The 'Race: Downhill Final' is the last race in Starlight Express. It is a re-run of the race after the 'Uphill Final' had to be halted.
This is the big moment the entire show has built towards. The final race, to decide the Champion of the World. All the pieces have fallen into place: Greaseball is racing with Pearl, who has learned of his abusive side; 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 entire ensemble gather to watch the start of the race, 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 full ensemble hymn ends in a discord as the race begins.
The race is fast and furious, a determined Rusty keeps a cool head while Greaseball struggles with an unwilling Pearl, and Electra uses all 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, simply 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 catch up and overtake his opponents, and cross the finish line as the others crash in the tunnel. Rusty wins!
Original London Version
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 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".
Original Broadway Production
In the first half of the production, the Downhill Final was called to order when the previous race was sabotaged by the Red Caboose. During the race, Greaseball and Electra fight each other, and during the procedure 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 manages to catch her just in time before resuming the race. Greaseball meanwhile pries the Red Caboose from Electra. The two engines continue to 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 is stolen. Greaseball and Electra still fight over the Red Caboose leaving Rusty to finish ahead of them.
In the later half of the Broadway production, the scene where the Silver Dollar was stolen was cut and the Final ended with the three villains crashing in the tunnel as they did in the London production, leaving Rusty and Dustin to win. Rusty's scene where he goes to look for Pearl remains the same.
Japanese/Australian Tour Production
This version of the race is very 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.
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 the Red Caboose starts beating both of them up and hope to wreck the two villainous engines, but he ends up getting wrecked along with Greaseball and Electra when they crashed in the tunnel. Rusty and Dustin on the other hand barely avoided being crashed as well as they shoot through the tunnel and toward the finishing line. However, Rusty doesn't stop the celebrate, instead he worriedly goes to look for Pearl, creating the link for One Rock and Roll Too Many.
The contemporary version of the race 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.
Late London Production
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 entire ensemble "Hymn" insisted that "Rusty's gonna race", and Rusty and Dustin take their place in the final.
Control states that it's against the 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 directly in front of him, causing them to crash. Ashley and Buffy disconnect in time to avoid the pile-up in the tunnel.
US/UK/NZ Productions & 2013 Asia Tour
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 hit by the lightning bolts that Electra had fired. 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 provokes 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, the Red 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, Red Caboose tries to stop the two engines, but Electra shoves him into the supports (weakening them even more), knocking him unconscious. Electra continues to fight with Greaseball until Rusty, pulling Dustin and pushing Pearl, shoves both quarrelling engines into the tunnel walls. The tunnel supports finally cave in and falling debris land 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. However, 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 the Red 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.
3 Engine Version. 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||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-|
|Ensemble:||Rusty's gonna race,||Rusty's gonna race,||Rusty's gonna race in the final!|
|Coaches + Components||Rusty:||Engines + Trucks|
|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|
|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!|