnel to explode. Rusty, Pearl, and Dustin barely make it out of the tunnel unharmed.

After Rusty returns to the train yard victorious, Pearl, out of shame, quietly leaves. Rusty immediately notices her absence, and goes to look for her, bringing with him the coaches and components who had come out to congratulate him.

This race footage contains some illogical elements: that Greaseball had stopped in the tunnel only to start fighting Electra who was only in second place; their fighting was causing the entire tunnel to collapse; and on top of that, Control did not send out the Traxes to stop them or do anything else about the matter, even when Caboose pushed Pearl down the tunnel. The footage is also full of 3D tricks, such as signs lurching out at the audience, which do not serve the story telling.

Musically, "AC/DC", "Right Place, Right Time", "Whole Lotta Locomotion", "Crazy", and "Starlight Express as the Victory theme.


Countdown to the race (London 1992 to 2002)

The revised London version gave Caboose's part in the music to Bobo and Ashley, singing "Le jour de gloire est arrivé / Gonna be hot, hotter than hot".

Lo-co-mo-tion, Lo-co-mo-tion
Lo-co-mo-tion, Lo-co-mo-tion Why should I have to Lie?
Lo-co-mo-tion, Lo-co-mo-tion Why should I have to Lie? Just for me, I'm in this Just for me, I'm in this
Lo-co-mo-tion, Just for me! I'm gonna win, Must help me win
I'll be victorious, I'm gonna win I'll be victorious, I'm gonna win I'll be victorious, I'm gonna win I'll be victorious, I'm gonna win
Earth, Water, Air, Fire,
See the steam rise higher
Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Aggregates are really great! Aggregates never complain!
See the steam rise higher Humping all the rubble
At the double, no trouble,
It's great to be an aggregate train.
Earth, Water, Air, Fire- Aggregates are really great! Aggregates never complain-
Rusty's gonna race,
Rusty's gonna race,
Rusty's gonna race in the final!
Who'll be victorious See Who's gonna win
Who's gonna win Who's gonna win
Gonna win Who'll be victorious
The Steam Who's gonna win
Gonna win
Who'll be victorious Gonna win
Who'll be victorious, win Rise Gonna win
Gonna win Be victorious
Gonna win Who'll be victorious, win
Be victorious Higher Who'll be victorious
Who'll be victorious Who'll be victorious
Who'll be victorious - orious
Who's gonna win! Who's gonna win! Who's gonna win!

'Home stretch' lyrics (Bochum 2018 onwards)

Sung to the tune of 'Crazy'

ALL: Rusty, can you believe it, it's Rusty!
Come on Rusty! Come on Rusty!
Come on Rusty! Come on Rusty!
Come on Rusty! Come on Rusty!

Outro English Translation Lyrics (2018-)

MOMMA: Where did he go, where did he go?
ALL: Where did he go, where did he go?